Our 2015

2015 was a huge one for us with the arrival of T, after trying for two years to meet him.

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2016 will no doubt be just as busy what with T starting nursery, me returning to work, and T making general milestones like walking and, possibly, talking!

But before we start moving forward, here’s what our 2015 looked like.

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Returning to Work with the help of Lansinoh. 

Last Saturday was my first KIT (keeping in touch) day. The purpose of a KIT day is to slowly reintegrate you back into work, especially if you’ve had a lot of time off, and get you updated on what’s been going on. I was reluctant to book any KIT days at first as I was/am in complete denial about returning to work (I then realised you got paid for the hours worked during your KIT day, so I quickly changed my mind). I was also concerned about how I was going to cover childcare for the day, not to mention feeds, however I decided to book my KIT day on a Saturday when S would be off. Perfect.

The feeds themselves then weren’t a worry as T takes a bottle quite happily, I was more concerned about my poor boobs! How was I going to deal with them? If I even miss one feed in a day my boobs tell me about it.

Working in the public sector means I often don’t get a chance to sit down at a set time, nor in a set room like a cafeteria, therefore I often eat outside and/or at sporadic times, meaning I’m likely going to have issues when it comes to my boobs as I won’t be able to express at exact times.

Thankfully, I was going to be indoors for this KIT day so I could catch up on emails, this therefore gave me the perfect opportunity to test out my new manual breast pump by Lansinoh!

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The Breastfeeding Chronicles: Feeding in the Winter: The Breastvest: Review

Now that the winter is well and truly here, I need to think about extra layers when it comes to feeding T out and about. Annoyingly, I can’t just take myself off to a cafe anymore for warmth as T gets easily distracted with the sounds around him.

Apart from when T was teeny, and I stayed indoors for a while, I’ve always been a one-up-one-down kinda gal when it came to feeding. I did try nursing tops, but they either didn’t suit me or they were a bit fiddly. This one-up-one-down method meant I could wear my favourite t-shirts again, didn’t flash my postpartum gut, and didn’t have to whop my boob out of my shirt.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that women clearly still breastfeed, there aren’t many options when it comes to under tops. You’re very much limited to plain vests. These vests are often a quick (and cheap) pick up from the local supermarket but they don’t always fit well and they have a habit of rising up regardless of whether you tuck it in.

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Looking For Our Nursery. 

As mentioned in our last nursery post, T has to go into nursery. We can’t afford a nanny, nor is there an opportunity to have family look after T. This is our only option at the moment. It’s sad, but I’m slowly accepting it.

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Where we live there are TONS of nurseries within a 10 mile radius, which is actually a double edged sword. On one hand we have a vast choice of nurseries and can decide whether we choose one local to home or local to our places of work, choose one based on its learning style, or even choose one based on its food. On the other hand, and ultimately our deciding factor, because of the anount of nurseries we have, we also have our choice of costs! Nurseries are not competitive in the slightest, so having this many choices makes things difficult.

Nurseries argue that the reason why they’re not competitive is because each one is unique. Each one is so different based on the care they provide but at the end of the day they’re all doing one thing; looking after our children. A comparison between a chain nursery and a little independent nursery can often be no different… Until you get to the price. You would think that the chain, that often has more than one “branch”, would be cheaper as it’s making more money across the board, but no. You may then think that the little independent nursery would be cheaper to then compete with the well known nurseries, but no.

It really is a minefield.

So far, we’re at the viewing stage. I’ve already booked a handful of viewings and will be viewing them over the next few weeks. I’ve heard that once you get a “feeling” you’ll know you’ve found your nursery so I’m hoping I don’t have to view many before finding the right one.

The viewings, so far, are going well. There really are some wonderful places out there. With each viewing I’m armed with a list of questions, and thanks to our chums online we’ve been able to create quite the list:

Food selection.
– Packed lunches accepted?
Milk warming?
Nap times.
– Dealing with fussy babies.
First aid procedure.
Flexibility for shift workers?
Illness policy.
Extra hidden costs?
Exursions / outings?
Where will he be cared for?
– By whom?
Staff turnover.
Routines?

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only apprehensive parent when it comes to nursery, but it’s so hard not to worry that your baby won’t be ok.  Will the nursery be able to deal with T? Will he eat? Will he SLEEP?

I know a lot can change in a few months, he’ll be starting nursery when he’s a year after all, so it’s no good worrying about what’s going to happen later when even I don’t know what T is going to be like later. We’ll just have to wait and see.

What questions would you ask a nursery? Do you have any reassuring nuggets? How was your little one when they went to nursery.

K

The Breastfeeding Chronicles – Recipes: Banana Oat Bites

In addition to what’s in my cupboard, I decided to give making my own snacks a go last week. I’m no Mary Berry, but it’s likely to be a hell of a lot cheaper, and probably healthier too!
Here’s my (not so much of a) recipe for banana oat bites:-

What you’ll need:

3 bananas
75g porridge oats (25g per banana if you wish to make smaller batches). You can add more oats if you don’t want the bites to be so spongy.
2tsp cinnamon.
1tsp honey (any other moist, sweet stuff will do. I’ve seen apple sauce used as well as coconut oil).

Method:

Break up and mash the banana.


Add the porridge oats, cinnamon, and honey. You could probably add other bits such as nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips at this stage. 

 

Mix to an even colour.

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Spoon out into even dollops.

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Cook for 15-20 minutes at 200oC (25-30 minutes if you don’t want them as spongy)

When they come out of the oven, they will continue to cook, so even if you bring them out at 30 minutes, you’ll still notice a little spring in them still just not as wobbly as cooking for 20.

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And that’s it! They’re my banana oat bites. I really like them as they use up any brown bananas (I HATE brown bananas) and they’re a nice treat any time of the day. I’m hoping to make some more but make them into bars as apposed to bites by spreading out the mixture as a slab. 

K

The Breastfeeding Chronicles – Fuel for Thought. 

You can get so hungry whilst feeding, not to mention thirsty, so it’s important that you keep well fuelled; not only for energy but for your supply. To help with this, I’ve found the simplest foods to get are the ones with pure oats in the ingredients. Not wheats or grains. Oats.

Every morning, usually whilst S is changing T, I chomp down on an oaty snack and glug a ton of water before his morning feed. Depending on how good the snack is, I can guarantee that in an hours time, the opposite boob is then quite full. I’m then able to express. This is a great routine as I’m creating a nice stash in the freezer. If the snack is shoddy then my boob isn’t as full.

Over the past 4 months I’ve tried my fair share of snacks to keep my supply up, and probably spent a small fortune on gimmicks and promises that a particular snack will boost supply, so here are my Top 5 favourite snacks to help with supply.

5) McVities Hob Nobs. Simple and cheap, although not great for the waistline. I find the supermarket’s own brand contain less oats so it’s good to stick to the brand.

4) Belvita Breakfast Biscuits (in particular the milk and cereals). With 8 in a box and then 4 in a packet, you can’t complain. I find these hold me really nicely until breakfast, especially if the feed is at 5am!

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3) Nairns Museli Break Oatcakes. These are quite expensive but I’ve found they’re really effective, although somewhat dry. If you have the time, spreading some jam or marmalade on top helps.

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2) Freidas Pantry Nursing Bars. I really love these bars as they especially tailored for nursing. They’re tasty and so moist that you don’t realise you’re eating oats and seeds. I tend to save these for before I go out or when I’ve just got home.

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1) McVities Oatie Bars. I got these when they were two for £1 but since they rocketed up to £2.50, McVities can kiss it if they think I’m paying out £2.50. Annoyingly, they’re really effective and like eating a good crumble topping. Yum.

I hope to try and make some of my own snacks over the next few weeks, especially as Scottish Oats are so cheap. I’ll share if they go ok!

In the meantime, what snacks help you? Have you got any receipes?

K

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