From Weaning to Potty Training with Oxo Tot {Review}

Turning your little baby into a fully fledged human is a never ending journey, starting with weaning at 6 months to getting them to use the potty between the age of 2 and 3 (telling you when they need to use it, however, is a different story!). Raising a child is a constant, but rewarding (in the end), challenge and if I can find items to make things easier then I’m all for that.

At the moment, we’re currently in the midst of potty training so decided to purchase a travel potty from Oxo Tot as we liked the design. Following on from this, we were then invited to test out a range of other products by Oxo Tot to assist not only with T’s potty training but with his appetite too!

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Weaning: Top Places to Eat with Babies

One of the main reasons we chose to do baby-led weaning was so that I wouldn’t have to prepare separate meals, especially when we go out. There’s no way would I remember to get something out the freezer that morning or night before, let alone find a place where I can heat it up and then feed T – all whilst eating my own meal! Plus, the sound of T enjoying the same food as us (spice and all), sounded much more appetising.

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Over the past year we’ve been to our fair share of cafes and restaurants, and most of the time T’s awake during a mealtime, so we have to share. Long gone are the days where he would be happy with a spoon toy. He wants food.

So with this in mind, I thought I’d share our top places to eat with little ones. I’ve based this list on their menu, as well as how pro baby they are (you’ll know when they’re not, going by what facilities they have available, whether Highchairs actually fit their tables, or if the floor is a little too clean (the sure sign that a baby hasn’t visited recently!)).

Of course I’m going to make a mess.


A carvery – Regardless of what Carvery is near you, you should find that they’re pretty family friendly. Because of their buffet style dining, you can pick the perfect amount for little one’s plates.

Wagamamas – By far my favourite place for T to eat. Not only because of taste, but because it’s relatively healthy (and cheap!). I like how their menu doesn’t stray far from the adult menu apart from the portion. I also LOVE how they use Mountain Buggy pod highchairs as their choice of highchair. When we went last week, the atmosphere was so relaxed even after T had made a mess.

Bills – One of my favourite places for brunch, they were a haven when I started breastfeeding T. I felt so comfortable feeding him there, and the waiting staff are so kind and didn’t bat an eyelid when clearing the table. Plus, the food is fabulous.

Pizza Hut – Cheap and cheerful, with so many options to choose from. Whilst S and I can be a bit naughty, we still have the option to give T something healthy from the salad bar.

A few for the locals…

Iydea, Brighton – A lovely little vegetarian cafe based in the heart of Brighton. Ideya serves wholesome food at a decent price and is, again, really healthy (if you want it to be). What I love most about Ideya is the amount of choice available.

Riverside Cafe, Lewes – part of an old warehouse, the riverside building not only contains a cute little cafe, but also a barbers, fish monger, and a butchers. We went there a few weekends ago and had homemade sausage rolls with coffee. It was lovely and reminded me why I love eating locally.

credit: https://wednesdaysinthecountry.wordpress.com

Shoreham Airport (Hummingbird Cafe), Shoreham – Bit of an odd one, I know, but we found this place on a whim when we were desperate to find a place for breakfast. Although the menu is quite small, there is a lovely selection of food available, from cereal to pastries, to a full English. Plus, it’s next to a runway!

So there are our favourite places to eat, but we’re always on the look out for new places. Any recommendations? Where do you like to go when eating out?

K

Weaning: Hints & Tips

We’ve been weaning for 3 months now and I can honestly say it’s been the most frustrating and enjoyable experience of my life.

On one hand, I love the new flavours and textures T gets to experience on almost a daily basis generic for benicar. The look on his face when he’s tried something new and is working out whether he likes it (or doesn’t like it!)  to when T notices that I’ve served him one if his favourites.

On the other hand, it’s been hard work dealing with the mess, the waste, and the general frustration when T can’t quite deal with something but wants it really bad and gets upset when I take it away or it falls on the floor. It’s also hard to watch something you’ve lovingly prepared get thrown or crushed in their chubby hands.

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Over the past 3 months I’ve picked up a few hints and tips to make, let’s be real, my life easier:

1) Get an easy wipe mat. This was one of the best things I purchased after losing the 8th piece of pasta to a fluffy carpet. As long as it’s kept clean, it means less wastage (sort of) and your carpet is kept beetroot free! I purchased ours from a local hardware shop who sold it by the metre really cheap. It beats buying a special “weaning mat”.

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2) Freeze freeze freeze. For days when you’re not going to be having the same, or when you just need to plump out their meal, it’s really useful to have a few things in the freezer. Things like pastry, eggy bread, and pancakes all freeze well. I also found a lot of fruit freezes quite well which means it lasts longer and all you have to do is get it out the night before for the next day. Our frozen veg drawer is bursting at the seams!

3) Reuse reuse reuse. Similar to the above, I try and cut out a lot of wastage by freezing leftovers (as long as it hasn’t already been frozen), or turning it into something new. Left over weetabix or porridge? Add a bit more weetabix/porridge to the bowl, place on a baking tray, and bake for 10-15 minutes. You now have a mid morning snack!

4) Get a painting overall. There have been several occasions when I didn’t have the time to fit in a clothing change before going out. So to combat the weaning mess I got a painting overall from IKEA for those days or if I stupidly put T in white. It took T a bit of getting used to and it was quite the distraction at first, but now he ignores it and clothes don’t come away raspberry stained!

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5) Plan meals. This may sound like a chore, but it’s one of the best things I do every Sunday night (living the dream, people!). I often can’t remember whether I’ve showered so I have no chance remembering what T ate on Tuesday on a Thursday. We purchased a small, magnetic white board for the fridge which we fill in all T’s meals (including snacks) for the week. This way, I know when he’s had banana and that I can’t give it to him again for at least 2 days… unless I want a clogged baby!

What are your hints and tips for (happier) weaning?

K

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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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

Weaning: 1 Month On. 

I’m not sure what I expected when we started weaning T a month ago. I had no idea whether he’d like the tastes or the textures, whether he’d like the same foods as me, even whether there’d be spitting out, or even choking! I guess I told myself to take each day as it came, and that I did.

I’ve very quickly learnt that one day can be so different from the previous, and that’s no different when it comes to weaning. Some days he ate everything on his tray, other days he played with the food (even if he’d had that exact meal a week or so ago!). There was no obvious explanation so it was pointless trying to work it out.

Here’s what else I’ve learnt:

There WILL be mess. Face, hands, highchair, the floor, the dog, ME! Pretty much after the third time T dropped/chucked his banana on the floor I went to my local hardware shop and bought a plastic table cover. At least this way im not getting food on the carpet, and he can have it back if it’s been dropped (until it becomes a game!).

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There WILL be wastage. Similar to above, what misses the mat completely, ends up in the compost bin (or my mouth if it’s not covered in fluff). This can get frustrating as you’re torn between doing smaller meals so that there’s no wastage, but once it’s gone, it’s gone and T has nothing to eat.

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You WILL end up finishing off the odd bowl or plate of something. Which isn’t so bad if he’s eating veggies. Banana pancakes? Toast?  Not so much.

Poop WILL change almost immediately. It took a few days for the poop to really change but when it came, it came, and it wasn’t long before I started missing the breastmilk poops. It is cool, however, to see what’s been going down. Literally.

Going down the baby-led weaning route means you don’t really have to prepare much as they’re eating what you’re eating. So if I’m having a cheese salad, he’ll have that as well. The only times I have to prepare him something different is when I’m not having a baby friendly meal like Ryvita, or if I don’t want to give him toast for breakfast for a second day in a row because I am. I still have a few stable bits in the freezer like banana pancakes, mashed potato, pin wheels, etc. but these are generally used for days when he needs a bit more to his meal or a bit of variety.

At the moment, he’s only having breakfast and lunch as I’m finding it hard to find the time to offer a dinner once he’s had another feed after lunch, a nap, and then another feed as it’s then time for a bath and then bed. I could try and fit it in around 5pm but he’s sometimes mentally getting ready to settle down by then. When he does get round to having a dinner/supper though, he’ll likely be having dinner on his own, which I don’t like the thought of, as S gets home so late and I’d rather eat with her, and I don’t want two meals, but then that factor isn’t as important right now.

I was/am quite nervous of choking, so I’m still reluctant to offer things like red meat but watching him at the moment devoir tougher things like red pepper is starting to gain me more confidence.

Of all the things to come out of taking a baby led weaning approach, eating out is one of them! It makes it so much easier! All we have to do is share our plate or get a side of veggies for him.

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It’s been a fun month, albeit stressful. It’s exciting watching him try all these new flavours – I’m looking forward to him trying his first Christmas dinner!

K