If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you’ll know that food is a huge passion of mine. Coming up with new recipes and experimenting is a hobby of mine. But today, with all this talk about panic buying amidst this deadly virus, I couldn’t help but think, what can I do now to help others…
My epiphany was this! My Ideas On How To Make Your Food Go Further!
There are certain things that most of us keep in our kitchen during week to week shops or our larger monthly stock ups, so I wanted to focus on those to begin with. The issue right now is that due to bulk panic buying some of our staples are very hard to get a hold of. Take a look at the meals below to see if any of them would appeal to you or your family. Then see how you can make them go further with my recipe adjustments.
All of these recipes are my own, so if you wish to recreate one please credit me and notify me on where you have used it, thank you.
Author: Severn Sabrina Prep Time: 45 Minutes Cook Time: 40 Minutes Serves: 4 to 6 people Allergens: Wheat Flour, Barley and Soya in the Gravy Granules
COTTAGE PIE Serves 4 to 6 people (sometimes with leftovers if its children’s portions) Ingredients 1 or 2 Large White Onion – Diced 3 or 4 Large Carrots – Diced 500g Mince Beef – Cooked & put through a processor to make smaller pieces 1kg Potatoes – Cooked and Mashed Gravy Granules – I use the Bisto Onion Gravy Granules Additional foods to add to make it go further… Baked Beans x 1 Tin Mixed Dice Vegetables x 1 Cup ~~~ Most people will have a bag of frozen veg or veg that needs to be used up. Dicing it up small and adding it to your cottage pie gravy is a great way to get extra veg into children as well as help an adult get their 5 or more a day! Same with the tin of beans! Pour off a little sauce if there is lots in the tin, but the tomato sauce actually helps you to get a lovely gravy. The beans bulk out the cottage pie filling while adding your veg in take. You can even add all of this into a large casserole dish, and cook it in the oven for an hour, even the veg if cut small enough will cook in the gravy, locking in all the vitamins…
Author: Severn Sabrina Prep Time: 30 Minutes Cook Time: 30 Minutes Serves: 4 to 6 people Allergens: Dairy will be present in Naan Bread if you choose it as a side
CHICKEN CURRY (You can use one of my Recipes already on my blog for the method) Serves 4 to 6 people (sometimes with leftovers if its children’s portions) Ingredients 2 Large White Onion – Diced and Chopped into two sizes 50g Tomato Puree (this is for your homemade sauce) 2 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes (for your sauce) 500g of Chicken cut into bite size pieces 100g of Yoghurt, I use Dairy Free Coconut Yoghurt Serve with Rice and / or Naan Bread Sauce – I prefer to make my own to my taste but you can use a jar of sauce, but if you do use a jar you only need 1 Tin of the Chopped Tomatoes. You then add curry spices like Cumin, Paprika, Garam Masala and Chilli. As well as Garlic and Coriander usually! (See my Recipes for more on making sauce and a method for the curry too). Additional foods to add to make it go further… New Potatoes x 1 Tin (They’ll cook in the sauce on a low heat for 20 mins) 1 or 2 Peppers Sliced thinly (fry these a little with your onion then add) Cauliflower Diced up x 1 Cup (Chopped small it will cook in the sauce)
Author: Severn Sabrina Prep Time: 25 Minutes Cook Time: 40 Minutes Serves: 4 to 6 people Allergens: Check Jar if you purchase a sauce, otherwise none.
CHILLI CON CARNE Serves 4 to 6 people (sometimes with leftovers if its children’s portions) Ingredients 2 Large White Onion – Diced 4 Large Carrots – Diced 1 Tin of Plum Tomatoes (they are sweeter but you need to chop them) 1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes (you could use 2 of these and no plum if easier) 500g Mince Beef or Pork or both – Cooked & then put through a processor to make the pieces of meat smaller – or use Quorn or Soya Mince 1 Tin of Red Kidney Beans Serve with Rice Sauce – I use a packet or a jar for convenience but you can make a sauce, you have done the basics with the tomatoes already. So add the tomatoes to a bowl, then add Cumin, Garlic and Chilli to your own taste. Additional foods to add to make it go further… Baked Beans x 1 Tin (some people don’t like Red Beans so you could use Baked Beans (Haricot Beans) instead. Peppers – as many or as little as you like, if one needs using up do it! Mixed Dice Vegetables x 1 Cup (You can add other basic veg if you don’t have enough or you want to do a vegetarian style chilli).
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Author: Severn Sabrina Prep Time: 25 Minutes Cook Time: 30 Minutes Serves: 4 to 6 people Allergens: Check the Jar of Sauce if you buy one.
SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN Serves 4 to 6 people Ingredients 500g Chicken Breast (Diced) or a Vegetarian Alternative Tin of Pineapple – Cut into Small Chunks – 1 Ring per person Peppers – 1 Yellow and 1 Red Cut into Small Long Pieces 1 Large Onion – Diced into Small Long Pieces 2 Carrots – I Peel and Slice them with the Peeler into long thin shards! Serve with Rice Sauce – I always buy a cheap jar of sauce, the cheaper the better! Alternatives This dish is so easy to make and these flavours are quite specific, if you aren’t keen on that much pineapple then do one ring total or leave it out but then you should add more of the other ingredients.
Fresh meat, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables are hard to get hold of in my area right now. When I did a home delivery order most of what I asked for was either out of stock or I was given a substituted alternative closest to what I wanted. This was very inconvenient and I have ended up spending 4 hours in total, chopping, peeling and bulk freezing some of the fresh veg before it went bad. I created mixed veg bags including a stir fry mix!
TOP TIP: Only make a freezer portion size for what you or your family members would eat at a meal time! Then there is no waste when you defrost it to use!
You can make 6 portions of Vegetable Stir Fry using the following raw vegetables, washed, chopped and ready to cook or freeze: 3 Coloured Peppers – 1/2 a sliced pepper per portion 1 Broccoli Head – cut into thin stems 1kg Carrots – I use a peeler to slice mine into strips 1 White Onion for every 2 Portions – Diced into small chunks ~ Add any of the following to make it go further and become 8 portions~ Water Chestnuts – I use Tinned x 1 Bamboo Shoots – I use Tinned x 1
Adding Noodles OR Rice on the Day you make the Stir Fry for extra bulking out of your food. Either use 1 Packet of Stir Fry Noodles once your veg is cooked, or a packet of Microwave Noodles or a Microwave Rice (all down to your preference) and one of these makes this meal double in amount.
Using a bought Sauce or Making a Sauce?
Adding a bought sauce to this stir fry is great, but if you’re feeding more than 4 people then 1 jar is only just enough. TOP TIP: Make sure you add 2 cm of warm or hot water to the bottom of the jar, replace the lid and give it a good shake, add this to your stir fry, no sauce left in the jar and wasted!
Don’t be scared of not using all the sauce, you can you half, replace the lid and use the rest within 2 or 3 days usually (always check the label).
Alternatives for Sauce… Make your own! You will need… Garlic fresh or paste, Ginger fresh or paste, Sweet Chilli Sauce or Chilli Sauce (if you like it hot!) Salt, Pepper and Chinese Five Spice! I prefer the pastes as it makes things so easy!
In a small bowl mix up a tablespoon of everything above! Less of the hot chilli though unless you like it spicy! Add more or less and experiment with the taste until it’s to your preference. Add this to your stir fry when you add the noodles. One of each paste does me around 7 or 8 stir fry’s or Chinese orientated meals. Chinese Five Spice goes a long way too!
I really hope I have given you some inspiration on some family favourites and ideas on how you can make them go a lot further during this difficult time. You can of course substitute the meats for vegetarian alternatives or swap out the vegetables you don’t like for others too.
Experiment with what you’ve got to use up and so long as you’re making healthy meals with vegetables in you’re already winning for the day! If you liked any of my meals after making them please leave me a comment, I would love to know how you got on.
Is there anything you would like to cook but need some help with? I’m an experienced cook and perhaps have experience of the dish, please comment and ask me 🙂 I’m happy to help!
Stay In and Stay Safe Friends. I might go do some baking now I’m done with my savoury cooking! If you’re after sweet treats check out those recipes that are on my blog already too!
As most of you regular Severn Wishes readers will know, my son was born with a number of allergies. I love to cook and baking is something that I am gradually getting better at. I wanted to make up a recipe that was easy and that I could use with what I usually find in my baking cupboard. But not only that, it had to taste like proper chocolate cake. There’s nothing worse than it not resembling what you know and love!
This moist and soft chocolate cake recipe is egg free and dairy free. You could even change the flour to make it gluten free too if you like. I made it normally first, and then with gluten free baking flour when my sister (she’s coeliac) visited us, and both times it still baked as a soft sponge. Delicious! A great treat if you’re doing Veganuary this year! Why not make this Vegan delight at the end of the month? Give you a treat to look forward to!
This cake serves 10 people, you only want a small slice as it’s rich! Time to Prepare, Make and Bake is… 1 Hour 30 Minutes Preheat your Oven to a Temperature of 180’c or 360’F You will need baking parchment to line your 8″ Tin You shall need a Jug for the Sauce, one Large Bowl and one Small You will also need a Sieve, a Spoon and a Whisk And finally a Cooling Rack
For the Cake:
175g Flour – I used plain or a mixture of Plain and Raising, or use GF 200g Caster Sugar 50g Cocoa Powder 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract – You could use Mint Flavouring instead 240ml Tepid Water 120ml Vegetable Oil
For the Sauce to pour on top:
4 to 6 Tablespoons of Tepid Water 2 Tablespoons of Golden Syrup or Maple Syrup 2 Tablespoons of Cocoa Powder 130g of Icing Sugar
Method – Making the Cake
Step 1. Sift the Flour, Cocoa Powder, Caster Sugar and Baking Soda together in a large bowl. Make sure you mix them together thoroughly to combine.
Step 2. In a small bowl mix oil, water and vanilla together and stir until mixed.
Step 3. Gradually stir your wet mix bowl into the dry ingredients. Once you have combined them use a whisk or hand processor in order to make the mixture smooth. Mix until all the liquid is combined with the dry mixture.
Step 4. Pour your smooth mixture into the lined cake tin and shake gently from side to side to make it even inside.
Step 5. Bake in the Centre of your Preheated Oven, between 26 and 32 minutes depending upon oven type. Keep an eye on your cake so that it doesn’t over bake, use a knife of skewer in the centre, when it comes out clean it’s baked.
Step 6. Once cooked gently transfer the cake to a rack so that it can cool. You don’t want to pour on your sauce until it is cooled. Make sure the cake is completely cool before serving, you don’t want your sauce running off!
Method – Making the Sauce
Step 1. Sift the cocoa powder and icing sugar together in a bowl. Mix with a spoon until combined and a brown colour over all.
Step 2. Pour the syrup of your choice and the water into the bowl, make sure you stir it immediately and keep stirring until the ingredients resemble a smooth consistency. Start with 4 Tablespoons of water, if it’s not resembling a sauce that is pour-able then you can add more, one spoonful at a time until it’s how you want it to be. It can vary on the size of the spoon you use for example. TIP: Always better to start with less water and add it gradually, if it’s too wet to start with then you’re going to be measuring out more sugar which is a consistency much more difficult to get right.
Step 3. Cover this sauce until your cake is cooled and ready to serve, cut your cake slices, plate them up and then pour the sauce on to each piece. It’s easy to make more sauce if you need it and only takes a matter of minutes!
Thank you for coming to Severn Wishes today to read this recipe blog post. I hope you have enjoyed it. Can you please leave me a comment on this post if you try the recipe, and let me know what you think!
In my article I’m going to be talking about the different issues and infections I have had during my current journey, in order to raise awareness for other mothers who, like me, may have been unaware of the seriousness of them. And I will also be touching upon the isolation too, it’s such a stupid thing in modern times for it not to be accepted by everyone. It is however the most rewarding thing that I have ever chosen to do. At the end of the day breasts are part of a woman’s body in order to nurse children. I will discuss lots of things in these 4000+ words! So grab a cup of tea and a biscuit and brace yourself for honesty and facts…
Breastfeeding is Incredible but it is also Hard Work
Breastfeeding my son has been one of the most rewarding yet hardest things I have ever done in my life. It was a choice I made while I was pregnant and I wanted to persevere and give it my absolute best, with the aim of feeding him for at least six months if it was possible. But then when we hit that milestone and after that other milestones too, I just kept saying “I will now stop when baby no longer wants it”. Now we are at 15 months and still going, yay for us! The bond we have is amazing.
Don’t get me wrong, it certainly was not the easy way of feeding my baby and I think that women who do breastfeed give up a lot, and this should definitely be recognised a bit more. Let me start at the beginning and explain how and why I chose to carry on, in the face of pain, problems and less than four hours sleep for many a night. And why I’m still breastfeeding… right now in fact! While I type some of this story!
It had been an uphill battle to establish the breastfeeding and the routines to begin with. We were plagued with problems from the outset but because I was determined I continued on. Our son developed jaundice a day after birth which required a lengthy stay in hospital in an UV incubator and I breastfed or pumped every ninety minutes for the first two weeks of his life. Tough was an understatement, because my milk was still only just coming in when we realised our son had some problems. So I ended up with sore and cracked nipples from the constant feeding one way or another. The lack of sleep and the worry caused me to get rundown too. I remember filling myself with food and drinking litres of water at the beginning, it really did help get me through. And I have to thank the midwife team and breastfeeding coordinators at my local hospital too for their support and kindness.
When we eventually went home, to stay, our son was cluster feeding, we encouraged this to get him to gain some weight. It was incredibly hard, with sleep time being few and sitting down time a plenty, yet I wouldn’t change the bond it allowed for us to grow. So many hours were spent just gazing at one another; sleepy feeding at all hours and burping sessions too! We were doing so well, our little boy was slowly gaining weight and we had turned a corner. Family were also supportive and I carried my pregnancy pillow with me everywhere I went… Then one day as we started to feed I got pains, and these increased over the course of the day, and it turned out to be an infection that I knew nothing about. Let me tell you about Ductal Thrush.
Lots of doctors misdiagnose this ailment as Mastitis when in fact it’s Ductal Thrush. And if you get a misdiagnosis like I did with this, then you can actually make your infection so much worse! Let me explain a bit more about my run-ins with the dreaded Ductal Thrush and then I will show you a list of the symptoms and give you some facts!
My son was only seven weeks old when I got some bizarre pains as he latched on to feed. Previously my breasts had been engorged and that was painful, my nipples had been sore and cracked and they had also been painful, but this was different. It felt as though my son was drawing my milk out through the nipple, and as usual you can feel that gentle pull, except this time it was as though my nipple was being shredded from the inside out by glass shards. Yes… glass shards. It’s the best way I have of describing it, and it’s incredibly painful. At times during my experience with Ductal Thrush I would even say it hurt me more than the contractions of labour.
Now I’m pretty good with pain, I had my son naturally on just a little gas and air, and even my midwife took that off me almost ninety minutes before he was born to get me to focus more… so when I was tearing up and gritting my teeth through baby latching I knew something was not right. My son and I had such a bond already, but he was feeding frequently, usually fourteen to fifteen times in every twenty four hours. The pain of Ductal Thrush lasts for around a minute or two into the feed, and then different pains occur after baby has fed and you have your milk let down. That pain is a dull ache felt right in the depths of the breast tissue, mine was so deep it radiated around my back under my armpit.
I managed to get in at my GP quickly, the next day in fact. But I had hardly any sleep because of the pain during and between feeds that I was exhausted when I got there. The doctor took a look and listened to my symptoms before telling me that it was Mastitis. Having read about this condition and also having been given leaflets on it in hospital because it’s quite common in new breastfeeding mum’s, I just didn’t think he was correct. I went home with a box of antibiotics, and despite my reservations I took them for four days. The GP said that after forty eight hours I should begin to feel better and that the pain would get better. In fact by the fourth day the pain had almost doubled and I was crying my way through every single feeds. I was biting down on one of the baby teething rings we had bought for him just to get through the initial latch, and if he let go and had to start all over again I would literally be sobbing it was terrible.
After this night of debilitating pain I decided to call the breastfeeding coordinator number that I had been given, and they gave me some advice. They also sent a member of the breastfeeding team to my house to check me over when I described what a time I was experiencing. They checked to make sure baby was latching properly, and once I had told them about the pain they instantly knew it was Ductal Thrush and not Mastitis. I remember exactly how the conversation went, and how exhausted I felt. She also looked inside my son’s mouth because you can often see the thrush in baby’s throats and on their tongue. I wasn’t aware of this until I was told, but it’s white and often sticks to babies tongue and gums, and it was evident towards the back of my little ones mouth.
“You need to go back to your GP with this new information, and you need to stop taking those antibiotics because that type is feeding the infection not helping to get rid of if”.
I was devastated, it was now worse because of the misdiagnosis and my son was suffering too, I had to phone the GP up and ask to see them again. When I told him what the breastfeeding team had said he needed to look it up on his computer and find out what he needed to prescribe me instead. Not only did we require tablets but we also needed a nipple cream for me and a gel for my son for his mouth. They weren’t an everyday antibiotic, and my local pharmacy required a minimum of twenty four hours in order to get them in. So I waited, my husband picked up the prescription for me the following afternoon, and it was three days for them to enter my system and begin working.
During all of this time I continued feeding through the excruciating pain, and my poor son kept looking up at me wondering why I was so upset, his mind must have been so confused at the time, since I had always enjoyed our feeds and bonding since getting over the initial first pains and soreness that comes with new mothers feeding. Now he saw it as something that was upsetting me so I tried to not show him how hurt I was feeling and tried to smile down at him for reassurance.
But I was now in pain for minutes at every single feed, and this continued for a further week before it finally began to improve. It was tedious, I had to apply this fungal cream after each feed but remove some of it if it hadn’t been absorbed into the skin when he next wanted to feed. I also had to rub the gel onto his gums after each feed was over. I also had Lanolin for my nipples which were so sore from all the contact. But the antibiotics were finally starting to work, and I had a two week dosage of tablets which I thought was fine. It wasn’t. Due to it being so bad and embedded so far into my breast tissues I had to return to the GP and get a further repeat prescription of it. In total I was medicated for a whole six weeks, and it was a concern with my son being so young and the medication passing on to him.
For me Ductal Thrush at times was more painful than giving birth, and any mother who has had a severe case of it like I did will no doubt back me up. I’m not exaggerating with the pulling your milk through shards of glass description, or the burning sensation that radiates through your entire chest and into your tissue and muscles well into your back. I look back now and it’s a bit of a blur, I wonder how I even got through those weeks, but I did. I remember having to bite down on that teether at our three o’clock feed to stop my crying waking up the neighbours.
The GP even sent me to the hospital during my second dose of antibiotics to have an ultrasound scan on my breast tissues, to make sure nothing else was going on, luckily there was not and I was able to return to feeding my son. Although this was not before I was asked if I wanted to stop feeding him. When the thrush reoccurred without the tablets, well it never really left thinking back on it now, it was just starting to improve when I ran out of medication that first time and therefore it flared up again. But I recall telling every member of the health department that I came across, “No, I have worked too hard to establish feeding I want to continue”. I knew that I could beat this and carry on, not just for my son but for my sake as well.
As a sufferer of Endometriosis, I’m currently at Stage Four, so it was more beneficial to me to continue breastfeeding as long as was possible. When I explained the benefits most people could see why I wanted to maintain the feeds. But it was important to me because of how much I had already been through to even get to this stage of breastfeeding. For those few weeks that were debilitating and exhausting it felt never ending, but then we turned a corner, I woke one morning and the pain was there but bearable. I didn’t see the Ductal Thrush again, and if I never do again it would be all too soon. It affected the supply in my right breast, so much so that the left side became dominant and grew to almost double the size. I live with the constant lopsided reminder of how infection can really change your body. But I am a stronger breastfeeding mother because of what I have been through.
So many mothers are misdiagnosed with Ductal Thrush and it can have implications as well as creating painful feeding. Please speak to your local breastfeeding team if you are at all concerned that your GP might not be fully understanding to your needs. Get them to check inside your baby’s mouth because this is also an indication of where thrush lies. As a mother who has chosen to breastfeed you should be made aware of what Ductal Thrush and Mastitis are, so that you can make an informed decision if you should contract either of them.
Let us now go through the differences between the two of them. Ductal Thrush occurs when an infection grows among the breast tissues and is usually spread and passed from mother to baby and back again. Thrush can be an infection that occurs on several different parts of the body. Evidence of it in the breast can sometimes be seen on and around the nipple, or within baby’s mouth. Baby needs to be treated at the same time as the mother and it usually affects both of the breasts, but usually one side more than the other. Mastitis occurs in the breast when the ducts of tissue become blocked, it is usually associated with engorgement or when your baby is not feeding effectively and draining every part of the breast. Mastitis is accompanied with red, swollen and hot skin, then pain and redness that expands. Both of these conditions are serious, Mastitis more so due to the nature of the infection.
As explained on the NHS website, here are some more facts about Mastitis as a condition.
Mastitis only usually affects one breast and women feel unwell. Symptoms develop quickly and can include a red, swollen and painful area of the breast. Usually there is a lump or hard area to the breast tissue that doesn’t go after feeding baby. There can be burning pains associated with feeding your baby or occurring continuously. Discharge from the nipple is common including white or blood streaked. Flu-like symptoms are the normal experience for people with this infection, aches and pains, fatigue, going hot and cold, running a temperature and a having a fever.
Mastitis in breastfeeding women is known as Milk Stasis, it is caused by a build-up of milk that has not been drained properly. This occurs when the baby hasn’t got a good enough latch, there is an abundance of milk and baby isn’t feeding effectively or when the baby is feeding infrequently or misses a feed. It is an infection most common in the first twelve weeks of breastfeeding; however it can occur at any time for breastfeeding mothers who have a change in their usual routine for example. Mastitis occurs when the build-up of breast milk that has become blocked becomes infected with bacteria. If the bacteria are not treated quickly then the milk can turn into pus in the form of a breast abscess which may then need to be surgically drained.
Luckily Mastitis is easily treatable with antibiotics and rest. As with any infection you need to rest and hydrate, as well as eat healthily and take the tablets you are prescribed. Pain medicine such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen can be taken on the advice of your Doctor. Avoid tight fitting clothes and no bra if you think you may have Mastitis and while you are recovering. You must continue to breastfeed so as to remove any milk from the breast and avoid any further infections.
Is it important to remember that Mastitis can be a serious infection, and if you believe you may have it you need to see a Doctor as soon as possible. When infections spread it is more difficult to treat them and undiagnosed infections can lead to problems like Abscess’ or even Sepsis (Blood Poisoning). If in doubt see your GP and don’t be embarrassed about seeking help for something like this.
My Experience with Mastitis
I think I was in denial when I had Mastitis. I kept thinking, just one more painful feed and then it will be better, but this went on for weeks until I finally walked a mile and a half to the doctors on a really hot day because I could literally take it no more. I had a sore nipple after my son had accidentally bitten me with a fresh tooth he was cutting, and as he breast fed the sore kept reopening as a wound and became rather painful. This is what I attributed my pains to, and it wasn’t until I woke with an adjacent lump and red patch on my skin that I thought it was something more.
As I sat down to be examined with the doctor a chaperone was there too, and she was watching my son who was getting flustered at the sight of somebody other than him touching my breast, ha! Within seconds of looking at me he concluded it was Mastitis and told me I needed to start antibiotics immediately, I was told off for not coming in sooner. He told me to go to the pharmacy across the road and then go home and rest. He advised me to up my fluid intake, take paracetamol and stay warm. He even told me that if the redness spread any further across my chest to phone 111 and get admitted for IV antibiotics. It was quite scary…
My son was so flustered I had to breastfeed him in the Doctor’s surgery
waiting room before I left the premises. That’s one thing people don’t realise
about Mastitis, you actually have to keep on feeding despite the pain. Allowing
the Breast to become engorged again would be dangerous and could further spread
So once my son was done I managed to get him back into his pushchair and I
did what the Doctor said, I got my tablets, then I grabbed myself some Pepsi
Max and Chilled Water from the convenience store next to the pharmacy too, it
was so hot that day. Walking home afterwards I was getting more and more
Once home I didn’t get the chance to rest, I took my medication then I fed
my son both food and my milk. By the time I was sitting down to breastfeed I
realised how hungry I was, but upon reading the antibiotic packet I saw it read
no food for two hours after a tablet. So I then had to wait even longer to have
By the time my husband got home from work in the evening I was sat on the
sofa huddled in blankets watching my son play with his toys on his mat. I was
so exhausted I just did dinner in the oven that night. One of the symptoms is
fatigue because your body is fighting an infection. Another is the flu like
symptoms that hit you like a train. For a moment you feel fine and then boom
you’ve got shivering shakes and feel really cold. It was 28 degrees Celsius
outside and 24 inside my house, yet I was sat with a heavy cardigan on and a
blanket wrapped around me. I had these particular symptoms on and off for just
over forty eight hours, and they were not pleasant.
I was on my antibiotics course for two weeks, one tablet four times a day.
Luckily by the time I came to the end of the course I had noticed an
improvement and my pain was now subsiding. I did however still had the open
sore on my nipple which took another three weeks to heal completely. My son
couldn’t help opening it every time he had an aggressive “I’m really hungry”
The reason I got Mastitis was because I was away from my son for a few hours. Despite expressing some milk while away that day I still ended up engorged and in a lot of pain. Although I had encouraged him to feed more from my breast in the days that followed I could see my raised ducts weren’t going back down. If I ran my finger over my skin while he fed I could feel them, they were like tiny raised finger like shapes. A week or so later the pain and discomfort began getting a lot worse. One side of my breast was bright red and due to my encouraging more feeds to try and empty the breast, it had become sore and my skin was splitting where my nipple met my areolas. I gritted my teeth at the start of every feed.
My son prefers one side to the other… I hear most babies do! I recall the
doctor asking me if he fed on the other side and I said he did do, but my right
could never keep up with the supply and demand that the Left could. He
commented that I was rather lopsided, and I asked him to tell me something I
didn’t already know!
So the weeks past and luckily my Mastitis completely rectified itself and I didn’t need any further treatment. I’m one of the lucky ones, and I also have fairly small breasts as far as sizes go! I could imagine that someone with larger breasts where more infection could spread would be having a more difficult time of it! It didn’t reoccur at all although I have been careful not to have a spaced out feed since then, and my son has gone everywhere with me.
It took me a whole month to feel normal again, it was awful feeling so weak for a few days, but then the fatigue took a few days to recover from as well. I was grateful that I knew a bit about Mastitis due to my misdiagnosis when I had Ductal Thrush, so at least I was clued up on what to look out for. But some women are never told about these conditions and I think it’s important that they are discussed and recognised by the wider community.
Finally, I want to talk about the Isolation that Breastfeeding brings.
Breast is best, and it sure is! You get to bond with your baby, get extra cuddles and even burn more calories and get your pre-baby body back more quickly! But breastfeeding can also be very isolating especially if you can’t express or find it difficult to get your baby to take milk from a breast and a bottle… this was us. We had always hoped to do combination feeding, but our son didn’t like multiple bottle types. That said, I have never had an issue with feeding him by my breast, wherever I was and whenever he needed me to, I did it. So far that has been sat on the floor in Primark and even whilst walking around Tesco supermarket doing the grocery shopping.
I knew of mother friends who went back to a date night routine when their child was twelve weeks old, they went back to work at nine months, they went on a family holiday around the little ones first birthday. Most of these friends bottle fed their children for whatever reason. But you could end up like me, putting your little ones needs ahead of your own, you could be breastfeeding them for a particular reason. Our main reason is allergies, specifically food ones. It was imperative that I kept feeding him when my son was diagnosed with a potential milk allergy, and now we know it is a serious one I was glad that I stuck with feeding and didn’t put him at risk by trying all sorts of random formula. We are now waiting to see a consultant about his allergies, so for now I am sticking with breastfeeding him and maintaining a free from diet for me. It makes things difficult but I am used to it now, and I know he is safe.
It’s been hard not to be the social butterfly that I once was, but I have enjoyed the time with my son, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Especially the teaching and learning for both of us, the bonding and the love. Teaching him has been an absolute joy so far and I hope that it continues.
Unless other mother friends have breastfed and know what it’s like to have a cluster feeding baby who feeds every two hours and for fourteen or fifteen times a day, then they don’t know what it’s like to painfully turn down social invitations because you’re so exhausted you can just about feed and clothe yourself and the baby. It does get better, and routines are the key. Now I can plan my day so that I can get in a short walk and maybe a grocery shop between breast feeds and even do things around the house without baby getting too grumpy by not being permanently attached to my chest! I know it’s been a good day if I have showered, have done my home chores and gotten a walk in all before four o’clock in the afternoon. At that time every day we cuddle up on the sofa so he can feed, with a packet of free from biscuits for me, and we watch our favourite quiz shows together until it’s time for me to cook dinner. It’s a great life to live, although it can sometimes be a little lonely in terms of adult interaction, though I have to say being at home with my son all day is one of the best decisions I ever made. I know it cannot be like this forever and I will make the most of the time I have with him before things change.
I am a proud mother bear to be still feeding my child now at fifteen months of age. I’m also quite glad looking back, all the hurdles we have beaten and all the issues we have overcome. And yes I have to maintain a dairy free diet for the entire time that I continue breastfeeding, but you know what, it’s what is best for my son, so I will do it.
I guess what you can say here is that breastfeeding is only isolating if you let it become such. During those first few months everyone is learning and discovering and it’s both wonderful and scary and also amazing. This little life looks to you for everything and that is a massive deal, but you also cannot lose sight of who you were before you were mother of the baby. I think for a few months that was what happened to me. I stopped being Sabrina and started being mum, mum for every occasion. When in reality what was really happening was that I was isolating myself even more. I got out of that rut by joining a baby class and having an afternoon out with other parents and their children every week. The isolation started to become less and less and I soon felt more like myself again.
Recently my son has been teething, in fact for the last month he has cut tooth after tooth and is ahead of the game in terms of a teething diagram! This is a good thing in some ways, but it has also meant that he has fed more. Partly out of comfort and partly out of the fact he is having an overall growth spurt. I am back to having between four and six hours sleep in every twenty four hours, I am up at least twice a night and it is quite exhausting some days. But the feelings I have when I am the one who can soothe his pain and calm him down, is very reassuring to me, that bond is irreplaceable. So for now I make do with the lack of sleep, because of all the positives our continued feeding provides us.
So, if you’re breastfeeding and feel a little bit alone here is my advice. Join a club or a group, get out for some fresh air, invite family or friends around and do something together even if it’s free! Just remember that you’re not just a boob on legs, although some days you think that that is all your little one sees! You are a person, a parent and a mother who is doing this amazing thing for their child, but you need to look after yourself too, body and soul.
Don’t let breastfeeding close you off, allow it to open doors to so much more, more friends and more life experiences.
Thanks for reading this lengthy article, if you got to the end in one sitting then I give you a pat on the back. I will be talking about more aspects of parenting very soon. until then, see you later.
These are my Six Tips for New Parents – but they are the things that everyone forgets to mention!
So despite being post birth and genuinely exhausted, most mum’s will admit to that feeling of pride that comes with the arrival of a child. Be it your first or fifth baby, they are all special and all little miracles. Just look what you have achieved!
However there are things people forget to mention to you and I thought I would share some of my tips in this blog post for getting passed these… we will call them the six newborn phases!
When you become a mum you look at your bundle of joy and you feel incredible, that rush of emotions and pride… you just grew and birthed (in whichever way you did) a small human being. Go you! Own it!
But, while trapped in a chair under said small human, (in fear of waking them up if you were to even clear your throat!), you can’t help but wonder why your amazing body didn’t also develop the ability of telekinesis while it was doing this awe shattering feat! How amazing and useful would that be?! So here are my six phases… I guarantee you’ll laugh before the end of this article…
Phase 1. The “I Can’t Put The Baby Down Because We Are Bonding Or Cluster Feeding” Phase.
Always keep the essentials close by, as in within an arms stretch! This goes for the TV remote, your phone, at least one snack, your phone charger or a charging device, iPad or a book, and definitely a glass of water. If you have a little one who won’t sleep very much then life saving materials can be what get you through those afternoons, as you cradle your small bundle who is finally napping but you dare not put them down. Instead you settle in to an afternoon of Netflix binge watching and you have a whole packet of biscuits with your name on.
Personally I had a lunch bag size cool bag next to where I sat with my son. Inside it were snacks, a reusable bottle of water and piece of fruit. I kept a table to one side of me with the remotes and my phone on, and a box of tissues. On the other side within a stretch away was the cool bag, my iPad and a portable USB charger. Life savers for me on several afternoons!
Phase 2. The “Where’s The Flipping Muslin Cloth” Phase.
Buy Extra Cloths! So cloths for a newborn are a given, but have you considered you may need to wipe all sorts of things off your baby and multiple times in one day. I couldn’t believe how many cloths I went through a day at first. The tip for this is to keep a folded clean pile of muslin’s somewhere in every main room of your home. Also buy similar colours of cloth so that you can just throw them all in the wash together. Because Muslin cloths are thin they don’t take a lot to wash and also dry, but you won’t want to wait a few hours when you’re down to your last one and baby is due for a feed…
Phase 3. The “What Time Is It? Oh My Days, I Forgot To Stop For Lunch, Again” Phase.
Nobody tells you how fast the time goes. This isn’t a lie, time actually goes faster and you will forget what time of day it is and then realise you haven’t had a drink for hours! Make sure you always get nourished every time you journey into the kitchen, keep snacks and fruit handy, things you can eat one handed, and keep a reusable water bottle by your favourite seat. Keeping hydrated is most important especially if you’re breastfeeding and recovering from birth too. If baby is having something to drink then you should be too!
Phase 4. The “I’m Too Tired To Cook, Let’s Open Up The Fast Food App” Phase.
Every parent will admit to ordering fast food in those first few weeks with a newborn baby. But if you can organise yourselves in the weeks running up to their arrival, you’ll feel better for it, both stomach and bank balance!
The answer is this, Bulk Cook your favourite Foods! Keep some of those previous takeaway Tupperware tubs, check how many you can stack in a drawer in your freezer. Then bulk cook a few of your favourite dishes using fresh ingredients. Then you can freeze them in tubs and in portions. Throw in Veg too if you like, at least then you’re getting healthy food inside you. Chicken Curry with added Veg or Spaghetti Bolognese made with a few Veg to bulk it out are both easy to reheat.
Phase 5. “I Managed To Put The Baby Down, Shall I Pop On That New Series On Netflix Or Go To Sleep?”
It’s really tough when Social Media blows up with the latest Netflix series, and you’re surviving on maybe 4 hours of sleep and only scrolling on your phone in order to stay awake during the 5am feed… But there will come a day when things get easier, your baby won’t need feeding every two hours forever. And then you’ll sleep a little more… (does 6 hours or less sound good to you?). Plus you’ll get used to the lack of sleep and gradually be able to do more, like managing to watch half an episode of something… once a week… then forget what happened and watch it again… and so it goes on…
Phase 6. “We haven’t had any us time for a long time…”
This phase is a serious one and more to do with you as parents, it’s brand new, it’s exhilarating and exhausting but remember you have become two different people. You are still you, and what time you spend together is still important. You might not get a date night in weeks, if not months after baby is born. But if you have the support of family and you trust them, then there will come a time where you can leave your baby with that person and get back to being you “both” again. People don’t tell you how hard it is, not being able to go out just the pair of you, you won’t get to watch television or a film without interruption or pausing it every now and then. This is the new normal and it’s okay to find it a difficult transition. Especially if you’re used to going out for a meal once a week or pop off to the cinema at an hours notice… My tip to get through this phase is this, plan, plan and plan some more. Make timetables and plan ahead with a calendar and try your best to stick to it. Change the usual cinema outings to a Netflix movie and a meal at home, with a big bag of popcorn and sweets from the supermarket as a great and cheaper alternative to the cinema treats…
Thank you for visiting Severn Wishes today, I hope that I see you here again soon for more parenting posts.
✩ Sabrina ✩
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