Hello Severn Wishes Blog Fans! Today I am bringing you a Lifestyle / Parenting / Hacks / Product Review article I have written all about something I have now owned for well over a year! And that item is… The TUFF TRAY!
These fantastic trays are usually found in a school setting, especially with younger children like those in a preschool or nursery setting, but due to their versatility they have been becoming more and more popular with mums who are able to do a lot with their children at home.
As soon as I heard about them I knew it would be a great investment for the future. I ordered mine in black but they do come in a variety of colours. I preferred the black due to it not getting stained or if we made any scuff marks with toys they wouldn’t be showing up as easily. Overall I’m really happy with the quality of the tray for what I paid for it. So far it has withstood a toddler doing all sorts on it and in it! I chose to purchase without the stand so it was then just suitable for laying down on the floor.
Be it Sensory, Messy Play or just toys on a flat surface, the Tuff Tray is ideal for lots of reasons when you have little ones growing up. Here are just some of the many ways that we have used our tray this past year or so! Both in visual form and I made a little list too!
1. Ideal for Craft to keep the craft pieces and mess contained in the tray borders.
2. Great for when you want to do some Messy Play and use paint so it doesn’t get on the floor.
3. Doing some experimenting with foods in toddlerhood? Keep those rice crispies, rice grains and other food stuffs within easy clean up-able reach. You can wipe clean anything off it.
4. Using Glitter today? This tray is ideal to wipe clean after your picture making as the bits will all be contained within the tray walls. Sit your children outside of it and let the mess be inside (mostly).
5. Potty Training? Stick the Potty in the centre of the tray on the floor, and it will be easy to clean spillages off the plastic rather than off your floor!
6. Building Lego or Duplo or Blocks? It can be annoying for little ones if pieces are rolling away or falling over all the while! But on the tuff tray they won’t get far at all! It also means it is a flat surface for the building to become easier on little hands.
7. Doing a Jigsaw? Be it an adult one or a children’s one? Do it on your Tuff Tray and you’ll be able to move it at a moments notice off the floor and then continue it later.
8. Want to do some baking with the kids but you want to do it at their level? It is much safer to do it on the floor where nobody is balancing and this tray doubles as a big flat surface, just clean it with sterilising spray and let it air dry before you start any food preparation.
9. Sensory Play can involve all sorts of things like craft or food stuffs, having it all contained within the Tuff Tray makes life easier for you and if you planned to do it for a few sessions over a week you could even leave it on the tray and just move the whole tray instead of packing everything up.
10. Play-Doh can get messy and easily sticks to hard surfaces like tables or floors, but by using a Tuff Tray base for all of the items they are contained within its sides. If you choose to get a stand with your tray you can even have the tray at a suitable height for your little ones. Or you can do what I do and maintain it on a flat floor, whichever is easier for you.
11. A Tuff Tray can be used outside for a water table or a sand table due to its sides being all the way around with no holes within its surface.
12. Design a World – Use your Tuff Tray and things like chalks or washable paint to create a world, a map or a world for your children to put their toys in to and play. I have drawn a road on mine for my sons toy cars before now and also used elements like sand made of ground cereal to make a beach.
So overall the Tuff Tray doubles up as another useful hard surface within your home and is ideal for playing, learning and food preparing. Young children can safely sit within its boundary or outside of it leaning in in order to play. There are no sharp edges on the Tray and the hard plastic is coated so its easy to wipe clean after every use. I purchased the standard (medium) size but it is also available in small or extra large depending on the supplier you’re purchasing it from. They are also available in many colours. Prices range from £11 to £70 and all Tray prices do depend upon the colour, and the size and whether you wish to buy a stand with your Tuff Tray purchase. They can be used inside or outside but I would recommend you keep them out of direct sunlight and harsh weather conditions and keep them inside a garage or shed when not in use in order to maintain the sturdiness of the plastic.
What do we use our Tuff Tray for the most?
Craft and Messy Play and Sensory Play mainly.
Thank you for reading this blog post today, I hope I have inspired you and if I have then I would love to hear what you and your family use your Tuff Tray for!
Well look at that, three years have literally gone past in a blur, and I am sitting here trying to fight back my eyes welling up. My baby boy is no longer my little baby boy, and in fact he has grown up so much this year that it’s scary. Having just emailed in all of the many forms I am now sitting on my sofa writing this blog post as I prepare for him to go off to Pre-School this September.
Going to school is like a right of passage and it’s a huge milestone in any child’s life. So I wanted to get my son some items to make that transition a bit easier. I had seen this gorgeous backpack on a page I follow on Facebook called Ollie & Millie’s. I had been looking at buying one for months, I looked around for a while, and then I decided to order one from them when I couldn’t find anything that looked as niceas theirs.
And because of Covid19 the School is not able to share some things any longer such as plasters, so every child must have their own in their bag. But that isn’t all, and my sons allergies also pose issues so he has to have everything he needs altogether in one bag. Luckily everything has fitted into the one I have chosen to buy from Ollie & Millie’s. Things such as a reusable water bottle (which we use already in my house but I bought my son a new one just for his school days), a (I chose personalised) backpack, snack pots, wellies for outdoor play and any medical items they require for the time frame they are at school are also included.
I’m very impressed with the backpack because of its quality in both material and its features such as strong straps and zips. There are several colours to choose from but my son loves blue so I chose blue for him, and because it’s a light sky blue colour the writing for his name really stands out. I was impressed with the time frame between ordering the product and receiving it from Ollie & Millie’s. The backpack also has versatility because I was surprised by just how much I could fit inside it, once I had gently opened it out when it arrived. Overall I rate it exceptionally highly and would recommend it to any parents who are after a good priced backpack with their child’s name on. The cool bag is also a lovely product and it is of excellent quality with a very cute fox design. Ollie & Millie’s have a wide range of products and also make personalised t-shirts and other clothing as well.
Other items that I have got to make things easier for both my son and myself are some fantastic plastic tubs from Tesco which are from the brand Sistema. The tubs are not only different sizes than what you would usually see in the supermarket, but they also have fun sections built in and have genius clips and lids too. Bonus points that I could get them in blue to match my sons bag as well!
Thank you for clicking on this post, I hope you have enjoyed reading it.
Have you got any young children heading to School this term? I do hope they take it all in their stride! I will be doing a follow up post about how things went after the first few weeks too.
My Fun Craft Caterpillar is an easy to make craft project, that can help you to teach your toddler about colours and counting. You can make it any size you like and with only a few simple and non expensive items. Ideal for children aged two plus with good fine motor skills.
Designed for Age Group – 2 Years Plus (Supervised) Parent Difficulty to Make – 3/5 Time it takes to Make – 4 – 6 Hours Cost to Make – £10 Reasons to Make – Learning about Colours and Counting. Helps Develop Fine Motor Skills.
When my son began having issues with delayed speech I came up with several things to aid him in his communication. One of which was a Caterpillar friend that I made into several different items. Today I’m going to be showing you how I made my Fun Craft Colours Caterpillar!He is cute and great for helping little ones learn about colours, counting out and developing fine motor skills.
TOP TIP I wanted to help my son develop his fine motor skills as well as improve him saying different colours, picking up the Pom Poms and getting them to drop inside the correct tube does take some skills for little ones, so don’t worry if they have to learn how to do it. My son got the hang of it really quickly and was soon getting faster at doing it. One Tip is to show your little one what you want them to do, and then let them figure it out on their own a bit too. Always supervise but encourage and praise when they succeed.
What You Will Need
Toilet Roll Tubes – You can use toilet rolls and kitchen rolls and just trim them so they are a similar height. Order your card and Pom Poms and work out how many rolls you will need, you require one roll per colour.
A Thick Cardboard Base – Do you have a sturdy box after going shopping or have had something delivered? You need a piece of strong thick cardboard either a Square or a Rectangle for your Base that the Caterpillar will stand on.
Coloured Card – You need to try and match the coloured card with the Pom Poms you are ordering. If you want to do a simple Caterpillar just go for a pack with Red, Yellow, Green and Blue mix, sometimes you get an Orange or a Pink in those packs. I bought two packs to ensure I got black, white, purple, pink and orange for my more complex Caterpillar.
Coloured Pom Poms – A toilet roll tube is a certain width across, so make sure you only order Pom Poms that are less than this. My tubes are 4cm wide so I purchased a bag of mixed coloured 2cm Pom Poms. This means they are easy enough to tip back out after every use. Also ensure you get non toxic child friendly craft items from reputable companies.
Double Sided Tape – You need this tape for cleanly applying your Card to your Rolls, this is the most time consuming of the craft build but it’s easier and less messy than waiting for lots of paint to dry. (See my How To below).
Paint for the Base – I chose to just paint my base Green, as if the Caterpillar were on a leaf or some grass. You can be as creative as you like! You only need to paint the base, once you have fixed on all your tubes (see my How To below for more clarity).
Stationery and Craft Extras – You may want to stick on googly eyes and feelers, or draw them on, it’s totally up to you, your Caterpillar, your choice! 🙂 You will also need a Pencil and a pair of Scissors.
Where I Got My Craft Items
Coloured Card Packs – Hobbycraft Online Pom Poms – Hobbycraft Online Goggly Eyes and Pipe Cleaners – Craft Bundle from The Works Double Sided Tape – Tesco Store Green Paint and Brush – The Works
How To Make Colour Caterpillar – Sabrina’s Step by Step Guide
Step 1. Assemble all of your items as described above and ensure you have enough of what you need. Place a tube, a piece of coloured card and your desired amount of Pom Poms (I used 4 per colour) into individual piles. See what you have and how many tubes with the right colours and Pom Pom matches.
Step 2. Arrange the plain tubes on your base, and see how you would like them arranged. You need a one centimetre gap between each roll where it will be attached to the base. Bearing this in mind, arrange your tubes and mark with a pencil on the base where you would like them to go.
Step 3. Satisfied that you have all the pieces you need you can begin the card craft. Start by marking the pieces of coloured card for your tubes. For example mine were 15cm high, so I marked the card at 16cm with a pencil leaving the gap of one additional centimetre. Then cut all the card pieces to size ready for wrapping around the tube. TOP TIP ensure you leave enough card to wrap all the way around a tube with the extra at the bottom. You need at least a one centimetre section of card at the bottom of every tube for attaching it to the base.
SABRINA’S TOP TIPS: Don’t throw away pieces of card that you have left over from this make, I have plenty of Craft and Art ideas on my blog that you could use these bits for 🙂
Step 5. Cut strips of double sided tape, align them along the top and edges of the coloured card and down the centre, ensure there is enough at the edges. At what will be the base of the tube stack the pieces vertically, using a small gap between them, this will be cut in Step 7 to ensure an easy attachment to the cardboard base. Make sure you put tape on all of the coloured card pieces. TOP TIP Make sure to do this Step and on to Steps 6 to 7 at the same time and don’t leave the craft part way finished, otherwise the double sided tape will dry out before you can affix it to the base.
Step 6. Time to roll the card on to the tubes. Remove all of the double sided tape strips. Line up the top section of the cardboard with the edge of the tube, on a flat surface like a table, gently roll the tube along the card. The tape will stick well to the thin tube, using your thumb and first fingers you can smooth out the card as it sticks. Try keeping it in line at the top. Once you come to the end of the coloured card make sure the final line of it is secure to its tube, smooth with your fingers and hold the edge in place for a minute per tube making sure that its firmly stuck in place. Repeat this per tube, laying them down on their sides once you are finished.
Step 7. You now need to be cutting the base of each tube so that they can be attached to the base. Take the first coloured tube you want to attach to the base (I did a Rainbow so mine was Red) and using sharp scissors cut a one centimetre slice up into the card at the tube base. Rotate the tube around cutting vertical slices as you go. Then once cut all the way around, gently peel back the slices and make a base for your tube. Affix it into place on your cardboard base because they should already have the double sided tape attached. Press down firmly and hold for one minute. Repeat this action with all of the coloured tubes until they are all attached to the base. (See images above and below).
TOP TIP Painting the base last ensures the tubes stay in place after the double sided tape has helped stick them down on the base. It also neatens up any edges that may have tape sticking out or tubes that weren’t quite level.
Step 8. With all your coloured tubes attached to the base you can now consider adding anything else to your caterpillar, and also paint the base with whatever paint you choose. I added googly eyes and some pipe cleaners as my Caterpillar feelers.
Step 9. Leave your Caterpillar to dry overnight before showing it to your little one. Ensure that you only play with it supervised either by you or another adult. The Pom Poms should be stored inside something that little ones can’t get into unless you are doing the toy together. Most children wouldn’t eat them at this age but better safe than sorry. I recommend a small plastic box like the really useful ones with the clip over lid handles.
TOP TIP Your Caterpillar friend can now be used to teach colours and numbers! Ask your child to count how many body parts the Caterpillar has, how many Pom Poms fit in each tube, can they separate the colours correctly and add them to the correct tube? This craft project can be used for play and learning and will keep your child occupied for hours.
Have you enjoyed this Craft Project? I would love to know what you think! Please leave me comments on the blog section below or on social media. Please tag me if you make a Caterpillar of your own! Use the hashtag #SabrinasCraftCreations
Thank you for reading this blog post today, I hope I see you again soon!
Fun to Make ~ Easter Art and Crafts ~ with Sabrina of Severn Wishes
I have wanted to do this blog post for the last three years, and I have always been too busy to complete it! Mainly because it is a mixture of writing the blog, creating and making the craft items, and then taking the step by step images, processing all of those and then putting the entire lot together in one blog post. It is both time consuming and a lengthy in process too. So what changed this year? Well for one thing, I was more determined to do some more craft this year, but isolation has also made me re-evaluate what’s important, and that is to make happy memories with my son. No matter what is going on outside our home, he doesn’t understand, and it is my job to keep things as normal as possible, so extra fun, extra learning and extra memories are all on the table at the present time. I’m so glad you could join me to hopefully make some memories of your own!
So without any further ado, let’s get our crafty fingers at the ready! Depending upon which Crafty Project you wish to undertake you will need a variety of items. My idea is this, pick an item from the four below, and then match the “You Will Need” items with what you already have at home. Providing you have all the necessary bits and bobs then feel free to scroll down to that Project and then get cracking with my Step by Step guides! Happy Crafting!
1. 3D Friendly Ladybird 2. Wiggly Caterpillar 3. 3D Paper Flower (Can be Framed or Made into an Easter Card) 4. Hand Print Easter Bunny Rabbit 5. Other Craft Ideas
1. 3D Friendly Ladybird
You Will Need Pritt Stick or Glue Coloured Paper and / or Card Circular Objects to Draw Around (This will determine the size of your Ladybird) Pencil Scissors Black Pen Googly Eyes (if you have some but not essential)
This is the easiest of my crafts today, and will take around twenty minutes to make. You can make it any size, any colour that you like. Why not make one for each member of the family? I am going to make several of them to put around my son’s bedroom. He loves Gaston from Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, so my son is the inspiration behind this particular craft project.
Step 1. Choose the Size of your Ladybird. Choose your colour. Draw around a Circular object so that you have 4 Circles the same size, and then you will need a smaller circle for the head, judge this depending upon the size of the body. Cut out these 5 circles and then you’re ready to begin.
Step 2. On the small circle draw a line across the centre, you want to colour the half of this circle in with black pen. Don’t forget to draw eyes on it too like mine, if you don’t have any fun stick on eyes to hand! Then pop this face to one side you won’t need it now until Step 6.
Step 3. Take 3 out of the 4 Large Circles and fold them in half across their centre. Gently crease them with your fingers, take a look at my image below to see how they should look.
Step 4. Take the flat circle and cover it lightly in glue or pritt stick, I always prefer a glue stick when messing with card, less mess! Then take two of your folded circles, stick glue on their side that faces flat, place them back to back and glue them down on to the flat circle so that they make a V shape.
Step 5. Take the remaining Circle that is folded in half and cover it in glue before pressing it down into the centre of your Ladybird body, covering the two below neatly. You now have a finished insect body.
Step 6. You can now glue the head on by placing the glue on to the half you didn’t colour in, make sure you line it up with the V of the Ladybird to make it look right. See my image below.
Step 7. Push down all the flat surfaces of the Ladybird and leave for an hour or two for the glue to dry. Then using a Pen or Marker, draw on however many Spots you would like.
Step 8. Repeat steps for making other colours or other sizes if you have Card or Paper left over. If you need a base for your Ladybird to sit on, why not make him a cardboard leaf! (You need leaves for another of my crafts anyway!) 😉
2. Wiggly Caterpillar (munching on a leaf)
You Will Need Pritt Stick and PVA Glue Green Paper or Card (Card is better) A Mixture of Green and Black Pens Poms Poms! All Colours Welcome! Googly Eyes or Stick on Sequins Scissors A Pencil A Piece of Cardboard (Cereal box is good!)
This is a fun craft to do with young children. They can make their Caterpillar whatever colour they want. All you need is some Pom Poms! You can follow my Steps or watch my video below!
Step 1. Draw and Cut Out a Leaf Shape (this is your main leaf) from your Cardboard. Then draw around this cut out piece of cardboard on to your green paper or card and Pritt Stick together.
Step 2. Draw your Leaf design on with Green pens. Set to one side.
Step 3. Decide what Pom Poms you want to use and arrange them!
Step 4. Make some antenna and extra leaves and stick your eyes on to a Pom Pom ready to assemble your bug!
Step 5. Using PVA glue stick your Caterpillar together, don’t forget the extra leaves, arrange however you wish, then leave to dry in a warm flat place.
Step 6. Add any additional things to your bug once it has dried.
3. 3D Paper Flower (Can be Framed or Made into an Easter Card)
You Will Need Pritt Stick or Glue Different Coloured Cards or Papers A Piece of Card for Sticking to Scissors Pencil A Circular Object to Draw Around (it’s diameter will be half the width of the flower so choose wisely)
This idea is simple but looks so pretty when complete. It makes a great card.
Step 1. Take a piece of plain card, this will be your base. Draw a Stem or Cut Green Card or Paper and create one. Make sure you leave plenty of room to stick the flower part. Cut out leaves and small circles of yellow paper to create the centre of the flowers. Be as creative as you like.
Step 2. Making the petals next, you need to cut circles of different colours, you will end up with 8 Petals in total per flower. I did two different sized circles to end up with two sized flowers.
Step 3. Fold all of the petals in half so you end up with 16 halves with flat sides that stick up. This is how the petals will look 3D.
Step 4. Using Pritt Stick, stick the sides of the petals down so that they rotate around the centre of the flowers. You want them all to face the same way when you stick them around the yellow centre.
Step 5. Turn the flowers into a card if you like, or make other smaller flowers too using smaller circles, and make a pretty Easter meadow scene picture. Draw or Stick Easter Eggs and Rabbits and other Easter items along the edge like an Easter scene.
4. Hand Print Easter Bunny Rabbit
You Will Need Paper or Card Pencil Hands!!! Pens for the Details Scissors Paint
Paint works well for this one so you don’t have to colour in, unless you prefer to colour of course. It depends how much you’re painting, if you plan to do my hand prints picture (below) then you could do extra on different paper and make them into cute Rabbits!
Step 1. Draw around your hand and / or children’s hands. Or you can do a Hand Print on to Paper using Paint! MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE OUT THE THUMB! You want the shape to resemble a Rabbit head with two of each fingers being the ears! Keep two fingers together!
Step 2. Once dry you can cut the Rabbit shape out.
Step 3. Draw on Nose, Mouth and Eyes!
Step 4. Add any extras like whiskers, inner ears and freckles! Cut it out and hang it up or stick to a handmade card if you like.
5. Other Craft Ideas If you want to just Print some Easter Egg patterns and do some Colouring in with younger children then here are a few that I really like that you can save and print 🙂
Alternatively you could do some Painting of Hands and do some Prints!
Thanks so much for joining me for this blog post. I hope that you’ve had fun, maybe even a laugh at my crafty items. If you made something please share it with me on social media, tag me or my page! I would love to see them! What was your favourite? Would you like to see more Art and Craft? Leave me a comment. Have a wonderful fun and safe Easter!
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!
Sabrina’s Honest Posts: 7 Ways That You Can Really Help a Pregnant Friend
We all get to that age where we all know of someone who is pregnant. Sometimes several friends will be pregnant together and lean on one another for support. If you’ve been there or been through pregnancy and birth it’s very easy to put our opinions across, and they won’t always be welcome. So try to avoid offending and start by helping with these 7 tips of mine, how you can be a better friend and really help that pregnant pal!
1. Be honest about the birth and what she can expect about the feelings of the experience, it can be overwhelming but positively tell her about the first time you held baby. Certainly don’t rub it in if you had an easy time in labour, just include the facts. Remind your friend about the miracle of life and encourage her to be positive and listen to the health professionals when the time comes.
2. Don’t be honest about everything, steer clear of horror stories so as not to frighten or make her anxious. Don’t go into a negative story either, if you had a traumatic time you can be honest about what went wrong, but perhaps outline to her the reasons why it happened. You could be completely different people, as in medically, plus every baby, mother and birth is different.
3. Give her a maternity bag list to help, there is nothing worse than when baby brain kicks in and you forget something vitally important on the run up to the big event! So help a pregnant friend out by giving her a list of what you took, and even add on anything that you wished you had had when it was you! All hospitals vary so tell her to find out what her local one allows.
4. Tell her to go somewhere or treat herself to something before her baby comes, it may be to have a haircut or to get her nails done. Go together if you can! Or throw her a baby shower or a Mummy-Moon (a day out for just mums-to-be!). Something to distress and give her a day out of her house because soon she’ll be in there a lot.
5. Give her a list of the baby essentials that you found most useful… this is tricky and depends on the person, but I know I was grateful for friends input on what they bought and used versus never needed. For example we bought a baby bath and our son loved it. Other parents don’t bother with them. Each to their own but it’s good to hear people’s opinions.
6. Be a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen to all her concerns, you don’t always need to have an opinion, she may just want to vent, so don’t make it about you and yours, listen and respond only if she asks you. Hormones can spin your head around sometimes.
7. Don’t be condescending about this new chapter of her life. It’s a hard transition even for the best prepared of people. For example, avoid saying clichés like “Oh you think you’re tired now wait until…” and instead give her positives about those first few (albeit) difficult weeks! You can start with the sweet and funny things like “Think of all those cuddles” and “Is it wind or their first smile?” things like that.
Thank you for reading this post today, I hope I have given you some food for thought and you may consider helping one of your pregnant friends out.
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.
Our Weaning journey began delicately due to our son having suspected allergies. He is exclusively breastfed and he cluster fed for the first 5 months of his life. He was born slightly premature at 37 + 5 and after having bad jaundice at birth, it took him many weeks to recover. We spent so much time in hospital at the start that our first month with him went by in a blur. Problems with allergies began at around 12 weeks, so it was a steep learning curve in the next 10 to 12 weeks that followed.
Then, when it came to Baby A reaching the 6 month milestone he was still in size 3-6 month clothing and breast feeding up to 14 times in 24 hours. We hoped that Weaning would satisfy him more so and because we could introduce cooled boiled water with his meals, it would take a bit of pressure off me. This did work, but he had such an appetite that he continued regular breastfeeding including a minimum of two feeds a night, plus day times and extra weaning snacks. We had ourselves one hungry baby!
I recall the health visitor questioning how much I was feeding him at our 6 month visit… she couldn’t believe how much I was saying he ate, I’m almost sure she thought I was lying. I had read in a parenting book that you cannot over feed a baby, because they will simply refuse to eat it. Our son wanted more and more food as the days went by, so I used motherly instincts and I watched my baby for cues. So I continued on with my busy breastfeeding schedule plus I began our weaning journey in a rather swift fashion.
Baby A enjoyed many things that we tried first off, including individual vegetables such as Carrot, Potato, Parsnip, Sweet Potato, Apple and Strawberry. There were only 2 things he spat out which were Prune and Peas. And I don’t blame him for either! Ha!
After doing some reading and noticing how keen Baby A was with eating and being fed, we decided to do 6 weeks of Purées to start with. We maintained that he was to ingest nothing dairy of course, I checked packaging meticulously or I made my own. This worked well, starting with a few mouthfuls twice a day for the first week, followed by doubling the amount in subsequent weeks. By the time we got to week 6 Baby A was eating 70g of fruit purée for breakfast and 70g of vegetable purée in the early evening. He also tried Melty Puffs around this time too.
Prices of Purée vary, but they usually cost anything from 40p all the way up to £1.50. They also range in size so look out for that. We made the most of any offers that were on in supermarkets and also used any store credit points and vouchers we had picked up to get our initial 6 week stash of purée. Boots vouchers can go a long way if you sign up to the Clubcard and baby club before hand. Keep a look out on social media for offers too.
He was enjoying the food we were giving him and he was obviously hungry. We were approaching his 8 month mark when we began moving to thicker purées and food with more textures. I was bulk cooking mashed vegetables at this point and freezing them in small pots (roughly 80g each). Some combinations included Potato and Carrot, Carrot and Swede, Carrot and Parsnip and Parsnip and Sweet Potato.
At 8 months Baby A was eating between 70g and 100g for breakfast, between 100g and 130g for his lunch and between 130g and 150g of food in the evening. This was on top of 12 breast feeds still most days, and we had began to try him on some more snacks. The melty puff kind that melted on his tongue were a real hit! Luckily they came in many flavours.
We also gave him fruit such as Raspberries, Strawberries and Melon as an evening pudding if he was feeling particularly hungry.
Baby A ate most things from Day Dot but turned his nose up at the taste of Cucumber and also highly disliked the taste of Peppers. Some foods took a couple of times before he decided that he liked them, usually very strong tasting food groups. He was unsure about things like Tomato, Scrambled Eggs and Pasta, but we persevered and he eats them now. The trick is to leave a food for 2-3 weeks then try it with them again.
One thing I loved about Weaning was the way he learned and every day you saw him remember. Within two weeks he understood that cutlery went into his mouth, he began to chew even when food was super soft, and he was also cutting several teeth while we were trying most new foods. He did so well with all these milestone changes and I’m very proud of him.
One thing I would recommend to mum’s who want to cook healthy meals for their little ones is to invest in a good strong vegetable mash utensil and a mini food processor. Mine is called the Russel Hobbs Mini Food Processor 22220 Mini Chopper and I cannot rate it high enough! It was used every day for 3 months and I still use it to dice up chewy meat because it saves me so much time. I still use it for my now one year old boy.
At nine months Baby A began eating some more of the food I prepared for us adults. This includes the meat and sauce of bolognese but we gave him mashed vegetables and not much pasta. He ate my cottage pie (all of it), we had chicken steaks that I had diced in a blender with soft vegetables and rice, sausages were diced and served with mash and veg, and he even ate flaky white fish with rice and veg too!
I also used a weaning book that my mother had bought for me that had some great ideas inside for weaning recipes and snacks. I altered most of them to suit the various allergies in my family of course. Homemade Veggie Nuggets were by far my favourite thing to make, I bulked cooked them which was time consuming but then they’re frozen for convenience.
By the time he reached 10 months of age Baby A had 8 teeth and was eating 80% of what we were. He still loves his baby related snacks too! These include Vegetable Puffs, Rice Cakes and Flavoured Shaped Corn Snacks. A lot of these are Organic too.
These snacks are very affordable from places like Aldi who have their Mamia range. If you sign up to Ella’s Kitchen on their website they will send you a pack and a voucher to try bits from their range which are purchasable at most large supermarkets and Boots stores.
Our little one loves to feed himself firm snacks but has been more than happy for us to feed him things that require a spoon such as fruit purée, cottage pie, mashed vegetables and the like. It’s so important to get your little one to eat their fruit and veg, and it doesn’t matter if you have to create a mashed version in order for them to eat it. Try different combinations and see what your baby likes. Keep a food diary to keep track!
Sabrina’s Weaning Tips For Parents
My top 4 tips for any parents about to wean a baby would be these…
1. Take it slowly and calmly. Your Baby will be intrigued but it can also be a stressful experience for all of you. All healthy Baby’s generally have a good gag reflex and don’t confuse this for choking, stay calm if they cough or spit things out and take all foods – even the purées – at a slow pace!
2. Start with Veg! You don’t want your little one to have too many sweet flavours in those first weeks, this is because when it comes to the savory kind they are less likely to want it. Start with Veg Purée or Mash and go from there…
3. If you plan on doing Baby Lead Weaning, then you must let your little one use their hands. Be prepared for mess! Get a good highchair, get a mat for the floor and keep plenty of baby wipes at hand too!
4. Keep a Food Diary! This is a useful tip for all new parents. It’s a great way to keep track of what baby has eaten, if your little one was to have a rash or reaction to anything they had eaten you can go back and check the diary before trying the substance again. Those first couple of months are critical in preparing baby for stronger tastes and good food habits, so start them early on the main products that your household enjoys together and move forward from there.
– ✩ – ✩ –
All Parents Should Definitely Sign Up To…
1. Ella’s Kitchen via the Website You get a free pack in the post with tips, a board with stickers, ideas for foods and even some vouchers for baby snacks.
2. Boots Parenting Club Using your Boots Advantage Card on the Boots App or Website you can add the addition of the Parenting Club which gives you bonus deals, free products and vouchers every month. For example we got a free bottle, a free weaning book and some promotions on nappies and baby food. Check the app each month for new promotions and deals. You also get extra points on your card when purchasing certain products in store and online too.
✩ Russel Hobbs Mini Chopper Review ✩
I would highly recommend this chopper to any parents who want to make a lot of their own food for their baby. Not only is it simple to use, easy to clean and maintain, but it allows you to make just enough food for a large portion that can be good for a day, or if you’re bulk cooking into baby sized pots it made 6 pots of food no problem. The best thing about this mini processor is it’s size, it takes up very little room in my cupboard and is portable enough to take away for a weekend to a relatives house without being a burden.
Design 5/5 Features 5/5 Value for Money 5/5
✩Joie High Chair Review✩
We highly recommend the Joie High Chair because it is affordable and also has some great features. These include the large sturdy tray, the beautiful animal design on the seat itself and the large fabric basket underneath which is great for storing extra bits and pieces close by for when you need them, such as bibs, wipes and toys. We only have one suggestion, that the straps could either be entirely removable for cleaning purposes or that they be a different colour than white, because they really show up every bit of food dirt.
Design 5/5 Features 4/5 Value for Money 5/5
✩Munchkin Products Review✩
We have been really impressed by the Munchkin Apple Bowls and Plates, as well as their range of Spoons too. We picked most of them up at various baby events in Supermarkets and on Amazon UK. They are affordable and well made. They are designed for different stages of Weaning and further interactions with food, ranging from 4 months right up until Toddler ages. Our son found the spoons easy to eat off and the divider apple plates are a great idea when trying different foods at meal times. Or for separating the meal and the dessert when you get to that stage.
Designs 5/5 Features 5/5 Value for Money 5/5
Thank you for reading this post today, I hope you have found it interesting. If you try any of the products that I have recommended then please let me know in the comments below if your little one liked it.
If you have any questions about any of the products I have mentioned then feel free to also comment and ask me anything, I will do my best to answer you honestly.
This useful armband has been designed with comfort in mind for both the feeding baby and the human doing the feeding. Whether that is by breast or by bottle, the arm band has many features that parents will find useful.
The Snuggleband simply slides on to your arm or you can open it and then do it up using its buttons if need be. It acts as padding for baby to lay their head whilst also being padding for your arm, taking some of the strain or a prolonged hold.
As a breastfeeding mum myself I know that I can be out and about when baby may require feeding. At home I use a nursing pillow, so the idea of an armband small enough for me to be able to put into my changing bag was a great solution.
When I first used the Snuggleband I was pleased with the quality of the material and with how soft it was. I had chosen the grey with stars design because it matched the fabric on my other nursing items.
Baby rested his head and seemed immediately comfortable on it. It was easy to adjust one handed while maintaining the feed too. It’s not just ideal for baby though and also meant my arm was cushioned from his head. Holding him wasn’t as uncomfortable for a longer period of time than without the band or some sort of padding like a jumper for example.
Would I recommend this product?
Yes I would. Not only is it fit for purpose it can be chosen and customised for the person who you intend to use it. From material patterns to whether or not you have a theme for your nursery, or even if it’s a gift and you just know the gender of baby.
It is ideal for new mothers who are breastfeeding, or ideal for couples who are going to be sharing the night feeds by bottle. Great for use at home or out and about as you see fit.
My Overall Review
Quality 5/5 Uniqueness 5/5 Functionality 5/5
And remember that you’re also supporting a British design and a British maker too, Katherine has created an item that is unique and handmade in Britain by herself too.
More Information About Snuggleband
Handmade in the UK using High Quality 100% Cotton Fabrics. A range of fabric designs are available for everyone’s tastes. Acts as a Support for Baby’s Head whilst Feeding. Acts as a Cushion for the person feeding the baby. Stops any sweating of baby’s head against your arm. It has 3 Buttons to keep it secure and elasticated loops. The hollow centre allows it to be placed and removed on the arm with ease. You can fit it inside most large changing bags, or open it and attach it around a pram. Lightweight and Portable to every parent. The Snuggleband can be Washed at 30 degrees on a Delicate Cycle, unbutton and place inside a pillow case before washing. The Band can also be opened up and used as a seat cushion, a pillow for tummy time or for the head when out and about.
Here is a link to the Snuggleband part of Etsy and from where you can purchase one of these bands in the Snuggleband Shop
Here are a few examples of other fabric designs that Snuggleband produce. You can see all of them by clicking on the Etsy link above.
Thank you for reading this review today, I hope you have enjoyed it, and please head over to Snuggleband and take a further look at the products if you like the look of them. Have a lovely day.
✩ Sabrina ✩
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