Essentials for Weaning

Considering Baby Parkes is now 18 months, this post is around a year overdue.

So you don’t fall into the trap (buying overpriced, and unneeded (!) items shaped like teddies / stars in primary colours) that so many of us do when it comes to baby apparel, here are the essentials:

1) A highchair.

We bought a super comfy and bulky Graco one. However, the lining (and straps..perhaps unavoidable) stain like crazy. Research heavily into the best highchair, and consider the cleaning process. Will remind myself of this next time round when the baby email offers lure me in once again!

2) Weaning spoons.

Love love love these by Munchkin. My son still plays with them. The colours are gorgeous, and they feel ergonomic.

3) A bib.

We started with a pelican bib. However, after enough stained arms on t-shirts / vests to sink a ship (or me…postpartum bod was still going strong (/ chunky at this point)), we moved to an apron bib. We are now back to using the pelican, and save the apron for really messy foods/precious clothes (why oh why?!). So in hindsight, I’d start an undergrad in the apron, and only move to the pelican once they’ve graduated.

4) Soft flannels.

Needed for wiping down baby’s face/hands/feet/INSERT HERE: any body part that’s at the mercy of exploded purée. We wastefully (economically and environmentally) relied on water wipes on one too many occasions.

We use these now. However, I am uncertain whether I would use these on a younger child…I would be tempted to stick with a cotton flannel from a department store like John Lewis say. What can I say? My bias for their quality and safety runs deep.

5) Cubes to freeze your lovingly home-prepped purée

We have tried all the Tupperware you can think of. The Béaba silicon freezer trays win hands down. Sure, you have to use some kind of cutlery (spoon works best!) to dig the frozen delight out of its hiding spot. But it washes so easily. I HATE stained Tupperware, and these were the only ones not to surrender to the tomato red which plagues the rest of our container collection.

6) Food blender.

For lots of soft foods (either naturally, or from cooking them down until they are mush) a fork will suffice. For everything else you need the power of some kind of blender. Don’t be tricked into some overpriced gadget designed solely for baby food. By the time you have another baby (even if you’re 6 months pregnant…think about how that works) the gizmo will already be obsolete. So stick to what you have already, or buy cheap.

7) A trainer cup.

We still have this, minus the handles…so a bottle. No, I’m not concerned about the harms of a bottle at 18 months.

We also love the Munchkin trainer cup.

8) Patience.

My son was exclusively breastfed for 6 months minus 3 days. Therefore, the preparation of nourishing him beyond unclipping my nursing bra came as a shock.

The nice-to-haves:

1) A highchair toy.

This Sassy Wonder Wheel toy will entertain the whole family. Fun which is much needed when your lovingly prepared sludge is thrown at you, the floor, and the walls.

2) An easy-to-use and totally safe antibacterial spray for cleaning down the MESS.

I love the Vital Baby spray. However, it’s pretty pricey, and I’m sure soapy water is a good alternative if it’s a little out of your price range.

The nice not-to-haves:

1) Plastic bowls/plates.

Even if you’re doing baby-led weaning I think you can use the highchair tray initially. Assuming, you’re really strong on your hygiene game-wiping down tray is a MUST after every meal! Save the bowls/plates until your little one is a bit further along their weaning journey.

2) Plastic sheet to save floor.

We literally bothered with this once. We occasionally crayon on the sheet, but otherwise it was a total waste! A quick clean of the floor after each meal goes along way. Unless you have carpet/a rug. Then you’re screwed.

3) Tupperware to transport home-prepped purée for when you’re out with little one.

You’re a unicorn. In these situations the fallback, and first choice for us was a pouch.

On Wednesdays I Wear Pink

As a new mother, I’m plagued by self-doubt, and find myself struggling to define my new style. I’ll often reach for an item from my ‘old’ wardrobe, before metaphorically slapping my wrist, and grabbing something from my ‘mum’ wardrobe.

Consequently, most days I wear the same comfy, unstylish, and plain outfits. I now wear lycra, wool, and sneakers, where I used to wear tweed, leather, and biker boots. I now wear black, where I used to wear mainly black (let’s face it, it’s a classic!). Therefore, I vow to start throwing on more colour. Even if it’s just a brighter (read: less black) nursing tee. Better still, I vow to start wearing more of my favourite colour: pink.

On that note, here’s a bunch of questionable photos over the last 18 years of me wearing pink.





Can we just take a moment to marvel at the bun my husband kindly styled for me on Boxing Day 2015!




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Welcome Back…To Me!

Five months later I’ve managed to resurface a broken woman, or perhaps better described a zombie. Albeit, a more capable zombie, who is so very blessed with a beautiful and healthy five month old baby boy. Clichéd as it is to say, he is worth every sleepless night. That says a lot considering there have been over one hundred of them, and counting!

Photo: Me AKA beach ball body, 16 days before giving birth.

If I could give one piece of advice, indeed any words of wisdom to a first-time expectant mother, they would read something like this. Nothing will prepare you for the mind and body **** you will face. Since these are neither welcome nor constructive words, I will attempt to impart (because clearly I’m an obnoxious expert at this point) ten pieces of advice.

1) Plaster a smile (a vacant look will suffice if it’s all you can muster) across your face, and nod your head (but absolutely zone out) when the millionth person ‘kindly’ but unwisely advises you to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’. My god I could have done some serious damage…at the very least head butted a number of individuals, close and strange to me alike, that pushed this mantra.

2) Don’t listen to the BS advice pedelled by maternity sites authored by desperate housewife-esque/’adored my pregnancy’ type women, which recommend batch cooking and the freezing of meals in the run-up to your EDD. Sure, this is great advice in theory. However, unless you adore cooking and/or have a penchant for running yourself into the ground (literally!), who the hell at 35+ weeks pregnant has either the energy, inclination, or even ability to stand and cook anything more than toast, without suffering a series of incapacitating braxton hicks, and swollen feet?! Also, you’ll have no time when baby is here to just be you (my ‘self-care’ is a three minute shower whilst baby sleeps, or if I’m lucky a face scrub in the shower), so just be you, and do yourself a favour by buying tons of frozen meals from Cook (not sure if there’s a US equivalent?!), and a few bags of leaves. Along with iron supplements aplenty (bring on the constipation!), and that will see you right.

3) Mentally categorise people you know into two groups. The first group will be your list of skivvies, who you’ve lined up to help out during (at least) the first twelve weeks postpartum. You can form said group by roping in your mum, female family members, friends or even dad (mine was an expert at singing baby to sleep). The second group will include individuals who will show up (not in the least bit concerned about your welfare) wanting to hold baby (even when baby is asleep for the first time in hours). This second group is not WELCOME….again at least not for the first twelve weeks postpartum…or ever again…seriously, who doesn’t care about mum after she’s been taken to the brink and back?!

4) Politely direct mum/MIL/aunt/family friend to the new advice on sleeping, nursing, weaning, crying, and the like. Meanwhile, secretly delight in the fact you too will one day be preaching outdated advice to your daughter/DIL/niece/family friend. Try to remember that deep down your female contingent only mean well… After all, you know no better/worse, and wish no more/less for your baby than the millions of women, including aforementioned female peers, who have preceded, and will succeed you.

5) Everything is ephemeral, and this too will pass (caveat: unless you decide to have another, and another…but by then you’re basically a pro/head case and it’s all okay anyway). Albeit, after many tears, hormonal outbursts, and arguments with your worse (trust me you’ll shout this a few times in the process) half.

6) Breastfeeding will be horrendous for the first 24 hours after your milk arrives. Sure you’ll wake up with pornstar boobs (and possibly stretch marks aplenty) when your milk comes in, but nursing will initially feel sadomasochistic. During the first hours after mine came in, I would literally feed baby whilst crying for the pain. Now? I absolutely love breastfeeding. It’s been one of my favourite things about motherhood. It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if it works, it really works. Nonetheless, we as women must let everyone do what’s right for them when it comes to feeding. This means dropping the preachy act, and ‘breast is best’ mantra because my goodness motherhood is hard enough without lecturing your fellow woman on how to nourish their baby.

7) Poonamis and milkanoes are a very real phenomena. It’s in your best interest to get a nappy bucket (cheap one off Amazon will see you right), not give a s**t (since there will be plenty, literally), and for goodness sake, if you see the milk resurfacing, ensure to save baby’s clothes over your own. A two-second top change or wipe down with a water wipe (trust me your personal standards will drop considerably!) beats twisting and manipulating little limbs into a minute vest any day (or night…since initially you’ll see lots of vomit between the hours of 11pm through to 5am).

8) Accept that you’ll never have your s**t together ever again (N.B. If you never did, then you’re well on your way to becoming a mum, or imploding), and that it’s okay to have a never ending to-do list consisting of at least one of the following items at any given point in time: restock nappies, take baby to weigh-in, buy water wipes, and empty nappy bin. Of course if you’re blessed by the gods, or rather with money, then you can afford a maternity nurse. Then you can kind of pretend you don’t have a kid, and do have your s**t together, at least until her day off of course!

9) Watch Workin’ Moms on Netflix. It’s brilliant! Plus, you can pretend you’re not a negligent mother when you’ve failed to do the assigned duration of tummy time for your baby’s age group…yes it’s a thing.

10) Take photos and videos EVERY single day!