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A little introduction…

Mama and Roman.

So.. I am an amateur cook, and when I say amateur what I really mean is.. rubbish! It’s true, I can barely cook toast without burning it. However, I have a soon to be 6 month old baby who will need to be fed! (Unfortunately you can’t just let them live off of cheese strings and wagon wheels, who knew!?) So I figured now is the perfect time to teach myself how to cook healthy and nutritious meals, or attempt too anyway!

Due to the small issue of the COVID-19 pandemic, I currently do not have any hobbies and we are very limited on what we can do. I really haven’t used lockdown to better myself in anyway, but I did use it to soak up all the baby cuddles and I’ll never regret that! However, I thought now is the perfect time to really throw myself into this. I have time to research baby nutrition and healthy (easy) family meal recipes, as well as practice cooking them until I can do it without burning any food (or the house down).

If you would like to follow me on my journey of learning to cook (without just throwing a frozen pizza from Tesco in the oven for less than 20 minutes) whilst also trying to wean my little one, then please stick around!

Watch this space!

P.S. Any helpful tips, recipes and suggestions are welcome! (I need all the support I can get).

My motherhood…

I don’t know if I’ll post this, but I am hoping that writing it out makes me feel even just slightly better.

I hit a hard place just before my baby turned 6 months, so around a month and a half ago. I told my other half “I’m struggling” and he asked what we could do to make me feel better. I explained that I was excited to learn to cook meals from scratch that we could all enjoy as a family (As we were approaching weaning). We decided each night when my other half gets in from work, he’ll get quality time with the baby whilst I cook dinner. I really enjoyed it and started this blog to document it.

I am still enjoying my babies weaning journey, I enjoy everything about him and having him in my life. He honestly makes my life a million times better, yet I started to struggle again? And I didn’t want to put time/energy into finding new recipes and taking the time to cook them, but I did. However, I fell behind on documenting it and that made me feel crap because I enjoyed writing about it, as well as the interaction with others.

Why am I struggling?

I don’t really know why, but it can cause me to feel stressed. I then feel sad that I felt stressed around my baby instead of just enjoying being in the moment with him. I am completely aware that the baby years just fly by and I want to make the most of every second.

Bed times used to stress me out a lot for a couple of weeks. I had seen articles and read comments from other parents about the ways babies should and shouldn’t be put to bed. I kept thinking I had to change what I was doing, stop nursing or cuddling my beautiful, healthy baby to sleep. This made bedtime upsetting for us both. Then when he was asleep the guilt would kick in about how stressed and upset we both were before he drifted off.

I would then struggle to sleep because I felt so bad and was upset. I also developed this weird anxiety about death, but not actually dying. The anxiety was more about what will happen to my baby if I die. On nights where I was home alone with him, I would worry “If I die tonight, no one will know. My baby could wake up, cry for me and think he’s been abandoned when I don’t go straight to him”. I don’t know what started this worry, but it was consistent and exhausting.

I finally got to the stage where I thought I needed to reach out for help. I attempted to contact my doctors, due to COVID I had to do an e-consultation and wait for a phone call. I filled this in late at night and waited for the phone call the next day. The doctor phoned as I was putting little man in his cot for his nap so I missed it. They left a voice saying they would phone one more time and then I would have to redo the e-consultation if I didn’t answer.

I waited and they didn’t phone…

I didn’t have the patience to fill it in again. I thought I’d text my Mum with an indirect reach for help. “I got stressed around Roman last night. I know I shouldn’t and now I feel so horribly guilty and upset” Her response “Aww, you shouldn’t get stressed around him”. Clearly I already knew that from my initial text? We went back and forth a little, but she didn’t catch on to my cry for help. Why would she? I never straight up said to her I was struggling.

It’s got better.

I do feel better 95% of the time now, but I really think having a baby (the most wonderful time in my life) and then 2 months after going into lockdown (the oddest time of my life) really affected me.

I worry constantly that family won’t love my baby the way they should because they missed out on so much of his little life. This worry is exaggerated by the fact that hardly any of them make the effort to come and see us. We always have to go to them? Then when I take my baby to my Mums for the day she naps or is always “popping out” to neighbours or something. She hasn’t been well, which worries me also (Can you tell I’m a worrier!?) but I always ask her to tell me when’s best for her and when she’s not tired, etc.

I set my expectations too high?

I guess I thought that everyone in my close family would love my son as much as I do. I thought he would take up a massive part in their heart. I expected him to become a priority. He’s the first nephew, grandson, great grandson and great great grandson. I thought this was exciting my family too. I obviously expected too much.

I guess I expected family support as I had my baby and became a first time Mum. I received comments like “You’re doing amazing amazing job as a Mum, especially considering the circumstances of the world” Ok… you know I’m doing an amazing job because you saw some photos of my son smiling!? These comments feel like empty words from people who don’t regularly see me interact with my son or check in on how we are doing. Maybe I’m being too dramatic.

I hope someone shares some of the same worries and stresses as me. I hope it is normal to feel like this. To be honest, I feel like the worst Mum ever a lot of the time. I want to do better and be better for my son.

I’m starting to feel better, but don’t get me started on the new financial worries…

Day Fifteen

Thursday 17th July…

What and why

Tonight for dinner it was just Roman and I. I needed something that was quick to prepare as Roman wanted to be with me the whole time. I remember someone I know telling me about pea fritters (not something I have ever tried) so I thought I would give it a go.

Romans reaction

Roman found the pea fritters very easy to pick up. They were also soft so he was able to break pieces off it his mouth with ease too. He kept chomping and going back for more, so these were a winner.

Review

I need to perfect the recipe! I only used this peas, an egg and self raising flour as that it what I was recommended, however I’ve seen all sorts of recipes online with extra ingredients.

I used one medium egg and one cup of peas (mashed up) and half a cup of self raising flour. However, when it came to rolling them into balls, they were still very sticky. So I added more flour and mixed it in. Once I made them into balls, I flattened them into circles and fried them in a table spoon of vegetable oil for two minutes on each side.

I decided to try one, but as I have not had a pea fritters before I did not know what to expect. I may not know what it is supposed to taste like, but I don’t think mine were right. They mostly tasted of flour! So, although Roman seemed to enjoy them I definitely need to work on my recipe.

Diary update

So I have written 14 weaning diary blog posts, that’s two weeks worth! I can’t believe my baby has even been eating food that long. Can anybody tell me why time with a little one goes so fast!?

I mainly started this blog for me. As motivation to research new meals to create and become a better cook, to log how each recipe turns out so that I can improve it each time and of course to document what my little man eats and how he gets on with weaning.

So I want to make it easier to look back on by changing the lay out of my diary posts. I am thinking of splitting them into three sections. The beginning will be the what we had for dinner section, the middle will be how Roman rates the meal and the last section will be the prep and review of how I found cooking it.

This will make it easier when I am looking back to find recipes/improvements and when I want to look back on how Roman found new foods (reminisce).

Hopefully I like the new way I want to write diary posts so that I’ll stick to it.

Day Fourteen

Wednesday 16th July…

This evening for dinner I wanted to give Roman something small, as he had already tried some thing new at lunch (I will get onto that soon).

Roman still seems a little unsure when it comes to veg, so I wanted to try him again on carrot. I gave him the two options again of mashed up carrot and carrot sticks. He was unsure when feeding himself the sticks, but did allow me to spoon feed him some of the mashed up carrot. He is still getting used to all the different textures.

Lunch

Today Romans Dad was home from work and we didn’t have a lot in for lunch time (I usually grab whatever I can when I get 5 minutes). We did notice we had a ready to roll puff pastry in the fridge so I decided to use it up.

We decided to have cheese twists (I am new to creating foods like this, but assumed there can’t be much to mess up). I used what we had in and made some for us all. I have not followed a recipe for this, but it did turn out ok.

Firstly, I laid the puff pastry out, I think I let it sit for around 10 minutes. I then folded it so I knew where halfway was and sprinkled cheese on one half. We only had grated mozzarella, but I imagine it would be easier with a spreadable cheese?

Step One

I then folded the puff pastry in half, sandwiching the cheese in the middle.

Step two

Next I used a pizza cutter to cut it into strips. You will be able to see from my photo that they are not all equal. I did this fairly quickly, so some are wider than others.

Step three

Once cut into strips I start to twist them all individually. This is where I think spreadable cheese would have made it easier, as some of the grated cheese fell out. I placed each twist on a buttered baking tray and egg washed them.

Step four

Then in the oven they went for about 12 minutes at 180°C.

Step five

We waited for them to cook and then tucked in. Roman seemed to enjoy these a lot, they were easy to hold and yummy. I’ll definitely be making these again.

Day Thirteen

Wednesday 15th July…

Tonight we offered Roman a dinner that both his Dad and I were excited for him to try. My favourite food has always been pizza and Romans Dad enjoys it too. How can I offer a quick pizza to my 6 month old without grabbing a frozen one from the supermarket? Let me tell you!

All you need is a wrap, tomato purée, grated cheese and any additional toppings you would like! Roman had ham and red pepper. Then they cooked in the oven at 180°C (preheated) for just 10 minutes.

My 9 year old sister came for dinner for the first time since last year. I’ve missed having her over so much. So we wanted to make a dinner she could help with. She made her own pizza and then helped to make mine to be shared with Roman. My sister also enjoyed cutting the pizzas once they were cooked using the pizza scissors.

Roman found the wrap pizza slices easy to pick up and seemed to really enjoy chomping and sucking on them. When he is eating more of his food then this can easily be served with a side a vegetables.

I am happy that Roman seemed to enjoy his little pizza, and I look forward to enjoying many more pizzas with him over the years.

Meal prepping

Weaning style

I have tried Roman with carrots several times, always offering sticks of carrot, as well as it mashed. Each time he has been unsure and often spits it out. Which is fine, as he is new to the whole concept of eating, but I don’t want to keep offering it in short periods of time whilst he is not enjoying it.

Tonight I realised there was still quite a few carrots in the fridge that we had not planned to use soon. I didn’t want to waste them, so I thought I could purée them and pop them in the freezer. Easy right? Well, I was dreading it. Over the past two weeks I have tried to purée small amounts of Romans vegetables to pop away for another use. Each time the food has sat in the blender and hardly moved, let alone turned into a smooth mixture.

However, after looking at alternatives to our blender in Asda today I decided it was time to give it another shot. Before now the only other times I have used our blender is to make cocktails or milkshakes (homemade shakeaways). Those types of blending recipes obviously include a fair amount of liquid, so this evening I poured more water than usual in the blender with the carrot. I used the water I had been boiling the carrot in.

It worked! The carrot did not just sit at the bottom, twitching every so often to avoid a blade. It blended and mixed with the water until it was almost completely smooth.

Enough carrot purée to fill 5 Tommee Tippee formula containers.

It looked like only a small amount in the blender, but I was able to fill five Tommee Tippee formula containers. This are perfect to freeze and can then be used to add to other meals. It can be added in as an ingredient to a recipe, or just heated up and served as a side.

After filling the containers there was still some left over. I popped it in a bowl for Roman to try. I tried it first to make sure it had cooled down enough. It was very watery, making the flavour very bland. So, I may have added enough water to blend the carrot, but I also added enough to wash the flavour away. I’ll keep experimenting. I sat Roman in his chair and he ate around 7 small spoonfuls of the purée.

Carrot is still not a favourite of his, but we’ll keep trying it. I will keep experimenting with the blender in hopes that I don’t need to buy a new kitchen appliance.

Day Twelve

Tuesday 14th July…

Tonight Mum and Dad had a takeaway, due to neither of them wanting to brave the food shop. So we thought it would be nice for Roman to have a little treat too.

We gave him one of his frozen blueberry and Greek yoghurt lollies. I sat him in his Mamas and Papas snug seat again, as he finds it easier to reach across the tray in this snug. He is still a little short for his Highchair, so struggles to reach foods near the edge. Of course the lolly is quite slippery, so the snug seat seemed the best place to eat it.

Roman seemed to enjoy the lolly for a few minutes, but after that wasn’t so sure. He did however enjoy holding it and feeling the cold on his hands. I personally think the Greek yoghurt has one of those tastes where you either love it or hate it, but we’ll keep trying it to see what he thinks.

I’m looking forward to creating more frozen treats, as they definitely seem to help to soothe his gums.

Day Eleven

Monday 13th July…

Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!

Tonight we offered Roman scrambled egg and toast. We already knew he liked toast, so it was great to also see him enjoying the scrambled egg. It’s the first food that he has immediately chomped and swallowed without spitting it out.

I really love finding foods that Roman enjoys and I’m excited for him to try meals like dippy egg and soldiers. I hope he enjoys all varieties of egg, as being a fussy eater myself (I’m trying to change) I have only ever eaten egg scrambled.

I did scramble the egg using cows milk, but Roman has such a small portion I was not worried. I am happy for him to have foods containing milk, I will just hold off on him drinking cows milk until he is 12 months.

I’m so happy he enjoyed his dinner. It’s the simple things in life.

Day Ten

Sunday 12th July…

Today we offered Roman banana. It is soft, making it super easy for young babies to take bites and it is very quick to prepare.

My previous two points are great, but do you want to know the real reason why I offered Roman banana today? I chose it, because all over the internet recently I have seen the “banana trick”. You know, the one where you cut a banana in half, then you poke your finger in the end and it naturally splits into three parts. These parts are then supposedly not sticky or slippery making them easy for babies to hold. I was actually excited to try this trick out and yes, I am full aware of how sad that sounds.

I don’t know where I went wrong… The banana did easily split into three sections, great! However, each banana finger was still sticky, slippery and difficult to hold. I will definitely use the banana trick again when preparing it for Roman, but I will be more prepared for the mess.

Now, what did Roman make of the banana? I honestly thought he would love it, but boy did he pull some faces. He kept picking pieces up, biting parts off and chomping on them for a few seconds before spitting them back out. I also am not a fan of banana (I think it’s the texture) but I did the whole, taking a bite and then being very over the top whilst saying “Mmm, yummy”. Roman just laughed at me and continued to chomp and pull faces.

We will keep trying with banana, and if anyone knows where I could have gone wrong with the “trick” then let me know!

Day Nine (Blueberry yoghurt)

Saturday 11th July

Today I thought it would be nice for Roman to have a little sweet treat so I decided to blend some blueberries into Greek yoghurt.

Before I started blending I let Roman have a taste of the Greek yoghurt and he enjoyed it. I poured the Greek yoghurt into the blender and then added the blueberries. I turned the blender on which made Roman jump and then he was not impressed with the blender at all. That was a Mum fail!

Once blended I put some in a bowl to feed to Roman, but there was a lot left over. I used what was left to put into his lolly moulds and then into the freezer for another day.

Roman sat in his snug seat from Mamas and Papas and thoroughly enjoyed his blueberry yoghurt. He even held onto the spoon and put it in his mouth to chomp on.

I’m looking forward to making other fruity combinations with yoghurt. I am wondering what Roman would enjoy most blended with it.. can’t wait to find out!

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