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Moroccan style sweet lamb

morrocan lamb

 

This has been one of my go to recipe for years. I used it with some very fussy eaters when I was Nannying and it always seemed to go down a treat. Now Sonny loves it. The dish is quite sweet so you can get away with hiding loads of veggies in there if your child is a fusspot. The recipe below is obviously made for Sonny so I have left out onions and tomatoes but if I were making it for a child without reflux I would add one chopped onion and a tin of tomatoes at the start.

1 pack (about 500g) diced lamb (leg or neck)

2 carrots

1 parsnip

1-2 inch disk of butternut squash

8 dried apricots finely chopped

Pinch cinnamon

Pinch Cumin

Tin of chickpeas.

2 cups water or homemade salt free chicken stock.

 

Brown your lamb then pop to one side. In a heavy bottomed casserole dish (if not using the slow cooker) gently fry your veg with the cinnamon and cumin until it has softened (about 5-10 mins) .

Pop the lamb back in with the stock/water and apricots then cook on a low heat either in the oven or on the hob for about 3 hours,

It really is that easy – or you can fry everything up then stick in the slow cooker and leave all day! Serve with couscous, rice, quinoa or mashed sweet potato.

Blend if for babies but if you are trying to add more texture just really finely dice the root veg at the start – the lamb literally falls apart anyway so there is no need for mashing.

I love this dish as well and always end up eating half of it – it is a very comforting, warming dish at this time of year!

 

Happy cooking x

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Reflux Sucks

reflux pic

Before I was pregnant I’d had minimal contact with reflux, and to be honest hadn’t given it a great detail of thought. I’d had friends and clients with reflux babies and if they asked for help I would just drop the ‘higher the head of the cot’ line and ‘feed little and often’. I, along with a lot of other Nannies was of the opinion that reflux was very much the ‘new colic’ ie, anyone with a squawking baby would be keen to blame it on reflux when they just didn’t want to hear their babies cry. Little did I know.
So what is reflux? Reflux occurs when the muscle at the bottom of the oesophagus is not fully formed, allowing the contents of a babies stomach to travel back up. This is extremely common in babies and nothing to worry about especially if the baby is not bothered by it.
However, GORD or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease is a completely different ball game. This is when the baby’s stomach acid travels up the oesophagus, irritating or burning them and causing them a lot of pain. There can be a number of causes/factors that contribute to this form of reflux including a milk allergy. (Sonny is allergic to cows milk, however this is not the root cause of his reflux, when we had his allergy treated, it did not really make much difference to his reflux symptoms)
Our experience with GORD has been quite a drawn out one, and please note that this is OUR experience (I am not a DR and you should always seek medical advice if you think your baby is suffering from GORD) – I am only just starting to reduce Sonny’s medication as we approach his first birthday and even now I am not sure if we are ready to reduce it completely. Since I have hit on the minimal dose we have had a few ‘arching’ episodes and last night he woke up screaming – while this could be down to any number of factors (babies really are a minefield), he has generally been super good at night. I have mentioned this before but I have also been managing Sonny’s symptoms through a controlled diet. In addition to medication I have eliminated anything acidic such as onions, strawberries, peppers, and tomatoes. Yesterday we had an amazing afternoon with friends at a PYO farm, after picking raspberries I thought I would let Sonny try one, his little eyes lit up, he loved it so I let him eat a few. Whether this caused his discomfort at night I am not sure but to me it seems like more than a coincidence so I will continue to steer clear of anything acidic for a little while yet.
Some GP’s and Health Visitors can be quite dismissive of GORD, being slow about referring you onto a paediatrician and prescribing medication. Again if you are convinced that there is something wrong with your baby you should press this – Mothers instinct isn’t called that for any other reason than it exists – you know your baby.
Signs of reflux to look out for are below and while this list is not exhaustive and your baby may not show all of these symptoms there are key signs here that could show things are not 100%
Persistent crying
Arching of the back, particularly when laid flat or feeding.
Crying when being laid flat
Pulling away from the bottle/refusing feeds
Comfort feeding
General unhappiness
Appearing to be in pain and distress – not being able to comfort
Not smiling often
Appearing agitated and very rarely relaxed
Frequent Hiccups
Bubbles round mouth
Hard to wind
Rigid and stiff body
Head thrashing when feeding
Vomit/spitting up for an hour or possibly longer after feeds (although this isn’t the case with silent reflux)
Pulling off breast or bottle
Constant clenched fists

Often the GP or Paediatrician’s first step will be to try your baby on Gaviscon. This is an antacid and works by neutralising the stomach contents immediately when taken, it also thickens the contents of your babies stomach not allowing it to travel up the oesophagus so easily. This did absolutely nothing for Sonny bar make him extremely constipated. We were also prescribed ranitidine at the same time – ranitidine works by blocking acid production, it usually takes 6 days to kick in – again this did nothing for Sonny. I then requested Omeprazole – this is quite a new drug with regards to babies – I knew friends who had used it and actually I was prescribed this when pregnant – I remember the relief being instantanious. The same went for Sonny – within 24 hours he was much more comfortable. Although he would still bring up some milk it did not seem to distress him at all and he was a much calmer baby. He could now lie in his pram without screaming and would actually be laid down rather than being constantly held upright. Omeprazole is a PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitor) , it works by almost completely shutting down the acid pumps in the stomach reducing gastric acid by 90%.
When Omeprazole (or Losec Mups) is prescribed, the dosage changes with your baby’s weight. Often Sonny’s reflux symptoms would suddenly reappear only for us to realise that he had gone through a growth spurt therefor the dosage was no longer working and needed increasing.
Introducing solids also made a difference – we did this early (see weaning 1) and it helped to keep a lot of his milk down. Up until this time Sonny had been gaining weight quite slowly – he was around the 7th centile. Soon after starting solids he went up to the 75th!
Reflux is so complex that things like sleep training and self soothing just don’t apply. I am all for letting babies grizzle a bit and agree that learning to settle themselves to sleep is a really important life skill, however, I was obviously not going to leave Sonny to scream himself to sleep in pain, I knew that cuddling probably wouldn’t make a difference to the reflux but if it helped soothe him a little then I would lay aside all my Nanny ideas and cuddle and comfort him for however long it took! (And often this meant pacing the floors singing ‘5 little ducks’ on repeat – I am sure the neighbours were thrilled!!).
I had a small taste of just how painful acid reflux could be when I was pregnant, having to prop myself upright to sleep and even then would wake up with vomit in my mouth a few times a night (nice) . The thought of my little baby having to go through this every day was too much to bear.
I often heard comments that I was spoiling my baby at these times but I just chose to ignore them. Like I said earlier there is a real lack of understanding about GORD as it is a relatively recent discovery. While in the past the crying would be dismissed as ‘colic’ or just having a ‘fussy’ baby we now have the knowledge to empathise and treat little ones. If you are suffering then do what works and don’t listen to people who have limited understanding. I know when Sonny was screaming and rigid with pain, well meaning people would think it would help to bounce him up and down or rock him on his back and thought I was being hysterical when I wouldn’t allow it.
A brief summary of things that have helped us along the way have been;
A relatively early correct diagnosis,
Medication (Omeprazole),
Introduction to solids at 4 months
A controlled diet (no acidic foods)
Feeding upright and winding every oz when Sonny was small,
Not jigging him around/bouncing/rocking him – but instead holding him upright
Propping up the head of the moses basket/cot (using a towel or blanket under the mattress so baby sleeps at an angle rather than flat on their back).
It goes without saying that each baby and all symptoms are individual. Medication is given to manage and not cure GORD as children tend to simply grow out of it. While we are not out of the woods yet, we seem to be well on our way and I really hope that when Sonny starts walking his reflux will completely go.
The whole process is not only terribly painful and distressing for a baby, it can also be terribly painful and distressing for you! When pregnant I envisaged breastfeeding calmly at baby groups and pushing my baby round in his pram. The reality was very different as often during the early days Sonny was very distressed and I just couldn’t face people asking me if he was hungry/tired/spoilt etc, so we didn’t go out. A baby with GORD can be a terribly isolating experience for a new mum and I can imagine, if you do not know what is wrong with your baby, can also be very scary and may well affect the bond you have.
If you are experiencing this currently please know that you are not alone, I have spoken to many parents who have been through the same and they have all expressed just how helpless they felt and how they questioned their parenting skills. I promise it will get better. It is only in writing this post that I realise just how far we have come.
The fact that Sonny is almost one brings tears to my eyes. We now have a happy, content, social and settled little boy, he is extremely smiley, starting to show signs of a wicked sense of humour and most importantly of all enjoys food and meal times. We are extremely close and those horrific refluxy weeks and months now seem like a distant memory.
They will soon for you too – I promise – please do not hesitate about asking for help if you are struggling xx

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Black Bean Carrot Cookies

beans

Sounds disgusting right? Well in truth these are no chocolate laden Millie’s cookies but they are pu – rrity tasty and are great for sneaking some extra veg into your smalls (NB that is slang for children, I do not think you should be shoving carrots down your knickers!!!!). Children are pretty easy to fool  – if you act like these are a big treat then hopefully they will believe you. There is also the bonus that the flecks of black beans can look like chocolate chips (am I clutching at straws here…..?) . If these are a bit too ‘clean’ for your tastes you can always substitute the coconut oil for proper butter, add a bit of sugar or throw in some actual chocolate chips.

When I was breastfeeding Sonny I had to cut out all dairy from my diet and was constantly flummoxed as to what to eat. I found the Deliciously Ella blog great  – I was quite sceptical but actually the majority of her things taste amazing. I have incorporated a lot of her ideas into everyday cooking even though I am now back on the dairy (in bucketloads…..)

Recipe

1.5 tins of black beans (Drained)

1 mug of oats

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 carrot grated

1 pear (or apple) grated

1 Banana

2 tablespoons Maple Syrup

1 tsp Mixed Spice.

These are so easy to make – blend the beans, oil, banana and syrup together in a bowl then stir in the oats, spice, carrot and pear. Dollop onto a non stick or greased baking tray and bake on gas mark 5 for about 30 minutes or until golden.  I sometimes sandwich them together with cashew or almond butter.

I would love to hear what you think of these!

I am sorry I haven’t posted on here  in the last couple of weeks, Poor Sonny has been teething, had an ear infection and a virus. I actually feel like Widow Twanky, I have never done so much laundry in my life.

Have a wonderful week.

xx

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10 Handy Uses for Coconut Oil (For you and the Kids)

Coconut oil

I work my way through huge amounts of coconut oil – yes it is quite expensive and is having a bit of a ‘moment’ but don’t be put off .It has multiple uses and works out cheaper than purchasing loads of different products. I always have 2 pots on the go – one for the bathroom and one for the kitchen (you can often get them on offer from certain stores if you are buying two). Here are some things I use mine for;

  • Hair conditioner. Stick some through the ends of your hair and leave for a couple of hours (don’t go out though you will look greasy!) or overnight – wash out in the morning – voila – silky smooth tresses with no chemicals!
  • Nappy cream – I used loads of it on Sonny’s bum when he was in the throes of his milk allergy and pooed about 20 times a day. He very rarely got Nappy rash and I am convinced this is why. I still carry around a mini pot of it in the Nappy bag now.
  • Oil pulling – this sounds absolutely gross and does take a bit of getting used to but it does seem to work. You are basically supposed to swish a tablespoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes before brushing once a day. I never make it to 20 minutes (probably 10)and only use a dessert spoon but it still seems to do the trick (it is meant to pull all the bacteria out of your mouth and also whiten teeth). Don’t spit down the plug as it will block the drain!
  • When I was pregnant and ran out of my stretch mark oil I would use it as a body oil (and still do rub it in when in the shower sometimes as a body moisturizer )
  • Until last month I didn’t use any soaps or shampoos on Sonny – I literally would rub a little coconut oil onto his scalp then rinse off and pop a little on a flannel and rub it over his body. This did the trick just fine and as far as I’m aware he didn’t smell (other than of coconuts) and has lovely soft skin.
  • Make up remover. Every evening I massage it into my face then use my clarisonic face brush followed by a wipe with a hot flannel– it gets all make up (including mascara) off. I have greasy skin but I very rarely get spots after starting this routine.
  • Cooking – if you don’t mind the taste of coconut you can use the oil for frying, baking in place of butter, spreading on toast , stirring into coffee – the list is endless.
  • Coconut oil is antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal. Gross but it works on athletes foot and soothes sunburn and chapped nipples.
  • Cradle cap – massage coconut oil onto your babies scalp then scrub gently with a hairbrush – it works a treat.
  • Hand Cream – If you have or work with children you will wash your hands A LOT. I am generally pretty rubbish at applying hand cream. As a result my hands have started to resemble chickens feet, this has improved ever so slightly by me rubbing Sonny’s coconut oil in my hands after I change his Nappy. It sinks in quite quickly so you don’t end up with slippy paws.

There are tons of other uses for this wonder product, I’m not getting paid to promote anything here but I truly love it and find it indispensable. I’m sure there will be recipes featuring coconut oil on here in due course.

FYI – It is always worth doing a little patch test on your child’s skin prior to using in case of allergy.

Have a great weekend xx

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Colcannon Cakes

colcannon

These are perfect finger foods for babies and smalls. They are also yummy for adults (I added a bit of salt and scoffed about 4 while cooking these up for Sonny) . They would also be great topped with a fried or poached egg for breakfast. If your little one doesn’t like cabbage you can add any kind of finely chopped greenery. Obviously as Sonny is dairy intolerant we steamed the cabbage, and fried the cakes in olive oil. If I were cooking these normally however, I would cook the cabbage in butter and also fry the cakes in butter – yum! They taste perfectly good without though!

It is a great recipe for using up leftover spuds/greens from the Sunday roast.

Ingredients

350g cooked potato (leftover mash or boiled)

1/2 sweetheart cabbage shredded

100g plain flour

1 egg

Ground black pepper

Method

If your potato isn’t already mashed then smash it up until smooth. Either steam, boil or cook in butter your cabbage/greens then finely chop (if for the little ones as it can be quite stringy) , if you are making this for older children then obviously don’t worry so much about chopping!

Beat the egg and stir into the potato mixture then add the flour and cabbage and fold until you have a firm (yet still quite sticky) mixture. Add a grind of back pepper.

Roll a ping pong sized ball of mixture in your hand then flatten it down and pop it in a frying pan on a low-medium heat. Fry until golden on each side (about 3 minutes on each side) This recipe should make approximately 9 cakes.

A tasty addition would be to add some grated mature cheddar or some crispy bacon (or both) into your mixture.

Happy cooking xx

Disclaimer (please note I am not responsible for your child’s farts post cabbage)

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One Tomato Sauce

tomatoe

As promised here is the first of our recipes by the wonderful chef Juliet Cain. Juliet specialises in family cooking and has been working closely with Mortimer Nannies for years, teaching our Nannies to be more creative in the kitchen. This recipe is super useful and easy peasy to remember  – it is called ‘one’ tomato sauce as there is one of everything in the ingredients list.

Over to you Juliet…….

One Tomato Sauce

“I thought I would share this terrfic tomato sauce recipe as I love it for so many reasons. I have made this in so many disguises for my baby clients and they have always enjoyed it. Here we are in September and there is a glut of gorgeous tomatoes. It’s a great one for “hiding” vegetables if your little people (or perhaps your grown ups) won’t eat them! Very easy to make and also batch cook to freeze in portions. There are so many ways to chop and change this creation into something completley different (I have included a few) and it can be adapted for the grown ups too so no cooking seperate recipes for the whole family. Last but not least it’s tasty and nutritious. I suggest you google Lycopene and cooked tomatoes!

Happy cooking! xx”

Here it is…

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion chopped

1 carrot grated

1 stick celery chopped

1 clove garlic

1 tin chopped tomatoes or around 400g fresh tomatoes chopped

1 tablespoon tomato puree

100ml vegetable stock (no salt)

One dash of balsamic vinegar

Notes:

This will make enough for 4 generous portions for your child

This will keep in the fridge safely for 2 days and also freezes well

Method

Gather all the ingredients and prepare.

Heat the oil over a medim heat in a saucepan.

Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic to the oil and cook gently stirring now and then so that the

vegetables don’t brown but until the onions have turned translucent and soft – about 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, stock and vinegar. Give the sauce a good stir. Cover the pan with a lid and

simmer on a low heat for around 30 minutes. Check and stir during the cooking time. If it seems too dry or

starts to catch add a little water.

Blend with a hand blender, liquidiser or food processer and the result will be a super smooth sauce

Great served with pasta. Add some protein – fish, minced beef, chicken or lentils. Excellent mixed with

roasted vegetables.

Variations for introducing some new flavours

Add fresh or dried herbs – perhaps basil or oregano

Add a teaspoon of mild curry powder with the tomatoes

Add a couple of tablespoons of cream at the end of the cooking process

Variations for the grown ups!

May sound obvious but season well with salt and ground black pepper!

Add some chillis and extra garlic and you’re on your way to creating a chilli-con-carne or a veggie chilli.

To turn into a grown up curry sauce add some fresh grated ginger, garlic, ground cumin, turmeric,

ground coriander and cayenne pepper with the vegetables and simmer together with the tomatoes.

Add some cooked chicken perhaps?

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Blah Blah Blah

blah

You can’t escape it, from the day you announce your pregnancy, a constant stream of advice, mostly well meaning, often patronising and occasional bullshit.

In all probability you will have complete strangers patting your bump (yuk), commenting on what you eat, how fat you are, how well/tired/shitty you look and generally bombarding you with shoulds and shouldn’ts for the whole 9 months. When your bundle of joy arrives brace yourself as it only gets worse.

Because you have produced and care for a small human – guess what? That makes you fair game for all manner of ‘advice’. Anyone who has also popped out a baby at some point in their life (whether that be the 1900s or last week)will be an expert and you, my friend, know nothing.

To be fair, most of this will come from a place of love. I know I have been guilty of sounding off in the past. I am sure my friends will have wanted to claw my eyes out for doling out Nanny advice then going home to my childless 10 hours of sleep and big fat glass of wine.

What I didn’t understand before having a baby was the sheer over whelmingness (I don’t think that is an actual word )of it all. I thought I knew everything about raising a child but during those early days I received so much conflicting advice, opinion and general white noise that I found I was constantly doubting myself. I focussed far too much on what other people were saying I ‘should’ be doing and less on actually tuning into my instinct and enjoying my baby. Having google close to hand only made things worse.

As a new mum you often feel like you have been hit by a truck anyway, self-esteem can take a knock and sleepless nights plus loss of identity/your old self can totally make you question every decision you make. All you really need is someone to make you a cuppa, give you a hug and tell you what an amazing job you are doing – because believe me you are.

To highlight the amount of conflicting advice I was given I thought I would make a list of some of the gems I listened to in the early days……

“You can never overfeed a baby “

“You are overfeeding your baby” (both health professionals)

“Don’t tickle your babies feet – it will give him a stammer” (?!?!)

“If you let your baby cry it will affect his emotional development”

“You pick your baby up to much – he is getting spoilt”

“Dummies will affect his speech and make his teeth grow funny”

“You should give him a dummy it will soothe his reflux”

“Don’t let him fall asleep with his dummy; he will end up with a sleep disorder”

“Dummies while sleeping can help prevent SIDS”

“Breastmilk is causing him problems you should give him formula”

“Mixed feeding is bad; he will never go back on the breast.”

“Formula is bad, he will get overweight”

“He should be sleeping through the night by now”

“He’s sleeping through the night? He is far too young to drop night feeds”

“Shouldn’t he be smiling/sitting up/ crawling by now?”

“Shouldn’t he be having gripe water/infacol/calpol?”

“Babies don’t need so much sleep”

“He is overtired”

And I could go on and on and on and could easily fill 10 blogs with this stuff.

If I could go back in time ( and I know it is easy to say now I have come out of the sleep deprived hormonal stage)I would tell myself to drown out the white noise, lock the iPhone away, and just try and tune in and listen to my instincts. Enjoy your tiny human – you are not going to get that time back and it goes so quickly. You are his/her Mother, you know best and you are doing the best job ever – choose your own ‘parenting style’ (I hate that expression) not one from a book and your decisions are bound to be the right ones. We are all in the same boat, muddling along and doing our best – if that is fine for our little humans and they are happy and healthy then that (and not what Mabel up the road says) is all that matters xx