Lots of people say to me that they don’t know how I am able to do so many work activities while looking after the baby. Truth is, sometimes I can’t. Only the other week I ended up getting stressed out because I got tempted by too many mystery shopping tasks and it was a struggle to get all the reports done! I’m still learning how to strike the right balance between work, looking after my girl and looking after me. This post will be the first of 2 where I talk about some of my mummy sanity savers that help me to survive! Read Part 2 here.
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Porridge, Pouches & Pre-Made Formula
Porridge for breakfast
I love baby porridge as a fast breakfast. There are some really nice ones available. I personally like the Organix range best and my baby loves the taste! I think these products have great texture and the ingredients are high quality. They are suitable from 7+ months (stage 2). I get them in the supermarket, or Amazon sell multipacks (links below):
I make the porridge up with formula – I tried using expressed breast milk once but the resulting smell made me want to run a mile! I like to add mashed fruit (my favourite speedy choices are banana, nectarine, peach, mango or strawberries). If I don’t have any I use fruit puree from pots/pouches or just the porridge on its own.
Another thing I add is Wellbaby 6+ month vitamins which you can buy as drops or liquid. Trying to give my daughter the vitamins directly just resulted in her spitting them out down her chin, but she’s quite happy to have them as a porridge topper!
Pouches for later
As much as I’d like to, I’m not able to cook very often. The time and mental capacity it requires are just too much for me at the moment. My baby also gets very impatient while watching me cook so it becomes very difficult. I therefore very often use pouches. They can be a bit pricey, but then so is the fresh food that I buy and waste when I don’t get an opportunity to cook with it. The big supermarkets, in particular ASDA, often have good multi-buy offers that can help with the cost.
Pouches sometimes have a bit of a bad reputation so I did some research to find out why. The ingredients are healthy. Most companies use organic products and the majority of pouch contents are fruit and veg. So what’s bad about them?
Too many apples
Some of the mixes are SUPER sweet. I’ve been caught out by a particularly misleading Ella’s kitchen pouch before that said ‘sweet potatoes and pumpkins’ on the front. Sounds great, I thought. The packet also mentioned apples and blueberries but I thought it would be savoury overall. Well, my little girl inhaled that pouch in about 2 minutes. I’ve never seen her eat anything so quickly. I managed to taste a bit when I could get it off her and I was gobsmacked by how sweet it was! I turned the packet over and found out that apples made up 52% of the ingredients! I felt pretty cheated by this and I’m now very wary when choosing pouches.
I don’t really understand mixing fruit and veg. It’s not something you have as an everyday meal. So I look for pouches that just have veg, meat and rice/grains/pasta and give these as the main part of a meal. I then do fruit and/or yogurt for a dessert. My favourite brands are Babease, Piccolo and Heinz (links to some great savoury options below).
Babease (130g pouches):
Organic brown rice, swede, butter beans, courgette and kale
Organic butternut squash, quinoa, beetroot, onion and sage
Organic sweet potato, tomato, carrot, quinoa, chickpeas and cumin
Organic chickpea, pumpkin, tomato, coconut, herbs and mild masala
Piccolo (130g pouches):
Heinz (180g pouches):
Sucking food through a straw is not a normal way of eating
As my baby has got older she has become more experienced with eating from pouches. She will quite happily hold them and suck the food out. This is an easy and relatively mess-free convenience when out and about. However, if I give her pouches at home I empty them into a bowl. This has several benefits.
Firstly, she can see, smell and touch the food which helps her learn about it. Pouch food looks the same as home cooked pureed/mashed food when it is in the bowl. I feed her the food with a spoon so she still learns about using cutlery. If your baby is like mine you will probably have to surrender the spoon at several points during the meal! I often have a sneaky second spoon to prevent tears caused by retrieving spoon number 1.
Emptying the pouch into the bowl in stages means I can easily leave any unwanted food in the pouch and minimise wastage. Anything that’s left goes in the fridge until the next day.
Jars are great too
Jars have fallen out of fashion a little since pouches hit the market. However, they contain the same food and are often better value. There are just as many (or sometimes more) meal varieties. You frequently see jars on multibuy offers in the supermarkets, such as 10 for £5 or £6, so they can be more economical. Another plus is that they have less of an impact on the environment. Jars can be recycled easily, unlike pouch packaging which has to go to landfill.
My baby’s favourite jars are the Heinz ones. The food always looks, smells and tastes great, and there are lots of great flavours to choose from. I regularly use these jars at home and save the pouches for when we are going out.
Whether your baby is breast or bottle fed, pre-made formula is a lifesaver. I use it to make my daughter’s porridge as mentioned above. It’s also a great option for my husband when he takes her out to give me some time off. I like how small the bottles are as they can go straight into the changing bag.
It took some time for our baby to accept formula at room temperature, but before that I found they warmed up really quickly. Trying to defrost and warm up expressed breast milk (especially if I forget to take it out the freezer until the last minute) isn’t great with a hungry, crying baby on your hands.
To begin with our little girl point blank refused formula. I introduced it with her solid meals at first, then mixed it with expressed milk and gradually adjusted the proportions. We took our time to avoid upset. It was 3 weeks altogether before she would take formula on its own.
I save money when buying pre-made formula by getting it in 4-packs from supermarkets or Boots. I use half a bottle at a time and keep the rest in the fridge for up to 24 hours. I only ever get first stage formula – second stage follow on milks do not have any additional benefits apparently.
Thank you for reading!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my mummy sanity savers! In part 2 I’ll talk about the apps I use to organise my time.
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