Adventures of a Free-From Clothbum Mum!

Cloth nappies, dairy-free living, reviews and parental ramblings!

Vegan chocolate mousse

As my monkey has potty trained, I’m finding that I’m now writing more and more about food than about nappies. I hope that’s ok for regular readers of this blog – you can always scroll back to find nappy information/reviews.

As Real Nappy Week comes closer I, of course, will shift my focus back to all that is gorgeous and fluffy but, for now, let’s concentrate on the decadent gorgeousness that is vegan chocolate mousse.

Having a dairy intolerant child means that most chocolate mousses that you can buy are off limits and the other option is usually a soya based dessert.

As we’re trying to avoid too much soya, I have been looking around for another way. A way that created a really thick, creamy mousses similar in texture to a chocolate pot/luxury ganache-type dessert. I think I’ve finally hit the jackpot with this recipe that I found on Pinterest and have slightly adapted. As it’s vegan, it’s obviously dairy-free and egg-free, which is brilliant for any breastfeeding mums who have children allergic to these ingredients or for anyone with dairy/egg allergies.

All you need is:-

A ripe avocado or two
1/4 cup of chilled coconut cream
Up to 1/4 cup of Cocoa powder
Up to 1/4 cup Agave nectar (or a similar sweetener)
About 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
A blender (I use a stick blender with an closed bowl attachment on the end )

1. Scoop out the avocado and plonk it into your blender.

2. Then add all the other ingredients and blend. I’ve not put precise measurements as it’s all down to personal taste.

You need enough of everything to take away the avocado taste, but how thick/creamy/sweetened you want it is up to you.

It’s absolutely gorgeous and I made mine fairly thick so it didn’t even fall off the spoon when it’s turned upside down! Yum!!!

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Nightweaning a toddler: Nursies when the sun shines

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As a full-term breastfeeding mum, I’ve found that getting advice as to how to help to support my son during the ending stages of our breastfeeding journey quite hard.

Most family and friends haven’t had experience with feeding an older child. Most doctors don’t have a clue (although one lovely one told me all the benefits regarding protecting the mother from certain cancers and the obvious benefits to the child’s immune system.)

So, when I heard about this wonderful book, I thought I’d give it a go to help us with gentle night weaning.

‘Nursies when the sun shines’ is a wonderful, beautifully-drawn book that helps support and reinforce the idea that the breastfeeding child doesn’t need a feed at night. It has gorgeous pictures and repetitive phrases to help your little one understand that night is just for sleeping.

We started reading the book at bedtime back in about June and it took about three months for the message to completely sink in to my very stubborn but utterly gorgeous little man’s head.

But! Once he’d processed it – he stopped feeding at night.

He settles more quickly and had more unbroken nights of sleep. It was brilliant! I think we timed the reading of this book well as he was ready for that stage and we didn’t force him or rush him before he was either biologically or emotionally ready.

I got this fab book from Amazon and would recommend it wholeheartedly to all natural-term breastfeeding mothers.

daisytheclothbummum was not paid for the content of this post. These are all my own thoughts and opinions and I paid for the book myself

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The Huffington Post is brilliant!

There are certain articles that you just HAVE to read. Ones that make you laugh uncontrollably but have a serious message behind them.

This is one of them!

If, like me, you have had any kind of offensive, derogatory and uneducated comment levelled in your direction because you decided to *gasp* breastfed your child, then this article will leave you both nodding madly and cracking up with laughter!

Enjoy…

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Tongue Tie: a serious breastfeeding issue

I don’t often share things like this but this petition popped up on my Facebook today and I felt compelled to share.

Tongue Tie Division Petition

Without a tongue tie division procedure, I doubt that Master Clothbum and I would have succeeded in cracking breastfeeding.

Without it I would have had to resort to using prescription formula full time, which I really didn’t want.

Without it I wouldn’t be still breastfeeding a very happy little toddler.

Now, I know that babies do absolutely fine without being breastfed but I feel that all babies/mums should have tongue tie identified and have the option of getting it dealt with asap so that they can breastfeed without pain/latching issues if they so wish.

I’m so grateful to my local breastfeeding support team for the help they gave me at the start and, hopefully, this petition will help others have the same level of help and support.

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Best for Breast! Bamboobies

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If you’re a breastfeeding mum, there’s certain things that you probably can’t be without. Breastpads are one of them. I only know of a couple of mums who’ve pretty much managed most of their breastfeeding time without using pads but most ladies I know have found them essential, especially in the early days when you can soak through a bra in a heartbeat if you forget them.

Now, packets of good quality disposable breastpads are NOT cheap and you can get through quite a lot. I remember having to wear two pads in each bra cup at the beginning to ensure that I wasn’t soaking through. It wasn’t fun and, with being on maternity pay, every penny counted.

So I invested in some washable, cloth breastpads from a high street shop. The only problem with the ones that I bought was that they were, to be frank, rubbish. They didn’t really hold much liquid and the milk wicked through quite quickly. I resigned myself to paying for disposables for the rest of my breastfeeding journey.

Then as I discovered more and more brands of cloth nappies, I also discovered better made, better quality cloth breastpads that actually work! Recently, I was sent some Bamboobies from the lovely Ailsa at Bambooty nappies, and I just wish that I’d had them earlier on.

Bamboobies are gorgeous, soft and ultra-thirsty breastpads that come in two different thicknesses. They are the kind of soft that make you want to rub them against your cheek (yes, I’ve been guilty of doing that with a lovely, squishy new nappy – which cloth bum mum hasn’t done it…) and that softness is perfect. When a breastfeeding mum has got painful nipples through early latching on issues through to biting from an overzealous toddler, it really does help that the pad isn’t going to cause any other problems.

Not only are Bamboobies really nice to wear, they really do work. Brilliantly. I’ve not had a single leak from them, they wash really well and dry quite quickly, which is so important when you need to get on with using them again. I’ve worn them at work (which means that I was away from Monkey all day and not feeding him between 7am – 7pm) and they didn’t leak once. I’ve also worn them overnight, a time that is usually very leaky for me – but, again, no leaks. I really love these pads and they’re working very well for me!

At the moment, Bamboobies aren’t on general release, but if you’re interested in them – drop Ailsa at Bambooty a line at ailsa@bambootyrealnappies.co.uk

daisytheclothbummum was sent two pairs of Bamboobies for the purpose of this review. I received no payment and all words, thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Breastfeeding a Toddler

As those of you who read my blog a bit might know, I’ve mentioned our breastfeeding journey quite a bit. Actually – I just put ‘breastfeeding’ into the search function on my blog and found more posts than I realised I’d done! It made me smile to re-read them as the fact that we’re still going is something that still astounds me, considering what a tough start we had.

Well over 17 months on, and we don’t have any plans of giving up quite yet. Little Monkey is a very happy, confident and independent little chappy who is now down to just his morning and evening feeds (plus a little snack overnight, if he feels like it!). It’s working really well for us and there’s absolutely no faff at all with bottles (the idea of all that washing, etc, makes me shudder!)

I recently came across this fantastic picture in www.alphaparent.com which I found both informative and fascinating. There’s also a similar picture relating to a breastfed baby. Although my little Monkey has had a few small coughs/sneezes, he’s a pretty robust little chap. When he does get a cough/cold it disappears pretty quickly, which is brilliant and the only infection he’s had so far in his little life has been from a cut on his finger. No ear infections, no nasty chest infections – none of those nasties yet! It’s great and hopefully this trend will continue! Now, this could be just the way that he’s made. He could just be one of those babies who is naturally quite robust, but from what I’ve read it does seem as if the breastmilk is really benefitting him by adapting to his needs and giving him immunity when and where it’s needed. Bonus!

I’ve discovered that people have their own, very varied, opinions on the subject of how my little man is fed (which always amuses me when it’s not so positive as I’m sure they’d have nothing to say if he had a bottle of formula or cow’s milk in his mouth…) It ranges from some wonderfully supportive people down to people who are adamant (and sometimes fairly rude) that I should have stopped and that it’s just plain strange.

Hmmm…. Strange that a 17 month old is being breastfed? Really? I would argue that it’s most natural thing in the world and why would I move my baby onto milk that isn’t specifically tailored for him? Milk that doesn’t adapt to what his immune system needs. Milk that (for him) doesn’t give him the fat content necessary (his oat milk just isn’t calorific enough, according to his nutritionist, and he refuses to drink the prescription formula).

Breastfeeding a toddler is a very different experience from a teeny little one, but…and it’s a big BUT… for the Mummy who chooses to do it, it’s a very natural progression that isn’t really a big deal at all.

However, it’s one hell of a lot more athletic and I have to say it does try my patience at times when I’m being climbed all over and when he thinks that breastfeeding upside down or sideways is a good idea. That can hurt! But, it’s usually very comfortable and I know that when he does self-wean that I’ll miss those cuddles – but there will be so many others that it’ll only be a fleeting loss.

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Toddler Tastic!

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Wow. I’ve been looking back at the blog and over the past few weeks I’ve noticed something – I’m doing an awful lot of reviews and not a lot of rambling posts! That’s not like me at all… Those who know me are probably laughing and nodding their heads in agreement, but it’s quite unusual for me to pass up on the opportunity to waffle on and on – but that’s what I’ve been doing.

So, there’s a good reason (or a hundred) as to why I’ve not been regaling you with snippets of my life recently. The main one is work. Work, work, work! I’ve been (and still am) very busy and just haven’t really had the time. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job, but it’s been quite hard to step back and take the time to do things like this. Like, right now – I know there’s a million things that I should/could be doing but I’ve given myself five minutes grace! Cup of coffee and a biscuit at my side and a computer to type away on and ramble – job’s a good ‘un!

Then there’s been all the amazing donations that I’ve been receiving (and still am receiving) for the nappy library/ demo kit that I’ve been setting up. People have been fantastic and I really can’t thank them enough, but with all donations (especially from companies) I obviously am doing reviews for them. That’s only fair and a great way to show people who read this blog just how many wonderful different types and brands of nappies there are.

So, I’ve got a whole host of reviews already written, a fair few in the pipeline and quite a lot more still to come. Phew!

But, nappies aside for a moment – back to blogging about life.
Life is good!
Life is busy!
Life with a toddler is hectic!
Life with a CLIMBING toddler is quite frankly a pain in the backside!!!

Oh dear god, he doesn’t stop! He’s up on everything, almost falling off everything and generally being a little monster. I think it might be time for a renaming of Master Monkey Clothbum to little Master Monster.

He constantly has a massive cheeky grin on his face, is babbling away non-stop and I know when he’s being naughty as he goes very quiet and looks around all the time to see if he’s being watched, which is rather amusing. One of my brothers used to whistle whenever he was doing something he shouldn’t, which was always hilarious, and I think that Monster is going to end up with a similar tell as he’s also started making this funny whistling sound when he’s focusing on things that he knows are not allowed. It’s hilarious!

With this new found sense of self developing, he’s also becoming more determined which is leading to some interesting little stand offs. We’ve had a few tempers where he throws himself backwards onto the floor, quite a few sittings in the corner and howling and general determined attempts to stamp his mark on things and do it his way. It’s actually very interesting to observe but quite tough, at times, to remain cool and gently but firmly stand our ground or distract him (whichever happens to be the most appropriate at the time).

I’m also finding that he’s now nursing more like a newborn again at night, which is a bit sore at times. I’m sure it’s because he’s teething but part of me is wondering whether it’s because he likes the comfort and as he’s pretty much self-weaned during the day, that he wants it at night.

If any of you have carried on breastfeeding a toddler, did you find they upped their nursing at all? What tips could you give to others like myself who are newbies to nursing a toddler?
They’d be very much appreciated!

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World Breastfeeding Week

This week, August 1-7 2012, is World Breastfeeding Week and I thought that I really shouldn’t let it go by without putting up a blogpost. Raising awareness of the benefits and ease of breastfeeding is something that I believe in very strongly nowadays and if I can do my little bit, then I’ll do my best!

Although I knew I always wanted to breastfeed, I wasn’t really that clued up on it. I know that sounds silly – you just pop the baby on and it feeds, right? I found, initially, feeding rather tough as we had an undiagnosed tongue tie which really affected my Monkey’s latch and, therefore, my supply – as he wasn’t stimulating it enough.

But I was lucky – really lucky. My local breastfeeding supporters (plus some very good friends, including one who is training up in bf peer support) really helped me, got me the information and support that I needed and my son got his frenulum divided (the bit under the tongue that can be too tight). It made a whole world of difference. We could feed properly and he is now, after a rocky start, an exclusively breastfed baby.

Now that we’re about to reach his first birthday, I’ve had a few comments made about ‘well, he’ll be moving onto normal milk soon’. Now. Um…. normal milk? I don’t want to get into any arguments here, but surely ‘normal’ milk for babies is breastmilk and not milk from a cow? The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend breastfeeding to two years and beyond, which is something that (I have to be honest) I didn’t know when I first became a Mum and I’m sure that many other Mums don’t know that either.

So, why is choosing to breastfeed your crawler/toddler one of those things that courts potential controversy? In our society it’s becoming far more acceptable to breastfeed a teeny little baby in public, which is something that has to be applauded – but if someone is to do the same with an older baby, it’s not as socially acceptable as it should be. The fantastic thing about something like World Breastfeeding Week is that it raises awareness of breastfeeding in general and will, hopefully, get people more aware of just how wonderful feeding your baby/toddler is.

I would never dream of walking over to a formula-feeding mother and give her my point of view on her giving her toddler/young child a drink in that manner as it really isn’t my place to do so. How you choose to feed your baby is up to you but I’m obviously rather biased when I say that being able to have your baby snuggle into you and have a feed from you is a wonderful feeling. It really is! I find it a remarkably relaxing, calm moment in our otherwise busy day and I can feel him utterly relax against me. It’s lovely.

It’s also an amazing soothing aid and seems to really calm little ones down if they’ve hurt themselves or aren’t feeling well. Doctors thoroughly recommend breastfeeding babies straight after they’ve have any injections as it really helps to soothe them. I’m not going to talk too much about the obvious biological benefits to breastfeeding in this post, but what I find amazing is that breastmilk cannot be replicated synthetically in any way. Formulas just don’t come close (which they do state on their packaging). Scientists are discovering more and more about this wonderful liquid gold and I love the fact that if I’m ill, my milk helps to provide my little one with immunity against the bugs I have. Clever stuff!

If someone had told me before I had my little boy that I’d still be breastfeeding a year later, with no plans of stopping in the near future – I don’t think I would have believed them. But, with breastfeeding I’ve found the key to it all is to just relax. Don’t set yourself a goal past the next day! When your baby is small, I’m not going to lie – they will pretty much feed most of the time. You’ll feel, somedays, like the little sweetie has never actually unlatched itself from you and I know that many women find that rather hard. But, those days pass (I promise) and it does get easier. There will also be nights where your baby will feed, feed, FEED. Growth spurts are normal and babies just want to suckle a lot. This will help your milk to come in more and the baby is trying to up your supply. I wish I’d known that at first! It made a lot of sense to me when I found out about it from a friend.

But, now – my little nearly toddler is an absolute pro. He’s actually amazing to watch! I know a few mums who have found it hard when their babies started to slap/hit their breasts and twiddle their nipples. The thing that I’ve found is that the baby knows what they want (milk) and how to get it working for them. Slapping/hitting is obviously to be discouraged but in the context of breastfeeding, the baby is often trying to get the flow of the milk altered in some way (often to quicken the flow) and my little man will use his hands to get the flow that he requires. Babies are generally not being naughty when doing this, but a gentle hand to move them away when they get overenthusiastic is sometimes a good (and necessary) thing!

Apart from his morning and evening feeds, my little man is quite happy to go off to nursery and not have a feed from me during the day. I send in expressed milk, which he has in his meals and as a drink, but he often prefers water and waits until he gets home to Mummy and his boobs! So, stopping breastfeeding before you go back to work after maternity leave is something that I’ve found isn’t necessary. A good breast pump and somewhere at work to pump/store milk (your employer should help you with this) is all that’s needed.

When I’m with Monkey during the day he’ll often come over and have a feed. This could be before he has a nap or just because he wants one during the middle of a play session. He’s now remarkably efficient and a feed generally will take less than ten minutes, unless he’s using me to soothe himself and/or is nodding off in my arms. It’s so much less of a faff than messing around with bottles, boiling up a kettle, etc, etc (we can’t use cartons as our little one is lactose intolerant, so each feed has to be made on demand if we were to use formula). I love how easy and mess free it is!

So – hurrah for breastfeeding and hurrah for World Breastfeeding Week. At the end of the day, we all have a choice of how we feed our babies but at least with weeks like this, awareness can be raised that it’s a brilliant way to feed your baby, a fantastic lifestyle choice (you can do it anywhere and it requires no extra bits and bobs) and a brilliant financial decision (it’s FREEEEEEE!). So – go on. Spread the word!

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How to make life easier for a breastfeeding, working mum!

For the past nine months, me and my little Monkey have gone everywhere together. Done everything together. Not been apart for more than a few hours.

But now I’m back at work, albeit part-time, I have a new baby.

This new baby is going to be taking his place. Going everywhere with me. I can’t bear the idea of being apart from it and it’s very expensive, just like Monkey. I’m taking such great care of it, treating it with TLC and staring at it in amazement…

Can you guess what my new baby is yet?

It’s my new breast pump!

Yup! I’m actually passionate about a thing that turns me into a human milking machine, with a lovely sound that is reminiscent of cows linked up to a pumping station. Hmmmm!

I’ve had great fun with breastpumps during the past nine months. I initially bought a Tommy Tippee Closer to Nature one, but I just couldn’t get anything out with it at all. I put that down to my rubbish milk supply, but I decided that I had to try another one. So I got their manual pump – which was actually a bit better, but utterly killed my hand.

That wasn’t going to cut it and hand expressing wasn’t really an option either. I’ve, in the past, broken my wrists several times and they’re rather weak now, so hand expressing would have been quite painful for me after a while.

After doing quite a lot of research I invested in a Medela Swing pump. This also coincided with my milk supply increasing, due to wonderful lactation specialists. I was getting far more and I felt much more confident with using this pump. It’s not too loud (most of them make a fair amount of noise) and I like the fact that it packs down small so I can put it out of the way. So, that one was working brilliantly.

At the same time, I also got lent an Ameda hospital grade pump by the local breastfeeding support ladies, which was great. It was a double pump and I got a lot out with it, but I just preferred the Medela. Not quite sure why, as actually the Ameda is a closed system, which means that there’s no risk of milk going up the air tubes at all whilst you’re pumping. The Medela just seemed to suit my breast shape better and felt more comfy for me.

As I was going back to work, I realised that my single pump just wasn’t going to be enough for me to be able to pump efficiently during my breaks. I have a short morning break of about twenty minutes and a longer lunch break. So, if I was pumping both breasts using a single pump, I just wouldn’t get a pumping session in during the morning break.

So, I looked into the options that I had for buying a double pump. My goodness, they’re an expensive lot! The ones that I could see that I liked the look of were:

Medela Freestyle,
Medela Pump in Style,
Ameda Lactaline,
Ardo Calypso

I discounted the Ameda as I hadn’t really got on with the one that I’d been lent and really liked the look of the Ardo. It’s a great, fairly inexpensive single pump (about the same price as a Medela Swing) but it has the fantastic option of adding on a double pumpset for only about £20 more. But I couldn’t find one anywhere, and then I realised that I had an awful lot of Medela stuff already (bottles, etc) from having a Swing.

So, my decision was between the Freestyle or the Pump In Style. To be honest, I was going to go for the Pump In Style, as size isn’t really an issue for me (the Freestyle is much smaller), but I found a fab bargain online that brought the Freestyle down to almost the same price as the other one, so my decision was made.

I’ve been treating the pump a little reverently as it really isn’t a cheap buy. Bless my mum for helping me out (she gave me money towards it as my birthday pressie – yes, an odd but necessary choice of gift, I know!) I have to say that it’s absolutely brilliant.

It has a belt that you can clip the pump onto and a (slightly fiddly) hands-free system that you clip to your bra, so that you can do other things (like, ahem, blog!) whilst you’re pumping away. I’ve invested in a PumpEase handsfree pumping support, which is fantastic and makes me feel much more secure than using the Medela clips. I just can’t quite get the hang of them yet. It’s like a stretchy bandeau that you fasten up at the front like a bra. It has slits where you put the funnels in and it helps to hold it all in place. Very simple, yet very effective. The only thing about it that I don’t like is that it doesn’t have the option of adding bra straps, just to make it feel even more secure. I may adapt mine at some point and use some straps from my multiway bras. There are other pumping support bras that you can get but I liked the look of this one.

So, yes, I can walk around the house or sit at work, looking VERY strange, but it’s a great feeling to know that on the days where I’m not with Monkey, that I can pump and store milk quickly and effectively for him. The Freestyle even comes with a milk storage bag that has a moulded icepack inside it to keep the milk cool, as well as a quite stylish black bag that it all goes into. You wouldn’t know what was in it at all – which is great!

I’m glad that I’ve ticked this potential problem off my list. My work has organised somewhere quiet, private and lockable where I can go and pump, which is great. I know of some people who have been asked to go and pump in the toilet – how horrible is that? I can’t imagine of anything less hygenic – how could I possibly give my baby milk after I’d pumped it in there. Yuck!

By the way – this post isn’t a review where I’ve been sent anything. I bought the pump and all the bits and bobs out of mine (and my mum’s) money. I just wanted to share what I’ve found out, hopefully to help anyone else who’s stuck with this dilemma. I can honestly say that I’m totally happy with my decision and I love the fact that the pump can be charged up and then used as a cordless one. That makes everything just that much simpler.

I’ve been back at work a couple of weeks, now, and I have to say that the pump is brilliant and really efficient. I’ve been able to get both boobs done very quickly (whilst doing other jobs!!!) and the little bottle storage system is really good and very discreet for putting into the fridge. The only problem I’ve encountered is forgetting the icepack section once in the morning, but I may invest in a second that I can leave at work as a spare.

So far…so good!

Apologies for the photo – all my pump parts are currently in the steriliser!

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Sharing time: Timeline of a breastfed baby

http://www.thealphaparent.com/2011/12/timeline-of-breastfed-baby.html?m=1

I just found this online and it’s brilliant! Thought I should share.

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