Friday, August 31, 2012

baby noms: lentils!

this yummy puree could easily be made with veggie stock for vegetarian babies. it is good on it's own or mixed in with very tender meat and veg for babies who are ready to start exploring more adventurous textures.

this recipe was inspired by one i found at family feedbag.



1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 medium onion, diced
1/2 medium carrot, diced
1/2 medium sweet potato, diced
3/4 cup brown lentils
2.5 cup of chicken stock


  • heat oil in pan and sauté carrot and onion until soft
  • add lentils, stock, and sweet potato and bring to boil
  • lower heat and simmer until lentils are tender (approx 45 mins)
  • puree in blender

arty loves this one, and enjoys it even more when it's mixed with a tablespoon of natural yoghurt.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

the final straw

i find i am literally shaking with fury and indignation after reading this article about an educator from the australian breastfeeding association (aba) telling expectant parents at an information seminar that giving your baby formula is comparable to giving them AIDS. read the article. you'll be astonished at the complete failure of logic that this cretin applies in her clumsy, dangerous, and entirely erroneous metaphor.

i joined the aba on the advice of friends who had found the organisation supportive and useful in the past. s-j and i attended one of their information sessions before arty was born, and at the time we felt uneasy about some of the information given and withheld by the educators. formula wasn't mentioned, but the educators took a very hard line stance on breastmilk taken direct from the breast being the only legitimate way to feed a baby.

the more encounters i had with this group, the deeper my uneasiness became. the smug and exclusive privileging of this way of nourishing babies over all others didn't sit well with me, and it was all-pervasive in their literature and online presence.

when i finally had arthur, and was having trouble with breastfeeding, i didn't call their helpline because i feared judgement. i felt that because i had had a ceasarian, and had resorted to bottle-feeding him expressed breasmilk in the early days of his life, i would be blamed for the difficulties we were having, and i wasn't able to deal with that possibility. and more than anything, i didn't trust that i would be given unbiased and honest advice that took all the complexities of my personal situation into account.

the aba are a group characterized by what can only be described as a kind of fanaticism. a dogmatic adherence to "breast is best", and a refusal to acknowledge that breast isn't always best for everyone. and what this 'educator' visited on the people that trusted her for advice was nothing short of emotional terrorism.

parents go to the aba looking for support and advice at a time in their lives when they are likely be feeling extremely vulnerable, unsure of themselves, and emotional due to the perfect storm of hormones, sleep deprivation, and complete life upheaval that is new parenthood. to be given this kind of manipulative, and frankly false advice is an appalling abuse of power.

new parents question every single decision we make, and we agonise over doing what's really and truly right for our babies. we experience crises of confidence all the time, and we do a perfectly good job of making ourselves feel guilty about things we may or may not have done wrong without faux-experts lying to us about poisoning and killing our babies.

i want parents to understand that the aba is an interest group with an agenda, and a retail arm that profits from the sale of breastfeeding products. they are not doctors or health practitioners, and the advice that they give should not be taken as if they were.

while breastmilk is great for babies, and people who want to and can breastfeed should absolutely be given all the support they require, forcing it when it is not working is far more dangerous than resorting to formula, and demonizing parents who do not breastfeed is helpful to nobody.

this has been the final straw for me with the aba. i will be returning my membership pack as an act of protest.

Friday, August 24, 2012

baby noms: fruit oat breakfast

this brekky is full of vitamins and minerals, and it's delicious!

fruit oat breakfast


1/2 a sweet apple, cored, peeled and diced
4 tbsp oats
1/2 cup of milk
10 blueberries
1/2 banana
2 tbsp yoghurt


  • place oats, apples, and milk in a saucepan
  • bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring until oats and apple are tender
  • place in blender, add banana, blueberries and yoghurt, and puree until smooth

you can adjust the consistency by adding more yoghurt if you find this is too thick for your baby.

a yummy variation is to sub out the blueberries for half a punnet of raspberries. they have quite a lot of seeds, so for smaller babies, place them in a small saucepan, with a few tablespoons of water, bring them to the boil, remove them from the heat, allow them to cool a little, then pass them through a fine sieve or tea strainer, pressing with the back of a spoon. you'll get all the lovely colour and flavour without the seeds.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

five things that have surprised me about being a parent

  1. how willing i would be to catch someone else's vomit in my hands. seriously - i don't even give it a second thought before lunging out, hands cupped.
  2. how little i would be grossed out by dealing with someone else's poo on a daily basis. i won't say i don't wrinkle up my nose from time to time, but on the whole, i'm just not that fazed.
  3. how all pervasive the presence of this person is in my consciousness. he's even in all my dreams these days. no plans, however distant, are made without taking him into account. he's my first thought in everything.
  4. how little sleep i truly can survive on. sure, i go about the day in a daze sometimes, my short term memory is practically non-existant, and i lose my phone/keys/wallet/mind about thirteen times a day, but i'm alive, and this isn't as impossible as i worried it'd be.
  5. how willing i'd be to do stupid shit just to make him smile. it doesn't matter if we're in a busy cafe or crowded supermarket, i'll do a silly dance, sing a song, try for the world gurning title - i'll do whatever makes him crack a grin. and for a giggle i'd even do the splits.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

chamomile and peppermint

poor arty has been pretty crook for the last day or so. he is having a rough time with teething, and it's making him very sad. he had a fever, and was having trouble keeping food down, and wasn't managing to keep paracetamol down either.
because of the fever and vomiting, we were starting to worry that he was getting dehydrated, so in an attempt to get fluids and pain killers into him, we tried a combination of organic chamomile and peppermint teas with his liquid parcetamol mixed in.

the water was lukewarm for easy absorption, and he was thirsty, so he drank it willingly. i think he also liked it because the peppermint refreshed his mouth after vomiting.
the paracetamol got his fever under control, which was a relief as fevers in babies are always a concern.
he was able to keep this mix down when formula was too much to process, and i think it helped soothe his tummy, relax him, and avoid dehydration.

the little bear is still not himself, but he's managed to eat some solids and take a few formula bottles, so he's definitely improving. hopefully he'll be more himself once these teeth finally break through...

disclaimer in case of silly gits: i am not a doctor or qualified health practitioner, and take no responsibility for the consequences if you try this yourself. this post is intended only as a way of sharing personal experience, and should not replace qualified medical advice.

Monday, August 20, 2012

dear arthur: seven months

dearest arty-bear,

today you are seven months old, but you are far too distracted to celebrate. you are working on sprouting your third and fourth (an possibly fifth?) tooth, and they are making you pretty miserable. your cheeks are rosy, you're off your food, and you're throwing up from time to time. you are grizzly and sad, having restless sleeps, and it is very hard for you. it's hard for us too, because we wish we could make it less painful for you, but all we can do is cuddle you, distract you as much as we can, and apply bonjela and baby panadol as often as is reasonable.

your biggest achievement this month has been learning to sit up! in the space of about a week you went from balancing precariously on your bottom in a very wobbly manner, to perching quite happily on your own for extended periods. you still topple over from time to time (usually if you are distracted by a toy or one of the cats), but you've pretty much mastered this skill, and we are so, so proud of you!

you went on your first plane trip this month. we went to visit your mummy's family over in perth. it was a big flight, and you handled it so well. you slept through the takeoff, and you were so patient the whole time.

you seemed to like perth. you definitely had fun hanging out with your nana, poppy, uncles, aunties, and cousins. you had some trouble with day napping, because you are used to napping in your hammock and we couldn't bring it along, but you slept very well in your camp-cot at night. you loved the fish-tank-wall at nana an poppy's house, and the way your voice echoed around their house when you squawked. i think you'll enjoy visiting there, and as you have proved yourself to be a great baby to travel with, we will not worry about making lots of future visits.

consonants are making their way into your vocal repertoire, and you have started doing some great babbling this month. you say "bababa" "mamamama" "dadadada" "beeblaba" "glahglah" and other cute little proto-words. you're yet to attach "mamama" to us reliably - at this stage you're just practicing the sound - but it's awesome to hear what it will sound like when you do start calling for us specifically.

your little buddy wolfram tured one this week, so you attended your first kid's birthday party. lots of your favourite people were there, including wolf's mummy and daddy, katie, chris, and tom, so you enjoyed their company. you were fascinated by the balloons, and all the people, but you got a bit of a fright and had a cry when everyone said "hip-hip hooray!" for wolf.

yesterday you had your first experience of 'finger food'. we gave you some very soft and well cooked potato. you liked grabbing it in your fists and exploring the texture of it, and some bits made it into your mouth. we will definitely have to practice this a lot more before it becomes your main method of eating, though. fun!

you continue to be our bright, bubbly, beautiful, boy, and we continue to be surprised and delighted by you. being your mama is the absolue best, and i feel so grateful and privileged that it is my job.

i love you, my little man!
mama xxx

Friday, August 17, 2012

baby noms: edamame and peas

edamamae are so good for babies - they're full of protein, fibre, and folate. this is a simple recipe, making a lovely bright green puree, so it's both visually appealing and tasty.

peas and edamame


3 tbsp baby peas (frozen is fine!)
3 tbsp edamame beans (these can be purchased from asian grocery stores)
1 tbsp cottage cheese

  • lightly steam edamame and peas until tender
  • transfer to blender, add cottage cheese, and puree until smooth

fresh and delicious!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

something to aspire to

i recently came across these words from the poet and philosopher kahlil gibran:

"your children are not your children.
they are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself.
they come through you but not from you,
and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

you may give them your love but not your thoughts,
for they have their own thoughts.
you may house their bodies but not their souls,
for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow 
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams..."

i hope i can always have the courage to be that parent, and in doing so, grant my son the freedom to be the person he was born to be.

Friday, August 10, 2012

baby noms: baby friendly stock

baby food should be tasty, so cooking basic ingredients in stock instead of water is a great idea. shop-bought stock is high in salt which little babies don't need, but luckily, it's very easy to make baby-friendly stock from scratch.

baby friendly chicken stock


3 carrots, roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped
1 onion, quartered
3 sticks of celery roughly chopped
2 chicken carcasses (you can buy these cheaply from your butcher or poultry supplier)
large handful of fresh herbs, stalks and all (i used rosemary, parsley, sage, and oregano because it was what was in my garden at the time. if you don't grow your own herbs, just buy a bunch of continental parsley.)


  • place all ingredients in a large stock pot, and cover with water
  • bring to boil
  • reduce to low heat, and simmer for four hours, skimming off any froth from time to time
  • drain and reserve liquid, and discard vegetables, carcasses and herbs
  • freeze in 1 cup quantities so it's easy to defrost the amount you want when you need it.

this stock takes time to cook, but actually doesn't require a lot of effort, so it's an easy one to put on and just leave. plus, it makes quite a bit so you don't need to do it very often, and you can always have a supply in your freezer.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

a tattoo for arty

my mother's day present from arty and s-j was a new tattoo. one especially for arty.

the bird is a finch, because he is named after atticus finch, and he is wearing a crown because he is also named after king arthur.
this blog is now called 'the crowned finch' and that's why.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

baby noms: banana yoghurt breakfast

so, i thought i'd share some of the different things that arty enjoys eating here.
we're enjoying our exploration of solids, and some flavour combos are turning out to be real hits.

here's a breakfast that went down very well the other day.

banana yoghurt breakfast


1/2 a large ripe banana
2 large dessert spoons of natural yoghurt (you could use sheep's milk yoghurt if your baby is dairy intolerant)
2 tablespoons rice cereal
milk, formula or breastmilk to alter consistency.


  • mash up banana to a smooth paste.
  • stir in yoghurt and rice cereal til combined.
  • now add enough milk, formola, or breastmilk to make the paste into a consistency that your baby will like (arty doesn't like his too thick and sticky, but your might!)

the banana and cereal keep him filled up for longer, and it's good to know that he's getting the extra iron from the cereal, and all the great minerals and trace elements in the banana and yoghurt.