fruits-and-vegetables

Weaning a baby with reflux

Weaning is such a complex issue for parents with children who suffer with a gastric disease and I have written posts about our experiences with reflux previously here and here. With my first born beauty, I was so excited to get her started on solid food when she was around 5 months old and I’d sit and plan what vegetable I was going to blend next with the same excitement I used to reserve for online shopping and spa days.

With Kian it was different. Because I knew he was struggling with his digestion, for both lactose intolerance problems and silent reflux, I was terrified of what I could and should feed him. At this point, the twins were around 5 months old and I hadn’t yet had an appointment with a dietician, but with lots of research online, in books, through friends and from trial and error, I learned what they could and couldn’t eat.

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If you already have a diagnosis for your child’s reflux and are about to enter the wonderful world of weaning, then you will notice certain reactions to certain foods and soon learn to avoid them. Most babies readily accept any first foods and I find that beginning with dairy free baby rice mixed with a baby’s own milk a great place to start. From there, I mixed in puréed pear or parsnip as I found these foods to be the only ones tolerable by my reflux babies at first as the acid in many others were too harsh for their digestion. From mixing them with baby rice, I then went on to giving the fruit and vegetables on their own, after they had begun to like the new flavours.

Another of the problems with weaning reflux babies can sometimes be an aversion to anything solid going into their mouths as a result of months of battling with their bottles. Kaira really struggled with the feeling of a spoon in her mouth and gagged a little for the first few weeks but with very gentle perseverance, eventually she got used to it. Giving her a spoon to suck on in between mouthfuls helped her gain a sense of control in the situation and provided a useful distraction.

Here’s what we learned:

  • Start with- pear, swede, potato, honeydew (yellow) melon, parsnip
  • Progress to – banana, broccoli, sweet potato, spinach, blueberry
  • Avoid – apple, raspberry, pineapple, strawberry, tomato, citrus fruit.

If you start with the above and give it at least 3 days before introducing a new food from each list, you’ll know what is causing any reactions (diarreah, crying, constipation etc) so you will know to eliminate that particular item from their diet (keeping a food diary could help with this too). I have to say that if you are beginning to wean a baby with suspected or diagnosed reflux, things will get easier. Kian didn’t manage to tolerate any of the food in the ‘Avoid’ category until he was around 10 months old, to give you an idea of how long it can take.

I still regret not noticing Kian’s symptoms when he ate some of the above sooner. I was giving him food with apple in and he would scream for hours, before I realised what was causing his pain. I hope I can help other parents avoid going through the misery I did while weaning reflux babies with this advice.

If you have bad experiences with bottle feeding caused by the disease, then I promise getting your baby/ies onto solids is a great step in the right direction! Please leave any questions or comments below or contact me direct from my ‘about’ page. I will write more about weaning including recipes and equipment in further blog posts.

* update – as a lovely friend of mine on Instagram reminded me after reading this post, some babies can react badly to cereal in their diet as it can cause constipation, which flairs reflux. If your child is constipated, it’s best to restrict cereal and stick to puréed fruit and vegetables alone until they’re older.

Love from Leyla

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Eating out with babies and toddlers – top 10 items to make life easier

We eat out quite a lot. I love to take the kids to family-friendly cafes where they can sit and people watch and I can feed them a meal that I don’t have to clean up after! They are pretty good, because they’re used to it now and will generally sit without much fuss until their meal is finished and then want to run around, which can be tricky unless we go to places that cater for kids.

As in the picture above, we find Ikea’s cafe to be one of the best. It’s well equipped with a microwave, bottle warmers and a play area and if like me you happen to be an Ikea Family Member, tea and coffee is free during the week so it’s a great place to let the kids have lunch and the grown ups can  have a hot drink while they’re at it.

It can be a tricky experience at times though and I’ve found certain items really help us so I wanted to share my top 10 here with you.

1. Tommy Tippee Antibacterial Wipes

I always carry a pack of these in my pram bag. They’re great for cleaning the table and highchairs before and after we’ve eaten because I never trust the dodgy looking cloths that staff rub over every surface carrying germs around with them! They’re suitable for dropped toys that need a quick wipe over too, although I wouldn’t trust them with dummies as is recommended on the packet, I would be too worried about the chemicals going into my little ones mouths!

2. Avent bottle warmer bag

This thermal bag is ideal for eating out at all stages with babies. I bought one when Ariana was a baby and still use it 4 years later! It can carry 2 freshly warmed bottles of milk (even the larger Dr Browns ones) so that wherever we went, my kids could drink their milk within the 2 hour guideline recommended by the Department of Health. Now they’re older, I can carry warmed food in a container inside the bag, which takes away any worries that the babies will need feeding if we’re out and about.

3. Water Wipes

I’ve mentioned these in a previous post because they’re brilliant for newborn bottoms and for wiping faces after a messy meal! I can’t leave home without a packet of these that are made from almost 100% water, so no harsh chemicals on my babies faces.

4. Fisher Price food warming flask

This is another essential for me. Not only does it keep water hot for hours that can be used to make fresh milk on the go, but it also has a large lid big enough to fill with the water and stand a bottle in to warm so that whenever you need a warm drink for your baby, you have the ability with this flask. It can also be used to warm food pouches when babies are weaning.

5. Munchkin disposable bibs

I always keep these in my bag too because I never know when I’m going to need them. They’re great to protect my little ones clothing and can be discarded after use so Im not carrying dirty bibs around with me for the rest of the day.

6. Mothercare feeding bowl with lid

I love this bowl because it comes with the lid means that I can fill it with the babies meal, warm it in the microwave, pop it on and keep it warm in the Avent insulated bag (as above) until the babies meal time. I’ve carried this with me to the park lots of times and after a fun play, sat them back in their pram and fed them while we’re still out. It really is handy!

7. Tommee Tippee spoons

I prefer to carry spoons around with me for the babies because I never know if cafe’s will have them readily available when we want to eat so a few of these popped into my bag really help. I like the size and shape of these by Tommee Tippee as the babies seem to handle them really well now that they are feeding themselves more.

8. Koodi Seat Me Safe

This packable highchair is so easy to fit wherever we go, I take it with me if we’re going somewhere new and I’m not sure if there will be enough highchairs for my twins! It folds up really small and it’s great for taking with us on holiday.

9. Ellas Kitchen pouches

These have made my life so much easier over the years. The contents are 100% organic so I never feel like my kids are having an unhealthy meal even if it is ready-made (it’s not every day we eat out anyway) and the pouch style allows them to squeeze the contents into their mouths at room temperature while we’re on the go. I keep them in my bag all the time so if we’re ever running late and they’re grouchy because meal time is approaching, I can give them a pouch and they will quite happily munch on them in their pram as we walk. The fruit pouches are brilliant for stirring into meals too and when I first start weaning the kids, I would stir the pear one into a lot of their meals to give them a sweetness, but my recipes for weaning are for another post!

10. Nuby sippy cups

I have a cupboard full of sippy cups that launch themselves at me every time I open the door, I have bought so many over the years that my husband groans when he sees a new one appear in our home. My favourite when we are eating out is the Nuby none-spill cup. The shape is so easy for my babies to grip and they don’t spill in my bag in transport. I always carry water with me for the babies wherever we go.

And that’s my list of essential items for eating out with babies and toddlers. Please comment below if there’s any items that could help us even more. I’m always looking for new ideas!

Love from Leyla