Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Pengelly Belly Toddler Snacks

Hi peeps,

One of Master P's favourite lunch time snacks is my mini savoury fritters. They are a great way of introducing different foods and textures. I've been asked to share the recipe.

The recipe makes about 20-25 small fritters which can be served warm or cold and are great for big people with a salad! They store well in the fridge for a day or two...that's if they last that long!

Ingredients
80g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
2 eggs
65ml whole milk
3tbsp tinned sweetcorn
1 finely chopped spring onion
1-2 slices of ham, chopped
Small handful of grated cheese
Little bit of black pepper

Method
Place the floor, baking powder, eggs and milk into a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the remainder of the ingredients and stir to combine.

Heat a large frying pan with a little olive oil and over a medium heat spoon heaped teaspoons of the mixture into the pan. No more than 4-5 fritters at a time. The fritters take about 2minutes each side. Place the cooked

fritters on a plate with a sheet of kitchen towel.




Serve warm or cold!

You can play around with the filling. Other things you could add include peas, chopped chicken, red pepper, sun blush tomatoes, pesto, broccoli....the possibilities are endless!

Enjoy!

xoxo

Saturday, 30 August 2014

The requested cashew, chicken and coconut curry recipe!

Hi everyone,

After a recent post of mine on FB to friends and family about our latest homemade supper, I had a barrage of requests for the recipe so I thought it would be easier to share it with you all at The Pengelly Belly. We use Quorn fillets to make it vegetarian. It is an adaptation of Bill Grangers Cashew and Chicken Curry.

So, to make the cashew, chicken and coconut curry you will need:

20g butter
1 large white onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves
1 large thumb of peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
1 large green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tbsps of mild curry powder
4 bashed cardamon pods
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tin of full fat coconut milk
2 tsps of sugar
150g of roasted cashew nuts, finely ground
1 large handful of freshly chopped coriander
2 tbsp of grated coconut or coconut flakes
4 large chicken breasts cut into chunks or Quorn fillets, defrosted and cut into chunks
1 handful of plump sultanas

Method:
Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy pan and add the onions and salt. Cook gently on a low heat until translucent.

Add the garlic, ginger, chilli, curry powder and cardamon pods, and cook for a further 2 minutes, whilst stirring.

Add the chicken or Quorn. You could also use a firm tofu as another vegetarian option. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the coconut milk, tomatoes, sultanas, cashew nuts and sugar and simmer, uncovered for 30minutes. Stir every now and then.

To serve, sprinkle over the fresh coriander and grated coconut. Serve with basmati rice and naan (and a cold beer or two). This recipe serves 4 (or two hungry adults and a baby!). You could add some sprouting broccoli or other vegetables to bulk it out if you like.

Bubbling away on a hot stove... 

Enjoy!

xoxox



Coming to the end of an eventful summer

Hello All,

I hope you have all had a fabulous summer. Autumn is just around the corner and I can feel it creeping upon us as the evenings start to pull in.

It's been a very eventful and long summer, of which I have very much enjoyed with Master P. Sadly it feels as if everything is coming to an end... the summer, the long warm days, spending time in the park with Master P and long weekends as a family... in two weeks time, I say goodbye to maternity leave and hello world of work. Where did I park my brain?

Tomorrow marks my full year off work. OMG. Where has the time gone?

Even more scarily, in 10 days time, Master P turns one.

ONE

Mr P and I have been parents for one whole year and have survived... and very much look forward to the years ahead. Once Master P has turned one I will probably do a reflective blog post as I really cannot believe how much can happen in one year let alone the astonishing development of a baby!

As new parents, we were a little bit daunted about taking a holiday within the first year of Master P's arrival. But we thought we all needed to have a break and go and take some time out. I've been to and fro from Cornwall to see the grandparents with Master P over the past 10 months but Mr P hadn't taken a break. We weren't keen on flying and wanted to stay in the UK and thought that it would be  great idea to go camping.

CAMPING?!?!?

Yes, camping. With a 10month old baby. Surely, how hard can it be? You can imagine the look on a lot of peoples faces when they asked if we were going away this summer to be presented with a response of, "yes, we are going camping. Yes, we are going camping with the baby."..."Are you mad?".

Now, for people who don't know us, here's the funny thing: I love camping and have spent many a night under canvas. On the other hand, in 14 years of being together I have never managed to convince the luxury holiday, home comfort lover that is my husband to go camping. We have only slept in a tent together once for one night, 10 miles from home, in the 14 years that we have been together. Camping and Mr P do not go together.

However, add a baby to the equation and a little bit of male parenting ego and all of a sudden it seems like a grand idea. I started to sow the seed about it being the way to go for our family holidays, reminiscing about all the times I used to camp with friends and family. "It's perfect for the little ones", I say, "All that fresh air, freedom, other kids... it will be brilliant!"...and chuck in some prompting from another family with a little one whom we plot to go away with in the future and suddenly husband turns into Ray Mears overnight and the whole family go on a tent and camping equipment expedition. Within two weeks of sewing the seed, we were proud owners of our new family tent!

I must admit, it's a pretty swish tent which should last us a good few years. We were very good and had a practice run of putting it up in the back garden and it just about fitted! We agreed one of us would be team leader and the other, the gofer, so as to prevent the whole tent erecting ending in divorce.

And off we went to sunny North Wales for a week.

We did have a motive for going to North Wales. We have very good friends who live in North Wales, by the coast, and if it all went wrong, we had an escape route, a dry house, a bed and a bath close to hand. But to our delight, we had a week of wall to wall sunshine with 30C temperatures.

We kept an eye on the weather forecast in the weeks leading up to the holiday and to be honest I was a little worried as the weather was so variable and there was a lot of rain. On the day that we left home, the weather was horrific. It rained so hard that Mr P and I couldn't hold a conversation in the car, let alone have the radio on and the average speed on the motorway was 40mph for 2 hours! There were several glances at each other as Master P slept soundly in the back of the car.

But luckily for us, as soon as we hit North Wales, there was not a drop on rain in sight.

So, I here you cry, how did you get on with camping with a baby?

Well, beforehand I did a lot of searching for small, family friendly campsites and we ended up staying at Plas Farm Camping and Caravan Park and it was idyllic. The pitches were roomy, the facilities were fantastic and what was even better was the addition of a campers kitchen where we had access to a kettle and a microwave (great for sterilising bottles). There were baby changing and washing facilities in the disabled washrooms for us of which we were given an access key. We also paid for an electrical hook up as we took a small electric cool box with us so that we could keep some essentials cool, even though the campsite does have fridges and freezers available for use in the campers kitchen.

When it came to putting the tent up, Master P was quite happy to watch us from the comfort of his pram with a snack, and when we took the tent down, he sat on the picnic rugs with toys and wasn't bothered at all (it might be slightly different now as he is crawling!).

Master P had his own little tent for sleeping in which was in one section of the big tent. It's great and it only weighs 2.5kg! We picked up a new one on Ebay for £30. When it arrived at home, we put it up in the lounge so that Master P could get used to it, then we moved it to his bedroom and used if for day time naps and then a few over night sleeps and he was fine. We picked up a Vango inflatable mattress to inside and also a Vango sleeping bag for babies.

I was quite worried about the temperature at night and what to dress Master P in. We did take one of our free Grobag room thermometers with us and I am glad we did! As we had such good weather, the tent was still 27C by 7pm which was normally Master P's bedtime, so we had to move bedtime back to 8.30pm and make sure he had an extra little nap at 5pm for 30mins. It didn't affect his routine and he would wake up between 6.30-7am each morning. So, he slept in a vest, a full length sleep suit and he was tucked up in the sleeping bag, but I didn't do the sides up as it was about 14C in the tent at night and the sleeping bag went down to lower temperatures. We did, however, place a light fleece blanket over the top of his little tent to keep some warm air in and it hung over the sides of his tent so he still had air circulating around him. It also acted as a blackout too. I was prepared for colder weather and took a fleece baby sleep suit too but we didn't need it.

When it came to milk and eating, luckily for us, Master P was down to two bottles per day by then, so he would have milk in the morning and milk before bed. We got into a really good routine of whoever was up first went to the campers kitchen, filled a flask of hot water to make a cup of tea back at the tent and heat the milk in the microwave. We took the pre made mini bottles of formula milk with us and they were so much easier. By the time Master P had had his milk and a little play in the tent, the other campers were up and about getting breakfast.

We took the chair part of his highchair with us which we actually bungee-cord to the picnic bench securely. Master P sat in his little chair, like Lord Muck, watching the world go by and waving and smiling at all the other campers. And as he is such a good eater, we never had a problem when it came to solids. We took some cereals and sultanas for him which he has at home and packed some other pre-made baby foods, but to be honest, Master P ate whatever we ate and I came home with more baby food!

Master P was so happy to be outside the tent on the picnic blankets, with some toys, watching everything that was going on around us. He kept a lot of other people amused too.

Not a moan, not a cry, not a whimper.... everyone on the site commented on how good Master P was, how they never heard him at night (he didn't cry at all) and how many lovely comments we got as parents for taking our 10month baby camping! And, to my surprise, Mr P asked if we could extend our trip and stay another night as he was having such a great time!

Would we do it again! Oh yes! We are already planning our trip away next year, abroad!

So, my top ten tips for camping with a baby:
1. Find a family friendly campsite with good facilities. They do exist. Give them a call and ask them what they have on site.
2. Take a small box of favourite toys.
3. Take plenty of layered clothing for the baby as its amazing how the temperature can change. Additional blankets are always a good idea as they can act as sunshades on the pram or extra layers if it gets cold at night.
4. You can never have too many nappies and wet wipes.
5. Review the area before you go and see what activities are available for wet/bad weather. Do you need to take any particular items with you like a pram shade if you plan to be outdoors a lot?
6. Take a well equipped first aid kit and include sun cream / insect repellent / Calpol.
7. If you are using formula milk, take the small pre made bottles of milk with you.
8. Take a good supply of dried goods and pre-made food for both you and the baby/toddler. Buy fresh goods little and often when camping. Think ahead about meal planning before you go away.
9. Accept that there will be a change in your daily routine. There is only one pace of life when camping so go with the flow.
10. Don't stress! Stay calm and relaxed and enjoy the experience.

And now as summer starts to fade, I've got two weeks left of my maternity leave which I intend to thoroughly enjoy with family and friends and also get ready for our sons first birthday, and his first birthday cake! So watch this space!

Take care,

Nic xoxoxoxo









Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Weaning, teething and personal development

Hi all,

Hope the sun has been shining wherever you are. Master P and I have been taking full opportunity of the recent sunny weather and have been out and about going to the park, having picnics and just generally having a great time.

Master P is NINE months old today. Can you believe it!? How'd that happen so quickly? Nine months in, nine months out! And boy, do I know he's been out for nine months! Bless.

Since the last post when Master P was just six months old, a lot has been going on. The development of babies in just three small months is fascinating! Literally on his sixth month anniversary, he rolled over for the first time... now he's sat up, taking full centre stage of the lounge with his toys, babbling, laughing, dancing. He zooms around the kitchen in his walker like he owns the place. He knows what things are; he has great coordination and can take things in and out of his toy boxes, he can roll around on the floor and turn a full 360 degrees, but he his too chilled for crawling just yet, though we can see certain subtle movements which indicate to us that it won't be long...quick, lock up your daughters, and more importantly, lock those kitchen cupboards as he knows where the food is!

Talking of food, that leads us nicely onto the topic of WEANING.

Oh my goodness. What an experience so far. I was really looking forward to starting Master P on solids, considering my family and I come from a real foodie background and I would like Master P to grow up the same, and enjoy food and what it means to us.

However, weaning is a minefield. There are so many schools of thought out there on how you should wean (or not wean) your babies, that it can cause a fairly hefty migraine. Nowadays, parents are advised not to start weaning there little ones until they are 6 months old, with the minimum starting age at 17 weeks as before this, the babies stomachs aren't ready to take on food.

Now, I am sure that all new parents out there would have been told by their older family members what happened to you as a baby, what happened to your cousin, your neighbours boy, the little kid down the road and in fact the whole world when it comes to solids. Everyone has an opinion on weaning and when to start and what to give babies. And believe you me, you will hear the phrase, "well, it didn't do you any harm!". Sigh.

The important thing to remember is that every baby is different and when they are ready, they will let you know in their own funny little ways.

So, what has our experience been like? Well, we started weaning just after 18 weeks. To be honest, it didn't help that I was getting conflicting information from health visitors about when to start, so we went off on our own backs and gave it a go. If Master P wasn't ready, we wouldn't rush him, and we would take a step back. He was at that stage knocking back 8-9oz bottles and clearly knew where his mouth was.

I read a few forums, websites and books in the lead up to getting ready to wean. In particular, I found the Annabel Karmel books very useful for ideas and potential weaning schedules.

The first step was offering a little something after his feed at breakfast. Everyone was telling us to start Master P off on baby rice. It didn't go down very well. I tried it after the first failed attempt and I can see why! It's like wall paper paste! Poor lad! I wouldn't feed Master P anything that I wouldn't eat, and I certainly won't be eating baby rice again!

We found that fruit purees where a major hit, with just a little spoon of baby porridge mixed in. The first purees we started with were apple and pear, or a combination of the two. He'd half an ice cube of puree with a little porridge and formula milk. I would wholly recommend buying silicone ice cube trays! I'd make up batches of puree, freeze them, and them decant into ziplock bags in the freezer. At that stage, two pureed apples and pears go a long way. And using a microwave makes the process of making purees so much quicker! Peel and core the fruit, chop, place in a microwave bowl with a little water, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes, then blitz. Job done!

In the early days, Master P was a really good eater and really enjoyed his puree at breakfast.

Overtime, we got more adventurous and moved onto the following purees for breakfast and a mid afternoon feed: carrot, sweet potato, butternut squash, parsnip, mango, strawberry and so on. We'd try various combinations of vegetables, fruit or fruit and vegetables (parsnip and apple is rather nice). Half an ice cube turned into one, two, three cubes... out went the porridge and in came Weetabix and Ready Brek with mashed banana and whole milk.

One meal became two and then became three, and before you know it, we are down to two bottles a day, breakfast and bed time. We do a combination of Baby Led Weaning where he sits in his high chair and he has finger food to explore and eat and being fed from a spoon at present. He is also the greatest food thief going and has no shame when it comes to scrounging food from other people.

MESS. You have to let go. Feeding a baby is messy. It is an obstacle that no house proud parent can avoid. Accept it. You will have a happier and more content bubba if you do. Just go with the flow. Whats the worst that can happen? At the end of day it can all be cleaned up / washed.

At nine months, it amazes me at what Master P will eat. Obviously we are sensible about what we give him, but we do try most things if he shows interest. He loves houmous and olives; will clear fresh fruit off his high chair table in a matter of moments (so much so that I am often searching the floor and high chair for it, only to realise that he has actually eaten it all); yoghurt, scrambled egg, dried apple rings, cottage pie, spaghetti bolognaise, cheese, curry, fish.... the list goes on. I make sure that his diet is healthy and full of variety.

But, there have been many an obstacle along the weaning route... and we still have a very long way to go! No one tells you about weaning and teething. Just when you think you have a good eater, they start to refuse food, refuse the bottle, fuss at every feed and generally turn into the devil. You panic as the little one hasn't eaten properly for a week or two, and then a pearly white appears in their mouth. Master P is generally a chilled and laid back little dude, apart from when he is teething and it is literally a Jekyll and Hyde moment. And you feel for them as there is not much that you can do.

We've tried Calpol, teething granules, teething toys, chilled cucumber sticks, chilled celery sticks, cold water, cold flannel...oh, what haven't we tried? He's quite happy to chew on one of my kitchen wooden spoons. So far we only have two front bottom teeth, but the top teeth have been on the move for some while, we are just waiting for their grand appearance any time soon.

Their taste buds are constantly evolving too. One week they might like something, the next they refuse it. Their appetite changes, just like ours. One day they may eat like a horse, and the next, they may just graze. As soon as Master P has had enough, the lips are clamped shut and food becomes more of a play object, so there is no worry of overfeeding. We also ensure that one of us sits with him when he eats, or that we time our breakfast and lunch to coincide with his so that we sit at the table as a family. It is important to encourage them to eat and also give them praise. It is easy to get frustrated if they refuse food that you have made as you feel that you have wasted your time cooking, but it does take time and patience and if a food is refused, take it away and try it again in a few days time. Apparently it can take several attempts for babies to accept some foods.

Then there is the worry about choking. Luckily we haven't experienced any choking yet as Master P has a good gag reflex but I am sure that there will be a time. Make sure you read up on what to do if your baby is choking.

I generally do batch cooking for Master P and fill the freezer with various little pots for him. I found these ones to be really good and reusable. I do label and date everything as well.

Once we moved away from the purees, I started to make small batches of mince with tomato sauce which had a gentle blitz in the food processor to begin with so it wasn't too textured. Cheese sauce is also a good one as you can add it to vegetables like cauliflower or to pasta, mashed potato or steamed white fish. Homemade rice pudding goes down a treat too, and I have to hide it from Mr P as he is quite partial to it too!

There are some good ready made baby foods out there too and there is no shame is using them. We do have some in the cupboard for emergencies and especially if I want to try Master P on something new I will tend to use a pouch of food first just to see how he gets on instead of turning into a slave in the kitchen because as busy parents, we do have a lot to do!

Master P does enjoy Ellas Kitchen Lamb Tagine, and we have just discovered the Organic Plum range and they do some tasty meals of which I have also sampled! We haven't tried any jar food though. I do read the labels and make sure that there are no hidden nasties, sugar or salt in his food. I must admit the organic baby food is really good and there is always a supermarket who is doing an offer.

The life of a baby is constantly changing, with new hurdles to over come and to adapt to. Just when you think you are getting into a good routine..Wham! All change!

It's never a dull day in the Pengelly household.

Have fun, you are all doing a great job.

See you soon,

Nic xx

xxx




Thursday, 27 March 2014

Got a little bit tongue-tied?

Well hello again!

Two posts in one week? You can tell that the little man is in bed and that Mr P is away!

Following on from my post yesterday, I've been meaning to write a post about tongue tie in babies and share our experience with Master P as it is something that we really struggled with, and something that we felt we didn't get a lot of support with. I am hoping that new parents find my honest and reflective post useful.

Tongue-tie, what is it? 
Tongue-tie is a problem that occurs in babies who have a tight piece of skin between the underside of their tongue and the floor of their mouth. Tongue-tie is a birth defect that affects 3-10% of newborn babies. It is more common in boys than girls. The medical name for tongue-tie is ankyloglossia, and the piece of skin joining the tongue to the base of the mouth is called the lingual frenulum.

Normally, the tongue is loosely attached to the base of the mouth with a piece of skin called the lingual frenulum. In babies with tongue-tie, this piece of skin is unusually short and tight, restricting the tongue’s movement. This prevents the baby from feeding properly and also causes problems for the mother.

To breastfeed successfully, the baby needs to latch on to both breast tissue and nipple, and the baby's tongue needs to cover the lower gum so the nipple is protected from damage. Babies with tongue-tie are not able to open their mouths wide enough to latch on to their mother's breast properly.

They tend to slide off the breast and chomp on the nipple with their gums. This is very painful and the mother's nipples can become sore, with ulcers and bleeding. Some babies feed poorly and get tired, but they soon become hungry and want to feed again. In most cases, these feeding difficulties mean the baby fails to gain much weight.

For more information, check out the NHS website.

Our story
To set the scene, Master P was born three weeks early as I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. Luckily,  I was able to have a natural birth. With the birth plan rapidly going out of the window, I was hoping that after delivery, our new arrival would be placed of my chest to breastfeed, allow the cord to finish pulsating and to deliver the placenta naturally. This went out the window as well. No sooner as our new arrival had been delivered, he was quickly taken from me and given to daddy as I suffered a substantial postpartum hemorrhage. 

It wasn't until a good few hours after he was born that Master P was returned to me to try to establish breastfeeding. During my pregnancy I was adamant that I wanted to breastfeed for as long as possible and had no worries about feeding in public. That's what my boobs were for, a source of nourishment for our baby. Plus you cannot avoid the constant bombardment of, 'you are going to breastfeed aren't you, breast is best!'... yes I know that! 

The first few days we couldn't get Master P to latch on. I had more midwives manually 'milk' me than I can remember, collecting precious drops of colostrum via a pipette to give to our new baby. 

We finally got Master P to latch on, but his weight had dropped substantially so we had to stay in hospital to allow him to regain weight, deal with his jaundice and allow me to have a blood transfusion. Due to his weight loss, we were advised to 'combination' feed him so we had to top him up with some formula after each feed. The midwives were happy with his latch by the end of the week after watching him feed. But I was still waiting for my milk to come in and I suffered with terrible cracked nipples. 

After a week in hospital, we were allowed home. I was suffering with anaemia which took me a good 6 weeks before I even remotely started to feel human again, and I was still combination feeding Master P. Each feed was taking an hour and a half as I was breastfeeding from both sides and then having to top Master P up with formula as he never seem satisfied with breastfeeding. I just got on with it and accepted it. 

The community midwives and health visitors were happy with viewing Master P's latch when they came to see me, yet I just didn't feel right. Something wasn't right. Call it maternal instinct, I don't know? I expressed my concern to the health visitor that I wasn't convinced that my milk had come in. I was told 'not to be silly dear, all women have milk and you can feed your baby'. Yet Master P would fuss at the boob, latch on, latch off, suck hard, fall asleep, get frustrated, cry and scream at me. 

Now, I don't have the biggest boobs in the world (as my dear father would say, more than a handful is a waste), and I had hoped that during pregnancy I might have grown in that department. They stayed the same. Nothing changed. Even after childbirth. I would hear other new mothers talk about 'the let down', waking with swollen and hard boobs, leaking all over the place, expressing and filling up a beaker with 2-6oz into 10minutes. I had nothing and experienced nothing. Whether this was related to the anaemia, I'll never know. 

Yet the health visitor ensured me that my milk would come in. I tried massage, lactation diets, eating this eating that, hot showers, drinking plenty of fluid, staying calm and relaxed, expressing between feeds to encourage supply. After 20 minutes of expressing, I would end up with 10ml.... I even went on a 'babymoon' with Master P and I hid away in the house for a few days for a nursing vacation! It ended up with both mummy and baby being very unhappy, mummy experiencing painful blanched nipples and both of us in tears. My baby was hungry. 

Whilst this was going on for 5 weeks, I spoke to several breastfeeding consultants over the phone, the midwives at the hospital and the health visitors, who all advised me to keep going and that everything was normal. Yet deep down, my instincts were still telling me different. 

I was desperate to breastfeed. I wanted to solely breastfeed Master P, yet we still had to top him up with formula after every feed. I felt like a failure and a prisoner in my own home as each feed was taking forever. 

I couldn't breastfeed my own baby. 

As a mother, that is one of the most awful and gut-wrenching emotion that I have ever felt. I started to dread Master P waking up. I started to resent having to feed him. I didn't feel the maternal bond when he was on my breast. I felt like a bad mother. I felt a failure. 

I was broken by the end of the fifth week. I don't think Mr P could cope with any more tears. We debated if we should go over completely to the bottle, though Master P, even on the bottle, would dribble and have problems feeding. The guilt about going over to the bottle was unbelievable. 

Enough was enough. I called in the cavalry and spoke with our local NCT lactation consultant who invited me to her house that very day to assess the situation. Within 15minutes of being there and watching us breastfeed, she informed me that Master P had posterior tongue-tie. This is why I was having blanched nipples; why my baby wasn't feeding from me. She recommend me to the feeding specialist at the hospital.

So, the next day we saw the feeding specialist who did a raft of tests on Master P and confirmed that he had quite a severe posterior tongue-tie which is why he wasn't feeding and why I had very sore nipples. Basically Master P's tongue was flat and couldn't reach forward to cup the nipple and he would just suck with his mouth.

Sadly, there was no-one at the Great Western Hospital who could perform the simple operation of snipping the frenulum and that the only other person in Wiltshire who was qualified couldn't take any more referrals. We were informed that the Ear, Nose and Throat Department in the hospital might do the procedure, but this was very unlikely as they weren't really familiar with the procedure and the impact on infant feeding. Not all NHS Hospitals offer this procedure. We were advised to go private if we wanted it dealt with and found a suitably qualified lactation consultant who could provide the support and carry out the procedure for us in our own home. We are now proud owners of the most expensive pair of surgical scissors which carried out the procedure...£180.00!

The lactation consultant came out to see us the following week, and carried out the procedure at our home. We were asked lots of questions about the pregnancy, the birth and what had been happening over the past 5 weeks. When it came to the procedure, Master P was swaddled and held by Mr P whilst the consultant did the quick snip on his tongue and Master P was placed straight on my boob as breastmilk is sterile and ideal for healing the cut. It was quick, and relatively painless. Master P was very good and didn't cry. The cut healed very quickly. Over the next few weeks we had to do various tongue exercises with Master P and encourage him to stick his tongue out. Basically, he had to relearn how to suck and latch on. 

The lactation consultant advised us to take Master P to a cranial osteopath as he had a tendency to favour the right side and we also discovered that his jaw was very tight which had an impact on feeding and latching. After a few sessions, Master P was 'realigned' and much happier and more comfortable with feeding.

After the procedure, I tried to carry on breastfeeding, but sadly, the milk wasn't there. We made the decision to go over to the bottle completely which for me, was a very hard decision. But at the end of the day, we needed a happy baby and a happy mummy. And now we have that, and I enjoy feeding Master P.  

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. If I knew what I knew now and could go back, I could have prevented a lot of stress, tears, and frustration. I wanted to share my experience with you as whilst I was going through this living nightmare in the first few precious months or our newborns life, I couldn't find much information on the internet of other peoples experiences. 

I asked for advice and help on some of the parenting websites and forums who all shunned me for combination feeding and even considering moving to the bottle completely. I felt unwelcome at my local breastfeeding group for having to combination feed as the bottle was 'sinful' and 'unnatural'. I was informed at the hospital that Master P didn't have tongue-tie. How was that missed? 

Last month, a very interesting article regarding tongue-tie, its recognition and support for parents was published on the BBC News website, after being raised as a significant issue by the NCT. 

And funnily enough, the more new mothers I speak to, the more stories of similar experiences I am uncovering. There seems to be a lot of us out there suffering in silence, and we shouldn't be. I do think that there is a gaping hole in the information given to parents at feeding workshops regarding problems that you could experience with feeding. 

Even though I still have a deep guilt embedded in me for having to bottle feed our son, and admire those women out there who are breastfeeding, we should never judge those who are bottle feeding babies as we do not know their circumstances. Clearly, breast is best where possible, but sadly it isn't always possible for every mother to do so. 

Go with your maternal instincts if you feel that something isn't right when it comes to feeding. Seek help and actually see in person, a lactation consultant. You should have someone in your area who can come and see you, either NCT or Le Leche League, and they don't charge. 

Stay strong. You are never alone. 

xxxx