Rare Breed Meats and Cheeses

I’m currently snacking on a slice of roast Saddleback (the pig) from a meat box courtesy of Farmison.com; I’m not normally in the habit of chowing down on pork at all hours (no rude jokes, please) but I needed to cook the middle loin joint I received so roasted it alongside my meal this evening.

I don’t tend to buy pork (bacon being the exception to every rule) because I find it incredibly bland and dry. It doesn’t seem to matter how long you cook it — unlike cheaper cuts of lamb or beef which I can turn into delicious slow roasts — it seems to turn into a fibrous mulch in my mouth. Well, this Saddleback is certainly one exception… quick-roasted for juicy, tender meat and a nice layer of fat. Yum! I can only assume that this breed has certain properties that lend itself to a moister roast (the extra fat, I guess?)

The sausages in the box were equally delicious, and prompted no complaints from either Karl or Isabel who are both fussy about their saussies (usually preferring the cheap skinless fake sausages, as I’ve mentioned before); they also provided an easy swap for what should have been fish cakes in the week when I discovered my Dad (with us for a few days) didn’t like salmon.

I’ll swap out tomorrow’s planned ratatouille for the chicken and start October’s meal plan with a whole bunch of chicken-oriented leftovers (frugal food is the best sort). The other items in the box will finish the meal plan off nicely.

Farmison are a relatively new company supply award-winning organic and free range rare breed meats, cheeses and groceries from over 75 farms/producers to customers across the UK. See my meat box below:

Disclosure: although I received the Farmison box free, I was not asked to blog about it/review the contents – I offered.

Breastfeeding a tongue tied baby

Oliver turned 17 weeks yesterday – 4 months old. He had his tongue tie officially diagnosed and snipped a month today.

Immediately after the snip, there was a big improvement. Then it got worse, much worse. Then it started to improve again.

It still hurts (anything from minor discomfort to more uncomfortable pinching/rubbing) during around 50% of feeds. He still struggles to stay latched. He refuses to be fed in the cradle hold which makes feeding in public a pain in the butt. It also means I’m sat hunched over, which is agony on my back. Recently, he will only feed from the right hand side in the rugby hold (under my right arm) which makes the latch even more shallow unless I hold him and my breast very still.

I believe that his tongue tie has at least partially re-healed and that his lip tie contributes to the slipping off the boob.

But… we’re still going. He is still exclusively breastfed. His latch has improved, albeit not as much as I hoped it would. He is less gaggy, and using the tongue exercises we were given I can see he is able to take my finger further into his mouth; he’s getting better at pulling in with his tongue instead of pushing out. I am hoping this means we will see further improvements to the latch as time goes on and he adjusts to take more breast into the mouth (which allows the nipple to reach the soft palette which ensures pain free feeding).

I’m concerned that, unless the gagging/tongue thrust improves, he will have issues when we introduce solids at ~6 months, but that is 9 weeks off so things could be hugely different by then. I’m also concerned that my “choice” of feeding position is placing a lot of strain on my back, but I just don’t know where to go with this… placing him in the cradle position causes him to arch his back away, twist his head either deep into my arm or in the opposite direction. Some people recommend cranial osteopathy for post-TT division to resolve issues like this but I’m struggling to find any evidence that this is genuinely effective (I’m not a “woo”/homeopathy/alternative medicine sort of person).

It’s a good job I’m stubborn, though.

Demotivated

I know I’ve been a right miserable bugger lately and I promise that this will pass soon and I will be back to my normal … oh wait, no, that’s right, I’ve always been a miserable bugger :p

So what’s my moan about today? I just need to ramble on about how demotivated I am so that I can feel I’ve got it down somewhere, can kick myself up the arse and get on with things.

CAKE-FEST 2012 last weekend, and a last minute family visit this week, both mean that I’m behind in emails, blog posts, work etc. And yet here I am, having finally got poorly Oliver to go to sleep without being attached to a nipple for this first time all day, and am I doing something constructive? No, I’m sat here feeling sorry for myself and eating chocolate.

Like I said earlier this month, I think the realities of working from home are catching up with me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still really excited about this opportunity and have guaranteed work for the next 6 weeks with the potential for another big project to come after that; in fact I’m nearly in a position where I’m going to have to turn down work.

WAHMweb is a couple of articles off being ready for launch and my niche blogs are being suitably abandoned so plenty to get on with, but it’s hard going without the office banter and regular hot coffees. I talk to Oliver all day but have to say, the conversation is not up to much yet.

Oh well, at least I’ve got some interesting things to blog about coming up – received a nice package from Farmison yesterday, including some rare breed meat. Om nom nom.

Boring

Cook, clean, nurse the baby, sleep, code, clean, cook, herd the toddler, more cleaning, more nursing.

Am I allowed to talk about how monotonous my life is right now or is that breaking one of the unwritten parenting rules? I’m either sat at my computer or behind a pan on the cooker top.

I need a hobby that doesn’t involve sitting at my computer and is easy enough to do with a young, nursing baby.

5 things having a second child has taught me about parenting

1. Having your first child doesn’t teach you everything there is to know about parenting, it just teaches you about parenting THAT child… and even then, when you think you’ve got a handle on things and know what you’re doing, they go and have a developmental leap or change tactics and put you right back to square one.

2. The mythical self-settling baby DOES exist(!) but just because they do it once doesn’t mean they’ll want to do it again. And then when you lose hope of them doing it again, they’ll do it at a really inconvenient moment (e.g. when you put them down to change their poopy nappy).

3. Children like to drop naps when you’re doing really important stuff like, oh, I don’t know, branching out on your own or… releasing a mega important website.

4. Having 2 children is not twice as hard as having 1 child. Some days it’s only a little bit harder. Some days it’s mental torture. But mostly just a little bit harder. (I am waiting for the days they can entertain each other…)

5. As much as I like to think I’m shaping my babies with my every word/touch/action, personality is a bigger factor than I ever realised. Same parents, same boobs, same cuddles == still equals different babies.

LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre family ticket giveaway

Having recently talked about how Lego is my exception to the “no plastic” rule I am thrilled to be offer my readers a chance to win a free family ticket to LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre in Manchester.

legoland ride

The LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre, based at The Trafford Centre in Manchester, has a variety of attractions including a LEGO® factory “where you’ll see how raw plastic is turned into finished bricks” and the LEGO® Construction Site soft play area. They cater for school groups and birthday parties as well as offering a variety of offers on tickets for parents and toddlers, online purchases etc.

To enter for a chance to win a family ticket (for max of two adults, two children), leave a comment on this entry then register your entry with the Rafflecopter widget below. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can earn a variety of other entries through facebook and twitter to increase your chances of winning (but these aren’t compulsory).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions

  • Commenting on this post is compulsory to confirm entry into the giveaway
  • Family ticket includes up to two adults and two children
  • Ticket is valid for UK residents only until the end of 2012

September Meal Planning

[insert lateness excuse here]

  • 8th: Sausage baps, wedges, salad
  • 9th: Lasagne + 3 veg
  • 10th: Tuna pasta bake
  • 11th: Beef casserole
  • 12th: Vegetable curry
  • 13th: Poached pollock ‘n’ mash
  • 14th: Homemade pizza
  • 15th: Stir fry
  • 16th: Roast chicken
  • 17th: Chicken & leek pie
  • 18th: Cauliflower cheese
  • 19th: Toad in the hole
  • 20th: Omelettes & salad
  • 21st: Shepherd’s pie
  • 22nd: CAKE-FEST 2012 [friends over]
  • 23rd: CAKE-FEST 2012 [friends over]
  • 24th: Crust-less veg quiche
  • 25th: Fish cakes
  • 26th: Macaroni cheese
  • 27th: Vegetable soup
  • 28th: Cheese ‘pizza’ baguettes
  • 29th: Corned beef hash
  • 30th: Ratatouille

Tumbleweed

I’ve been a bit out of sorts this week. It’s why I’ve not blogged and why I’ve still not sorted this month’s meal plan (and this is grating my nerves because I’ve been having the “what shall we have for tea” conversation with myself every evening; I’m lost without my meal plan). But anyway, here’s what’s what:

I think the reality of me not going back to work has hit home. I feel a little like a limb has been chopped off.

We did a lot of painting in the front room but then had to pause things as Karl was back at work on Monday, so I feel a little “in limbo” with the front room.

I had the flu towards the end of last week and over the weekend. That was mostly gone by the end of Monday but left me with a cough. The cough now seems to have progressed to chest infection (if my suspicions are correct: bringing up green chunks, shallow/raspy breathing, metallic taste in mouth with Dr Google informs me is generally indicative of infection). Must make a DRs appointment on Monday morning.

Oliver’s tongue tie snip seemed to improve things over the first few days and then it suddenly got much worse. We’ve had some pretty shitty feeds. We’re now back to how we were before. I have no idea whether it’s going to get better from here.

Akismet seems to have stopped noticing spam. Piece of poo.

…I’ve forgot what else I was going to waffle on about. Oh well, ttfn.

5 ways I’ve saved money in August

Part of my ongoing mission to save money this year, these things have saved me money this month…

1. Bought tinned beans

Like most parents of small children, we buy baked beans. They’re good for emergency meals when Isabel is so wiped out from nursery or is feeling under the weather and we need to get something into her before bed. For the convenience factor, we have been buying the ‘snap pots’ which you just bung in the microwave. However, I recently realised that the snap pots are not only more expensive than tins, but contain less too.

I could make my own baked beans for the ultimate in cheapness but that would add significant prep time so is not ideal.

2. Timed my showers

We have an electric shower. It’s the biggest drain on electricity we have, second only to the tumble drier (the shower uses more but the drier runs for longer). I’ve been really careful to keep my showers to 2 minutes this month, as well as not turning it on until I actually want to get in (I have a habit of turning it on then going to the loo, sorting clothes etc).

Now just to persuade Karl he doesn’t need 15 minute showers…

3. Recycled envelopes

I’ve been selling off old nappies and books etc because I’m poor now. To save me money on post and packing, I’ve been saving jiffy bags and packets from parcels etc that have been delivered recently (hence why I’m poor now). Jiffy bags are quite expensive; this is a simple step that saves pounds!

4. Chose paint on offer

You may be aware that we’ve been decorating the front room. Well, it turns out that decorating/paint is expensive. How handy, then, that the weekend we decide to go look at paint colours we notice that the Homebase own brand one coat paint is on buy 1 get 1 free. We found the closest matching shade in the paint on offer and went with that. And not a bad colour, too.

5. Volunteered to review some Ecover Zero samples

More on this in another post, but short story: I agreed to review some Ecover Zero range samples expecting some mini packets of soap powder or something. They sent me a big box with full size bottles of washing up liquid, laundry liquid, fabric conditioner etc. Bargain.

Did you see the 5 ways I saved money in July?

Organised Chaos

Spurred on by your suggestions in my plea for ideas post, Karl and I have set about hacking at the living room this week.

We’ve pulled off 90% of the paper, started removing the hideous and uneven polystyrene coving, and replaced the skirting that was — for some absurd reason — nailed to the wall nearly an inch higher than the rest. I’ve bought two boxes of Dylon to attempt to recolour the big curtains (see messy room 3 picture) as we’re doing this on a strict budget (curtains are bloody expensive!) and we’ve decided on “Mushroom” for the wall. Which looks nothing like mushrooms. But was on buy 1 get 1 free at Homebase.

Of course, as with all projects, once started we realised it was going to be more work than originally anticipated. There’s great big holes all over the walls from various nails, screws, etc. The old doorway into the kitchen that was boarded and replaced with the serving hatch (you can just see the edge of it in the top right of this picture) was so badly constructed that chunks of plaster fell off as we removed the paper. There’s random misc. old paper underneath the coving, behind the radiators, etc. Tiny hairline cracks in the plaster that will easily cover with a layer of paint but were covered in great splodges of filler. Remnants of old damp on the back wall. 2 inches of yellowing gloss paint above the old skirting boards and behind heating pipes because the previous owner had obviously never heard of masking tape.

I could go on, but probably best I just let these pictures do the talking…

Still. At least it’s nearly ready to paint.

Vindication

When Oliver was born, I struggled a little getting him latched. I assumed it was the position I was lying in; the midwife assisted with his first feed and he fed like a champ. It didn’t take very long to notice he had a pronounced lip tie (see bottom of Oliver’s birth story) but I had plenty of techniques to manage that because of Isabel’s tie (if your baby has a lip tie, try the flipple).

Within a few days I was suffering from intense nipple pain. It was taking roughly 30 minutes to get him latched; I was fighting back-arching, screaming, chomping. By the end of the first week I had my first bout of mastitis (I went on to get it again, twice more).

I knew there was something wrong, something more than the lip tie. I sought advice from midwives, breastfeeding supporters and when that didn’t work, got in touch with the infant feeding coordinator at the hospital where I had Isabel. I was given some positioning tips but told that everything was fine. See for yourself, the comments left in Oliver’s red book (record of health in the first few years):

Further comments verbally from others… “The latch looks great, try a different position to make it more comfortable for you.” and “He’s putting on weight, it must be nothing”.

I persevered. My health visitor and a nurse assisting her added on yet more comments of “everything’s fine”, “he’s doing great”, “but he’s such a big chap” etc etc. They gave me the location of a local breastfeeding café and suggested I’d get on better with some like-minded friends. Nobody directly said “it’s in your head” but I got the feeling that’s what everyone was thinking.

I sent a follow-up e-mail to the IFC on the 18th August, explaining that problems were persisting:

[..] Though your positioning advice has got us thus far, I am still in varying degrees of pain / discomfort with each feed and Oliver’s latch is worsening.

He now clicks continuously through 90% of feeds (I can feel his tongue coming away from the breast and then sliding back under, it’s incredibly uncomfortable), milk dribbling out of the side of his mouth. He slips off the breast easily and will often drop the latch so that he is nipple sucking.

I strongly believe he has a tongue tie of some fashion as I can feel a significant bump under his tongue which seems to be bigger than before?

Oliver is now 11 weeks 3 days and I feel like I’m missing out on a decent breastfeeding experience. I really am stuck and don’t know how to proceed. I’m also worried that now my supply has started to settle
down Oliver’s weight gain may plateau.

Figured it was the weekend when I sent it, it might not get seen for a few days. I waited for a response. And waited. And waited. By the end of last week I was fed up. Fed up at the lack of reply, and frustrated at having spent most of the day feeding off one side because a red patch and soreness had reappeared. Worried that I was about to get my 4th bout of mastitis I shot off emails to every tongue-tie treating IBCLC I could find an email address for.

Ann Dobson replied within 12 hours. She asked for my address to confirm when she would be able to fit us in and then, completely out of the blue, turned up on our doorstep Sunday afternoon. This woman works in London and yet clearly feels so passionately about helping that she travels up and down the country to look at babies.

Within minutes she had diagnosed a 60% tongue tie (which she showed me; by applying a little pressure to the base of the tongue it stuck right out), restricted elevation and “lateralisation” of the tongue leading to a shallow nipple sucking latch with clamping during feeds. Also noted a high anterior palette (typical in tongue tie babies).

So much for “no tongue tie evident”.

Oliver was swaddled and the tie was cut in seconds. He cried a little then latched and fed better than at any point previous. After a little nap he spent nearly 3 hours sticking his tongue out, moving it side to side and laughing.

It shouldn’t have to be this hard to be taken seriously.

Breastfeeding Stories winner

Congratulations to Nathalie T., you are the winner of the ‘Breastfeeding: Stories to Inspire and Inform’ book. You won by following @Lonely_Scribe on twitter.

Want to win something cool too? Keep your eyes peeled for a giveaway of a family ticket to the LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre.