15 months - What Everly Eats along with tips & ideas for your little one

What Everly Eats at 15 months Banting Baby Low Carb High Fat for Toddler CityGirlSearching Blog-01.png

I haven’t done a post on Everly and her eating habits for a while, and so thought it time to remedy that and hopefully inspire you with some meal ideas. And at the same time, I’d love to hear from you in the comments as to what your little ones are eating to help inspire me!

In case your new around these parts, Everly eats a pretty much Banting/LowCarbHighFat diet with no processed foods or sugar. This means she doesn’t get bread or pasta, and lives off of meat, fish, veggies, lots of full cream dairy products, loads of eggs and a bit of fruit. She’s a healthy, happy chubby baby and is never sick (I could chalk this up to good genes and the fact that I breastfed her till over a year) but I really believe her diet plays a big role in her health). I don’t judge any of my fellow moms, we all make our own choices, but we choose not to give our daughter anything processed (and try as much as we can to steer clear of store bought baby food….although those food pouches have their place!). This decision isn’t an easy one, especially when it comes to birthday parties, but like I tell family and friends, while I am able to control what Everly eats 99% of the time, I want the food going in to nourish her completely, and so she’s stuck with a mom who feeds her chicken liver sardines ;) It’s also a lot more work to prepare your own baby food, but as with our decision to do cloth nappies, you get into a routine and it just becomes a part of your day. Also, a low carb ‘diet’ (although I hate that word and my little girl is not on a diet…let’s go with the term lifestyle) doesn’t mean NO carb. We don’t count carbs at all like a lot of very strict Banters, but as we also eat a pretty low carb diet, we swop out white potatoes for sweet potatoes, and the veggies she eats regularly are butternut, sweet potatoes, beans, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.

Here are my older posts on our journey to solids:

I’m 7 months pregnant with Baby#2 and so haven’t been feeling the most inventive when it comes to preparing meals, and as much as I love the idea of Everly eating what we eat, our meals are pretty sporadic too, and we eat a lot later than her so she either eats leftovers the next day or I end up preparing her something much earlier on in the day. This leaves me only feeling up to opening a tin of tuna by the time supper time comes around for us.

Also…how many days can a child survive on cheese alone?!?!? I remember seeing my friend Deborah post about that a few weeks ago and I really had a good giggle. While Everly is a pretty amazing eater and gobbles down just about everything we throw at her, she has been very fussy with texture lately. It’s really strange as she will eat hard/crunchy/very textured things but then went through a funny stage of refusing meat and spitting out most of the food I’d try give her. After a week or so of VERY frustrating meal times, I realised it would very unlikely that she would starve herself and we seem to be coming out of that phase.

My friend Sophie gave me some wonderful words of encouragement. She said it’s our jobs as moms to decide when baby eats and what they eat, and for them to decide on how much they want to eat. This helped me a lot during what felt like a very dark time. Luckily we are out of that fussy season, but it really just goes to show you that ALL babies/toddlers go through phases and they do (hopefully for everyone!) emerge and return to their old selves before you know it.


Here is Everly’s current rough schedule:

  • 6 - 7am wake up (I give her a spill proof cup of milk to drink in bed while she ‘logs on’ in the morning). I also leave her in her bed till about 7am as most of the time she is happily playing with her teddy and talking to herself at this time. I also give her a book or two to look at which generally keeps her occupied for a good 20 minutes or so.

  • 8am Breakfast

  • 9am - anywhere between 10h30/11h30 nap time

  • 12 lunch

  • 1h30/2pm - 3ish nap time

  • 4pm snack

  • 5pm dinner

  • 6pm bath, dressed for bed with a cup of milk, story and bed by 18h30


Here are some ideas for meals and snacks that I give Evs.

I find I go through patches of being super inspired to whip up gourmet meals, and other days where pieces of cheese and baby tomatoes seem to be like the loaves & fishes and keep her going.

Breakfast

  • Scrambled Eggs (I whisk 2 eggs and a dollop of cream cheese together and add that to a pan of melted butter) and cook. I keep the eggs soft as I am not a fan of rubbery, dry scrambled eggs! Everly eats scrambled eggs pretty much every day of the week, and then I throw in a breakfast or two (if it last that long!) of chia porridge.

  • Chia Chocolate Porridge: this is a great recipe from the Real Meal Revolution: Raising Superheroes book for Kids by Tim Noakes. This is where I usually turn for low carb meal inspiration.

  • Both of the above are usually followed by a bowl/cup (I still use and LOVE these Avent breastmilk storage cups for storing/freezing/feeding Everly her food) of full cream, homemade yoghurt with either a pinch of cinnamon or some frozen berries.

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Lunch & Snacks

Lunch is usually a mix of whatever I have on hand, so veggies she can feed herself and then some leftovers…usually followed by another cup of yoghurt or fruit she can chew on herself. I mostly end up doing snacky type foods at lunch time:

  • chopped up cherry tomatoes

  • pitted olives - you’d be surprised at the flavors your toddler may enjoy! Everly is currently VERY into olives.

  • blocks of cheese/squares of Kiri cream cheese

  • half a tin of tuna/oven baked hake in butter (recipe posted below)

  • roasted vegetables (I usually do a tray of sweet potatoes or butternut that lasts for a few days). Simply chop up veggies of your choice, drizzle with oil (I usually use avocado oil or butter) and then sprinkle with your choice of herbs. Roast in the oven until crunchy and serve warm.

  • beans (I’ve only just realised how great canned beans are!). Farmboy is going through a bean phase, so there are usually leftovers from his lunch. Kidney beans & butter beans are a favourite at the moment. These are also the perfect thing for little fingers to pick up.

  • steamed veggies (Broccoli, green beans and cauliflower etc.)

  • leftover braai meat (boerewors/sausages are a firm favourite in our household!)

  • whole fruit - Everly annihilates apples…like, whole, the entire thing, core, peel and all! Lots of great fibre in those fruit peels! I usually give her Granny Smith apples so she doesn’t get hooked on the sweetness.

  • biltong/drywors - often biltong/drywors can be covered in salt an flavourings…simply rinse until cold running water and dry off before giving to your little one…the fattier the better ;) Just keep an eye when giving them drywors as sometimes the skin casing can get a bit stringy and be a potential choking hazard.


Dinner

For supper I like to give Everly a big meal so she goes to bed with a full tummy that lasts her through the night. She sleeps from 6 - 6/7 (long may this last!) and so needs lots of good & nutritious food to keep her content. I often cook up a big stew on a Sunday night that lasts the week, and then I freezer portions of it for future meals (again, those Avent cups I mentioned above are perfect for freezing food!).

  • Lamb/Beef Stew: using a slow cooker, I brown the meat (usually lamb or beef…you can buy cheaper cuts of meat at the butcher and remember, the fattier the better!) in lots of butter & garlic, add a chopped up onion, chop up what ever veggies you have on hand (I usually use sweet potatoes, butternut, celery, carrots), chuck in a tin of chopped tomatoes (I vary the flavour by using either the plain/Indian/Italian flavoured tins), a cup of barley, a cup of lentils/tin of mixed beans, and then top up with water and leave it overnight to stew. I serve it as it, as it’s got all the veggies in it, and then I usually follow with some fruit, depending on the season, it’s often blueberries or starwberries etc. Alternatively Everly has more yoghurt.

  • Oven roasted hake: I buy the Woolworths frozen hake fillets and pop them (frozen) into a dish with loads of butter, some garlic and then sprinkle with herbs. I then usually serve this with steamed broccoli & cauliflower and brown rice. This is a nice finger meal if your little one likes to feed themselves.

  • Liver Pate: Liver is an INCREDIBLE brain boosting food packed full of nutrients for your little one. You can buy tubs of chicken livers from the butcher/grocery store, but you can also use all those left over bits that usually accompany a chicken (giblets, kidney, liver…basically the offal). I know it sounds really gross, and while I’m not the hugest fan of the giblets etc when they are cooked up they taste rather yum! I pop whatever I’m using to make the pate (liver/giblets etc) into a pan with lots of butter and a bit of garlic and onion, fry until just brown, and then add to a blender with a dollop of cream cheese and blitz until smooth. I freeze this in smaller containers as it’s very rich, and your little one probably won’t eat that much of this at a time. This was one of the first foods I gave Everly, and often serve it with steamed veggies (nice for the first few months of weaning as it’s easy to add to pureed veggies). It’s also nice to add to a soft boiled egg, mashed up or serve it with pieces/mashed up avo…depending on how your little one does with texture.

Treats

Ideas for treating your little one, while still ensuring they are able to steer clear of added sugars and other nasties:

  • Ice-lollies: I bought these awesome lolly moulds from PouchLove (R155 for a pack of 4) and Everly loves them! I use rooibos tea (I make litres of the Apple Kids flavor) and keep that in the fridge for me to drink all day, and it makes a really great base for ice lollies! Then I just add whatever bits of fruit I have on hand…Everly loves blueberries and strawberries so that’s what I usually add. Then pop in the freezer over night and voila! The perfect healthy, summer keep-cool treat. They are re-useable and there are endless ideas for different flavors. I think this would also be a a great way to serve soup or chicken/beef/lamb stock on a hot day (I am MAD about stocks and made litres and litres of the stuff for Everly when was just starting solids. It was a great way to make pureed veggies taste nicer, while giving them loads of great vitamins and nutrients).

  • Stewed Fruit: it’s so easy to make your own stewed fruit, which is great to add to yoghurt, or to serve as is. Simply chop of your fruit of choice, add water (or you can add rooibos instead for a bit more flavor and anti-oxidants) and then boil away on the stove until soft and mushy. A combo Everly loved was apples and cherries.

  • Frozen Yoghurt: just as the recipe above for ice lollies, except use yoghurt instead of water/rooibos.

  • dried fruit - I only give Everly this on special occasions as it can be hard to find dried fruit that isn’t full of extra sugar…but mango is a great snack for little hands that will keep them busy, and so are dried apples & apricots. Don’t give too much as too much dried fruit can lead to runny tummies.

  • popcorn - cover in butter (although this can be messy) and sprinkle with dried herbs for extra tastiness. Avoid adding salt if you’re cooking it from seed.


From the above you can see Everly doesn’t have any allergies, and is especially okay with any and all dairy. If your little is lactose intolerant, adjust accordingly (although expensive, Almond milk is an option, but I would steer clear of Soy milk). Often babies and toddlers grow out of their allergies, so keep offering them yoghurt/etc every couple of months etc and see how they manage. On another note, I make all my own homemade yoghurt, this way I ensure there are no nasty hidden preservatives etc. If you are buying yoghurt, try to always give your baby full cream, plain yoghurt. This ensures no hidden sugars, and you can adjust the flavour yourself by adding frozen berries/stewed or steamed fruit/cinnamon and honey when they are a little older.


I hope you found this post helpful. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below, or to leave your favourite toddler meals & snack ideas. I always love hearing from you!

Flying Solo with a Baby - How to stay sane when Traveling by Plane with a Little One

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Everly and I have just landed after our 7th flight together. I’ve flown solo with her from Pietermaritzburg to Joburg 5 times (we flew together when she was 3 months, 6 months and now at 13 months), and she has also done an international flight to the UK at 7 months old…what a jet-setter! I think she should have her own card to be collecting air miles by now :)

I thought I’d write this post to offer some tips and advice for airplane travel with a little one, while everything is still fresh in my mind. I’m also currently 5 months pregnant, so the flight we have just done was a bit more difficult and took a bit more planning, but was still very manageable by myself. This post is more geared to shorter flights (all of the flights except for the one to UK were between 1 & 2 hours long).

I’ll also be doing a post on flying when pregnant (Farmboy and I went on ‘baby-moon’ to Italy in June last year when I was 6 months pregnant with Everly) and I have a whole load of tips for mommy’s-to-be when it comes to flying when pregnant…so tuned for that post to come soon.


  1. Use a baby carrier.

This has got to be my NUMBER 1 tip for flying with a baby. You are going to need both your hands when traveling for handing over your passports, holding your tickets, unpacking your hand-luggage when being scanned at security etc and the last thing you need to be worrying about is trying to do all of that with one.

We love our Ubuntu Baba carrier, and have used it since Everly was just a week old. Baby carriers are amazing for allowing Mum (or Dad) to get stuff done, they are world renown for their sleep induing properties, and most importantly, they allow baby to feel safe and secure at all times. I would not have been able to get through the plane airport travel without one. The Ubuntu Baba Carrier comes in two sizes (Stage 1 & Stage 2). Stage 1 is a front only carrier (so baby is carried on your front) and their Stage 2 carrier allows for both front and back carry. As I’m now well into my second pregnancy, I can no longer carry Ev on my front, but I have successfully been able to carry her on my back, while still feeling comfortable at 5 months pregnant.

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Farmboy really likes the back carry position as he finds front carrying to be very hot and sweaty. I loved carrying Everly on my front when she was little, and now that she’s bigger (and heavier!) the back carry position is much more comfortable for all of us. The above photos will give you a pretty good idea of all the things you can do with your carrier…it’s just the best invention!

Although for bigger toddlers, prams are really great too as most airlines will allow you to wheel baby right to the airplane door, where they will then take the pram from you for the flight and bring it out again once you land.

2. A Backpack nappy/baby bag is life changing

This tip is more of a general mommy tip and something I am SO glad I used right from the very beginning. I just don’t know how moms handle the shoulder stress of carrying a heavy baby bag on one arm. Having a back pack means you once again have your ‘hands-free’ to pick up baby, open doors, carry things…the list of goes on! And if you have your baby on your front in a carrier, this means you can still have your hands free as all the baby paraphernalia goes on your back! It’s heavy, but well balanced (especially when they are small).

I ordered my nappy bag from a UK based company before they became all the rage and now you can buy this exact style through loads of online retailers here in South Africa. Click here to order yours through one of my favourite cloth nappy online stores, Biddykins. You can fit A LOT of things in this backback…here’s some proof:

When packing your nappy bag for a flight, try to be as ruthless as possible. You really don’t want to be fiddling with 10 different dummies and toys while you are desperately looking for the extra sock you thought you packed. Farmboy was so strict with me, and I’m so glad looking back. You also don’t want to be carrying everything and the kitchen sink, not just for the sake of your back (or shoulder if you have a traditional shoulder carry nappy bag) but for the sake of being able to find what you need QUICKLY. The last thing you need is a screaming baby while you wade through all 10 of Ben’s favourite stuffed toys to find his dummy.


What to pack for a short plane ride with your baby (0 - about 6 months):

  • 4 x nappies

  • 2 x dummies (one clipped to baby and the other in an easy to reach pocket in your nappy bag)

  • 1 x favourite toy

  • 1 x receiving blanket (can be used to feed under/change baby in an emergency/mop up any spews/food/milk)

  • wet wipes

  • baby meds (Telement, Panado, Bum cream etc)

  • 2 x Spare set of clothes (and socks as it can be colder on the plane)

  • 2 x bibs…one on baby and one spare (if you’re like me and like to use different bibs for eating/drool then you might need more)


3. Baggage tips - Carry only one bag on the plane

Your hands are already full dealing with a little baby/toddler, and so I highly recommend packing just one bag for use on the plane. Most airlines (at least here in South Africa on domestic flights) are very relaxed when it comes to what you can pack for baby, and allow bottles with milk/formula as well as snacks to be brought on board.

Having one bag to deal with when flying makes your life so much easier, and this is also why I can’t recommend a back up nappy bag enough. I’ve even been able to fit all of Everly’s things in there, as well my wallet and phone AND my big and bulky DSLR camera.

The photo above shows my luggage for the first few domestic flights I did with Evs…the backpack was my hand luggage/baby bag for on the plane, and the big hard case was the bag I checked in. I managed to fit all of my clothes and Everly’s as well as her cloth nappies for a weeks stay. What you take with you (ie. pram/camp cot etc) will also depend on where you are going and who you are going to be staying with. I’ve always flown and stayed with family who have had spare camp cots/prams etc or have borrowed from friends for my stay. Most of the time if you bring your cart seat with you, it will be checked in under the plane (make sure to get it wrapped to prevent any damage). Prams are allowed all the way to the airline door, where staff will then pack them up and put it away for you, and bring it out again once you land.

At the time of writing this blog post, here are the checked in baggage allowances for Mango & SAA:

  • SAA: Infants are permitted 1 piece of checked baggage up to 23kg plus 1 collapsible pram or buggy and car seat, free of charge.

  • Mango: Infants have a Baggage allowance of 10 kg’s. Parents may bring on board an approved child safety seat, similar to that used in a car, but this seat will form part of your on-board baggage allowance.


4. Breastfeed/Bottle/Dummy on Take off and Landing to prevent sore ears

The first time we flew, I had the Panado at the ready, and even debated whether or not I should dose Everly before we had even boarded the plane. But once I realised the sore ears are caused by the altitude, and that if baby is sucking on something this stops their ears from popping, life gets a lot less stressful. As adults, we are able to pop our ears easily (and you probably even do it unconsciously) but little babies haven’t learned this skill yet and so need a little help.

If you’re breastfeeding your baby, life gets a whole lot easier, as you can simply pop then on the boob for take off and landing. Not only does this help them to ‘pop’ their ears, but it gives them a little extra comfort during what will probably be a bit of a stressful time. You can do the same with a bottle, and a dummy works just as well too. I have only just weaned Everly (I had planned to feed her till she self weaned) but being pregnant put a bit of a spanner in the works for us. On another note, you can definitely breastfeed while pregnant, it all just depends on you and how your body feels. I had no problems with my supply, it was more a case of things being so much more sensitive, and I decided I wanted to have a little break before becoming the resident dairy cow for our family (I made it to just under 13 months).

I breastfed Everly on all the flights up until this last one, when she just had her dummy. She had no problems with her ears.

If you are concerned that your baby’s ears might still be sore at some point, then to ease your mind just keep some Panado handy in your nappy bag.


5. Pack more nappies and spare clothes for the plane than you think you will need

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One our first flight together, Everly went through about 4 more nappies than I had planned. I also chose to use disposable nappies for the flight to make my life a little easier, but have since then just carried on using cloth nappies (click here if you’d like to find out more about cloth nappies).

Being a first time mom, first time flying and really having very little idea of what to expect, I wish I had packed at least 2 sets of extra vests and leggings, as the two nappies I had to deal with on the plane wrecked havoc with her clothes! I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say it wasn’t just her onesie that had lots of suspect green 'stains’ but my clothing too.

Also bare in mind just how teeny tiny the airplane bathroom changing tables are! Here is a photo of Everly at 3 months, only just fitting.


6. Snacks for Older babies

Snacks are a GREAT distraction and source of entertainment for little ones. I only really needed to worry about this on this last flight, as before Everly was small enough to not be needing solids on the plane journey as I was still breastfeeding her. This time around, she was just over a year, and as my child eats me out of house and home, I knew I needed to be REALLY prepared food wise.

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What snacks you pack will depend on what your little one eats and what sort of food you feed them. Everly is a Banting baby (no sugar or processed carbs…just real food) so my life is made a little harder when it comes to snacks as she doesn’t get biscuits or crackers etc. I also try not to feed her too many of those pouch meals (you never know exactly what’s in them) but I did have a Woolies pouch packed in there for emergencies. She LOVES those pouches though, and it’s what she ate a lot of when we were un the UK and traveling a lot. So they definitely have their place and are a good distraction for many babies. I have a set of re-useable pouches from PouchLove which are awesome when traveling. I filled one with frozen yoghurt (literally put yoghurt in it and popped it in the freezer over night) and filled the other with a spinach, apple & raisin puree which Everly loves. Handy to give to busy little hands.

The BEST snack (although a little on the messy side) turned out to be rice cakes! Everly pulled each and every grain of rice apart and played with it for a good 15 - 20 minutes. Oh, and also sun-dried tomatoes and drywors/biltong are good, relatively non-messy, sugar free snack ideas too.


If all else fails and your little one does have a melt down, just remember to take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that it will all be over soon.

I’m certain that your baby/toddler one will undoubtedly surprise you, and it all will all be over before you know it. On that note, make sure to snap a few photos to document the trip. This will either make wonderful memories, or remind you never to take them on a plane again ;)

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My Breastfeeding Journey + Feeding Essentials & Tips to help you in your own journey

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Breastfeeding, although a very natural thing, doesn't come naturally to a lot of moms.

It can be hard...an hourly/daily/weekly struggle that you may feel you will never get the hang of. And then suddenly, one day it's not so bad. I wanted to write this post to encourage moms to breastfeed their babies, and to seek help & support if they'e struggling. It's not something that just 'comes easy' to everyone, and there can be all sorts of reasons why it's hard (lots of these reasons can be fixed really quickly, and aren't all to do with a bad latch). I am really passionate about breastfeeding (mostly because your breastmilk is perfectly formulated by your own body, and designed to nourish your baby...giving them everything they could possibly need to grow big and strong in those first few crucial months and beyond!). I am also passionate about it because it makes life so easy...popping out a boob is SO much quicker and easier than having to worry about bottles & sterilising and temperature etc. I also do feel that formula is the cause of a lot of tummy & gut problems in babies and kids/adults later on in life...but that's a post for another day.

But, in saying all of the above, I have lots of friends who really struggled with breastfeeding/had to put their babies onto formula/chose to give formula and I just want to say, I really do understand. I don't judge. At the same time, I REALLY do feel there isn't nearly enough support for moms who want to breastfeed but end up giving up/stopping/feeling completely discouraged and it's these moms that I write this post for. I believe the breastfeeding journey starts out in pregnancy, and is greatly affected by how easy/difficult your pregnancy was, how easy/difficult the birth was, and most importantly, the support structures (friends & family, the nurses present when baby is born, the nurses who are on duty during those long and scary first nights in the hospital with a screaming newborn) and their attitudes towards breastfeeding.

So mommies & mommy-to-be's, here are a few tips, as well as bits and pieces of my own personal story that I want to share with you to help you in your own breastfeeding journey.

Breastfeeding tips what you need

  • Your diet affects your baby, not just during your pregnancy, but especially when breastfeeding. 

I think everyone knows that you need to eat healthy foods when pregnant, so your body can build a happy, healthy baby. This is especially difficult for those of us who are carb addicts (this is most definitely me...and one of the many reasons Farmboy and I follow a pretty much Banting/Low Carb High Fat way of eating). I say way of eating because we don't diet, and there are days when we will eat a pizza or order a pasta when we are out at a restaurant. But when we are home, we keep home filled with real foods (lots of veggies, locally sourced meat, eggs, lots of dairy and fruit).

My mom is an avid Tim Knoakes fan, and has also read just about every piece of literature on Banting & Low Carb High Fat. She also comes from a science background and so I trust her recommendations on food and the reasoning behind her strong convictions. I have also seen for myself the benefits of eating this way. The most important thing to take away from the idea of a Low Carb High Fat/Banting way of eating is this: no refined carbs or sugar, but real food. Get your carbs from veggies like sweet potato & butternut, fats from sources like full cream cheese & milk, almonds & meat plus eat lots of green veggies! 

Hubby and I are not strict Banters, and I am definitely not being very strict because I am breastfeeding. I eat quite a lot of things that are on the Orange list for Banters, and I definitely don't count my carbs. But I just know that what goes in, is directly feeding my baby and I believe in this way of eating. Here is a really good article on Banting & Breastfeeding that you might find interesting if you have been wanting to explore this way of eating, there is also a basic introduction to Banting below:

Breastfeeding & Banting: Is it safe to eat a LCHF diet

Introduction to Banting

Please note, I am just sharing my first experiences with this way of eating. I eat a lot of oats, add honey to sweeten food, and do eat bread (although I try to eat rye/sourdough bread as much as I can). I have never had an issue with a low milk supply...I have in fact had the opposite problem at times (I try to drink a lot of water and also really enjoy Kombucha...I am aware of the articles that caution against drinking it during pregnancy/while breastfeeding) but I was doing all of this before I was pregnant, and so it was what my body was used to & it's what helped form my baby when she was growing in my tummy. All of this has also shaped my view on solids for my baby, and it's why I don't give her any cereals or pre-package foods (when I can avoid it...while traveling overseas I bought a few of the organic, seemingly free from nasties foods to make life a little easier). And although it's not always convenient, I still make all of her food when I am at home. She is a Banting Baby and is flourishing. Here are a few blog posts on starting solids with your little one:

#EverlyStartsSolids: Our Baby Weaning Journey - The Beginning

#FromFarmToTable: Homemade Baby Food

#EverlyStartsSolids: Meal Ideas for 8+ Month olds


breastfeeding tips how to help for first time breastfeeding
  • Join the La Leche breastfeeding group on Facebook

There is so much knowledge shared on this group, and the Leaders of the group are always around to encourage and answer any and all questions you may have. I joined the group in the beginning of my pregnancy, and while it was a bit overwhelming at first (and yes, there are always 'those' people in groups like these that can be a rather overbearing and righteous) I found popping in there during nights when I couldn't sleep to be really helpful. I had ZERO idea about breastfeeding, the only thing I knew is that I wanted to do it, and planned on feeding Everly until she is at least a year old, and I am so proud of myself for still going strong 9.5 months in. If you're wanting to know what pump to buy, how to increase your supply, how to deal with a forceful let down/oversupply, how to get a good latch, different positions to suit different babies, advice on tongue ties/thrush, bottles, nipple shields, expressing, pumping for working moms...gosh the list could go on and on! I learned so much just from reading through all the posts and using the search function when I felt a bit embarrassed to ask certain questions. Just bear in mind that the group is a PRO breastfeeding group, and some people feel VERY passionately about breastfeeding being the ONLY way to feed your child. If you are having difficulty in your breastfeeding journey, keep an open mind and rather seek help from a friend/lactation consultant before giving up entirely. You have to do what you have to do, and for some women, that means formula feeding. Please don't put any pressure on yourself, you're doing the best you can. Although I do feel that breast is best, it's not always as simple as that, and I have lots of friends who really struggled in their own breastfeeding journey. 

Here is a wonderful post from my friends Kerri & Bailey, they are both real, raw and honest, and talk openly about their struggles with breastfeeding and what ended up working for them. Click here to read Kerri's story & click here to read Bailey's story. 


Breastfeeding journey tips & essentials to help breastfeed by citygirlsearching
  • Nipple Shields are your friend

Although lots of posts on the La Leche FB group talk about nipple shields being the devil, I will sing their praises from the rooftop! If they help you to successfully breastfeed your baby in those first few days & weeks, they are worth their weight in gold.

The biggest downside to them is some people have a hard time weaning baby off them. I just feel, if you're able to breastfeed successfully because they help you, then weaning baby off them is a small price to pay. Yes, they are a bit of a pain because you have to have them on you wherever you go, but I just made sure to keep a whole bunch of them all over the house/in the car/at Granny's house so they were always on hand. I used them on both sides for the first couple of weeks, and then sporadically attempted feeding without one/both. We had a few rough days where Everly would just scream because she couldn't latch properly but then suddenly I didn't need them anymore. I was at a wedding and needing to desperately feed my baby (full boobs and a screaming baby will really put you on edge!) and I didn't have a shield on hand. Hubby was nowhere to be found and so I just had to feed without one. It took a little while, but I just persevered and suddenly she was latching without it...what a wonderful feeling! 

So while you may have your reservations about that, just buy a set and pop them into your hospital bag to have just in case. I only tried the Tommee Tippee brand, so those are what I would recommend. I have also heard the Pigeon ones are great too.


Breastfeeding journey tips & essentials to help breastfeed by citygirlsearching
  • Pack a breast pump in your hospital bag

Thank you to my sister in law for this tip.

Although you might have read about how pumping is not advised in the first 6 - 8 weeks of breastfeeding, let me tell you, there are those days (or nights!) when your boobs will be rock hard, full to bursting and your baby won't be able to latch properly that you just need a little relief. It's recommended to rather hand express in the shower (here's some links on this >>>click here) but when you just need to quickly get rid of some milk, a pump is your friend. You also won't know when exactly your milk will come in (this is usually around day 3) but can be earlier/later and so having a pump on hand is useful. Another thing, you won't know how your birth is going to plan out. I was dead set on a natural birth, but ended up having an emergency c-section and so was in hospital for longer than I had planned. My milk came in while in hospital and I was so grateful to have a pump. My little girl also had to be under the UV lights for Jaundice and as your body really just goes haywire after having a baby, there were moments when I couldn't just pick her up to feed and relieve my aching boobs. A pump was a life saver.

Also, having it n your bag doesn't mean you have to use it. It's there for those 'just in case' moments.

If you're wondering what pump to buy, the best advise I was given was to buy a manual pump (I was recommend the Avent Manual Pump...but have heard the Click brand of Manual pump is amazing and just as good for a fraction of the price) and rather invest in an electric one if you need to later on. As I work from home, I am always around to feed Everly, and the few times I've been away from her, the manual pump has done the job just fine. You also don't know how your breastfeeding journey is going to pan out. If there are complications and your baby has to go into NICU and you decide it's just to much stress to pump all day and all night, a fancy electric pump might be a waste of money rather spent elsewhere.

Breastfeeding journey tips & essentials to help breastfeed by citygirlsearching
  • All Breast Pads were not created equal

I've tried just about every breast pad under the sun, and have recommendations for both disposable & re-useable/washable pads. Some of my friends said they never needed to use breast pads, but as I had such a forceful letdown (and no old told that when you have a let down, the milk comes down from BOTH sides...this may seem obvious now, but when you forget/don't have a cloth on hand, you're going to end up with a VERY unsightly wet patch on your shirt. 

Although we are an environmentally aware household, using cloth nappies (click here for more on cloth nappies) and my ultimate preference for breast pads being the washable ones, there was many a day in the first few weeks when I used disposable ones. While I highly recommend washable breast pads (and I'll share which brand gets a double thumbs up from me below) not just because they are cost effective & environmentally friendly, but also because I found them to be the most absorbent.

Here are my top recommendations:

  • Disposables: Pigeon (I've gone through SO many of the big boxes and they are not only budget friendly, but they work well).

  • Re-useable/Washable: Biddykins Washable Resuseable Pads

I'm still using breastpads today, nearly 10 months down the line, although I just use one a day, and move it over to the other side when feeding. It helps me remember which side to start with next!  Although this has definitely been easier since Everly started feeding from just one side at around 6 months old. I had never heard of that being a thing, and was worried she wouldn't be getting enough milk, but she clearly is not milk deprived (she still has the cutest fat rolls everywhere) and she would have complained about being hungry long ago if that was the case. Feeding from one side a feed just makes everything easier (and faster!).


Another myth busted...big boobs don't necessarily mean lots of milk. I certainly don't have the biggest bust around, and have always had lots of milk. So don't let the fact that you have small boobs make you think you won't be able to breastfeed.


My Breastfeeding Schedule

I also thought I'd share my breastfeeding 'schedule' with you, as I always was on the hunt for info on how long to wait before feeds in the beginning, and also to work out what worked for other moms. I hope you find this helpful:

  • Newborn: I pretty much fed on demand, but this for Everly was roughly every 3 hours. After bedtime (which was between 5 & 6 pm), she woke 2-3 times for night feeds right from the very beginning (so usually around 10pm, 1am & around 4am.) She would wake at 6/7am and that's when we would start the day.

  • Around 3 months she dropped one of her night feeds, waking up around 11pm & then 3-4am. I was still feeding every 3 - hours during the day. Her morning wakeup time was still 7am.

  • Around 4-5 months I started stretching Everly to 4 hour feeds during the day, and she also dropped her 11pm feed, waking just once at night, some time between 3 - 5 am. Her wakeup time was still 7am.

  • At around 6 months, after we had been started solids, I went back to a 3ish hourly day feed schedule, as I found this worked best for me with making sure she wasn't too full/too hungry when it was time for solids. She also started stretching her night feed, going from 6pm bedtime to one night feed between 3 - 5am. By 7 months I had weaned her off her night feed, and she was going from 6pm - 6/7am. I didn't know this, but at about 5/6 months old, babies are physically able to stretch the whole night without a feed. This doesn't mean that all babies will though, and many wake for comfort. In fact, it seems that babies who sleep through (and through being 10 - 12 hours are the exception to the rule as I think most of us first time moms are really just winging this whole parenthood thing and figuring it out one day at a time). I found this to be very reassuring, as I was always worried she was waking up after 6 months because she was hungry, but once I realised it was more for comfort, then it became my choice to either feed her, or go into her room and settle her and soothe her back to sleep without a feed. We went through about 3 nights of very little sleep as she cried and really complained about dropping that feed, but then by the fourth night she didn't wake at all.

  • At around 7.5 months we went overseas to the UK for 3 weeks, and she started waking up at around 3am again, and I just went back to feeding her at that time because we were traveling with family and I didn't want to keep the whole house up with her protests. I was very worried about weaning her off it when we got home, but it only took 2 night of protesting before she started sleeping through again.

 

From 8 months to where I am now, Everly feeds 4 times in 24 hours. Here is the rough schedule we are on now:

  • 7am wake up, breastfeed

  • 08h30 nap

  • 10h00 wake up, breastfeed

  • 11am breakfast (solids)

  • 12h00 nap

  • 14h00 wake up, breastfeed

  • 15h00 lunch (solids)

  • 16h00 nap (although she has just about dropped this nap and is fighting it hard!)

  • 16h45/17h00 supper (solids)

  • 18h00 bath, story, breastfeed, bed

I've tried to always follow a wake up, feed, play, nap routine so that she didn't ever get dependant on being breastfed to sleep (although, as with everything, there have been times when I've been at my wits end and just nursed her and popped her down). It also takes a bit of time to get into a routine, especially when introducing solids, and then of course realising that every baby is different. 

Everly has always needed/loved her sleep. Some kids her age (9.5 months) have 3 hours of awake time between naps. Ev is literally a crying wreck by the 2 hour mark, and her first awake time of the day is never longer than 1.5 hours. Some babies refuse to sleep any sooner, you just have to figure out what works best for you, and to learn your babies sleep cues. I had lots of people tell me that I forced Everly to sleep too much, but I always said if she didn't want to sleep she wouldn't sleep. While we do follow a little bit of the cry it out method, I don't leave her crying in her cot for hours on end. But I can tell when she's just fighting her nap, and usually will put herself to sleep within 10 minutes of being put down. Even though those 10 minutes may be filled with an awful lot of protesting and winging.

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But as is always the case with these little humans, the moment you feel like you've got the routine waxed, they go and shake things up (with teething, a growth spurt, a sore tummy, learning a new skill that they suddenly want to pracice at every opporunity they get) and then you start all over again figuring them out. We did and do still have nights when she wakes up (sometimes multiple times) and we have no idea why. We always leave her for at least 5 minutes once we hear her wake up, and 90% of the time she puts herself back to sleep. The other 10% of the time it's hubby or I going in to do bum pats, pop the dummy back in, and gently coax her back to sleep.

At the end of the day, you have to figure out what works best for you, for your baby, and for your family. Everly has been in her own room since day 1, and I have chosen to get up and go to her for feeds/nappy changes rather than have her in our room. But every family is different, just as every parenting/birthing/breastfeeding journey is unique.

So there you have it, lots and lots of what's worked for me, with a few tips thrown into the mix. If you have any other questions you'd like me to write about, please feel free to leave me a comment below. 

Here are all my posts so far on this wonderful journey to being and becoming a mommy:

#EverlyStartsSolids - Meal Ideas for 8+ month olds

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Everly has now been eating solids for about nearly 4 months now, and we are really having a lot of fun together. We didn't take things slow in the beginning (click here to read more about the first few days of solids) but she has developed a VERY healthy appetite and is incredible adventurous with her tastes. Sometimes I'm at a loss as to what to give her (I'm not the biggest cook around and really don't enjoy cooking as much as Farmboy does) and then I scrounge around in the fridge, grab the first thing I see thinking she will turn her nose up, and lo and behold, she devours the entire tub of said 'weird and wacky' food item. This happened this morning actually, I grabbed some double cream greek yoghurt and gave it to her as is (usually I add cinnamon/pear/apple/nut butter to it but alas, nothing on hand today) and she gobbled it up. I can't even bear to eat yoghurt plain...yuck! But she really went to town on it, her dairy farmer Dad would be proud!

Now, a lightbulb went off my head the other day when I realised, 'hey, who says we have to eat eggs for breakfast and meat for dinner!' and now I play around with giving Everly traditional 'breakfast' style meals at supper time, and vice versa. It all depends on how I'm feeling, whether I have time to make up new meals in that moment,  or whether Everly is up to being adventurous (this is pretty much most of the time).

**NB I am not a Pediatrician, or a dietitian or any other form of the 'tion' family, so please use your mommy guy when it comes to food for your little ones. We also have no family history of allergies, and both Farmboy and I loosely follow a LowCarb/HighFat or Banting lifestyle and so Everly eats accordingly. If you are feeling nervous about giving your little one something I mention below, rather chat to your Doctor/Paed. I'm simply sharing what I do and what my little girl has loved eating. We follow the school of thought that encourages the introduction of ALL food groups before the age of one (this includes all allergenic foods from fish to peanuts to eggs). The only exception to this is raw honey. As for cow’s milk, I give Everly full-cream dairy yogurt (preferably homemade), cream cheese, cottage cheese, yellow cheese etc. Please listen to your mommy gut, and if your family has a history of allergies speak to your paed about introducing allergens.

Also, some days Everly refuses to eat more than a sprinkle of the specially prepared meals I offer her, and other days she devours the whole bowl and demands more. I try to listen to her and not force her to eat things she doesn't want to eat. I try and remind myself that these are little humans we are dealing with, and I often have days when I don't feel like eating oats, or eggs or tuna...they are entitled to feel the same :)

Some of these ideas are for foods that your little one can feed themselves with (loosely based on the Baby Weaning method) and others are for the more traditional spoon feeding method. We've done a mixture of the two approaches to weaning, and it's going very well so far. I have also been feeding Everly more of our left overs, which makes life SO much easier. I have included a few of these ideas too, that you can make for the whole family, and then feed to baby the next day.

I was going to put these ideas under Breakfast/Lunch/Supper headings, but then realised there really is no reason to box your baby into meal types. I've given each of these things to Everly at all sorts of weird and wonderful times of the day and she hasn't complained once. So go wild! And let me know in the comments if there is something you love making for your little one, and what their favourite meals are.

  • Butternut Omelette (mix a few cubes of pureed or steamed/roast butternut with an egg and fry in a pan with lots of butter/coconut oil)

  • Broccoli Omelette (mix some steamed broccoli florets with an egg and fry in a pan with lots of butter/coconut oil)

  • Tuna Omelette (same as above but using tinned tuna...aim for tuna in brine/olive oil).

  • Berry Yoghurt (mix some frozen berries with full cream/Greek yoghurt...bonus points for using homemade yoghurt...recipe to come soon!)

  • Apple/Pear Oats with Cinnamon (cook up some steel cut oats with breastmilk/formula and add some

  • Sardines (as in...a tin of sardines! These are an AMAZING food for babies, and full of omega rich fatty acids! I feed Everly these straight from the tin, sometimes mixing them with whatever veg I have on hand. Be sure to buy sardines in oil, not sauce & don’t buy a boneless ones – remember you want the calcium from the bones - these are super soft so you don't need to worry about your little one choking. Try buy the olive oil rather than soybean oil. Make sure to check the ingredients for added preservatives, some tinned sardines do have added salt, so just rinse them off before mushing (click here for an awesome post by BabyJakesMom on why Sardines are the ultimate brain food for your baby).

  • Veggie mash & Chicken/Beef Stock (I always make sure to have lots of cubes of frozen chicken stock to add to veggies etc. It's so easy and will make all those healthy veggies that aren't always so tasty, so go down a treat. Make your own batch of stock so you ensure your little one isn't getting any of those nasty preservatives...recipe to follow soon).

  • Lemon Butter Grilled Hake with Steamed Brocolli, Cauiflower & Cous Cous (this one is a family meal that can easily be mashed up for baby's next meal. Grill hake fillets in the oven with butter & lemon, serve with steamed veg & cous cous).

  • Veggie Mash & Cream Cheese (choose a mixture of veg and add a scoop of full fat cream cheese)

  • Berry Beetroot (steam beetroot and add a mixture of berries...frozen berries from Woolies work well! This can be served mixed with yoghurt too).

  • Liver Pate (another EXCELLENT brain food for little ones! Buy fresh and gently fry in butter, then mash together with cream cheese. It's delicious on it's own, or added to veggie mash).

Try and offer your little one water in a sippy/straw cup with every meal. They may not actually drink anything (those cups sure do make for fun chew toys it seems) but it is important to get them in the habit of drinking water. It's also good for their little tummies to help avoid/deal with constipation issues that often follow when transitioning to solids.


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When I mention cubes, I mean ice tray cubes of pre-made steamed baby food you've previously made and frozen

>>>click here for a full post on how I make and store fruit & veg, especially in the first few weeks and months of weaning. I love my TommeeTippee Steamer Blender machine which helps save time when it comes to meal prep.

 


Happy cooking!

x

#FromFarmToTable - Homemade Baby food in Collaboration with Tommee Tippee

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If you've been following me for a little while now, you might have seen my previous posts here on the blog and on Instagram where I’ve been sharing the beginning of our #EverlyStartsSolids journey.  My little girl is now 6 months old, and we are well into the swing of things when it comes to weaning her onto real food. I'm so excited to share this post with you, showing you how easy it is to make your own baby food, ensuring you avoid all those nasty additives and preservatives that are in store bought purees.

Although we are using fresh veggies from our own little veggie garden, you can still make delicious and nutritious meals for your little ones using store bought fruit & veg. 

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Our veggie garden goes through a lot of ups and downs. Sometimes it looks amazing and is bountiful, and other times I spend my life picking off the millions of snails that find their way onto anything and everything that grows. Plus there's the constant battle with the weeds. But even though it takes a bit of work, there's nothing quite like the feeling of picking your own homegrown vegetables, and eating them fresh from the garden.

Having our own veggie garden has also inspired me to make all my own first meals for Everly. We live out in the middle of nowhere, and so it's pretty much impossible to pop to the shops and stock up on ingredients. But I'm really not going to complain, when these are the views we look out on every day...

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Today I want to share with you one of the recipes from Meg Faure's Weaning Sense recipe book. This is her Rainbow Veg Mash, and is a really lovely 'base' to start with, and then to add other more exciting flavours to once your little one is used to it. So far I've added chicken stock, liver and cream cheese to it, and Everly has loved it! The recipe makes about three baby cup fulls which you can freeze easily for future use.

I've really been liking the Tommee Tippee Explora Freezer pots for freezing, as they have a very clever rubber base that allows you to ‘pop’ out the frozen food easily. They are also dishwasher, microwave & steriliser safe, although I prefer to heat up Everly’s food using hot water as I’m not a huge fan of the microwave. I also love the Essentials food pots (the pink see-through pots pictured below with the pinks lids) for storing left over food, and particularly for heating up her meals. They stack beautifully, taking up less space in your freezer, and are ideal for traveling too. Also, as they are see-through, you can easily tell what food is inside. This is particularly helpful if you are like me, and like to make & freeze in bulk. You can tell at a quick glance whether it’s butternut or beetroot, and grab what you need.

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When it comes to actually steaming & blending baby food, I can't get over just how easy it is to do with the Steamer Blender machine from Tommee Tippee. I was sent over one to try, and at first I thought it to be a bit of an extravagance. I mean, can't you just use a pot and then transfer everything to another bowl and blend using a hand blender or blending machine? Well, read on friends!

Now, while you can just use any old pot you have at home to steam and then blend with another device, the Steamer Blender just makes things sooooooo easy. It's as simple as; chop veggies, pop into the jug, press some buttons and voila, a perfectly steamed & blended meal…ready to be eaten (or frozen for later).

When steaming veggies, it's really easy to forget that a lot of the goodness stays behind in the water. With this machine, the water stays in the jug, and then is used to blend the mixture. This way, all the goodness goes right back into the meal. And if you are already past the first few weeks of starting solids with your little one, you'll be happy to know that you can set the amount of 'blending' you'd like. You can make really smooth purees for the beginning stages of your solid food journey, or you can leave it chunkier as baby progresses to more textured food. Or you can skip the blending stage altogether…there are so many different options. I have to say this gadget really does make life simpler.

I've even been known to whip up a good couple of batches of sweet potato mash for Farmboy and myself, so believe me when I say you really will get a lot of use out of the Steamer Blender, even as baby gets older.

I have been freezing extra 'single' food into ice trays (ice cubes are the perfect size for Everly's first meals as she isn't eating that much just yet). Then I go shopping in the freezer, picking out a few ice cube combinations and then pop them into a cup to defrost. You can also take the frozen cubes out the night before and put them in the fridge to defrost overnight if you're the sort of person who remembers to do that. I always plan on doing that and then forget!

Another huge bonus when it comes to the Steamer Blender machine is how easy it is to clean. I know not everyone is as crazy about doing the dishes as I am (for realsies, I genuinely find doing the dishes to be relaxing and FAR prefer it to cooking!). So for those moms or dads out there who despise doing the dishes, this piece of tech is going to change your life! There aren't a million and one pots and pans and spoons. It's one jug that is easy to rinse clean, and then can be popped into the dishwasher if you're feeling really lazy. Otherwise it's a quick rinse in hot soapy water and then you're good to go!

Want to see the steamer blender in action? We made a fun little video showcasing our meal prep and would love to share it with you. You’ll also be able to see our menagerie of animals, in particular, #AmberTheGinger & #ShadowTheJindo. 

We hope you enjoyed the little glimpse into our lives here on the family dairy farm. I've got lots more video ideas (including a few on cloth nappies!) which I'm going to be putting up on my youtube channel soon. Let me know in the comments below if there's anything in particular you'd like me to make a video about. 

I post a lot of behind the scenes photos & videos over on Instagram Stories, so make sure you're following me over there too. Please do drop me a message and say hi, I love making new friends! 

Interested in finding our more about other Tommee Tippee products? The brand is very active on Facebook and have just launched their South African Instagram Account for you to connect with them and ask any questions you might have.

This post is sponsored by Tommee Tippee but all thoughts & views are honest and my own. 

#EverlyStartsSolids - our baby weaning journey...the beginning

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Starting solids is scary for some, and exciting for others. I must say, I was so excited at first, and now that I am a little more experienced (i.e. I've had to deal with all the extra work that goes into it) I do wish I had hung in there and waited until she was actually 6 months old. Something else than can happen when you start introducing food too quickly (and too much of it) is that baby gets full quicker, therefore drinking less milk, and therefore there is a good chance your milk supply will start to get less and less. I plan on breastfeeding for at least a year, and so as soon as I started getting a bit too caught up in the whole 'she needs 3 meals a day' mentality, I realised I needed to take a step back and make sure that my milk is still her number one food source.

When to start Solids

I started introducing solids when Everly had just turned 5 months old. After consulting good old google, and all of the baby books collecting dust on my shelf, I thought it to be a good time. She was displaying most of the 'ready' signs (sitting up, reaching for our food, showing a lot of interest in food, the tongue thrust reflex disappearing etc), and to be honest, I was SO EXCITED to move on to the next baby chapter. If following a more traditional approach to weaning (ie making puree's and spoon feeding, most recommendations are to start somewhere between 4 & 6 months).

On that note...there are SO many different opinions on when to start solids, and just as many differing ideas on how to go about it. While I always thought I would be following the 'baby led weaning' approach, I also wanted to try my hand at making my own puree and so decided to go ahead with a bit of a mixed approach.  Also, as I started before 6 months (baby led weaning advises waiting until baby is 6 months old or even older) this meant I could really get stuck into preparing 'meals' For Everly. 

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Meals is such a loose term, as most babies barely touch the food they are given for the first few days/weeks. But this is okay, after all, when starting out, all you are wanting to do is expose baby to as many different textures and tastes as possible.

Your milk/formula still makes up the bulk of their nutrition.

Farmboy and I have also followed a Banting/low carb high fat way of eating for the last couple of years (although we are far less strict with this now!) and so have chosen to avoid rice cereal as a starter food. Instead, after reading Tim Noakes' Raising Superheroes / Super Food for Super Children (thanks mom), The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care (again, thanks mom) and this blog post, I decided to start with egg yolk as a first food. It wasn't the only thing I gave my little girl, she also had some pre-chewed up apple and pear, as well as some raw carrot thrown into the mix. She absolutely loved the egg yolk the first two times I have it to her, and subsequently hasn't been too impressed with it. I am going to keep trying as egg yolks are jam packed with essential nutrients important for the development of the brain (the are full of choline, good cholesterol and iron!).

*NB Raising Superheroes is not a Banting cookbook; it doesn’t offer no-carb eating for kids. It does, however, advocate low-sugar, low-refined-carb, real food eating.

*NB Raising Superheroes is not a Banting cookbook; it doesn’t offer no-carb eating for kids. It does, however, advocate low-sugar, low-refined-carb, real food eating.

But, as I have learned, you really can't/shouldn't force a baby to eat something they don't want to. But, it is important to keep trying as some babies take something like 10 attempts at trying a food before they realise they actually like it.

Somewhere along the way, Evy had a few good pukes (who knows whether this had to do with the egg I had given her, a stomach bug that had been making the rounds or just from me giving her too much for her little tummy to handle), and so I decided to slow things right down, give her a break from solids, and go back to basics. This is where I found the Weaning Sense book by Meg Faure to be really useful. It's got a great guide and meal plan for starting solids, which really does help to get your mind around the whole solids thing. 

#EverlyStartsSolids Weaning Baby 5 months start solids

We are only really a month into the whole solids thing, and so I wanted to write this blog post and share with you all my mindset behind starting when I did, and to share what it's been like so far.

A few things I've learned in the past month:

  • ALWAYS have a cloth on hand as well as a bib...the food really does go EVERYWHERE

  • Use a transparent bowl/cup/container...babies like to see what they are eating

  • Experiment with temperature...it seems that my baby prefers cold food to warm food (weird, I know!)

  • Don't take your own judgement of flavour into account. Mixing avo and pear sounds really gross to me, but babies don't know any better. Also, try to expose your baby to as many different (age appropriate) foods so they don't become fussy eaters (like their parents!)

  • If you'd also like to avoid rice cereal, but aren't brave enough to attempt egg yolk, oats make a very good first food and from then on a good base food to add other things to.

  • You don't need to spend a fortune on goodies and gadgets to help you prepare meals...I very nearly spent over R600 on a couple of fancy ice-trays until my mom found these pretty pastel ones from Plastic Land. On the other hand, there are some gadgets that are amazing, and I would highly recommend purchasing (blog post to come soon). At the end of the day, if you like to have matching ice trays in a variety of co-ordinating colours, do it! If it makes the whole food prep thing more enjoyable for you, then I say go for it.

  • I do wish I had waited till she was 6 months before starting (mostly because breastfeeding is just so convenient when it comes to 'meal' time...and whipping out a boob is far easier than preparing/packing/heating up a meal. It's also less mess, less dishes and overall no worrying about whether they've eaten enough. Although I do wish I had given myself another month of convenience, I have had a lot of fun so far with experimenting with foods and seeing what her little taste buds to when exposed to a whole new world of tastes and textures


Equipment I found useful for the first few days/weeks:

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  • Spoons (I've been using the Munchikin range which I bought at Mr Price Home). The tips change colour to white when the food is hot

  • A mesh baggy thingy (also from Munchikin and also bought at Mr Price Home) which is great for putting pieces of food in to suck on

  • Ice-trays from Plastic Land to freeze freshly prepared food in

  • Clear zip lock bags to store the food from the ice trays in (these takes up a lot less space in the freezer)

  • Avent cups (I bought these on Takealot and mainly use them for freezing breastmilk as they also fit my breastpump...but they work a charm for serving food too!)

  • Bumbo seat (I plan on buying one of those white plastic high chairs from Game when she gets too big for the bumbo...which won't be far off because, well...#thunderthighs haha)


On a side note, it's very easy to get REALLY caught up in the whole solids thing, especially when it comes to their very first taste of something other than milk. But, at the end of the day, you aren't going to 'ruin' your baby if you don't give them the most perfect/organic/made from unicorn tears meal...so take it easy on yourself and have fun with it! 

The best piece of advice I've come across so far for introducing solids is

'Food before One is just for Fun'

and that little rhyme has helped me not get too caught up in the whole thing, especially when Everly refuses to eat anything solid for 2 days and then has a bad night and I get all in a tizz thinking that it's because she's 'starving' due to not having eaten all the fancy food I prepared her. And while we are on the topic, be prepared for the disappointment when your little one isn't as taken with your freshly prepared dish, preferring to chew on the wet face cloth you've placed beside her to help keep some sort of order in the chaos.

So that's where we are right now in the journey to solids.

Do you have any advice for us? Anything that helped you or any great products (or any nice recipes) you'd like to share? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

Everly's Top 5 Sleep Essentials - Newborn to 3 months

Baby Sleep Essentials Newborn to 3 months CityGirlSearching Blog-01.png

When it comes to babies, I think sleep (or lack there of) has got to be one of the biggest, most debated topics around...although it's probably right up there with starting solids/breastfeeding vs formula and oh wait, don't forget natural vs cesar birth. I guess just about anything and everything to do with babies will elicit wanted (and unwanted) advice and recommendations from everyone and their granny. 

I want to share what things have worked for us when it comes to our little girl, because I have always loved reading blog posts from other mommies (I find blog posts are easier to digest than spoken advice, plus I can 'turn them off' and come back to them if I want to and if I like the way the blogger has shared her experiences). I hope you find this post useful, and as always, please leave me a comment below if you have any questions about anything I've written about, or whether you'd also like to share something that has helped your little one sleep well/better.

1. Swaddle Blanket - Groswaddle 

Baby sleep essentials citygirlsearching blog newborn to 3 months swaddle blanket

Groswaddle Swaddle Blanket

I'm sure you have heard that babies like to be swaddled, right? And while I'm sure any old blanket would work, the Groswaddle is a lovely soft and stretchy cotton fabric that wraps perfectly around little newborns. It's also very easy to use (it's designed in a 'T' like shape), so even Dad can help with those early morning wraps after nappy changes. We were given two, and they were just amazing. I had a selection of other swaddles, but somehow Everly was always able to undo them. She stayed pretty snug in her Groswaddle though. She wanted to have her arms out, and would fuss no end until we took them out. You can get your hands on the Groswaddle and other Gro Company items on Takealot.

We used these swaddle blankets until she got too big for them, at around 2 months. Although it may seem like a short time to invest in such a fancy swaddle blanket, it's one of the items that I would buy again and again!

Baby Sleep Essentials Newborn to 3 months GroSwaddle swaddle blanket

2. Nurture One Nesting Pillow 

Baby Sleep Essentials CityGirlSearching Blog Newborn to 3 months Nurture One Nesting Pillow Cushion

Nurture One Nesting Pillow

This was probably one of the more expensive sleep accessories, but Everly loved this pillow and even if it only ended up giving us a few peaceful hours of sleep, it would have been worth it. It gave us a LOT more than just a few hours of good sleep though, and had it not gotten so hot here, I probably would have bought it in all the next sizes.

The only downside that I found, is that the stuffing gets 'stuck' on the one side of the pillow, and now matter how much poofing and fluffing I did, I wasn't able to get it even. It's not a big problem though, as you can flip the pillow around, and put a blanket under the other side to make it even. The NurtureOne Nesting pillow is easy to clean, simply pop into the washing machine. I still popped a receiving blanket over the pillow to keep it extra clean though, as I didn't want to have to wash it every time it got dirty. You don't realise just how long it can take to get into the swing of getting all those burps out, and of course getting a good system right with your nappies (we use cloth nappies and had our fair share of leaks until I figured out the correct fit/best absorbent ones to use on her).

What I really loved about the NurtureOne Pillow, is how easy it is to transport a sleeping baby. We were able to pick her up, while sound asleep, and move her to the couch, to the other room, and the best part, it fit perfectly in our pram bassinet! So she could carry on sleeping peacefully while we moved her from our house to Granny across the garden. We have the size 2 (75 cm x 45 cm).

We used the pillow until she was about 2 months old.


3. Bassinet

This will all depend on where you decide that you want your baby to sleep. We decided Everly would sleep in her own room, and were able to borrow the family bassinet until she moved to her cot.

We had her in a bassinet, in our room for the first night after we got home from hospital. I didn't sleep a wink. I had the bassinet right next to me, and I spent the whole night putting my hand on her chest to make sure she was breathing. We did have a monitor, but didn't use it the first night as I was so close to her. From that moment on, I knew we needed her to sleep in her own room so we that we would be able to rest as much as we could. I had no idea just how noisy newborns are! They grunt, and moan, and squirm, and all while being fast asleep! Our house is pretty small, and the two bedrooms we have (hers and ours) are right next door to each other, so we were able to hear her when she woke up and started crying. From day 2, Everly slept in her bassinet, in her own room (on her Nurture One Pillow and wrapped in her Groswaddle). We used the family heirloom bassinet, a lovely wicker one with homemade bedding borrowed from my sister in law. 

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I also didn't find it easy feeding her in bed, and I really didn't enjoy the mess of breastmilk all over the sheets (I had a pretty forceful letdown, and every feed I had to have towels and breastpads on hand...it wasn't a pretty sight, and poor Everly learned very quickly to be at the ready or else risk being squirted in the eye/up her nose/all over her face haha). Although feeding her in her room did mean having to get up and go to her room when she woke at night, I really didn't mind.

Those first few weeks were a blur, and I don't know what I would have done without my amazing husband who accompanied me on every night feed and nappy change for those first weeks. It was a very special time, sitting there in our daughters room together.

I would feed her, and then pass her to him and he would burp her (I really didn't like the burping part!) and then we would change her nappy together. He was so patient with me, especially as I insisted we were going the whole cloth nappy route and so every nappy was a bit of a learning curve. Here he is at 04h50 on morning...bear in mind he has to be at work (ie in the dairy for milking) at 04h30...this must have been a weekend morning. So even on his weekend off (he works two weekends a month) he sat with me.

newborn sleep essentials citygirlsearching blog

I put two chairs in the nursery, but hadn't intended for the one to be used by my hubby, we just didn't actually have anywhere else to put it. But it worked out so well having two chairs, and the second chair still gets used by visitors all the time. Some people put a bed in their nursery, and if I had had space I probably would have done the same. 

Girl Woodland Nursery South Africa citygirlsearching blog

In the above photo you can see both the chairs I have in the nursery (my feeding chair on the right & spare chair on the left).


4. Nightlight

I spent an unhealthy amount of time during my pregnancy, trying to find the perfect night light. As I'm sure other moms can sympathise, it became the one thing I obsessed over. It doesn't get an sillier friends. Thank goodness I stay on a farm in the middle of nowhere, or else I would have spent countless hours perusing shop after shop in search of 'the one'. Although I didn't visit any physical stores, I did spend my fair share of WIFI date, and after getting so dispondant that the 'perfect little bunny night light' was sold out in all the online stores I could find, I realised how silly I was being. 

rose quartz lamp nursery baby room south africa citygirlsearching blog night light for baby room

Towards the end of my pregnancy (when I was feeling #ALLtheachesandpains) I booked myself in for the most incredible full body massage here in our town. I know...can you believe we have not one, but two, amazing therapists here #smalltownforthewin! It was while having that massage that I feel in love with the beautiful Rose Quartz lamp that lit up the room, casting a beautiful glow. And the fact that it was pink didn't hurt either. I spent the next few days trying to track down a Rose Quartz lamp, not an easy feat I tell you, mainly because most of the pink stone lamps out there are salt lamps. Salt lamps are also lovely, but tend to crumble and you need to be careful of the heat from the light bulb, and so I chose to rather go with a Rose Quartz lamp. I know nothing about crystals, but thank goodness for Instagram, and I remembered I had a fellow blogger friend who knows everything about crystals. Thank you Siobhan for answering all my questions!

I ordered my pretty pink lamp from Static Energy, and it is my absolute favourite thing about Everly's nursery. It casts a very soft and warm glow on the whole room, and although I now turn it off when I put Everly to sleep (it's rather bright and now that she's older she wakes up more easily), it goes on every evening during bath time and bedtime, and helps Everly know that it's time for bed.


5. Baby Nest

Our Baby Nests have come from BumBumz, a lovely local business run by the delightful Sharon. If you order our BabyNest from her, tell her Roxy sent you. She is a dear friend, and runs her business with love and passion.

She also running a special on her products for the month of February...15% off everything a flat rate courier fee of R100.

Although similar in function to the NurtureOne Cushion, the Baby Nest has been our absolute favourite sleep accessory. So much so, that we are still using one (we have a bigger sized one now) and will probably even get the large size in a month or two. A Baby Nest is sturdier and hardier than the Nurture Pillow, and so, is very easy to travel with and take anywhere and everywhere. It's also really great for slightly older babies, as they can't roll of it.

Once it got too hot for the NurtureOne cushion, I put the Baby Nest in the bassinet, and then was still able to move her around the house while she slept. We also moved Everly to her cot at about 2.5 months (for no other reason that I wanted her to start using it, and the bassinet was really hurting our backs from picking her up and putting her down in it).

She carried on sleeping in her Baby Nest, inside the bassinet, right up until she just got too big for it!

I recently went on holiday to the beach for a week, and instead of having to take a camp cot/bassinet, I just took the Baby Nest and Everly slept like a dream the entire time. 

This is Everly at nearly 5 months old in a custom size (Medium/Large) Baby Nest from BumBumz

This is Everly at nearly 5 months old in a custom size (Medium/Large) Baby Nest from BumBumz

The BabyNest is super easy to clean, simply pop it in the wash and then put it out in the sun to dry. I have been very pleasantly suprised at how well both of them have washed in the washing machine. The spin cycle generally sorts out most of the left over water and then the sun does the rest of the job beautifully. You can also spot clean by hand, which I am proud to say I have had success with.

The other sleep essential is a dummy/pacifier. Everly only gets it when it's nap/sleep time, and pretty much puts herself to sleep when she has it in her mouth. I also give it to her in the car for long journeys. Although there is (again) much debate about the use of a dummy, we are grateful she will take one, and like that she uses it for sleeping. 

So there you have it, our favourite sleep accessories for our little girl. Is there anything you would recommend to new moms? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

x

Life with a Baby - Week 15

Life with a baby week 15 less sleep but more smiles by CityGirlSearching

Oh goodness me...it feels like someone has swopped my sleeping newborn cherub for a wide awake and ready for action infant, literally overnight! 

It was just the other day that I was thinking that the 3 month stage is just the best...and then just as I was getting used to all the giggles and smiles, along comes more changes which have left me feeling a bit frazzled. Before I go on with this post, I do want to give myself a big pat on the back for keeping a little human alive for the past 3 and a half months. I have completely surprised myself, mostly because I was absolutely terrified about becoming a mom (see posts below for more on my pregnancy journey): 

I loved being pregnant so much that there were times when I wished I could stay like that forever!And the idea of what was to come really scared me. Mostly, I was scared of being 100% responsible for something so small, who depended on me for every.single.thing, and then the worries of what exactly I would do with her all day. Those first few weeks went by in such a blur, I needn't have worried. Mommy instincts do indeed kick in, and before you know it, they are no longer a newborn.


I have been wanting to share a post on life with a Newborn for ages, but, life with a newborn doesn’t allow for much of anything other than keeping said newborn alive! I have a handwritten draft of that post which I will hopefully share with you all soon. I’m going to include lots of the baby things/paraphernalia we loved and that made our lives easier, and the items we felt were a bit of a waste of money...stay tuned for that soon!


According to the plethora of baby books I own, here are a few possible explanations, as well as a few others I have thought up :

  • The dreaded 4 Month sleep regression (eeek!)

  • A growth spurt

  • Teething (she has been drooling A LOT! but no sign of any pearly whites just yet)

  • A Wonder Weeks developmental leap

  • Travel or disturbance of environment/routine (we flew to Joburg a couple of weeks ago? Also we have been visiting lots of family and friends so this could be an added element?)

  • Since returning from Joburg, we have moved her out of her bassinet and into her cot...her baby nest has also become far too small and now she is just in the cot as is, perhaps she's missing the snugness of the baby nest?

  • And the most probable one...she's just being a regular baby, growing and changing with no real explanation as to why she does what she does!

15 week sleep regression life with a 15 week old baby citygirlsearching blog

Up until now...

Evy has been a wonderful sleeper from day one. I had mentally prepared myself for literally NO sleep for the first year of her life, and so the fact that she would sleep 3-4 hours at a time during the day, and 5-6 hours at night in between feeds (Evy is Exclusively Breast Fed Or EBF) in the first few months was a wonderful surprise. I can't really say that it's one particular thing we do that makes her sleep like she does (or rather...DID!), I think a large part of it has to do with luck and her being a really content baby. But I'll share the routine we follow, because I'm pretty sure it does at least play a part.

I know it doesn't really need to be said, but I want to say it here...all babies are different, and some babies, not matter how much 'sleep training/crying it out/routine fixing' you do, just want to be close to mommy and are never settled until they are on their mommy. I am a general busy body, and wanted to try my best to have Everly fit in with our lives (this is only really possible up until a point) instead of us fitting in with her. I also want to say that a lot of my friends have babies who have had terrible reflux and so their journey's have been very different to ours. If you think your baby has reflux and you've been having a really really hard time, I'd love to share these two blog posts by my friend Sophie (an extraordinary mommy I'm so lucky to call my friend)...click here.

We try to be quite flexible in our routines, but our bedtime schedule goes a little something like this:

  • 6pm bath time (depending on her afternoon nap I’ll either feed her one side right before bath time or when she wakes up from her last nap which can be anywhere between 4 & 6pm). Then once out the bath it’s a quick massage, a nice big clean nappy (we are using cloth nappies...click here to read more about our cloth nappy journey so far) and pyjamas. She generally screams blue murder if we take too long to get her clothes on after her bath, and I guess I would too if I was left to get cold on a changing mat after a lovely hot bath.

  • +- 6:30pm feed the other side and burp her

  • +-7pm sleep time

In the last few weeks she was sleeping right through until about 3 or 4am when she would wake and I would go in and feed her (and change her nappy if she needed) and then pop her straight back down again where she would sleep until around 6 or 7am.

We have been pretty strict about Everly’s sleeping right from the very beginning. I had been told to put her to sleep in a way that I could realistically do at 1 in the morning, and so a dummy works best for us. I knew there was no way I wanted to be up rocking a baby to sleep every time they woke up and so we were pretty firm with putting her down and letting her settle herself to sleep. 

Here's how put Everly to sleep at night:

After her bath & last feed & burp, we pop her straight down in her cot while she is awake but drowsy, put her dummy in and walk out the room. Depending on whether she’s sleeping on her side or back, we’ll give her a few bum pats (gosh I will someone had told me before having a baby how life changing bum pats would be! Pretty much never fails to calm her down when she gets niggly). This is the only time of the day that I feed before her sleep.

And during the day:

I try to follow a 'wake-eat-change-play-sleep' routine during the day so that she doesn't associate sleeping with feeding, as feeding before sleeping makes life really hard as baby ends up refusing to go to sleep without a feed. This has become so much harder to do lately as she is awake so much more. From about month 1 to month 3, she would sleep about 3 hours at a time during the day, which meant every time she woke up it would be time for a feed (I have fed on demand and she would generally go around 3 hours in between feeds during the day). We do the same sleep routine during the day as at night. Except this time she gets put down after play time, and it can take a little longer depending on how tired she is/how much of a good mom I've been and actually played with her vs. popping her on her play mat to play by herself.

Everly Rose .jpg

And now...

For the last week or so, she's been waking up after quick 45 minute naps during the day (sometimes stretching two 45 minute naps together...what is called 'linking' in baby lingo) and it's just not nearly enough time to get anything Adult/Roxy/Non-Mommy related things done. This has been really hard for me to adjust to, and I have found myself getting more and more frustrated. But, this is just part of the mommy-hood journey, and I'm sure there will be lots more moments like these to come. But please, comment below and let me know I'm not alone!

Her new night time wakings have also been harder to adjust to. She's been waking up a few times, and I've managed to get through some of them by going in and popping her dummy back in, patting her a few times and then walking out. When that has failed (and I've been back and forth with the dummy numerous times) I have resorted to feeding her and then putting her back down to sleep. We do have it relatively easy, but still...the last couple of weeks been an adjustment.

I wanted to share this post here (and anymore 'Life with a Baby' posts I am ever actually able to write) as a way to document my journey through motherhood. If you have a baby or if you're having a baby soon, I hope you find it useful or inspiring (or perhaps you'll just have a good old chuckle at the things I find difficult now as I'm sure there are worse to come).

But most importantly, I want to share this post because each of us first time moms are walking our own paths through motherhood, and our struggles, no matter how big or small they might seem in comparison, should unite us together, rather than making us feel alone <3.

Everly Rose 3 Months (3 of 13).jpg

Now for the fun stuff...

Current fav nickname: Bobbin

Loves: Being sung to and any and all music! Likes to face forward when being carried so she can see the world. LOVES being naked so she can kick and squirm and fling her arms and body about.

Hates: Tummy time! The amount of tears we ave both shed as I have watchd her squiggle and scream on the mat has left me traumatised. But, there is light at the end of the tunnel! After a good 3.5 months of really struggling with this, it seems that she has graduated from blue murder screams to mumbling her distaste at being placed face down on the floor. It was a pretty viscous cycle for a while, the more she cried the less I forced her to do tummy time (an the more judgey eyes I'd get from my mommy friends), and therefore the harder it was when I did pluck up the courage to do it. But I am happy to say, we seem to have found a position she can tolerate, and this has made tummy time on the floor a bit easier as she is getting stronger.

Here's my absolute favourite photo of her doing tummy time (and the ONLY time she has ever actually stopped crying and actually smiled...#mommywin!). Let me know if you'd like em to write a blog post on tummy time, and how you can actually make it a fun activity rather than a horrible chore.

15 week baby sleep regression life with a baby citygirlsearching

Teething: Loads of drool, both hands always in the mouth (a few choking episodes where she's opened her hand while it's in her mouth and her fingers have gone down her throat...poor thing!). Everything goes into the mouth now, her hands, my hands, any and all toys, and her favourite thing to grab and suck on...my hair (ouch!).

Eye Colour: Grey? Dark Blue?

Hair Color: Dark Brown 

Weight: Weighing in at 6.2 kg's, Everly has officially doubled her birth weight! 

Feeding: Breastfed

Sleeping Aids: Her hands, a dummy & a little soft giraffe taglet/doodoo blankie

Current clothing sizes: 3-6 months (although she has been in this size for a good while). I'm going to blame it on the cloth nappies ;) I have still managed to squeeze her into one or two of my favourite 0-3 month outfits, but these were mostly her sweet little jackets and jerseys. The 0-3 month onesies and leggings haven't fitted her for a good many weeks! 

Currently eating/not eating: in the beginning, I found that the only thing that really seemed to upset Everly in my diet was tinned tomatoes. I pretty much carried on eating everything I had eaten during pregnancy. Something that I am pretty sure plays a big role in her afternoon grumpiness and something which I try to avoid is caffeine. The days when I do drink caffeine, I try to have it as early in the day as possible. This has seemed to lessen the 4 - 5pm bbay meltdown period  considerably!

3 month baby 15 week sleep regression life with a baby by CityGirlSearching

That's all for now friends. I'm hoping she settles back into her usual sleeping pattern, and if not, all the smiles and the talking and general cuteness will undoubtedly make up for it all.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and festive season from all of us here on the farm.

High Contrast Baby Mobile Dangle Toys - Little Interiors

High Contrast Baby Mobile Dangle Toys from Little Interiors Photos by Roxy Hutton CityGirlSearching Blog_Artboard 4.png

When starting to plan my little girls nursery, I headed straight to Pinterest and so began my dreams of pretty pastel shades of pink, peach and cream. You see, I was planning a space for ME, not for a teeny tiny newborn who couldn't tell the difference between marshmallow pink and soft apricot. And so, when my step mom told me about the 'gorgeous' black & white mobile dangle toys from Little Interiors she had found at the Decorex show in Joburg, I was sceptical at first.

You see...I had already made my own gorgeous mobile dangles (complete with cute kitty)...

baby mobile toy girl nursery newborn toys

I added a 'high contrast' burgundy ribbon, as I had read that babies are naturally drawn to high contrast colours (like black and white) which, according to this article on visual stimulation by Dr Sears "registers powerfully on baby’s retina and sends the strongest visual signals to your baby’s brain. Stronger signals mean more brain growth and faster visual development" - Dr Sears.

So I thought my little piece of burgundy was going to do the trick and give my little girls endless hours of stimulation on her changing mat. But alas, she was not as taken with my pretty pastel mobile as I was.

I did a little more research into the high contrast mobile dangles from Little Interiors, and found two wonderful post that Mariette has written on her blog. The first post (click here) detailed why high contrast colours are so important for newborn, and the second (click here) went on to show you how you can incorporate high contrast colours into your nursery, even if you've chosen a soft pastel theme for your decor. 

Well, I thought it couldn't add any harm to try adding one of the black and white dangle toys to the mobile (the flower you can see in the picture below), and low and behold, if it hasn't become Everly's absolute favourite toy.

Little Interiors High Contrast Dangle Toys for Newborn Photos by Roxy Hutton of CGScreative & CityGirlSearching (7 of 20).jpg

I also have a set of woodland creatures that hang flat when looked straight at them, but her favourite one has got to be the little flower than hangs flat for her when she's on her back on the changing mat.

Hubby and I are absolutely certain this little flower has magical powers, because whenever she starts crying on the mat, all we have to do is spin the flower and she goes into a trance. It's incredible!

I've since taken down all my pastel dangles, and have just left the Little Interiors black and white high conrast dangles up as those are what she loves (for now).

I'm hoping that in a few weeks time I can put them back up and she'll respond to them.

Otherwise I'll have to find another use for them..any ideas on what I could do with them?

I can't recommend these dangles enough, and there are so many lovely designs to choose from. I'm wanting to add more of the flat hanging ones, seeing as she loves her flower so much.

Well done Mariette on creating such an amazing visually stimulating toys for newborns!

You can shop for the dangles online by >>>clicking here<<<.

In case you're wondering, the change mat mobile frame  is from RubyMelon.

P.S these photos were taken a good few weeks ago, and it's safe to say she is just as in love with the flower now at 10 weeks, as she was at 2 weeks :)


Do you have any toy recommendations for newborns? I know that teeny tiny babies are generally too young for toys, and that homemade things work just as well, but I'd love to know if you have had any experience with toys/decor items that have been stimulating for your little one. Drop me a comment below, I'd love to hear from you!

Sprout SA Kids Clothing - Brand & Product Photoshoot

A few weeks ago the lovely duo behind Sprout dropped by the farm for a morning of styled photographs for their kiddies fashion label. 

I had been in touch with Luke for the past week or so over Instagram, and we eventually found a date that suited us all to get together and start snapping and styling their gorgeous items. 


A little more about the brand...

 
Sprout South Africa childrens clothing and sleepy sacks
 

Proudly located in the heart of leafy Glenwood, Durban, Sprout is a kiddies fashion label offering an adorable, yet functional, range of kids apparel and sleepy sacks. Founded by Sarah Dalton in 2013,  the label exploded with the arrival of their little girl, Mae, in February 2016.

Sprout products are all made locally. The cotton fabrics, produced in local mills, use cotton grown from South African soil. Luke & Sarah believe in producing quality goods and spending hard earned cash locally to keep people in jobs, food on tables, and transforming harebrained dreams into realities.

They value originality. They don't do mass produced. All of their items are produced in small quantities to maintain the integrity and exclusivity of the brand.

Above all, Sprout is run by a pair of parents, who are doing our best to make a difference in their little girls’ life everyday.

 

I first came across the Sprout brand over on Instagram, and it was their famous range of sleepy sacks which first caught my eye. From there I was introduced to their beautiful rompers, and their most recent additions...leggings and T-shirts.

Each item is carefully and thoughtfully created, and their fabric designs are just beautiful...see for yourself:

With my own little girl on the way, I was delighted to get really hands on the styling and photographing of each of their beautiful items. I had a wonderful time getting to know both Luke and Sarah and their sweet little Mae, who really had fun meeting all our our farm creatures.

To Luke and Sarah, you are both such kind and creative people, and I wish you nothing but the best for Sprout. I can't wait to see all that lies in store for your wonderful brand!


If you are looking to update your brand photographs, then please get in touch! I've worked with product & service based brands to create an updated look and feel for their businesses using my camera, and I'd love to do the same for you!

Scroll through & click the posts below to see the brands and businesses I've worked with:

If you're still wondering what brand photography is and why you need it, here's a blog post that you might enjoy reading...What is Brand Photography and why you need it to grow your business.