Exclusive Breast Feeding – We did it our way…

“Food, the forgotten medicine” (c) 

REAL FOOD for baby

This is a post about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.

That said, it’s important to point out that everybodies path is different, we couldn’t quite believe how much pressure you face after you leave the hospital with your bundle of joy.  Mums have it particularly tough of course with the realisation that you’re solely responsible for providing the energy and sustenance to grow an actual human being!   Functioning on very little sleep and bombarded with 24/7 access-all-areas internet and media coverage of how to do the right thing for your child it’s easy to reach overwhelm!

This ridiculous NHS advert is just one example – i can only assume it was conceived by a group of clueless advertising executives – the underlying message is that, not only do we expect you to single-handely breastfeed your child, but we expect you to look glamourous in the process!  (*)

An ill-conceived NHS Advert!
An ill-conceived NHS Advert circa 2010

The book ‘Breast is Best’ was written way back in 1978 and yet the World Health Organisation (WHO), together with UNICEF are still (report February 2015) raising awareness of the benefits of breastmilk as the cornerstone of child nutrition, health and development.

Breastmilk is nature’s perfect food. It is universally available. Its benefits last a lifetime, for mother as well as child…Exclusive breastfeeding – defined as the practice of only giving an infant breast-milk for the first 6 months of life (no other food or water) – has the single largest potential impact on child mortality of any preventive intervention. — WHO (2015)

It’s my personal belief and inline with current Health guidelines in the UK, US and Australia (to name a few) that babies where possible (there are certain clinical reasons where breastfeeding is not an option – HIV or taking certain medications that may be harmful to baby) should be given breast-milk and breast-milk only for the first 6months of life.

“Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. Exclusive breastfeeding (giving your baby breast milk only) is recommended for around the first six months of your baby’s life” NHS, UK

Introduction of complementary feedings before 6 months of age generally does not increase total caloric intake or rate of growth and only substitutes foods that lack the protective components of human milk. — Roberta J. Cohen et al. 

Our son was exclusively breast fed for the first 6 months of his life, and whilst I would never judge anyone who chooses another route, I am surprised that only 38% of infants aged 0 to 6 months being exclusively breastfed globally.

There is also an incredible amount of pressure to start weaning early for a multitude of bonkers reasons and we faced our fair share! Click here to read results of a survey that demonstrates this.

I am incredibly proud our my partner in her journey through EBF and of our baby who has been just bouncingly happy throughout the process!  Some days she really felt she was in prep to run a marathon and we ensured she had plenty of good fats, protein and fresh vegetables.

We have just started weaning working with real foods and tuning into our sense of what is right for our son Leander, after all ‘every baby is different’.  In my next post I’ll share the start of that journey with you…

You are a brilliant parent and all your baby needs that’s all you need to know!

With love for a BRILLIANT parental journey,

Manos

PS – I offer personalised nutrition plans for nursing mothers and weaning babies.  Please contact me for more information.

(*) It is not my intention to add to the already oppressive message that you MUST breastfeed…but simply advise, best where possible, but if this places mum in an unsustainable and dangerous position then she should certainly not hesitate to examine other options.

Further Reading

Introducing Solid Foods Too Soon

Is baby ready for solids?

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Soaking Almonds in 5 Easy Steps

What you need to know

Almonds contain an enzyme inhibitor in their outer skin that protects the nut until it’s ready to germinate.

Like most nuts this makes them difficult to digest and prevents access to all of the nuts nutrients and vitamins.

Clever early humans learned that they could make nuts more digestible and nutritious by soaking or sprouting.

What you need to do

1. Purchase Raw Organic Almonds (budget permitting)
2. Place Almonds in a large bowl or similar
3. For every 1/2 cup of Almonds add 2 cups of filtered water
4. Soak overnight
5. Rinse, drain, and eat within a few days for best results

Top-tipTry a sip of the acrid brown water after soaking if you really want to know why should soak your nuts – just make sure you have somewhere to spit!

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Fermented Foods, Homemade Kombucha Tea!

Food is the Forgotten Medicine (c)

Fermented foods are an everyday part of my diet…I make homemade sauerkraut, kefir and this kombucha tea drink everyday.  I wanted to share my method with you to hopefully explain in simple terms how to make fermented wonder foods part of your every day!

 

It's ALIVE!
It’s ALIVE!

These additions to a healthy diet can be SO simple to make and blast all your pro-biotic yoghurt based drinks out of the park in terms of GOOD bacteria!

Kombucha Tea Drink

You will need;

  • Bottled mineral water – x 2 litres
  • Organic black loose leaf tea (you can use organic tea bags if you like, must be black) x 4
  • Organic sugar x 1 cup
  • X1 SCOBY (I can give you this if you’re on one of my plans or you can order from a reputable company online)
SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast SORRY Scoobes!
SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast SORRY Scoobes!

 

How to do it;

  1. Boil half the mineral water and add to the sugar and tea in a ceramic bowl to infuse for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the cool mineral water and leave until completely cool.
  3. Strain out the tea or tea bags using a PLASTIC (BPA free) sieve. (Kombucha does’t like metal at any stage of the process).
  4. Add your Kombucha to a clean sterilised jar with your SCOBY. Do not seal completely but drape a clean tea towel or muslin cloth over it to protect from bacteria.  Store in a warm place away from direct sunlight.  Kombucha does not like cold!
  5. Your Kombucha is ready full of probiotics in 5days but in terms of your own personal taste, the longer you leave it the stronger tasting the brew will be! You can keep it on the counter or in the fridge after it’s reached your desired taste.
Your can grab these bottles from IKEA for a couple of quid - great for storing your delicious drink!
Your can grab these bottles from IKEA for a couple of quid – great for storing your delicious drink!

 

The benefits!

The main benefits of this tasty elixir as well as it being JAM PACKED full of ANTIOXIDANTS are vast;

1. It contains TONNES of probiotics

2. It can alkalize the body to balance your internal pH

3. It detoxes the liver

4. It will increase metabolism, improve digestion and keep you regular!

5. It can rebuild connective tissue – help with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism

6. Reduce blood pressure

7. Relieves headaches & migraines

8. Heal eczema – can be applied directly to the skin

9. Help clear up candida, yeast infections & group strep b in pregnancy

10. Help with healthy cell regeneration

 

Have fun real food warriors!!

 

Dairy Free – Almond Milk Recipe

Food is the Forgotten Medicine (c) 

My 28 days later programme involves cutting out dairy completely.  I advocate Almond Milk (*) and homemade is best so here’s a method I’ve found works really well..

 

HOW TO; Make your own dairy free Almond Milk 

soak, drain, whiz, strain and your'e there!
soak, drain, whiz, strain and your’e there!

 You will need;

  • Organic almonds
  • Filtered or bottled water
  • A nut bag/ muslin cloth

How to do it;

  • Pre-soak organic skin on almonds (1 cup) for 12hrs
  • Repeatedly drain and rinse at least 3 times over the 12 hours
  • Blend almonds & 1 cup water (depending how watery/strong you like it) for around 2mins in a food processor
  • Strain through muslin cloth (*)
  • Beautiful homemade Almond Milk is yours!
  • Dry almond pulp in oven  – 10-15 mins at 180’c should do it
  • Almond pulp can be used as a cereal substitute or in baking as an almond flour

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Delicious in chai tea!

(*) if you don’t have time for homemade, always buy the ‘unsweetened’ variety and check the ingredients carefully!

(*) you can buy a special nutbag online if you like.  I use this one!