Some Nappy Rash Solutions

Most babies, no matter how nice their skin is, will go through some sort of skin irritation. Whether it’s nappy rash, dribble rash, eczema or a red-blotchy-patchy-thing-that-no-one-really-knows-what-it-is rash, we all come across something.

Nappy rash is one thing I’d heard of, well before we were even thinking of kids. What I wasn’t aware of though is that you often don’t need a nappy balm or cream for newborn babies with today’s technology in nappies. I’d gone out and bought 3 different types of barrier creams and balms, only to be told at our antenatal class that I probably won’t need any for the first wee while! So, spread the word guys, to all those new mums out there. But, we didn’t avoid it forever. Especially when he started teething. Not only this, but he had quite bad eczema (or what looked like eczema) on his cheeks as a newborn and then from about 3 months onwards, he had a bad case of dribble rash. No matter how many times I changed the bibs or what cream I used, it wouldn’t go away. His skin was in a bit of a mess!

I didn’t like the thought of rubbing all these chemicals on my baby’s skin (I know, it’s probably silly, you can’t avoid it forever, as proven above, but I wanted to try for a little while!) so I tried to find some solutions that I would be happy with.

My mother-in-law used to swear by Aloe Vera gel, straight from the plant. It was basically her first aid kit, all in one. Aloe Vera gel contains two hormones: Auxin and Gibberellins. These two hormones provide wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce skin inflammation. Additionally, in Ayurvedic medicine, Aloe is used to effectively heal chronic skin problems, such as psoriasis, acne and eczema. Because of said mother-in-law, my husband grew a plant a few years back. This came in handy, I tell you, and made a huge difference to grubs’ skin when we used it. Ours seemed to grow better in full sun, and we would cut a whole leaf off and then keep it in the fridge, using little pieces at a time, rubbing the gel directly on to his skin. It’s great for any scratches or scars too.

Another trick I really liked was putting oats in his bath. Oats are great for soothing itchy skin and redness. I took about a cup of wholegrain oats, straight from the packet, wrapped them in a cheese cloth (or muslin would work well too) and dunked that straight in to the bath. You then need to squeeze and knead the oats and you’ll see all this milky white liquid start to come away. This is great for eczema, nappy rash and even chicken pox.

And, I love calendula cream. Calendula helps to improve blood circulation and helps skin wounds heal, including sunburn. The oil can be quite harsh on its own, but the cream has a soothing effect on the skin and relieves itching or pain. And, it’s great for nappy rash. I’ll put this on grub before bed time and in the morning, his nappy rash is noticeably better. This is something I would definitely recommend everyone has in their first aid kit at home. Weleda do a good one, but there are other brands too.

Lastly, if you’re really game and wanting to make your own, I stumbled across this recipe online when looking for an alternative to Sorbolene cream:

  • ½ tbsp. beeswax pellets
  • ½ tbsp. coconut oil (recipe calls for cacao butter it gave it a funny smell, so I used coconut oil instead)
  • ¼ cup avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • ½ cup pure aloe vera gel

Put your beeswax and oils in a glass bowl over boiling water (don’t let the water touch the bowl though) and melt down until mixed together. Let this cool until it’s like the consistency of butter at room temperature. Using a stick blender, mix your oils with the aloe vera gel. Voila! I found the beeswax and aloe vera gel online (make sure it’s pure aloe vera gel, most of the supermarket brands have other additives). I keep mine in a jam jar and find it actually lasts quite a long time as a little goes a long way. I use this after the bath over his whole body and find it works wonders for his dribble rash.

Have you tried any of the more natural suggestions above? Got any other tips? We would love to know, leave us a comment below.

Starting Finger Food

It’s probably quite obvious by now that we didn’t do baby led weaning as we opted to introduce vegetable puree’s first and work our way up from that. It worked well for us, I didn’t have a grub who insisted on feeding himself and getting involved. In fact, at almost 1 he was still quite lazy and was happy to play with some food while we fed him some mouthfuls at home. Whilst at day care, he totally feeds himself and gets right in there with both hands!

So, there came a time where I thought about when and how to introduce finger food. We’d also opted to go grain-free until 10 months, so it wasn’t as easy as introducing soft pieces of bread. When he got to about 8 or 9 months, I felt the pressure to start giving him ‘finger food’ as everyone else we knew around our age was doing so. But this was MESSY, and most of the time, I just felt like it was easier to feed him myself especially as I knew he would eat a lot more and, in my mind, more variety this way. On one hand, I knew of people that did finger food from 5.5 months, and on the other hand I’ve got my mum saying she never did that as she couldn’t be bothered with the mess! Sometimes, I was definitely in her camp haha. And, you don’t exactly see 2-year old’s walking around not knowing how to feed themselves, right?! So, what did I do? Well, on those days when I had the patience and time, I would give him some food to play with, whilst still feeding him the majority of his meals. And on other days it was mashes and lumpy food that I just fed him while he played with spoons.

One thing grub loved from the start was orange kumara. It formed the base of a lot of our meals (see here for some ideas) and it also makes the perfect first finger food. It’s better than the purple kumara as it’s softer, sweeter and doesn’t break as easily (purple kumara is more dry). It’s also great for travelling with as it can be eaten warm or cold. Simply peel a few kumara, cut in to ‘chips’ and bake in the oven at 180c until soft. So, this is where I started.

He also loved peeled slices of cucumber. In the beginning, he would just gum it, break some off and then spit it out as he didn’t get any teeth until much later. I just had to make sure he didn’t swallow any! Grated cheese was a hit too, and then we graduated to slices of it after a wee while. I have a great grain-free banana and carrot muffin recipe (I can share this with you guys soon) that he really enjoyed and I would just break some pieces off for him while feeding him the rest.

I must say that whilst introducing all this stuff, he really only played with it for aaages. He never really fed himself much until he was almost one. So, if your one is the same, don’t worry about it. They’re not gona stay like that forever. They’ll get there! Now at 17 months he won’t let us feed him at all.

Then when he was about 11 months or so, just before he started day care (where they are encouraged to feed themselves at every meal; awesome), he started to get the hang of picking things up and putting them in his mouth. It was at about this time that I gave him peanut butter on toast for breakfast and left him to it. Or I gave him a meatball or two for morning tea (another great finger food idea that also travels well as can be eaten cold, see here for our yummy recipe). Another easy one was rice cakes with hummus or peanut butter and thin slices of soft pear and kiwifruit were great too. Bliss balls are also a favourite! Especially when out and about. Still though, most of the time I’d have to give him some to try and then he would take over. He always needed to take that first little bite and then he would understand that it was yummy and he wanted to eat it. But I often had to give him that first go – weird!

So what are my tips?

  • Don’t feel the pressure to introduce finger foods too early or like your baby is ‘behind’ when it comes to eating by themselves (if you’ve chosen to not start with finger food from the beginning). They’re all different, and hey. On the bright side, you can ensure they’re getting a wide variety of foods if you’re still shovelling it in!
  • When you’re ready, start with something relatively simple and something you don’t mind being wasted. So much ends up on the floor or not getting eaten at all.
  • Take your baby’s cues; if they insist on using the spoon themselves, let them. If they don’t mind playing with a green bean while you feed them quiche, then do it!
  • Start introducing finger food at home. It’s much easier to clean up all that mess and there’s less distraction for them. They can concentrate on exploring the wonderful world of food.

I hope this has helped and given you some ideas on what some good finger food ideas might be. Watties also do a pretty good infographic (scroll down to stage 4).

Getting Your Greens In

We all know they’re good for us, and we’re supposed to “eat our greens.” But why? Well, they’re full of antioxidants, they’re alkalizing on your body, they’re a great source of iron, they protect against toxins and they’re a source of many vitamins. Seems like there’s a few good reasons!

My parents were never very good at steaming broccoli or beans, they always turned out soggy and overcooked – yuck! Spinach didn’t really feature as all they knew of was a side of “creamed spinach” and that’s for fancy restaurants, right? And brussel sprouts NEVER appeared as mum hated them (her mum probably boiled them to death). All these reasons meant that, apart from peas with my sausage and mash, I didn’t really “take” to anything green. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

As I got older, I learned to love them (by not over-cooking them!) and now I try and make sure EVERY meal we have, has something green to go along with it. Even if it’s a few handfuls of spinach thrown in to a soup, and when it came to little grub’s food, I took the same approach. So, here are some ideas as to how to include greens in to the diet… at least up until they start having opinions and “not liking” green food! We can get to that another time.

When they’re little, it’s easy. Puree peas (which are actually quite a sweet vegetable), spinach or broccoli in to any vege or meat combination you’ve got going on. When they’re a little older and eating chunky, mashed food, you can steam some chopped broccoli, courgette and spinach and mash this in to kumara. Add some butter, a squeeze of lemon and you’re good to go! This is what I do now for sausage and ‘mash.’ It’s actually delicious and is super easy.

If we ever have some steamed broccoli left over, I keep it and mash the florets in to some kumara and a scrambled egg which then becomes grubs’ breakfast, lunch or dinner. I include peas in to pasta dishes, or they make great finger food when they’re older. Courgette’s have quite a neutral taste, so you can grate these in to any pasta dishes or meatballs.

And don’t forget that spinach doesn’t have much of a flavour… at all! Include a handful in to smoothies (yip, they can have smoothies whenever you think they’re ready. My boy started at about 9 months), stir some through a curry or a soup. Or you can include some spinach in any savoury muffins you might make. I’ve also got a great finger food/breakfast/snack recipe for Green Eggs – give this one a go, you won’t regret it!

Let me know how you guys get on!

What’s for lunch when pregnant?

This is something I found really difficult when working and sushi was no longer an option, nor was a quick kebab or any bakery food really. Unless it was a pie, which is totally okay during those weeks where you’re not feeling well, but once you’re through the other side, you should try and start getting some good nutrition back in to your diet. Sometimes even café food wasn’t an option either!

During my first pregnancy, I worked full time and there were no days during the week where I could just make a quick scrambled egg on toast (I hate microwaved eggs, I know, picky right?!). I also had strong cravings for a good 3 – 4 months for full-fat dairy. Greek yoghurt, cheddar cheese, cream, you name it. This time around, I’m working three days a week, so I still need to find good food, that I feel like, that doesn’t require too much prepping and is easy to take to work. This time I’m craving anything carby (breads, pies, scones, brioche) which isn’t so healthy! And just food in general, all the time. I’m having lunch at 11.30am some days! Afternoon tea at 2pm and then at around 5pm I need something to see me through until dinner! I hope this subsides soon….

Anyway, in both instances, no matter what I am craving, I still find it difficult to think of what to take for lunch and in fact it’s the bane of my life most of the time. It’s hard enough to plan the dinners for the week! But I try to make it easy. Most of the time I get either chicken drumsticks or a few salmon steaks and bake them in the oven on Sunday. I’ll then mash a big serving of kumara and potato together and take in 2 heads of broccoli for the week. Every day I then have a bit of protein, some kumara mash and ½ a head of microwaved broccoli. Sometimes you’ve got to work with what you’ve got! Microwave is the only option… and yes, ½ a head is right. I am a bit of a fiend when it comes to broccoli! So that would do me for the week. And when you work out the cost per meal, it’s about $5 or something.

Other days, I’ll have some left overs if there are any (we have left overs for the next night almost 99% of the time, as I hate cooking two nights in a row) or I’ll take a little can of baked beans and have that on toast with a handful of spinach on the side. During summer I’d always have avocado with whatever I was having to ensure I had a decent helping of fats with my meals. I always have a few bags of those Pitango or Naked soups or risotto’s in the fridge and a few boiled eggs with tomato on toast is a current favourite. I also like making my green egg cups (recipe to come soon) as they can be kept in the freezer, so you don’t have to have all 12 over the week. Two of these with some spinach and mashed kumara on the side is delicious! In case you hadn’t noticed, carbohydrates are my friend when I’m pregnant. I can’t not have them (even if it is kumara), especially during this pregnancy where it’s all I feel like.

If I make a big serving of chilli or spaghetti mince, I’ll freeze portions in sandwich size Kai Carriers and take those in with some toast and spinach on the side. At the moment I’m also loving soups as they’re easy to bang in a slow cook on a Sunday morning and then you’ve got lunch for most of the week. Cauliflower and bacon is my favourite! But only when cauliflower isn’t $10 a head…And on those days when I’m really lazy (although not very often in winter), I’ll have a smoothie for lunch.

Some days I don’t have enough left overs or the lunch I’ve got isn’t filling enough so it’s really important for me to have snacks. I’ll make bliss balls over the weekend and keep them in the fridge at work (with my name on them! They’re rather moreish and others have been known to get in to my stash…) and I’ll take mandarins and apples with me. Carrot and cucumber sticks are good too but sometimes I can’t be bothered cutting those up the night before.

I hope this has given you guys some ideas, and in turn I’d love to hear yours! I’m always on the hunt for lunch inspiration.

 

Make your own play-dough

I have vivid memories of my sister and I when we were little, playing with play-dough on our little plastic table and chair set, outside on the covered deck. A rainbow of colours and that unmistakable smell of salt and flour. This provided endless hours of entertainment for us, and now that I’m a mum, realised she did this for herself too…. At least 30 minutes to yourself anyone?

play dough 3

It’s well and truly winter here and now we have a very active 15-month-old. Gone are the weekends spent curled up on the couch watching movies on a Saturday afternoon! Now we have to think of things to do with this little tyke so that we all don’t go completely mental. And that’s where play-dough comes in.

Super easy to whip up, lots of cool colours can be created and it’ll last about 4 – 6 weeks in an air-tight container. AND, it washes out of clothes if you get it mashed in there. We had it smeared all over a pair of black pants and I chucked them in the wash and you couldn’t tell the difference!

I hope you guys try this and it gives you all a bit of light relief during these winter weekends… And that it brings back some wicked child-hood memories too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup standard flour
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 tsps cream of tartar
  • 1 ½ tbsp oil
  • Food colouring

Method:

  • Mix all ingredients in a large pot, making sure there are no lumps in the flour (it will stir to a smooth paste and then as it starts to cook, it’ll start to go lumpy again)
  • Cook on a medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes for dough to form, stirring constantly, scraping sides and bottom to ensure it doesn’t stick or burn
  • Store in an airtight container for 4 – 6 weeks.

Note: I used a small plastic whisk to make the play dough and it worked really well!

play dough 2