Homemade Fish Fingers | BLW

Baby Led Weaning

Who doesn’t love a good fish finger butty, or fish and chips? It’s definitely a favourite in our house!

This recipe I’ve been using for years to make a healthier fish and chips tea, using slimming world style chips, and changing this into fish fingers makes it great for baby led weaning.

These fish fingers are really easy to make and if you have toddlers or older children you can even get them to help you! As a teacher, I’ve made these with a year 1 class before and they loved it!

Ingredients:

1 large piece of skinned, boneless fish (any fish is fine, we use haddock or cod)
1 egg
2 slices of bread
2 lemons
A handful of fresh chopped parsley
Fry light

Method:

Ensure the fish is free of any bones and place it into a dish with the juice from a lemon, parsley and the rest of the lemon sliced on top. Put this into the fridge for half an hour.

Pre-heat the over to 200 degrees C and lightly toast the bread and allow to cool.

Whisk the egg in a bowl, and break up the toast into another bowl. Use a food processor to finely chop the toast into breadcrumbs.

Add chopped parsley to the breadcrumbs.

Cut the fish into ‘fingers’ and spray fry light onto a baking tray.

Take one of the fingers, dip into the egg until fully coated, then into the bread crumbs, again ensuring it is fully coated. Place on the tray, and repeat with the rest of the fish fingers.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

We serve to Amber with some roasted sweet potato and peas for tea, but this could be served as a snack also.

We hope you and your little ones enjoy this recipe, if you do decide to try this one out, remember to tag us on instagram @mama_and_baby_amber and @meet_the_crockers 🙂

Em, Dan & Amber x

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Spaghetti & Meatballs | BLW

Baby Led Weaning

Spaghetti and meatballs is a classic family meal so this is a great one for feeding the whole family.

Amber really enjoyed trying the meatballs but wasn’t so keen on the feel of spaghetti in her hands so we had to help her a bit with this.

Amber only had a little of the sauce, as she’s not at the stage yet where she can use her fork properly, so the sauce just makes it harder for her to pick up with her hands. However, as it’s a family dish, Dan and I were able to enjoy the sauce with ours.

Ingredients:

12 lean beef meatballs
100g dried spaghetti
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp Worchester sauce
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree
pinch of coriander
canderel sweetener

Method:

Cook the spaghetti in a pan of boiling water.
Add meatballs to a large pan and fry in a drop of oil with the onions and garlic.
Put the hob to a medium heat and add the Worchester sauce and chopped tomatoes.
Add the tomato puree and coriander. Add sweetener to taste.
Drain spaghetti and serve.

We served Ambers spaghetti with two meatballs, a small spoon of sauce, some grated cheese, chopped baby tomato and chopped mushroom. These could have been added to the sauce, but I wanted Amber to try each individual ingredient.

We hope you and your little ones enjoy this recipe, if you do decide to try this one out, remember to tag us on instagram @mama_and_baby_amber and @meet_the_crockers 🙂

Em, Dan & Amber x

Fruity Porridge Fingers | BLW

Baby Led Weaning

When we first started baby led weaning, and Amber started to enjoy grabbing her food, we found that she didn’t want to be spoon fed for a while. So we found this recipe for fruity porridge fingers, as a way to get her to eat a tasty breakfast without the spoon.
We’ve used a handful of raspberries or a whole banana in these, but you could use any fruit that will mush up easily.

Ingredients:

6 tbsp porridge oats
4 tsp whole milk
A handful of your choice of berries or 1 banana
1 tsp desiccated coconut

Method:

In a bowl add the porridge oats, milk and coconut.
Mash up your choice of fruit and add this to the bowl.
Mix the ingredients together well.
Spoon the mixture into a flat bottomed, microwavable dish or tray and compress the mixture with the back of a spoon.
Microwave for 2 minutes.
Cut into fingers whilst still in the dish and hot, but allow to cool before separating.
Serve once cooled and enjoy!

We hope you and your little ones enjoy this recipe, if you do decide to try this one out, remember to tag us on instagram @mama_and_baby_amber and @meet_the_crockers 🙂

Em, Dan & Amber x

Sweet Potato & Tuna Burgers | BLW

Baby Led Weaning

This is a really simple recipe for a great healthy burger for weaning. Can be served on their own, with salad, with chips or a selection of vegetables. Amber has eaten these from 6 months old, but these would be great for older children too, made into proper burgers with a bun and salad too!

Last time we made these, we baked them, but have decided grilling is a better option to prevent the burgers from falling apart.

Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato
1 tin of tuna in spring water
1 egg

Method:

Peel, chop and boil or steam the sweet potato until soft.
Mash the sweet potato and add the tuna and egg, before mashing again.
Use your hands to grab a handful of the mixture and roll into a ball, before squashing into a patty shape.
Grill the patties until golden.
Allow to cool before serving.
Enjoy!

We hope you and your little ones enjoy this recipe, if you do decide to try this one out, remember to tag us on instagram @mama_and_baby_amber and @meet_the_crockers 🙂

Mum Fail! | Meet the Crockers

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I’ve been a mama for just over 8 weeks now and it has been full of smiles, tears, boobs, poop, hugs and love. We have so many memories with our baby girl already and I thought I would share a few.

Everyone knows parenting isn’t perfect, despite the lovely photos we all post on Instagram, there are plenty of times where it all goes wrong. So, here are a few of my mum fails so far:

Nappy fail

One that happens a lot is the nappy fail. When Amber is crying and I think she might be needing a nappy change, so we go upstairs to change her nappy. She’s full of smiles and gurgling away, I just finish the buttons on her sleepsuit, or putting her tights back on when I hear the unmistakable sound of a nappy being filled. Yep, she’s pooped again! I actually changed her nappy 3 times in the space of an hour the other day.

Poop everywhere

Sticking with the nappy theme, sometimes we don’t quite get to the end of changing a nappy before the poop explosion. One morning, when she was only a couple of weeks old, she projectile pooped mid nappy change resulting in poop on the changing mat, my PJs and even the wall!

Washing fail

Having a newborn means our wash load has doubled and the washing machine is constantly running. Babies seem to have a lot of white clothes, especially bodysuits! So it’s not good when a red dress ends up in the white washing. Amber had a lovely mini mouse dress with a little white t-shirt that went with it. I say ‘had’ because the t-shirt ended up in the wash with the dress and came out badly stained. There was no saving it.

Phone drop

Ever lay in bed on your phone and accidentally dropped your phone on your face? What about dropping your phone while breastfeeding and it hitting your baby in the face? Oops. (She was fine)

Food and Drink Spills

Having a baby constantly attached to your boobs means you have to learn to eat and drink one handed with your baby in your arms. It is probably not a good idea to choose food that can easily be spilt like pasta or soup… again she was fine! Her sleepsuit was not. One time she ended up covered in Pepsi because the can fizzed up when I opened it, that one was definitely not my fault!

Bang

This last one was the main reason for this post.
Last week we had a poop explosion, one where it meant a complete change of clothes. I was upstairs with Amber on her changing table, trying to get her out of her clothes without getting poop even more all over her than it already was. I was just pulling her bodysuit over her head when slipped out of my hand and banged her head on the wall.
It was awful.
I felt like the worst mum on the planet. It was my fault my baby girl was hurt and crying.
She was absolutely fine, she’d not hit her head hard, and there was no lump or mark afterwards but I still felt horrible. Dan came upstairs to find my cuddling Amber close to me, saying ‘Mama’s sorry’ both of us in tears.
Honestly, I think I was more upset than she was.

I’ve mentioned this headbanging story to a few people and it is definitely something that happens to everyone at some point. It doesn’t make you a bad mum, just human. We all make mistakes I guess.

So those are a few of my mum fails. Please share your mum (or dad) fail stories too.

Thanks for reading!

Em x

 

Parenting in Public | Meet the Crockers

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It was my birthday yesterday so I took another week off work to spend more time with the family. Today, Amber is 4 weeks old which has gone incredibaly fast. she has started to become a lot more alert and seems to recognise our faces. She is also getting into a solid feeding routine and we all seem to be getting a little more sleep. She is also slowly beginning to fit into 0-3 month clothing. It is still pretty baggy but she is filling it a lot better than she was 3 weeks ago.

So, this week we have been getting out and about a lot more often than we have done in quite a while. Getting Amber used to the big wide world and getting to spend some time together out of the house. It has been quite the experience for us as we have found that nipping out to town now requires a lot more equipment than the normal keys, wallet, phone. The arsenal of things we have to bring along now is pretty mind blowing and I dont know how we haven’t yet forgetton anything. With that being said at least we dont have to cart bottles and milk around with us everywhere we go like I know a lot of other parents have to. All we need to remember is Emma’s boobs and a couple of muslins and Amber is pretty much good to feed whenever she needs to. Breast feeding in public was a little strange at first but we have we are all becoming a bit more at ease with it.

With all that said let’s talk about some of the new experiences Emma and I have faced this week as new parents.

Breastfeeding in Public

This one was one that I thought could be difficult for us. what, with a society of backwards people around us that believe that a mother feeding her infant in public is wrong. We always planned on breastfeeding Amber. From early on in the pregnancy it was something we both wanted to do.  It’s natural, nutritional and can help baby with immunity to many bugs that newborns can catch. Not to mention it’s a damn sight cheaper than buying milk formula.
We are very lucky that Amber took to breast feeding straight away and we have, so far, had no problems with her in terms of feeding. In the first 2 weeks of her life we didn’t really take her anywhere due to so many people wanting to come and meet her, so breastfeeding in public wasn’t really something we had to tackle. If it wasn’t for the pink balloons in the window I’m pretty sure the neighbours would have thought we were runnning some kind of drug den with the amount of people coming and going.  Looking back, I should have put a section on my website where family members could book an appointment to come and see her!
Going back to the breastfeeding in public; our first experience of it was when we went for breakfast with my aunite who drove all the way from Norwich for one day just to see her. We went to the Toby Carvery for their amazing breakfast which includes breakfast yorkshire puddings and gravy. Amber latched on as normal and we had no issues with anyone staring at us or giving us funny looks. Since then, Amber has fed many times in public. We went to Blackpool on Monday and to Lancaster yesterday and we fed Amber in various places and we didn’t have any issues at all. I guess we just got lucky really as I have heard other people have had really bad experiences with breastfeeding away from home.
Matt Coyne makes a very good point about breast feeding which can be found in his book ‘dummy’ and on his blog ‘Man vs Baby’ where he refers to these people as ‘weirdos’.

“I know this has probably all been said before but who are these fucking crackpots who have a problem with breastfeeding in public? or these weirdos who say they ‘don’t mind it’ as long as it’s done ‘discreetly'”

(Coyne, n.d.)

This article is both very humerous and eye opening and I urge you to go have a look at this guys hilarious insight to parenting!
Please feel free to share your breastfeeding stories with us as we would love to hear them!

Baby changing

Something I have never before had to be aware of or even consider is options for baby changing whilst out and about. To my surprise every place we have been to so far has had facilities for changing babies and I’m quite certain that most places these days offer such facilities. Even places such as pubs – where I would never have imagined would have baby changing facilities – offered baby changing which I found pretty amazing. I have had to change Amber several times now whilst out and about.  Most of the changing rooms have been well equipped; with a place to put down baby whilst changing her, as well as nappy bins and nappy dispensers. But yesterday we encountered the Rolls Royce of baby changing rooms and it was in the multi-story car park we used in Lancaster. This place had a big room for changing multiple babies at once, as well as a seperate private breast feeding room with a leather rocking chair and sink. This is the best once that I have come across to date and I’m sure that there is many more out there that would outshine the Lancaster Multi-story. It’s just really nice to see that new parents are being considered in public places and local establishments are making an effort to make the lives of new parents easier!
What is the best changing facility you have been to are where? Let me know!

Walking round as a family

It’s such an amazing and surreal experience for me, walking round in public as a little family. It’s really nice when you see people notice that you are new parents and stopping to take a look and smiling at us. Particulalry the older generation! We had quite afew elderly ladies stop and look at Amber whilst we were wondering around Blackpool on Monday. It makes me feel very proud to be a dad.
We have pushed Amber around in her pram (which Emma and I both fight over possession of) and we also bought a body pouch so I can carry Amber around on my chest; which we did in Blackpool for several hours. She seems to really like being on my chest and generally falls straight to sleep. I thinkthe combination of motion and being able to feel my heartbeat and warm is comforting to her and she loves it.

Quite a positive vibe going on in my blog today which is always nice. It turned out to be a lot longer than I had originally planned and now my hands are starting to cramp up. If you got this far then as always thank you for reading! If you have any experiences with the topics I have spoken about above then please feel free to tell us about them either here in the comments section or over on instagram @meet_the_crockers and @mama_and_baby_amber.

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End of the line | Meet The Crockers

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I can honestly say I don’t think the time has ever gone faster than it has this past two weeks. For those who don’t know I’m currently taking paternity leave from my job to spent time with my newborn daughter Amber May. My time off work is now coming to an end and I will, unfortunately, have to get back into a working routine. The two weeks that I have been able to take have been the most precious of my entire life. I have been able to bond with my child and get to know her. Seeing her little personality unfold bit by but each day has been truly wonderful to behold. This time has made me realise how little love I hold for the job I have to return to and makes me want to push harder and harder to create a better work and personal life for my family.

Work is not the only thing that is soon returning though. My fourth module of University is due to start at the beginning of October and I have thus far failed at any real preparation for it returning. I feel like this year the work is going to hit me hard. I hate to think of my daughter as a distraction (which she most certainly isn’t) but I think I’m going to struggle juggling work, parenthood and study whilst trying to keep my shit together all at the same time. Don’t get me wrong I’m going to work bloody hard. I love the subject I’m currently studying and I am hoping someday to make a professional career of it. But for I will find a way to make it work!

Also, you may have noticed that there has been a slight change in my online presence. I feel that now my daughter is here, Em and I are more like a little family and so my brand needed a fresh lick of paint. Meet The Crockers is now the name I am working under in terms of all my lifestyle/parenting content. So if any of you were wondering what had happened to that ginger bearded bloke on Instagram… here I am. This is me.

Thanks for reading and have a nice evening.

 

Becoming a Father | The Bearded Dads survival Guide.

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It’s been little over a week now since I last wrote anything on my blog. I wanted to spend every possible moment with my little family and take some time to reflect on the events that have recently changed my life.

I would be lying if I said that the last 7 days have been easy. In short, they haven’t. But that’s not to say that it hasn’t been the most amazing experience I have been through in my entire life. Life has totally changed for us both and it hasn’t been easy. With that said; I think that Emma and I have taken parenthood by the reigns and faced it head on as if life had always been this way. The hardest part for me is sleep. Getting enough sleep is really hard. Amber now dictates when we can sleep, and it usually means we have to have naps throughout the day so we don’t have a meltdown. My outlook on life has changed in such a short period of time, as have my priorities. Amber is now first and foremost in every aspect. We have to look after this little human because her life literally depends on it. I now want to spend some time and share our birth story with the world. I have had a few people ask me to share so I have decided now is the right time.

The Birth

Emma was booked in to be induced on Tuesday 21st August at Burnley Hospital Birth Suite; after 2 unsuccessful sweeps. We packed our bags early that morning and arrived at the hospital shortly before 07:00 for our appointment. The midwife we saw first inserted a pessary and we were told we just had to wait it out now. Emma was given a bed on the ante-natal ward whilst we waited for the pessary to start her labour. Unfortunately, it didn’t exactly work and we spent all that day and the following day waiting for something to happen. By the next morning, there was still no sign of Emma going into labour, had the hospital not been so busy it would be likely Amber would have been born that day. However, The birth Suite was very busy and had some complicated births that day so everything was a little behind schedule. We had to wait for a bed in the birth suite all that day and eventually got one at about 09:45 on the 22nd August. At that point we were already both pretty knackered; I had spent the previous night sleeping on the hospital floor and probably managed an hour at most.
We were taken to the birth suite and Emma had her waters broken by a doctor very shortly after. At first, labour came on slowly, contractions were faint and far apart. It took a while for labour to really kick in. It wasn’t until the midwife gave Emma a syntocinon drip to bring on labour faster. This method worked very well for us and Emma went into heavy labour shortly after the drip was administered.
Em was also experiencing severe back pains as the contractions came. The midwife gave her a form of pain relief that was injected into her arm. It did work and the pain did subside for a short period of time.
Emma felt that her body had started to naturally push at around 03:00 on the 23rd August and that is when the drip I mentioned above was administered.
At 05:00 Emma was examined by the doctor again and she confirmed that Emma was 10cm dilated and was ready to start pushing. I have to say seeing how well Emma managed through the pain and discomfort was very inspiring. There is no way on earth I could have endured what she had to that morning; regardless of how much pain she was in, she did not give up once. She battled through it.
Emma was pushing for hours and hours with still no sign of baby coming. It was very difficult for me to see her in pain but I knew that I had to stay strong for her. By 08:00 on the 23rd August we still had no baby and Emma was totally exhausted and in a great deal of pain. The midwife made the decision that Emma would have to be taken to theatre to deliver our baby. From a quick examination, the baby was not in a good position making it very difficult for her to be delivered.
I can’t remember exactly what time it was that Emma was taken to theatre; by that time I didn’t even know what day it was. Emma was given an epidural and Amber was born at 09:41 on Thursday 23rd August Weighing 7lbs 6oz. She was brought into the world via forceps. Emma was very reluctant to have an epidural before birth saying she definitely didn’t want one. But after pushing all night and being in severe pain she was very happy to be numbed and for it all to be over. I was lucky enough to be allowed to be with her in theatre and watched our daughter come into the world. It was a beautiful moment, one that I will remember for the rest of my life.


I would just like to note at how amazing all the NHS staff were with us. We have not had a bad experience in the whole 9 months Emma was pregnant. The doctors in theatre were amazing, ensuring me and Emma were both calm, they put Disney songs on at Emma’s request and kept her mind at ease. There is no way we will ever be able to pay them back for what they did for us that day. They were all truly amazing.
We are so blessed that Amber is a healthy little girl and was able to come home the following day (Friday 24th August).
We are now 7 days postpartum and both Emma and Amber are doing really well. She is slowly getting into a good routine and is feeding really well (breastfeeding).

Before I go I would like to point out that I have also changed my Instagram name to @meet_the_crockers, I have wanted to change it for a while now but wanted to wait until Amber was born. For now, my website is going to stay The Bearded Dads Survival Guide but may change at some point in the near future.

Thank you if you got this far!

My first night in a hospital | The Bearded Dads Survival Guide

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I am writing this blog for my own entertainment as much as I am yours. Yesterday was the day; the day Emma was due to be induced and the day we both thought would be the day we have been waiting for for nine months. Unfortunately things haven’t exactly gone to plan and we are still waiting for an arrival.

I’m writing this post from the comfort of the hospital floor. A place in which I never thought I would find myself. I am hyped up on skittles and my arse has gone numb. This has without a doubt been the longest twenty-four hours I’ve ever had to live. I have had barely a wink of sleep since 2am the previous morning and I feel like if I don’t get some soon I am going to be as about as useful as a boiled egg. I am hoping to be able to go home later when Emmas mum comes to take the day shift. I had no idea that hospitals even allowed guests to stay over night? I mean, since when was that a thing? If I’d of known this I would have been to the pound shop and bought an inflatable pillow. Instead I’m using my spare change of clothes as a mattress and pillow.

Knowing my luck baby will decide to come just as I’ve nodded off at home. If that’s the case then that is great. Here I am conplaining about being on a hospital floor when Emma has been lay on an uncomfortable hospital bed being prodded and poked by all manner of people coming and going. She has been a trooper throughout her whole pregnancy and I understand now why it is women that bare babies. Men simple aren’t tough enough. I mean I go dizzy at the sight of a little blood, there is no way I could go through child birth. I admire her for how amazing she has been.

Hopefully today is the day, but who can really say for sure? We will just have to be patient and wait for baby to come when she is good and ready.

On a final note I just want to point out the respect and admiration I have gained for every single midwife and consultant me and Emma have had the pleasure of meeting throughout her pregnancy. These people work so hard and are so passionate about their work. I can honestly say every single person has been amazing and has treated us as if we were family. The NHS really is a organisation we must all be very thankful for, one we must cherish and support as at somepoint in life every person will be in need of their service.

On a final final note to my daughter: so far you have been very stuborn and kept your mummy awake for countless hours. We have loved you from the minute we found out you were going to be born and we cant wait to meet you. There is so many people waiting to meet you and shower you with love; so please come soon baby girl.

I have to apologise for the scattered thoughts that are jumbled up in today’s post. My brain feels like scrambled eggs and I really cant think straight at the moment. Thanks to everyone that continuely reads and supports my page.

Dan

22.08.18

Waiting for a baby to land | The Bearded Dads Survival Guide

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We have spent the whole weekend waiting for baby and all weekend doing all the things people say work to encourage labour. Emma has now had two sweeps and still no sign of our daughter.

Yesterday we went on a longer walk than usual to the local park with Opie. We haven’t been there before and it was quite a hilly walk. I managed to find a zip wire which I couldn’t resist having a go on. Emma spent most of the evening bouncing on the birth ball with no luck. I also took her out for tea to see if it would bring on the baby.

We are now at a loose end and feel like she is never going to arrive. Of course, if she hasn’t arrived by Tuesday Emma will be getting induced which neither of us really want. We would much rather she go into labour naturally. Plus I really don’t want to have to go into work for one day! We have decided that today we are going to have a Disney film day since we have literally hundreds of them. I will be updating my Instagram throughout the day if anything happens today, so if you are interested in following our progress you can follow me at @beardydadsurvival

If anyone has any other suggestions to encourage labour then please let me know!