Feeding to weaning // A plan for #stresslessweaning

I remember when I was weaning Toby and I didn’t really know what I was doing! I read a few different books but there seemed to be a lot of conflicting advice. With Toby, and with Gabe we waited until they were six months before starting weaning and then combined traditional spoon feeding and babyled weaning. Despite his face in this picture Gabe was actually enjoying this porridge!

Gabe enjoying some porridge

To be honest we have pretty much made it up as we’ve gone along and I just followed my instinct and let the boys guide us too. All babies are different of course and what works for one might not be right for another but I know I would have appreciated a brief guide to weaning that I could refer to without having to read tons and tons of stuff to get the information I needed.

As part of their #stresslessweaning programme Babymoov have teamed up with nutritionist Julia Wolman who has provided this feeding to weaning plan for me to share with you.



Starting solids Milk feeds
First foods – around 6 months or 26 weeks (no earlier than 17 weeks) Start with 1-2 spoons of smooth puree or mash, or tastes of finger food, once a day. This can be approx an hour after a milk feed if in the morning, or in the middle of a milk feed if mid-morning or afternoon.

Once baby is happy with first tastes increase to 6-12 spoons, or more finger foods, once a day.

When this first “meal” is going well, progress to twice a day.


All milk feeds should continue as normal during first stages of weaning.


At least 4 breastfeeds or formula feeds are usually required per 24 hours.

“Stage 2”

6-9 months

Continue as above with 2 meals, moving to 3 meals a day by around 7 months.

Once baby is having 3 meals per day, offer dessert at lunch and supper.

Progress to thicker mashes and then soft lumps, and offer spoon fed babies soft finger foods at every meal.

Increase variety of foods* offered so that baby’s diet includes meat, chicken, fish, pulses, eggs, bread, pasta, dairy

[*unless otherwise advised by clinician]

Once baby is having 3 meals per day, gradually drop ONE milk feed. Usually this is the mid-morning feed.


At least 3 milk feeds are usually required per 24 hours.


Night feeding (i.e. after 7pm) should stop now.

“Stage 3”

9-12 months

Continue with 3 meals per day, plus healthy snacks if baby wants (and if it fits in with naps!)


NB. There are no set portion sizes so be guided by your baby. Start with small amounts and offer more if baby wants it.



Gradually drop another milk feed – usually this is the afternoon milk.


By 12 months babies should be having just early morning and bedtime milk, i.e. 2 feeds per day.


Of course we all know that babies don’t always like to stick to a plan (I know Gabe hasn’t got the memo about night feeds ending between six and nine months!) but hopefully this will give you an idea of where to start.

If you have any questions about weaning, or perhaps about when you should be thinking about dropping milk feeds then please do pop them in the comments and I’ll pass them onto Julia.

Toby Goes Bananas

Living Arrows 25/52 (2016)

It’s been a busy week of house moving stress and you’d think for once the universe would give us a break…but no.

I don’t think Gabe is actually ill this week but he’s possible teething again and we’ve had a weekend of hourly wake ups through the night and then getting up for the day before 5 am. I seriously hope he improves before I go away to Britmums Live next weekend or poor Barry is really going to suffer! Toby has stopped waking up crying for me in the night at least – I have no idea what that was about but I’m glad it’s stopped.

The one bonus of this week is that both both boys have been having some extra time at nursery so I can get house moving admin done and I can’t lie, it’s been bliss to have a few hours peace and quiet!

Gabe is all about the standing up nowadays, the trouble is he’s not worked out how to sit back down again yet (safely at least) so after standing for a while he just starts shouting until someone comes to rescue him…and then immediately just pulls himself up again! He was very proud of himself for standing up under the table the other day though.

Gabe standing under the table

Toby is at such a brilliant age at the moment – he’s really starting to get into imaginative play and he’s finally embraced the super hero cape and mask I got him for Christmas (which he refused to wear at the time). He loves to put it on and zoom around the house shouting ‘Super T – to the rescue’! This picture isn’t quite in focus but I love it anyway…

Super T to the rescue


Living Arrows

Toby Goes Bananas

I’m going to #BML16 with Ardo Breastpumps

You may have noticed me mention that I went away at the beginning of May to Blog On, a blogging conference in Manchester. I had a great time, mostly catching up with friends, as well as attending a few of the sessions too.

Well next weekend I’m heading to London for another blogging conference; Britmums Live (or #BML16 as it has been rebranded this year). I went to Britmums in 2014 and I really enjoyed it. At that point I’d only been blogging at Toby Goes Bananas for about 8 months and I was a bit overwhelmed by the whole experience. This time I’m older and wiser (ahem!) and I’m looking forward to meeting up with some old friends, and meeting some in person for the first time too.

This year I have been lucky enough to be sponsored to attend #BML16 by Ardo breastpumps. I reviewed an Ardo double electric pump when Gabe was first born and it was fab. It definitely helped me keep breastfeeding for longer. Although I’m no longer breastfeeding I still believe that Ardo have some great products, and their website also has lots of brilliant information and advice for breastfeeding mums.

Anyway, I thought I should probably join in the #BML16 linky and introduce myself.

Sarah (Toby Goes Bananas)

  • Is this my first blogging event? No, I went to Britmums Live in 2014 and Blog On MOSI last month.
  • I will be wearing…something comfy! Jeans probably, and a top that is clean and not covered in baby snot hopefully!
  • What I hope to gain from #BML16: A chance to catch up with friends and to be inspired to keep on blogging even when I feel like I just don’t have enough hours in the day.
  • My tips for a great conference: Choose your sessions wisely, and remember you don’t have to go to them all – spending time in the brand hub and chatting to other bloggers is just as worthwhile. Oh and stay to the end if you can!

If you see me next weekend please do come and say hi. And please accept my apologies in advance if I don’t know your name – I am rubbish at matching bloggers to their blogs!


Toby Goes Bananas

Siblings // Toby and Gabe in June

This is going to be a very short post this month. If I’m really honest, with the chicken pox and everything else we’ve been dealing with in the month since my last Siblings project post there hasn’t been a huge amount of sibling love going on in our house. It’s been more about sibling competition for mummy’s attention and I think a bit of jealousy creeping in from Toby because I’ve had to spend so much time looking after poorly Gabe.

I haven’t even got any proper (well, posed) photos of Toby and Gabe together this month but I didn’t want to miss a post, and I thought this was a chance to record what my boys’ sibling relationship is really like at the moment.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been some moments of affection. Like in this picture when Toby was trying to help Gabe get out from under the chair (I think!) even though he was perfectly capable of doing it by himself.

Toby giving Gabe a helping hand

Toby is quite tolerant of Gabe for the most part – even when he insists on grabbing Toby’s hair….still! I’m really hoping he’s going to grow out of this grabby phase soon.

No grabbing Gabe

And Gabe just wants to be wherever Toby is, doing whatever he’s doing, which of course isn’t always possible at the moment. Yesterday, Toby even resorted to shutting himself in Gabe’s playpen so he could get away from him. Actually, maybe I should try that one more often….

The wrong way round


The Me and Mine Project

Toby Goes Bananas

Review: Rockin’ Baby Pouch

I first started babywearing when Toby was tiny and his reflux was so bad that he hated being put down. I had a stretchy wrap and would often carry him around the house when he was struggling to settle. When he got too big for the wrap we got a buckle, or soft-structured, carrier and used it a lot on days out and walks when the buggy wasn’t practical. When Gabe was born I used the stretchy wrap again but I found it quite a faff to put on, particularly if I was trying to wrangle Toby at the same time. I used the buckle carrier with Gabe, and still do use it a lot, but I wanted something I could get him into really quickly and easily – particularly for those times I was just popping in the shop, or needed to carry him but have my hands free for Toby too….

Rockin' Baby pouch collage

Enter the Rockin’ Baby Pouch! You may remember the boys had some clothes from Rockin’ Baby a while ago, well we were also sent a Rockin’ Baby Pouch to try at the same time. The pouch is a sling type carrier, it is suitable from birth to 18 kg and there are four different carrying positions. The sling is adjustable using a series of zips on the back which are then hidden by a protective cover. The edge which goes under your baby’s legs is padded to be more comfortable for them.

Rockin' Baby on the farm

The sling is also reversible – ours has a lovely blue and white floral pattern on one side and the other side is plain black. It is handmade in the USA from 100% cotton. And here’s the best bit – for every sling they sell Rockin’ Baby will donate one to a mother in Kenya or Haiti, and educate her on the importance it holds in her baby’s life.

So how did we find the pouch? I have to admit on the first use I found it a bit tricky to get the fit right. Because you have to adjust the pouch to the right size using the zips before you put it on, if it’s not right once you put the baby in you have to take him out again, change the zips, put the baby back in…and repeat until you get it right. I had to have a couple of goes before I got the right combination of zips and Gabe was getting a bit fed up with me by the end!

Zips to adjust the Rockin' Baby pouch

However, you only really need to do this once, unless someone else is going to be using the sling. And even then, as long as you remember which zip setting you used it’s quick to change it again. So once you’ve got the right setting it’s quick to pop the Rockin’ Baby pouch over your shoulder and chuck the baby in. [I promise no babies were actually chucked anywhere for the purposes of this review].

I found the Rockin’ Baby pouch reasonably comfortable for short periods and the lack of adjustment means it’s great for those times when you’re just popping into a shop and don’t want to faff about with the buggy, or for me, when I’m dropping Toby off at nursery and having both hands free makes it a lot easier. I’ve also used the pouch at home when Gabe has been in a particularly clingy mood and I’ve needed to get Toby’s lunch ready or something.

Babywearing with Rockin' Baby

However, the same features which make it great for short periods and quick up and downs, also meant that I didn’t find the Rockin’ Baby pouch particularly comfortable when wearing it for extended periods and I don’t think Gabe does either. I did use it when we visited a local farm and Gabe was in the pouch for about half an hour but I think that would be about our limit.

I think most people who babywear regularly have different slings for different jobs though anyway – for a long day out I would always go for my buckle carrier, but for those times when you just need your hands free for fifteen minutes then a pouch or ring sling is a great option.

Daddy using the Rockin' Baby pouch

And it’s so easy to use that even Daddy managed it!
**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

We're going on an adventure

Toby Goes Bananas

Living Arrows 24/52 (2016)

I think you people are going to start thinking I’m making things up but Gabe was ill again this week! This time it was a stomach bug (I think) – he had a bit of a temperature so I was giving him some Nurofen after his tea, he choked on it and threw up all over himself. The night was OK and I thought that was the end of it but the next day he was sick five more times! He was very sleepy and snuggly all day too which isn’t really like him either. Anyway, by bedtime he wouldn’t go to sleep without a bottle so we risked it. He kept it down, and the ones overnight and by the next day he seemed fully recovered. So I don’t now what it was but at least it was over quickly and he’s actually been pretty cheery since then.

Barry was away this weekend, visiting friends down in Manchester so I had both boys by myself overnight for the first time. It actually didn’t go to badly apart from that by Sunday afternoon I was going a bit insane after being constantly climbed on and sat on for pretty much 48 hours solid!

On Saturday we went out to a cafe for a bit of a break (and so I could get Gabe to have a car nap). This cafe has a little play area with some toys and colouring things. There were a few other kids playing too and for once Toby didn’t do too badly with sharing – there’s this big dragon toy which is basically the only thing most of the kids want to play with but Toby did well to let another little boy have a turn without too much of a fuss. I may have distracted him with chocolate cake, but whatever works right?

Toby and the dragon

Gabe was reasonably well behaved too – although I did have to take him out of the highchair after a few minutes has he was rivalling Houdini with his bid to escape! He enjoyed playing with this bead toy for a bit though. He is actually starting to play with toys now and so it’s getting a bit easier to distract him, for a few minutes at least…

Gabe hiding behind beads

Living Arrows

Toby Goes Bananas

Novotel Super Heroes Day

This weekend we were invited to Novotel Edinburgh Park for their Super Heroes Day. In addition to the Super Heroes activities on offer we were also given a chance to have lunch in the hotel lounge, and try out the swimming pool too.

Novotel Super Heroes Day #novotelheroes

Novotel Edinburgh Park is in a really convenient location if you are visiting Edinburgh but don’t want to stay in the city centre. It is right on the ring road, and next to a train station and tram stop so there are plenty of options for getting into the city or to the airport. There’s also lots of free parking at the hotel so you don’t have to worry about driving into the city centre and finding somewhere to park.

When we arrived at the Novotel we were shown to a quiet area of the bar where we could have lunch. A staff member brought us a high chair for Gabe and Toby enjoyed sitting up on the bench seats.

Gabe happy in his high chair

For lunch I ordered a chicken Caesar salad and Barry had a barbecue pulled chicken sandwich.

For Toby we ordered from the kids’ menu which was a very reasonable £4.95 for three courses and a drink.

Novotel Kids menu

He had a melon and fruit stack as a starter, and then chicken fingers and chips. I’d taken food with us for Gabe but he did have a bit of Toby’s melon and then chicken too.

Chicken fingers and chips

My Caesar salad was very tasty, and very big! There must have been two full chicken breasts in there!

Chicken Caesar salad

Barry enjoyed his pulled chicken sandwich too, which he had with a side of chips.

Toby eyeing up daddy's pulled chicken sandwich
Toby enjoyed his lunch too, although he did struggle a little bit with full size plates and cutlery.

Toby eating his melon with a big fork

Seeing as Toby’s meal came with a dessert we thought we might as well join him, well he wouldn’t want to eat dessert all by himself! Toby and I both had a chocolate brownie, his came with vanilla ice cream and mine with salted caramel ice cream.

Chocolate brownie with salted caramel ice cream

Barry had treacle tart with clotted cream. All our desserts were delicious, in fact my only slight complaint is that they took rather a long time to arrive.

Our whole lunch was lovely and the staff were very attentive and they were the same with everyone from what I saw so I don’t think we were getting any special treatment. I didn’t see any other children in the bar area while we were eating but there was plenty of space and nobody seemed to mind the boys exploring a bit while we were waiting for the desserts.

Post-lunch exploring

After lunch Toby and I took advantage of the hotel’s leisure facilities and went for a swim whilst Barry took Gabe for a push in the buggy so he could have a nap. Downstairs from the reception there is a small gym and a swimming pool.

Swimming pool at Novotel Edinburgh Park

The pool was lovely and warm and we had it almost to ourselves. Toby has been swimming a few times recently and he’s really starting to enjoy it – I must get him booked in for lessons after we move.

Toby ready for his swim at Novotel Edinburgh Park

We didn’t have too long for swimming as we were booked in for the Novotel Super Heroes Day at 3 pm. This was a free event with activities aimed at children aged 5-11 so although Toby was a bit young he was able to join in with most things with a bit of help! When we arrived Toby was given an activity booklet with stickers to collect from each of the five areas; Cookery Conquerors, Eco Warriors, Healthy Heroes, Chill Out Champions and Craft Captains. There were members of staff dressed in capes and masks in each area to help with the different activities.

Learning how to be a healthy hero

Toby is a Novotel Healthy Hero

I think Toby’s favourites were probably choosing the right foods to help different parts of the body in the Healthy Heroes area and sorting rubbish for recycling in the Eco Warriors game.

Sorting rubbish as a Novotel Eco Warrior

And Gabe enjoyed the Chill Out Champions area with daddy…

Gabe chilling out

Once he had collected all his stickers Toby posed with one of the Novotel Super Heroes – he decided he was going to be a bit shy about it though…

Toby was a bit shy about posing with a Novotel Super Hero

When it was time to leave Toby got a goody bag and a balloon to take with him. He had a fun afternoon of swimming and activities and was pretty tired on the drive home.

The Novotel Super Heroes Day takes place at 33 Novotel hotels throughout the UK and although most of the events have already taken place this year I would definitely keep a look out for next year’s Super Heroes Day if you have a Novotel near you. From what we saw of the hotel it definitely seemed to be very family friendly and I’d certainly consider booking a Novotel if I was looking for somewhere for a family break.

And I’ll just leave you with this – my favourite photo from the day…

Gabe the strong man


**We were provided with lunch and access to the leisure facilities at Novotel Edinburgh Park free of charge in exchange for this review. As always, all opinions are my own.

Toby Goes Bananas

Living Arrows 23/52 (2016)

It’s been a fairly quiet week for us by all accounts. Gabe is mostly recovered from his chicken pox (although his sleep is still all over the place) and Toby has been, well, a toddler.

Gabe is really a pro-crawler now, he is literally getting everywhere and into everything. This week he has also started pulling himself up on the furniture. He’s pretty confident with kneeling up but has also managed to pull himself onto his feet a few times too. I’m really hoping that as he can move more and be more independent he will start being a bit more content to explore by himself and entertain himself. At the moment if you are holding him he is desperate to get down and sometimes even almost dives out of your arms, but if you put him down he starts crying again after a few minutes. And quite frankly it’s driving me bonkers!

Gabe is pulling himself to standing

Toby has been spending a lot of time outside, both at home and at nursery, in this lovely sunshine we’ve been having. Mostly he’s been loving it but it seems to be totally exhausting for him so we’ve had a few tired meltdowns this last week too. Generally though he’s still just his usual cheery self…

Toby's lovely smile

Living Arrows

Toby Goes Bananas

The car seat dilemma // Is it the end of extended rear-facing for Toby?

I am a big believer in keeping your children rear-facing in the car for as long as possible. The statistics are hard to argue with – research has shown that it’s five times safer to remain rear-facing. In Scandinavia children must stay rear-facing until they are 25 kg (around four or five years old) and they are very unlikely to die or be seriously injured in a car accident.

In the UK it used to be very common to turn a child to a forward-facing car seat as soon as the law allowed, that is when they reached 9 kg. Thankfully, as more people become aware of the benefits of rear-facing seats, attitudes, and the law, are changing. The new iSize regulations say that a child must stay rear-facing until they are 15 months old. The different stage seats are then based on height not weight. At the moment iSize is running alongside the current regulations so existing car seats can still be used but eventually all car seats will have to comply to the new regulations, which also include more rigorous safety testing.

Most infant carriers (Group 0+ car seats under the old regulations) can be used until your child weighs 13 kg. For a lot of children this is somewhere between one and 18 months. However, if you have a very tall child, as we do, then they may well grow out of their infant carrier by height way before they reach the weight limit. In an infant carrier your child is too tall when their head starts to come above the shell of the seat. This happened when Toby was about 8 months old and I think weighed about 8.5 kg. He wasn’t heavy enough for a Group 1 forward-facing seat and even if he had been we still would have kept him rear-facing.

After a lot of research we decided to buy Britax Dualfix, which I reviewed here. Even though it was only two years ago there weren’t a lot of extended rear-facing options. The swivel feature of the Dualfix really appealed to me, and I was incredibly grateful for it when I was heavily pregnant and having to wrestle an uncooperative toddler into his car seat.

Britax Dualfix at 10 months

The Dualfix can be used until your child weighs 18 kg which for the average child is around age four. However, as I have since found out, it has quite a short shell (something it has in common with some of the other swivel seats) so at a month off 3 years old, even though Toby only weighs just over 15 kg his has almost outgrown the Dualfix. In this kind of seat it is OK for the child’s head to be above the shell as long as the straps are at or just above the shoulders. Toby is now 102 cm tall and with the headrest at its highest Toby’s shoulders are right up under it. If he grows another cm or two he’s not going to fit in this seat any more. Just to be clear though – this is nothing to do with Toby’s legs being too long or it being uncomfortable. He has never once complained about facing backwards, or not having enough space, it’s simply that the length of his body means the harness won’t fit safely soon. You can see in this picture that he is still perfectly happy in his rear-facing seat.

Dualfix at two and a half

Gabe is also getting close to having outgrown his infant carrier too so we’ll need to move him into the Dualfix soon.

So here is the car seat dilemma – what do we do with Toby? I am a firm believer in extended rear-facing and there are seats available which can remain rear facing up to 25 kg and have a much bigger shell. If we got one of those seats Toby would be able to stay rear facing until he was maybe 5 or 6 if he continues to grow at the rate he is now. But having already paid £300 for the Dualfix we would need to spend a similar amount again on another rear facing seat, and then when he outgrows that buy another seat for him to use until he is big enough not to need a car seat at all (which at the moment is when a child is 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first). We might be able to use the new rear facing seat for Gabe, but there’s a chance he would grow out of the Dualfix before Toby grows out of the second rear facing seat and then what do we do? Buy another seat for Gabe? I’m all for being as safe as possible but at between £200-300 per seat we could be looking at a very expensive few years.

The ideal option for me would be a seat which can be used rear facing until 18 or 25 kg but which has a tall shell, and can then be turned round and used either with the harness or as a high backed booster with the adult seat belt. I have found a couple of seats which fit the bill – the Joie Every Stage and the Klippan Triofix. The main problem with the Klippan seat is that there is nowhere nearby that stocks them so I would have to buy online and hope Toby fits in the seat OK.

The Joie Every Stage is more of a possibility but there are couple of things I don’t like about it – firstly it is secured with the seat belt and the way it is routed round the car seat means you either have the put the child over or under it to get them in the seat (Plus, our car seems to have short seat belts so I don’t know if it would even fit. The second niggle is that it has to be in the most reclined position when rear facing and I don’t think Toby would like lying back after being more upright for so long. There is a local shop that stocks the Joie seat so I suppose we could always go and try it and see what we think.

I would love to know if anyone has any experience of either of these seats, and what you think of them.

The other alternative is to buy a group 2/3 forward facing seat for Toby, put Gabe in the Dualfix until he grows out of it then get a similar forward facing seat for him too. Although I know the statistics about extended rear facing being the safest option, unfortunately there comes a point where we have to look at the financial implications too.

I think I have found a seat though that will be a good compromise. The Britax Advansafix II SICT is a forward facing seat suitable from 9-36 kg. Up until your child reaches 25 kg it is fixed in the car with both isofix and the car seat belt and the child is secured using a five point harness. Isofix on its own can only be used to 18 kg so most seats switch to using the car seat belt to secure the child after that but because the Advansafix uses both the child can be harnessed for longer. I think the longer I can keep Toby in a harness the better as the car seat belt would give him too much freedom to move around and get up to mischief! I also like the fact that after 25 kg when the seat is in its high backed booster mode it is still held in the car by the isofix so you don’t need to fasten the car seat belt when the child isn’t in the car. This seat also has additional side impact protection which can be moved depending on which side of the car the seat is on, and it has fancy guides which make sure the seat belt is positioned correctly when it is being used.

As you can probably tell I’m actually pretty sold on the idea of this seat already but I would love to know if any of you have used it, or indeed if you have any other solutions to my car seat dilemma that I haven’t thought of yet….and that won’t cost me the earth!

Toby Goes Bananas

Me & Mine // A Family Portrait (May 2016)

It’s a bit late in the day but I am at least managing to publish this month’s Me & Mine post on the last day of the month. It’s been another month of ups and downs for us. There has been even more illness with Barry and the boys all having a stomach bug, and then Toby and Gabe have both had chicken pox too. There have been quite a lot of tears (a lot of them from me!) and not a lot of sleep. But amongst all the illness we also had a lovely holiday at Center Parcs, and sold our house!

That last one is a very exciting bit of news – after 13 years in Scotland, 5 of them living in this house with Barry, we are moving back to the north west of England to live nearer both sets of parents. It’s all very exciting, but also very stressful. Although we’ve sold our house and our buyers want to move in at the end of the first week of July we haven’t bought anywhere yet! It looks like we might be moving in with my mum and dad for a few weeks this summer! Fingers crossed it will all work out one way or another.

Anyway, this month’s photos were taken during our holiday at Center Parcs. We got a few funny looks from people walking past as we balanced the camera on a bin and Barry dashed back to get in the shot before the timer went off. I do like this month’s picture though – we’re even all looking at the camera!

Me & Mine May

And I just wanted to include this one too – because although we’re not all looking at the camera on this one I love our happy faces…

Me & Mine May - Center Parcs

The Me and Mine Project

Toby Goes Bananas