Thursday, 9 June 2011

Week 27-30: Ironing out the bumps

Baa Humbug! Got the results for my blood tests and I am border line anaemic. My Mum just replied that from early pregnancy she was highly anaemic every day and my mother and sister in law confirmed that they were both on high dose iron supplements. Looking up can see that pregnant women need 27mg iron a day, compared with 14.8 mg that women regularly require - which is almost double.

If I have been low on iron the low energy and the craving instant energy and caramel now seems to make sense. I have been trying to be so healthy, but ultimately I have been letting myself down in two areas: to a lesser degree occasionally skipping supper because I am too tired, but my worst failing has been breakfast; I have been focusing on making packed lunches rather than eating myself - I have ended up by eating the trimmings of the Pickle's sandwiches rather than eating something wholesome.

I have been busy finding a high iron breakfast that works for me - not only is the iron essential to me but vital for Beanie - and also upping my Vitamin C intake (fruit juice with my Iron Power Granola) to help me absorb the iron.

The other thing I have been focusing on has been what I need to get organised for Beanie. Having started sorting out things a month or so ago I don't feel as if it is all getting on top of me.  Next weekend I buy the Pickle a new chest of drawers (I will  not buy one in pink! stomping my foot) so that I can move the changing unit into what will be Beanie's room.

I won't be rushing to get his room ready yet, apart from having the changing unit set up. It is recommended that you sleep with your baby in your room for the first six months, so there is not rush as yet. Likewise I am not placing a bulk order for everything that I could ever possibly need at this stage. As a first time Mum it is easy to read the endless 'baby lists' and buy everything well before the due date - but is everything necessary? Certainly, not everything is essential from day one and if budgets are stretched you can hold off buying many things until after the first month.

With the Pickle I had great fun making things, I designed the chest of drawers with a detachable changing unit which my FiL made up, I made changing mats, I bought a beautifully soft organic bed and bath sheets that I cut down and edged until I had the cutest and softest range of hooded towels, bath mittens and sheets that matched the decor. Totally unnecessary, but for me it was both fun and relatively frugal.

Preparing a baby's room and going shopping for things should be fun - and can be kept to most budgets. My lists are partly to help me organise myself and partly to highlight that being a good parent is not dependent on buying a coordinated version of everything that a department store nursery consultant can possibly list. Having thought this through I now have a smaller list on my pin board of things that I should be able to comfortably organise in the next month.

Baby Preparation List - I kept this separate from this blog entry as it is quite long...

What Beanie is up to?
Wow, Beanie is almost cooked - his lungs and digestive tract are almost developed and his heartbeat is getting so strong that it can be heard with a stethoscope and the Hubster, if he could ever find the right place, may be able to hear it by putting his ear against my bump. He (Beanie not the Hubster) has established sleep patterns, the bad news is that they do not coincide with mine - he seems to like to hear the dawn chorus which, at about 4.30, is a bit early for me.
He is almost 3lb and just under 40cm long - which is why I am delighted that I now have my uber-bump band so that I can still do my hour long walks.

Apart from looking quite big - my big news is that I am ready for the onset of the Braxton Hicks, or fake contractions, that are helping my body get prepared. Have I had mood swings, often associated with this stage of pregnancy? I could not possibly comment!

What I am cooking?
Checking the list of iron rich foods, and knowing that breakfast is where I really fall down I have come up with a recipe that tastes good and is full of iron. I have been eating it dry for breakfast and as a snack throughout the day. I have also experimented with different ways of cooking it, either to make a straight forward granola or a tray bake.

Iron Rich Granola
500g oats - jumbo oats have great texture if you can get hold of them
125g butter
150ml honey
1 tbsp light tahini
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
Handfuls to taste of the following:
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Nuts - almonds, cashews, hazel
Chopped dried apricots (prunes, raisins and dried figs are also iron rich, but I like dried apricots)

Melt butter with honey, tahini and cocoa powder.Fold in the oats, vanilla, cinnamon and seeds and nuts.

Option 1 - For standard Granola
Spread the mix (excluding the apricots) across two lightly greased baking trays and cook for 20  mins at 180' - checking and stirring carefully every five minutes. When it is golden brown it is ready.  Take out of the oven and continue to gently stir until it is cool - leaving it to cool like this stops it from going soggy. When it is cool add the chopped apricots and pop into an airtight container.

Option 2 - For a tray bake
Add in the chopped apricots (but not raisins as they go horrid) and preheat the oven to 250'. Spoon onto two greased baking tray and pop into the hot oven, immediately turn the oven down to 100' and cook for about 1hour 30 mins. Take out the oven and cool then break into rough shards and store in an airtight container.

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