A couple of weeks after Nino turned one, I’d weaned him fully onto cow’s milk. For someone who wasn’t sure how easy it would be – before getting pregnant I’d always assumed there was some sort of ratio between boob size, quantity and quality of milk produced (there isn’t) – I’m super proud to have breastfed my baby for over a year. It’s a controversial topic, and some mums choose to feed on demand for a whole lot longer whilst others are on bottles of formula from the get go, but for me it’s been a wonderful experience. Crazy, beautiful, physical and emotional, tough at times but a brilliant journey that’s reconnected me with my body, our baby and afforded me hours of quiet contemplation in an otherwise hectic year.
The first time I breastfed Nino was in the paediatric intensive care unit of the Royal Brompton Hospital. Just a few days old – he’d been given my expressed colostrum through a tube until then – attached to all sorts of machines with wires hanging off him, I had no idea whether he’d be able or want to feed, but something primal and instinctive kicked in and within seconds he was guzzling away with a gusto he still has for food to this day. Events were pretty much out of my control and I know I’ve been lucky – some people find breastfeeding hard, or unnatural or it hurts, so I don’t want to come over all earth mother here – but I’m proud of him for taking to it so enthusiastically, and I guess a little proud of myself too, to have sustained this being for the first five and a half months of his life with my body alone.
Stopping breastfeeding is incredibly strange. You get so used to that quiet time together, the sweet sound of swallowing, the small exploring hands. It’s incredible how the supply and demand system works and as you phase each feeding out, your body produces a little less of the good stuff. Major physical changes, and emotional too: hormones all over the place and the end of an era, our little boy is growing up and although I wouldn’t change it for the world, it’s a big readjustment.
Having been pregnant for nearly ten months then breastfeeding for the same again and more, my body has been used to packing in necessary extra calories on a daily basis. Lots of good fats, a little extra sugar and carbs for energy, wholesome, nutritious food that supports both me and my growing baby. And while some might argue that that extra fuel is no longer strictly needed, I’d suggest they may not have spent their days running round after an inquisitive and very mobile toddler. So I’m fueling this week with these sweet and salty peanut butter and jam cups, a five ingredient treat that tastes like the inside of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup with added jam. Whether you’re breastfeeding, parenting or simply in need of a healthy (ish) snack, you need these sweet little treats in your life.
- 225g smooth peanut butter
- 3 tbsp unflavoured coconut oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- pinch vanilla powder
- pinch salt (optional, use only if your peanut butter is unsalted)
- 3-4 tbsp strawberry jam
- Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper or silicone cupcake cases.
- In a small saucepan, combine the peanut butter, coconut oil and maple syrup over a low heat, stirring until combined. Stir in the vanilla powder and salt, if using.
- Divide the peanut butter mixture between the 12 cupcake cases then dot the strawberry jam over the top, swirling with a toothpick or skewer for a rippled effect. Freeze for one hour, until solid, then store in the fridge until ready to eat. Will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.