Everything Bars

Ok, folks, this will be a quick one. Joan is to my left, napping peacefully after 50 minutes in the bed. See my instagram posts here and here for some details as to why this is such a big deal for us. Actually, you know what? I am going to copy what I wrote and post it below and then throw a few more thoughts at you. I guess this won't be a quick one anymore (surprise, surprise, the lady loves to talk).

"This photo was taken on Monday after Joan's nap. It was too hot for clothes & we sat on the porch eating raspberries. We've been having raspberries every afternoon this week, they're Joan's favourite food & my way of rewarding her for all the big changes that have taken place this week. Since Joan was born she's napped in the ergo carrier, feeding to sleep & laying snug against my chest. Recently we introduced a "bed nap" for her afternoon snooze, & it was going well, though to get her to sleep I still fed her while bouncing on the fit ball & singing & patting (in other words, with 5,000 sleep associations). Anyway on this hot day I was feeling a little faint so lay down on the bed as we got ready to nap. Joan put her head next to mine & kissed me, & I had a gut feeling that she was ready to handle a gentle transition (I'm thinking about weaning earlier than I predicted, as I'd like my cycle back). So I sang to her, "hush little baby" - our sleep song. & when she lay next to me I rubbed her back. I resolved to give her milk if she reached for my chest but she didn't. So I didn't. & after about 20 minutes of rolling about & some protesting, tired grizzles, she gave in to the song & me rubbing her back & rocking her on the bed (by moving my body back&forth) & fell asleep. She was ready. I then cried because I knew this meant our carrier naps were over. Had I known that was to be the last one i would have savoured it more. But I know that for consistency & habit building we need to be napping on the bed when we are home. On Tuesday I had to pretend to be asleep for 1.5 hours until Joan fell asleep (she was running around the room singing & reading & throwing books at my head), & yesterday she was so overtired there were tears & she needed more boob than usual to wind down (I still give it to her however we sit up to feed & then back down again snuggling to fall asleep)...& then today, she needed hardly any rocking, just a light pat & shush & she was out in under a minute. I'm next to her right now (as she sleeps longer if she senses I'm there & this is a gentle transition to independence after all) & I'm just in awe of her 💕 Raspberries when you wake, babe."

Two days later, I wrote:

"Golly this nap transition has gone so well. She was clearly ready to tackle the challenge & im thankful I sensed that. Previously this would not have worked. Like, seriously. I remember thinking I was doing something wrong because at three months old she wouldn't stop screaming if I put her down in the bed drowsy but awake. Or even when I'd put her down once she was asleep. Bubba would always sense that she was not in my arms, no matter what we did - rocking, white noise, comforters, old shirts of mine... So I said "screw it" and I followed her cues and we lived the baby-wearing life for naps. And now, at 15 months old, she is finally falling asleep with a gentle pat and shush while lying on her bed. We got there. When she was ready."

And here we are, five days later, napping on the bed after being sung and soothed-to-sleep with some leg massage or patting, whatever she needs. I'm still assisting her in this way because she clearly still needs help tuning out and giving in to sleep. I also make sure to sit close by and rest my hand on her when she rouses. We're not fully independent yet but it's a big step and it's nice. As I mentioned above, we'll be tackling weaning earlier than I thought, as I'd like to get my cycle back. I had issues with my cycle not returning after coming off the pill (after multiple investigations, no-one could tell why), and I just have this gut feeling that I need to give my body a break from feeding and a chance for things to return naturally. This isn't going to be a sudden change, rather I am moving from feeding-on-demand to intentionally spacing them out. If my cycle returns and I can continue feeding a little, great! But I have a feeling that I will need to stop completely for things to flow. We will see. I'm giving us a lot of time to wean, too, I fully expect to be feeding over the next 3 months... just less and less as the days tick over, starting with not feeding-to-sleep for day naps.

Because of this change, bubba has moved to one nap a day, and as a result I am now getting much less work done than before. In my spare moments I do my dietitian work, writing to clients after sessions, typing up new recipes for my ladies and sending emails. That doesn't leave much time for blogging. But today, after getting all my client work done, I have been blessed with a long snooze (61 minutes and counting!), so I will stop rambling about my cycle and start telling you about these bars.

I call them "everything bars" because like my everything balls, they contain my pantry staples + other goods I always have on hand. I still adore these bars, and these two, but I wanted something different and more representitive of where I am at right now. These muesli bars are everything I like to eat at the moment and can whip up easily, balanced with a dose of reality. And by this I mean I may wish to use 1/3 cup maple syrup in the recipe, but honey is cheaper and almost as tasty in my mind, so I go for that. Similarly I may wish to include walnuts but Joan cannot handle them at the moment so I didn't (indeed the end result is cakier than I'd usually go for because that's easier for the babe). Seeds she can handle, though, so I threw them in. Cacao nibs she probably shouldn't have (hello, first taste of caffeine!) but I love them and want them so gosh darn it, in they went. Compromise. They'll give me extra energy when singing to her "Raspberries when you wake, raspberries when you waaaaaaake!" over and over (and over) as she finally drifts off to sleep.

Everything Bars

Makes 12

1 & 1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pepitas
1/3 cup cacao nibs
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of sea salt flakes
1 egg
125g mashed banana**
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup runny tahini*

* this brand is my ultimate favourite tahini. It is SO delicious and super runny, which makes it perfect for drizzling on salads or using in baking. Other tahini can be quite hard, so I suggest heating it with the honey over a low heat until it's runny otherwise it may be hard to distribute. ** 125g equates to around 1 medium banana when weighed with skin off.

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a 21cm x 18xm baking tray with baking paper.
2. Pour the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
3. In a slightly small bowl, whisk the egg, mash in the banana and then add the honey and tahini. Stir well then pour over the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
4. Pour the mixture into the baking tray, smoothing the surface down so it is all well-packed. Place in the oven for ~25 minutes until golden on top. If your oven heat isn't even, you may need to rotate the pan at the 15 minute mark (I do). If your oven is eager, watch it from the 20 minute mark to make sure the top doesn't get too brown. Allow to cool COMPLETELY before slicing them. This is key, otherwise they'll crumble. Boo! Store in the freezer, individually wrapped. They are very best eaten the day they're baked, so store them and to them fresh.

Heidi xo