Food for fun??!!
I cant believe its that time again, we are weaning!
Although I am in total denial that shes growing so rapidly I am having so much more fun weaning Olive than I did with Oaks. I had no idea what to give him, I panicked every time he ate anything other than mush for the fear of choking. I didn't know that babies had such an incredible gag reflex and that actually there is pretty much nothing you cant someway or another let them taste. I learned a great deal when I did a workshop recently with My Little Piccolo, I was so amazed that the recipes we were learning that were good enough for myself were also good enough for my babies. See here for original post, featuring lots of yummy recipes including 'Savoury flapjacks' recently seen on my Instagram story. I feel like I should add at this point that I am not in way shape or form trained to be dishing out nutritional information, I'm simply a mama learningby experience and wanting to share our personal thoughts and what we are up too.
I am fully aware that although you are advised by professionals to start weaning at 6 months, you are also told that all nutrients needed are found in their milk... so much conflicting information was given to me as a new mum. I'm still frequently being told 'Food is for fun, until aged 1' and I get that. Only problem is, that mind set I used with Oaks has led him to be the ultimate fussy toddler. He refuses to try any new food, even if it was a huge slab of chocolate cake he wouldn't entertain it. He might lick it occasionally (don't ask) As he got older, his friends would often want to try something of the adults plates, but not Oaks he had zero interest in anything people were eating. Now I know I cant fully blame myself as I tried, but finger foods weren't introduced until he was much older than 6 months, I worried that he wasn't full so often that I blended food or gave him what I knew he would eat. My plan this time Is too introduce flavours and textures with Olive that I didn't dare too first time round, for convenience I plan to give her what we are eating (to some degree) and I want minimal interference or forcing food. So lets see how that goes...
Starting out- Olive had her first tastes around 5 months old, she had begun showing a little interest when we ate family meals, we would often sit her in her bumbo seat on the table and she would watch as we all ate. We introduced a small amount of baby rice in the morning, as we did with Oakley. Not too much at once, just a small taste each morning for a week or so before introducing another taste at dinner time and tea time. I found that Olive only wanted to play ball twice a day so I stopped trying anymore than that and slowly those 2 meals a day increased until the bowl was empty. Her rice in the morning switched to porridge and then I added banana or other fruit mashed and blended for more texture. She had a variety of veg mixes all made in my Babycook (the most amazing piece of kitchen equipment Ive ever owned and we use for so many recipes!) The Babycook, steams your vegetables in minutes then with a click of a switch blends them too, less washing up too do! Sweet potato and carrot were a good combination and she also loves parsnips.
6-7 Months- This is were we are at, she has become a complete pro at handling food and bringing to her mouth so we have began giving her finger foods, I plan to keep doing this exclusively. That could be food I have prepared her only, or a version of what we are eating that suits her ie. broken down into small pieces, or only softer parts of the meal. Its super messy, part of the reason Oaks didn't get the chance to explore in the way he should have was my selfishness when it came to mess. This is the fun part, and watching her so far has been amazing. She has really gotten stuck into it, the noises she makes when shes feeding herself appose to me feeding her have given me a huge push to continue to do a Baby led weaning approach. Well these images speak for themselves.
Recipe for Savoury Flapjack
200g porridge oats
200g grated carrots
200g grated courgette
200g Grana Padano or Cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp grainy mustard
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas mark 5
Grease a baking tray (Swiss roll size). Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and press into the tray
Bake 25-30 minutes, until set and lightly browned
Serves: Makes 20 squares
Ready in 40 minutes (Suitable for freezing.)
Recipe for Pizza Swirls
320g puff pastry (1 sheet)
75g tomato pizza sauce
100g grated cheddar cheese or mozzarella
Pizza toppings (We have used, spinach, carrot and courgette)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp dired mixed herbs (Any Italian herbs)
Preheat the oven to 200c and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Roll out the pastry onto tray and apply pizza sauce. Sprinkle on the cheese and add chosen toppings.
Roll the pastry up, always keeping it as nice and tight as possible until in a long tube. Then cut into pieces, roughly an inch long. Place individual pieces onto the tray.
Coat with a little egg wash, sprinkle on the mixed herbs then bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Check pastry packaging too for estimated cooking time.
Let the swirls cool before eating, cooling also helps them keep their shape.
Told you there was a lot of mess involved. One thing I found an issue when Oaks was weaning was that when out and about how could I let him get in that (see above) state? Its a valid point, as much as I'm not too proud, I wouldn't let either of them get into such a mess that the only rescue was an immediate bath so that's were it gets tricky, as too keep up finger foods/BLW I don't want to supplement with pouches too frequently. That were cool brands like Heavenly Tasty Organic come in, handy snacks that still allow little ones to feed themselves with a less mess bonus too. Olive is loving the wafers, especially the spinach and apple, she can wolf all 3 wafers in the pack in no time. Which I don't mind as they are all organic with no added sugar, salt or additives, they are available in Sainsburys, Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose, Ocado & SuperValu.
I really hope that this post helped a few of you, I know that weaning can be daunting and I have had a habit until now of over thinking and worrying when I comes to what I give her, but shes shown me this past week that shes not as fragile as I thought. Shes enjoyed her experiences so far has have I and I'm looking forward to seeing her try more new recipes, we will be sure to share them with you too.