Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mum and Mae do lunch

Today, Mae and I actually shared our lunch for the first time. She has started going down for her lunchtime nap a bit later (and sleeping for longer at this one - hurray! But I digress - naps is another blog) and so this means her lunch can fall after midday, when I'm actually hungry too!

I'd been thinking about cheese on toast with baked beans all morning, then it occurred to me she could have that too. Finally, we are getting towards what this baby-led weaning thing is all about! Babies eating what we eat, when we eat!

The beans are low-salt beans, but the cheese is full strength vintage strong and bitey cheddar. I prepare one slice of cheese on toast for Mae, cut off the crusts (I probably don't need to but I do because they always seem like they could get stuck if inhaled) and then cut the rest into 3 fingers. I mush up the beans and pat them onto the fingers, then we sit down and I give her a finger, while I eat mine with a knife and fork. She seems thrilled that we're eating the same thing at the same time and watches me intently as she sucks her cheesy, beany toasty fingers. This is her favourite meal since the fasta pasta. She eats all 3 bits apart from a few gummy bready remains down her front. It felt really good to hang out with her and do lunch like mums and daughters do!

  • Babies can eat strong and bitey cheddar and love it!
  • Having lunch together is real fun

Friday, June 25, 2010


With all this finger food, which is so great for introducing textures, I don't want to forget about liquids and purees - that's a texture too. But it's quite hard to get into a baby who is now totally suspicious of a spoon and will only feed herself. Solution? Give her the spoon! We have a little red plastic spoon that came from Mothercare (it's from the Annabel Karmel range) but the best thing about it is that it's short, making it much easier for her to hold and still get in her mouth.

I mix some apple puree with full fat plain Greek yoghurt and try and put it in her mouth on the spoon. She is having none of it and tries to take the spoon from me. This, as you can imagine has limited success and results in yoghurt in the ear. I try again, and eventually we find a sort of compromise where I hold the spoon to her mouth, she takes it from me as I give it a little push in the right direction. She sucks the spoon like it's a bone or a wedge of veg and gets a good load of yoghurt and fruit at the same time.

I feel like this is a real step forward because now she can feed herself mushy foods as well as finger foods, meaning there is very little I need to leave off the menu now!
  • Get a short spoon
  • Be patient

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Oranges are not the only fruit...

...But I think they are Mae's favourite so far. I have in the back of my mind that there is some rule on when babies should have citrus but it's too late - she grabbed a piece of orange off me and put it in her mouth after breakfast so I think it's time to give the humble orange a go formally.

She carefully took each segment and sucked it, juice spilling down her front but clearly down her throat too. Her eyes popped out of her head at the flavour!

  • Oranges can kind of break apart and go stringy once they are sucked dry. You might find yourself pulling bits out of your baby's mouth. I doubt they would choke on one of these bits but it's a good idea to keep a careful eye
  • Her bum was a bit red the next day - possibly from the orange, I'm not sure

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fasta pasta

It's lunchtime and we've had a busy morning and I realise I don't have much to give Mae, unless she wants the fallback crackers again. We do, however, have some leftover pasta and sauce from last night (bow-shaped pasta with a jar of bertolli pasta sauce, parmesan flavour, with a tin of tuna in springwater stirred in it to be precise!).

It's been in the fridge overnight so it's kind of congealed, but well, she hasn't tried pasta yet and my sister said my niece loved pasta right from the start. So I sit down with this appetising pot of leftovers and hand Mae a bow while I tuck in myself. I don't have very high expectations of this meal, but to my surprise it is probably the most successful thing she has tried yet! She sucks each bow until it falls apart, and by my calculations, she has attacked 6 bows by the time we finish, and I reckon I could only make one from the origami down her front at the end, meaning she has probably eaten about 5 pasta bows!

I also steam up some pumpkin because I feel guilty about the processed nature of the sauce, which is what made most of the mess in this pic, but I am so happy with how much she has actually eaten, I don't care that her top has to be relegated to the bin afterwards!

  • Bow-shaped pasta really works well - easy to hold
  • Pasta from last night is good because it's more congealed so the sauce stays on easier
  • She has also had tuna here - her first fish meal! No ill effects to report...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I realise I've been forgetting about an obvious vegetable - the humble spud! Still thinking about how I can combine her food and ours so we are moving towards eating the same food as a family, I decide on a potato bake. Surely this is a main meal? (see my cauliflower cheese error). I make them in separate dishes, adding onion and Facon to ours. I cut the potatoes into wedge shaped and bake with the cheese sauce

Let me tell you it is a rip-roaring success - "cheesy spuds - what's not to like?!" said Mae (well she would have if she could talk)

  • If you par-boil the potatoes first before you bake, they will still stay firm enough for her to pick up once baked
  • Dijon mustard in the sauce adds flavour and she seemed to like it
  • I gave her some broccoli too because so much cheese and spud looked like a meal that didn't contain nearly enough vitamins

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Breakfast fast

Mae isn't loving brekkie. I've given her bits of steamed pear and apple, Weetbix (a whole one, soaked in just enough milk so that it's not crunchy but still sort of stays together) and fingers of toast with avocado or cream cheese but she tends to just play with it rather than eat much. I think it's because she has such an enormous milk feed at 7, then by 7.30 I'm trying to proffer baked goods. I wouldn't be hungry either.

Solid foods, finger food or otherwise, sure are hard to time along with all the other things a baby needs of a day. Mae goes down for a nap by 9am, so if I leave brekkie till, say, 8.30, she'll be hard to wind down for her nap (cos this eating bizzo requires much concentration when you're 7 months old and the result can sometimes be a somewhat overstimulated little pumpkin). Anyway, I've compromised on 8am and we had a bit more success this morning.

In fact, this is kind of the routine we're in for anyone interested in comparing how to fit this food malarky around other things:

7am - milk feed
8am - brekkie
9am - 40 min nap
11 am - milk feed
11.45 am - lunch
12.15pm - 40 min nap
2.45pm - milk feed
3pm - 40 min nap
5pm dinner
6.30pm milk feed
7pm bed

It's not exactly Tizzie Hall or Gina Ford, but it kinda works for us at the moment! But looking at that now, I can see why she eats most at dinner - cos it's been a good while since she was last breastfed. Hmmm - need to do some research on what I should be offering first at this stage - milk or solids? According to the book, still milk, so I'll continue with that for a bit yet I think.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lickin' chicken

So she's had red meat, let's try some chicken me thinks. I buy some very expensive free range stir fry chicken strips and quickly realise there is way too much meat here for Mae to eat before it goes off. Nevertheless, I stirfry a batch, let it cool and offer her a strip. She grabs one and sucks on it, I'm watching for signs that it will break apart and choke her, but the fibres seem to hang together longways so it would be pretty hard for it to fall apart. She pulls with her gums and sucks away, but doesn't actually eat any of the actual fibres, she's just sucking out its goodness. I think this counts as a success! And I stirfry the rest with vegies for Chris' dinner so he's happy too!

  • Next time I'll break the pack apart as soon as I buy it and freeze it in mini freezer bags of two or 3 stripseach so I can fry them up for one meal at a time
  • UPDATE! Don't leave cooked chicken strips in the fridge and try to give them the next day. I found they had become too watery and did fall apart into little bits when she tried to eat them

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chip shaped chop

I don't eat meat myself but I'm so keen to make sure Mae gets a totally balanced diet and doesn't turn into an orangutan like Sam Neil would have us believe, that we've decided to give her free range, organic meat for now. Until she's eating things like falafel, dahl and chilli bean soup I'm going to struggle to get enough iron and protein into her if she is is totally vego. So, not messing about, we go straight for the lamb chop/cutlet thing.

She sucks and sucks on it with such relish that I wonder if she's really my daughter! She tries the other end but the bone is pretty tough and sharp so she quickly learns which was is up. She pulls it with her gums and eventually the medallion bit comes off and is totally in her mouth. It's the size of a 50c coin and surely way too big to choke on so I let her just do it. Eventually a grey bit of meat is ejected from her mouth, totally drained of goodness. Wow - that has got to be a good iron intake!

  • Grill it thoroughly both sides
  • Let it cool really well
  • Pull off any gristly bits
  • Pull off any other bits that looks like they might easily fall off and choke her
  • Hand it to her so that she holds the handle

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Falafel fail

Continuing the foray into Real Meals, I get down and dirty with the food processor and confidently whip up some falafels. Bizarrely I decide to make hers chip shaped too, although I think with hindsight she could probably have managed a normal round one. Anyway, shape aside, falafel is rejected. It does contain onion, garlic, parsley, cumin and coriander as well as chickpeas and she hasn't had any of these things before. It's probably just too soon for flavours like this. I won't take it personally. Rejection is apparent by a face that looks like the falafel is made purely of lemons. Back to the rice-crackers for tonight.

  • Steady on. She's only been eating real food three weeks, I don't think I ate a falafel till I was about 15.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cauliflower cheese

I've decided it's time to start aiming for the sky and thinking of meals that we can all share as a family. Which means we might have to compromise on salt intake and eat more vegies but I think it's doable - we'll benefit and be more healthy too! So today it's cauliflower cheese. But I think I'm getting muddled up between cauliflower cheese (side dish) and macaroni cheese (full meal) because Chris looks a little disappointed as I serve him this as his entire dinner. Half way through, I admit defeat too - my cauliflower quota for the year is filled.

Mae, however, digs in. I made the cheese sauce from scratch and added pepper and mustard but not salt, and it goes down a treat. She "eats" 3 florets (again, hard to see how much she's actually eaten as most of it is collected in her crotch at the end) but she has plenty in her mouth and is making chewing actions and I definitely see her swallow something.

  • Cauliflower as a vegetable goes down well; cheese sauce also works and should be repeated in other forms
  • Cauliflower cheese is not a main meal for adults

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rice cracker revelation!

So pitta bread is all well and good, but it is bread, which can be salty and I don't want her eating wheat at every meal. So while I was in the supermarket today I was on the hunt for some rice crackers that would be low in salt and easy enough for a baby to eat. Suddenly I spot just the thing, right there in the baby food aisle! It says 10 months plus on the packet, but really - these companies err on the totally cautious side for fear of being sued. If Mae can manage a soggy weetbix and pitta bread and all the other things we've tried her on over the last fortnight, she can manage a little rice cracker.

So I bought them and gave her one with cream cheese. Tick! She got a good bit in her mouth and sucked the topping off, while the cracker seemed to dissolve into her mouth. Some bits of rice came off and seemed to surprise her while they swilled around her cheeks. But they went soft too. Some must have gone down because I couldn't have made a whole rice cracker from the soggy jigsaw pieces that remained afterwards!