Posts Tagged ‘baby led weaning’

The Best Recipes for Baby-Led Weaning

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

The Best Baby-Led Weaning RecipesBaby-Led Weaning is a way to let your baby start eating whole foods instead of purees. Most often we just fed our daughter some of what we were eating anyway, but that doesn’t always work and you need other ideas for your baby.

I have found some great recipes while doing baby-led weaning with our daughter, and am happy to share some of the resources Iʼve found. Iʼm also sharing a quick and easy baby-led weaning breakfast recipe that has been a staple of our morning routine for a long time now.

An Overview: If you are interested in baby led weaning, but a little unsure what it is all about, this post from SimpleBites.net has a really good overview and some good snacky suggestions.

Please keep in mind that it’s called baby-led “weaning” and not “feeding” for a reason! Feeding baby anything other than breast milk will affect your supply and their intake. Even though you aren’t completely weaning all at once, feeding solids will start the process of less dependence on nursing. Whether that is a good thing or something you want to wait on depends on your baby’s age, health, and your nursing relationship. Be informed before you start the process.

Chickpea Patties: This recipe is a great nutritious finger food for babies. This post also has a lot of wonderful suggestions for other baby led weaning food ideas!

Easy first food recipes: This round up of recipes features quick and easy things to make just for baby. Some of these are mama and daddy friendly too, but some are obviously designed to just be for baby. Personally I prefer meals that we all can enjoy, but lists like these are so fantastic for breakfast and lunch ideas when I just need a quick something for baby.

Recipes for baby led weaning listed by age: This blog has a fantastic list of baby led weaning friendly recipes, but the best part is that there is an index that lists them all by age! I love being able to search the recipe base by the age my baby is to find ideas. All the recipes are also designed to be delicious for the whole family too, which is an extra bonus.

Finally, my recipe for Baby Led Weaning Oatmeal Fingers! This has been my daughterʼs favorite breakfast item for the last year and a half. It is quick, easy, delicious, and has enough nutrition to get her started for the day.

Beccaʼs Baby Led Weaning Oatmeal Fingers

3 tablespoons quick oats
3 tablespoons whole milk
1-2 teaspoons brown sugar, to taste

Mix all three ingredients in a microwave proof bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Let cool, and cut into bite size pieces.

Variations: you can also add a small amount of fruit (1-2 tsp) before microwaving. We love adding either banana or blueberries!

Becca Schwartz is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to a toddler girl and newborn boy. She and her husband have a small mini-farm with a flock of chickens, a few goats and rabbits, and are making plans to move out west to start a homesteading adventure together!

 

Starting Finger Foods

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Starting Finger FoodsAt around eight or nine months your baby might start letting you know that they’d like to feed themselves. The first signs may be trying to grab the spoon away from you or trying to grab food off your plate. Although it can be very messy, independent eating is an important step for developing fine motor skills and independence, and they have a ton of fun!

When you first start allowing your baby to feed his or herself, remember that since they’re still learning it will be more for fun than calories. You can either begin with finger foods scattered on a plate or high chair or with larger chunks of food for them to gum on as is done in baby led weaning.

If you’d like to start with finger foods they can be a great complement to pureed foods.  Start with foods that are soft and don’t require a lot of teeth to eat. Make sure vegetables are well cooked and fruits are soft enough to be broken down by the gums.  If you find that the foods are too slippery, you can sprinkle them with a little bit of ground flax seed – it makes the food easier to grip and pick up. Everything should be cut into very small pieces so that it doesn’t become a choking hazard. Start with just a few pieces at a time so they don’t feel overwhelmed and add more to their plate as they continue to eat.

Baby led weaning is a little different from just beginning finger foods. Instead of using finger foods as a complement to pureed food, baby-led weaning is a process of introducing foods that are not pureed and instead starting them on solid food. Instead of giving your baby a puree of broccoli and pork chop you would give them a sufficiently cooked broccoli stem and a chunk of pork chop for them to hold and gnaw on. The larger pieces are easy to hold in their fists and it’s usually recommended to cut foods into baton shapes to help grip.

You can use the same foods to start with for either approach. The only difference will be how the foods are cut. Some great foods are:  soft fruits such as banana, avocado, pear, plum, peach, squashed blueberries, kiwi, cut-up grapes, seedless watermelon or roasted apples. Good protein choices include hard-boiled egg yolks, chicken, ground beef. Soft, cooked veggies such as carrots, zucchini, peas, sweet potato, broccoli, green beans, butternut or acorn squash are all easy to gnaw on.

Whichever method you choose, always exercise caution. Never leave a baby alone when they’re eating and always follow your baby’s hunger cues. Proponents of baby led weaning believe that this method helps them eat the proper amount of food without overfeeding, and that they will easily learn what their bodies need to nourish them.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.

Three Superfoods Every Baby Should Eat

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

While some mothers choose to avoid solids for the entire first year, others prefer to start sooner. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that most babies can start solids by 6 months, around the time babies begin to be much more active.

When you decide your baby is ready to begin solids, consider introducing some nutritionally dense superfoods instead of the traditional grain-based baby cereal. Babies produce plenty of functional enzymes and digestive juices that help them digest proteins and fats, making these fatty, protein-rich foods perfect first foods.

Introduce only one food at a time, and wait at least four days before introducing another food to rule out the possibility of a negative reaction. Always check with your pediatrician before beginning new foods.

Three Superfoods Every Baby Should EatEgg Yolks. Pediatricians warn us to stay away from egg whites, which may cause an allergic reaction, but the yolk is a nutritional powerhouse. Yolks from pasture-raised hens provide much-needed fat and cholesterol for proper brain and nervous system development, as well as choline, amino acids and vitamin A. Simply boil an egg for about 4 minutes so the yolk is soft but not runny, discard the white and serve with a small amount of unrefined sea salt.

Liver. Pastured, organic, poultry liver is extremely high in vitamin A, which is an important nutrient for developing babies. It also happens to be one of the best sources of usable iron along with vitamin B12 and other nutrients such as choline and cholesterol, which are important for healthy brain development. Start by shredding about a teaspoon of frozen liver (freezing for at least 14 days helps destroy any harmful microbes) onto an egg yolk. Beginning at six months you can serve baby cooked, pureed liver.

Salmon Roe. These nutrient-dense little eggs have some of the highest levels of omega 3s, almost 3.5 times the amount typically found in salmon. In addition to the brain-boosting fats, salmon roe is rich in antioxidants and fat-soluble vitamins along with zinc and iodine. Try serving by themselves or incorporated into a soft-boiled egg yolk.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.

Baby’s First Foods

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Introducing solid foods is a big step for new moms and can be quite confusing. Here are some common questions new moms may have about introducing solids.

Is my baby ready for solid foods?

first food

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for baby during the first six months of life. Below are a few milestones your baby should reach before starting solid food:

  • Baby can sit in high chair with good head control
  • Baby watches you eat, reaches for your food and seems eager to be fed
  • If you offer a spoon of food and baby pushes it out of its mouth; he may not have the ability to move it to the back of his mouth to swallow. If this happens- try to dilute food with breast milk or water or wait a week or two and try again.

Sounds like my baby is ready. What should I feed them first?

Traditionally single-grain cereals are introduced first; however there is no medical evidence that introducing solid foods in any particular order is advantageous for baby. This website has tons of great recipes, nutrition information and pointers on how to prepare homemade baby food.

Are there any foods I should avoid?

What to Expect has a great list of food to avoid. This includes nuts, egg whites, honey, cow’s milk, wheat, juice, shellfish, strawberries and chocolate. These foods can be introduced later, please check with your pediatrician for when these can be safely introduced.

What were your babies’ first foods?

With my first we attempted organic brown rice cereal right at six months. This did not go well; she hated it. We went back to breast milk for few weeks and tried sweet potatoes next time she had solids. Our second was 7.5 months before we gave him solid food and he started with homemade sweet potatoes.

How do you make sweet potatoes for your baby?

Preheat oven to 400* F. Wash and poke holes in sweet potatoes and wrap in foil; bake in oven until soft (30-60 minutes). Puree in blender mixed with water or breast milk for desired consistency. Drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheet to freeze. Once frozen put into Ziploc bags to store in freezer until ready to eat. Thaw and serve.

What was your baby’s first food? What would you do differently with your next child?

Kristen Beggs is a mom of two who enjoyed watching her babies take their first bite.