A Follow on from my last post, (Weaning Part 1), I talk this time about our weaning journey from 6 months to now (11 months). Here are some examples of the foods I give Ozzy, ranging from snacks and porridge kindly sent to us by Organix, to the BLW (baby led weaning) meals I make myself which we eat together as a family.
We were kindly sent these goodies from Ellie at Organix, but I have not been sponsored to write this I just really love Organix! The porridge and snacks really are a hit with me and with Ozzy. There's banana biscuits, carrot sticks and banana and plum porridge. I love that there are baby snacks available because it makes my life so much easier. I don't have time to freshly prepare meals for him 3 times a day, particularly if we're out and about. These are great because he loves the taste and they fill him up. If we go out I can take a packet of biscuits or some of the carrot sticks and they'll keep him busy, quiet and fed!
The instructions say to prepare the porridge with their normal milk. The first time I made the porridge I used formula and he didn't want to know, but the second time when I used cows milk he was all for it. No cooking involved just 1 tbsp porridge to every 2 tbsp milk and mix it up (we do about 5 tbsps of porridge per meal). I microwaved it for 10 seconds and stirred just so it was a little warmer, (and of course checked the temperature before giving it to him just incase it was too hot). He loved it and kept opening his mouth for more. In time I'll teach him to use the spoon himself but for now we're often in a hurry in the morning so I spoon feed him and he finishes it in under a minute. That fills him up until lunchtime and it makes my morning far easier! This post isn't sponsored but I honestly recommend this more than anything else, it is his absolute favourite breakfast meal now.
Often if i'm feeling organised I'll cook up a big batch of pasta and portion it out into these multicoloured Ikea kids bowls. Then I chop up and fry some veg - often what we have leftover from the week usually peppers, onions and leeks, and add these to the bowls. Then I'll dollop in some sauce - usually some sour cream or creme fraiche on one, tomato pasatta on another and red pesto on the third, and sprinkle cheese on top. Nice little pasta meals done in less than 5 minutes and that can be lunch for the next 3 days (I don't actually know how long it's safe to keep cooked pasta and veg in the fridge for so please don't take my word for it but I often give this to Ozzy a few days later and he's always fine).
Ozzy loves baby led weaning but he gets super messy - I suppose it's all part of the fun. We have the Ikea Antilop highchair which is really easy to wipe clean after meals, and the Ikea spotty bib which is fab because of the long sleeves and elasticated cuffs. Not sponsored (I WISH) just their biggest fan! After a messy meal I wipe his hands and face (and legs and feet and knees and ears and wherever else he got food), take him out of the highchair and pop him somewhere safe - i.e behind the baby gate to play with his toys, so I can wipe clean the seat, tray and floor, often with Paddy the dog's help. My trick these days is to do the messy meal in the evening and then I have Tom on hand to help with the clean up, especially when a bath is necessary after spaghetti.
This is Ozzy enjoying his banana biscuits. They're actually rings but he wanted to break them up into little pieces first for some reason. Usually when we go out he just holds it and bites bits off though but sometimes he likes to play around a bit!
It does sound like fun and games but it isn't always. Sometimes he gets really cross after about 30 seconds in the highchair and throws porridge at me. Once he's upset there's no coming back from it so I have to wipe him down, take him out and throw away whatever lovely food I made. He's a child, sometimes they don't cooperate and you just have to roll with it. 9/10 times he loves his food though and will sit and chatter once he's finished or point at the empty bowl which I think means he wants more, although sometimes he wants to chew on the bowl.
Some of the snacks I like to buy for him are the carrot sticks or sweetcorn puffs, as well as cheesy tomato fingers. These are great because they basically melt in his mouth so are really easy to break down. They can be held easily in his hand and don't tend to make too much mess. He also loves the Organix gingerbread men, the cheese crackers and Heinz chocolate biscuit sticks or apple biscuit sticks. There are so many baby food snacks out there to try and we're working our way through them all. Wherever I go now I take a little Tupperware with a few baby biscuits, just incase.
I did at one point prepare cut up fruit and veg as snacks to take out and about, but it just takes twice as long to clean up so I save this for snack time at home or in the park or garden. Cut up mango, pineapple, apple and strawberries are his favourites. Raw carrot is awful but slightly cooked carrot is a dream - who knew?
Tilda kids rice pouches are also great. They're kid sized and only take 40 seconds in the microwave. Today we tried the cheese and tomato rice packet and loved it. I have to spoon feed him or it takes about 2 hours for him to pick up all the bits of rice, but when I'm feeling patient I do put it on the tray and let him have a play around with it himself even if it's just to practice his pincer grip.
We've tried Mamia from Aldi but it was a savoury one which I think he found too upsetting for some reason, so since then we've only given him sweet ones. I don't think I'd want casserole as a puree to be fair.
AK purees are incredible. I only heard of this brand because Ikea give them out free with each adult meal in their restaurant, but I have honestly never seen him swallow a puree faster so for now this is our go to brand, and it was an apple and mango pouch he liked the best. it's really sweet but according to the ingredients it's 99% organic fruit, so it can't be too bad!
Ella's Kitchen are another nice puree brand, particular the mango ones or parsnip ones which both went down a treat - again because they're sweet.
Heinz purees are an interesting one for us because even though most of them appear to have apple as the main ingredient according to the back of the pouch, he LOVES some and HATES others, I guess like with most things baby related it's trial and error really. Recommending the mango one again obviously.
There are some BLW Recipe books out there, but for us so far what has worked is just thinking about how to turn our evening meals into baby friendly ones. Typically during the week we will have lasagne or pasta, chilli or curry, pizza, risotto, some form of potato based meal, fish and veg and then a chicken meal.
All we have to do now is check fish for small bones, put in a little less salt and chilli than we used to and make sure any bits we give Ozzy are a safe size. There is lots of information online about choking with babies, but generally BLW doesn't present any more of a hazard than traditional weaning. If you're thinking of going down this route I really strongly recommend you read up about it first, so you feel confident knowing how to handle a potential choking situation.
While Im certainly not qualified to give out any sort of advice on this, from my personal experiences I will say this: I read up a lot about what to do if Ozzy choked but in 5 months of weaning I have never once had to deal with that. There is a big difference between a baby choking and a baby gagging or coughing. Their gag reflex is further forward and more sensitive than ours and it doesn't take much to set it off. If they're coughing and working forward a piece of food it means, according to what I have read, that they are learning to test where their gag reflex is and how to move food forward and away from their airway. It is recommended that you let them do this themselves rather than intervene, and it is only when they're choking and struggling for air that they need help from you. Ozzy has coughed and spluttered and brought forward bits of food countless times and it happens less and less now as he's learning where his gag reflex is. If you'd like to read more about this please take a look at the Gill Rapley BLW book which is what I read, or another similar book. It was only once I felt confident with the difference between choking and gagging, and what to do in an emergency, that I gave Ozzy solids. Every baby is different and ultimately you need to do what you feel comfortable with and what you believe to be safest.
We give Ozzy exactly what we're having. For the baby who only like potato and bread for a while, he does amazing now. He loves chicken curry, even if it's spicy. He can't get enough of my risotto which I add fresh chilli to and he loves meatballs and spaghetti. We have a lot of fun sharing food him with and it means no extra cooking or work for me. On the rare occasion we have something unsuitable, I'll give him leftovers from the day before or whip up a little vegetable bake for him.
This is one example of a meal which we all share together:
Fry risotto rice in some butter for 30 seconds in a saucepan, and then add a large cup of boiling water and a vegetable stock cube (you can buy low salt stock cubes if you're worried about the levels of salt your baby is having but personally I don't because he really doesn't eat enough of it for it to matter).
Turn the heat down low and let it simmer, stirring every few minutes.
In a frying pan, fry small pieces of meat such as chorizo or chicken, or for a vegetarian option fry a pepper instead. Add a diced onion and chopped fresh red chilli (test how much your baby can handle first, generally we add a few small pieces but we do this from the beginning so the rice absorbs the flavour. If your baby isn't as good with spice you can add the chilli right at the end before you add the cheese) and fry on medium heat until the meat/pepper is fully cooked and the onion is soft. Pour this, including the oils, into the risotto pan and stir in. Add salt and pepper and a pinch of garlic salt.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes while stirring occasionally, until most of the water has been absorbed, and if at this stage the rice isn't cooked enough, add another small cup of boiling water and continue to simmer and stir occasionally for another 10 minutes. Once all the water has been absorbed and the rice is fluffy, stir in some cheese and serve (I suggest with garlic bread on the side), adding parmesan cheese on top.
Ozzy absolutely loves this meal, as do we, and it takes less than half an hour and costs less than £1 per person without meat or £1.50 each with it.
If you do try the risotto let me know what you and your baby thinks of it!!
Below are some weaning tips from Organix, which can help to prepare you for the adventure that is weaning! I hope this has been helpful and as usual if you have any questions just post a comment below! Happy weaning!
Thanks, Ellie and Ozzy :) x