Well... it's been basically five months of baby-led weaning in our home and when I asked on Instagram if y'all were interested in more BLW blogs, the answer was a resounding yes! There is certainly lots of things to update as Beau is ever-so-quickly approaching his first birthday, so let's dive right in! If you missed my first blog (part one, if you will).. I'll link it HERE. In that blog there are some discount codes for awesome products, general info around why I chose this approach and tons of resources linked to help any parents out there starting this new chapter! Disclaimer: I am not a registered dietician or a nutritionist, just a momma sharing what I've learned!
In the last five months, I have been so surprised with how my anxiety around serving Beau food has dropped. I'm sure its a combination of building confidence in myself and Beau as we both figure out the textures, sizes, shapes and flavours of foods. I have learned quickly the faces and sounds that Beau makes (that are normal- although scary at first) to help move food around and dislodge anything that may be stuck. Beau enjoys a variety of foods, and looking back I am 100% happy with this decision. We have almost reached everything on the 100 First Foods list and it's been fun to introduce new things. Beau (as I'm sure most children) is a child who eats in colour.. he always reaches for the bright colours and has begun showing food preferences.
Here are some things I've learned along the way that I will implement (God-willing) with future children and like to keep in mind on discouraging days:
1) Prep ingredients not just meals.
Roasted sweet potato and zucchini, pumpkin pie bites, turkey quinoa meatballs, homemade tzatziki, salmon, boiled eggs, oatmeal pancakes/french toast (batch make then freeze for quick breakies), and fresh fruit are a few of our favourites. I try having a grain and a protein already prepped (rice, quinoa, pasta, salmon, meatballs, ground beef, tofu) which makes building meals SOO easy and quick (AND, makes it very easy to travel when you've prepped the time-consuming things)
2) Don't fret the small stuff.
Days fluctuate so much and sometimes your little one is a bottomless pit and other days they couldn't be bothered to eat. Of course chat with your doctor if something feels off, but in my experience looking at a balanced week is far less stressful than a balanced day or meal in itself. That being said, I try my best to offer some kind of fat, carb and energy based food per meal, and often looks like a meat, veggie/fruit and fat/dairy. Expect new reactions, but remain consistent! Rome wasn't built in a day, and food is full of big flavours. I like including a variety of colours, textures and shapes in hopes to introduce new things, create an element of fun, and expand and practice those skills Beau is learning to master!
3) You decide what is served, they decided how much they eat.
This just takes the pressure off of everyone and leaves the work to intuition. Babies have an incredible ability to self-regulate, and allowing the space for that to be practiced and honoured it a great thing. That being said, be mindful to offer things you are okay with giving second, third and even fourth servings of. What I have found helpful is placing the leftover food on a separate plate and when I notice Beau is looking for more food, or if the plate is empty, I will offer the "leftover" plate and he can pick and choose what he'd like. Sometimes that looks like eating a full avocado, three pancakes, blueberries until everything is stained, or an entire fillet of salmon.
4) If you don't eat well/scheduled, this may be challenging.
During the early months of postpartum the last thing on my mind was feeding myself. Although I was breastfeeding, my appetite took a long time to return after delivery was it was something I often dropped the ball on. When Beau started solids it was a big wake up call in the sense of, "I might not be ready for breakfast yet, may feel hungry but want to finish x,y,z before eating and push myself an hour or too, but he couldn't do that". It dramatically highlighted the unstructured way I had been eating before. In a way, it's been nice reestablishing those family meals and set time in the kitchen, but I could see how it may be difficult to get into that routine. I know for Brandon, he is someone who doesn't eat until a job is finished (very intense). Ha!, babies can't do that you know? They can't suck it up, finish the job then have lunch three hours late. So it's made me aware of the structure of my day, and I seem to always know (or be asking for) the time of day.
Oatmeal Pancakes : There are tons online - I've linked the one I use, I often LOAD it with fresh or frozen fruit, whatever milk I have on hand (I've used coconut, almond, cows and oat... all turned out great), make a double batch and freeze them. Super quick to pop into the toaster to heat up, you know what is inside them and they are fun and quick to make.
Pumpkin Pie Bites: These are a fun thick-pudding-pie-like texture with minimal work needed.
1 can of pumpkin puree - *NOT* pumpkin pie filling
1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
1/4 c. milk of choice
Preheat the oven to 350F, whip into a bowl, pour over muffin tins (lined or greased) and bake for 20-22 mins. ADD: 2 tbsp of maple syrup for sweetener - I have made them both ways, both good... one just sweeter and more "pumpkin pie" like.
Yogurt Bark: AWESOME for teething babes and summer days!
Plain Greek Yogurt
Mix together and THINLY place in tupperware/parchment paper covered cookie tray in freezer until frozen. If made too thick you may have to let stand for a few minutes to soften, otherwise serve directly from freezer. ALSO: adjust depending on your little ones ability to eat- ie: smash blueberries, thinly slice fruit, no granola if too young, no honey under one, etc.
Homemade Tzatziki: Beau LOVES this, we have it in the fridge weekly.. it's delish
1 c. plain greek yogurt
1 cucumber (finely chopped - I keep the skin on, but can remove if preferred)
Variety of fresh chopped herbs (I'm sure there's a proper measurement.. I don't know it) Some of our favourite herbs to use together: mint, parsley, dill and basil
1 tbsp lemon juice (can also grate some of rind if you'd like)
Pepper to taste
Banana Muffins: I often add other fruit/veg to spice it up (grated carrot or zucchini, blueberries or chocolate chips)
Meatloaf: This is a great simple base meatloaf recipe that you can play around and add to (veggies, salsa, etc. to fit your family needs/preferences
1 1/2-2 lbs. beef
1 c. breadcrumbs
1 chopped onion
1 c. milk of choice (dairy sticks the best, almond tends not to hold as well.. in my opinion.. both taste great, we prefer dairy for this recipe)
salt/pepper to taste
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp mustard (regular, honey or dijon all delish)
1/3 c. ketchup
Preheat the oven to 350F, pour sauce over loaf and bake for 1 1/2hr. This time tends to fluctuate with me depending on how much beef. * This is a great base for meatloaf as well, although we tend to take out the milk to make it more sticky and add herbs like parsley.
Chia Pudding: Like yogurt and oatmeal, this pudding is an awesome base for introducing new flavours and textures. Just know the ration - 3 tbsp chia seeds to 1 c. milk of choice. Best results overnight, and milk choice can impact the time to get the pudding texture, but I'd say at least 4 hours if you're in a pinch. Then you can add whatever you like to flavour it. Here's some of our favourites:
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 c. milk of choice
Strawberries & Banana/ Peanut Butter & Banana/ Shredded Carrots & Cinnamon/ Blueberries & Blackberries/ Maple Syrup and baked apples
Stir occasionally, eat when reached desired texture, store in fridge (up to 5 days)
Jambalaya: This and stir-fry are easy, filling and easily make large portions
1 lb. protein (I often use ground beef, turkey or chicken)
1 or 2 servings of rice/quinoa (your pick on grain and size of serving)
CRAP ton of veggies (our favourites: broccoli, onions, zucchini, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, spinach)
Cook up your ground meat, make your grain, saute your vegetables of choice. Combine it all together... and add the salsa. It's delicious.
BLW has been an awesome practice in our home. It has encouraged me to spend more time in the kitchen and get creative with my food, challenged me to try new foods myself, and relearn the structure of a meal and importance of nutrient-dense food. It's building a fabulous habit for all of us to eat clean, whole foods, prep and cook from home and learn to use what you have to make something fun and tasty. It's been awesome not stressing over whether Beau is eating well enough, worrying about how to feed him if we are out running errands, or buying a bunch of baby only things that the entire family can't use. If anyone is thinking of taking the plunge, feeling discouraged or simply interested in this approach to solids, I highly recommend. Check out my first BLW blog, there I've linked all the resources I used/and continue to utilize through this journey.
All my love,