Category Archives: BLW

Pea-utiful Tuna Croquettes. BLW Basic!

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Taking a break from anything too taxing in an effort to help me get a decent night’s rest (help with my problem here), what better way to unwind than to get back to slaving away at the cooker!

This is a baby led weaning basic, a staple, nutritious, hand handy meal for infants, toddlers and grown ups too! The shape is great for little hands, and the texture is perfect even for beginner BLWers.

You can easily customise them, I had some chives growing in the garden, but spring onion, or dried herbs would work just as well. I also chuck in a handful of peas because they are a great iron source and my guy loves a pea, but sweetcorn for extra fibre would work also.

Did you know that most of the goodness and fibre of a potato is in the skin, so a good scrub and bake so you can use the whole of the potato also adds an extra nutritious boost to these crispy golden batons.

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Ingredients

1 large baking potato or 2 medium mashing potatoes
Large handful of frozen peas or sweetcorn
1/2 can of tuna drained and flaked
Fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives or spring/salad onions
1 egg

Pre heat oven to 170C/340F

I used a left over large jacket baked potato, scoop the flesh out and mash. Alternatively, boiled and mashed potato works just as well.

Add tuna, spring onions or chives, peas/sweetcorn, pepper to season and mix thoroughly.

Lightly beat the egg and add to the mixture, combine well.

Prepare a baking tray with a sheet of non stick paper or lightly oil your tray.

Scoop heaped tablespoons of mixture onto the baking sheet at intervals.

Lightly flour hands and shape into a croquette or patty or anything you fancy, flouring hands each time.

Bake at 170C until golden, 15- 20 minutes, you may like to turn halfway through cooking to get an even colour.

Enjoy. And take a look at some of my other ideas.

Crispy Hery Butternut Squash Fingers
Carrot Parsnip And Leek Gratin

Sugar Free Baby Friendly Blancmange

Sweet Potato, Spinach And Lentil Dahl

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Choose your food destiny…Choose Baby Led Weaning

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We have had a few comments recently about how well the little guy eats.  Literally…how well he handles his food in his mouth, his hands…his hair!  Actually he is becoming a lot more accurate at meal times, so much so that the shower curtain covering up the floor has been lifted.

It got me thinking back to the reasons why I chose to take the baby led weaning path (BLW), or more accurately, why I let my guy choose his own food destiny with BLW. You can read my tips on getting started here.

Before I start, I have to say that I am of the camp that exclusive breast milk up to six months is essential.  As parents, it is our duty to protect the delicate gut lining of our precious bundles.  Starting to wean before six months can upset the fragile balance of gut flora that is protecting their digestive system while it fully develops.  Too many people confuse a growth spurt at around four months with a hungry baby, instead of the developmental milestone that it is.  Around this age babies may need less sleep than you are accustomed too, they want to explore their world, and they are interested in watching you eating, but they are not necessarily hungry.  It can be challenging, but you are still producing enough milk to totally fulfil their requirements, however big, hungry or wide awake, just maybe bigger feeds from you more often.

That said, BLW works for any breastfed of bottle fed baby, the principles are the same.

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I never want to let my little guy feel left out at a meal time, I never want to trick him into eating just one more mouthful, I don’t want to stress him out or pressure him to eat anything he may not like and I have no real desire for him to wean him quickly from my breast.  BLW addresses all of these issues…here are my favourite reasons to hopefully convince you to give it a try.

  • Babies learn through play, they explore, touch and taste almost everything that crosses their path.  Food should be no different, you can let them play with it, explore the textures, temperatures, shapes and tastes.  This way, they can start to distinguish different flavours, they can pick out things they don’t like, and they can eat at their own pace.
  • Because BLW babies are allowed to explore food themselves, they are less suspicious of food and more willing to try new foods.  They can stop eating when they have had enough and they can demand more if they are still hungry.  This means they learn about their own appetite from an early age and will hopefully carry this through into healthy eating habits later in life.
  • By six months, the digestive system is more likely to be able to tolerate anything, so there is no need to follow the outdated rules of one new food at a time.  This means food can always be exciting, tasty, varied and never bland, mushy and boring!  The only limit might be your cooking skills!
  • You all get to eat together.  Even if its just you and baby, you can eat your meals hot, together, and enjoyably.  Baby can learn about conversation and table manners at the same time as learning about food.   There is no need to feed baby, and then entertain baby while everyone else tries to eat and he will never feel left out at a meal time.
  • Progression happens naturally and safely.  At the start of the BLW journey, very little food actually goes in, most ends up in a gummed up mess back on the table or floor.  Slowly  the gag reflex moves from the front of the tongue, further and further back.  This happens as the baby learns to move food around and break food down into manageable pieces before finally swallowing.  This natural progression is the safest progression.
  • No more revolting bland mush, no ‘baby food’, just one meal suits all.  Meal times become easier, you can create one meal, be it traditional, exotic, experimental or a family favourite.  You can adapt a little portion for baby if you like things particularly spicy or salty but you get  accustomed to lowering your salt intake pretty quickly.

Imagine someone coming at your face with a garden shovel full of food.  They hold it really close to your face so you cant focus on what is piled on the end of the shovel.  They try and get the shovel into your mouth and you try and push the shovel away to see what you are being forced to taste.  This must be what that teaspoon of food  seems like to a little person.  Scary.

Stop the slop!!

Read my tips on getting started on your BLW journey here!

Baby Led Weaning. Top Tips To Get You Started.

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Baby led weaning is the most fascinating, inspiring and entertaining activity…for adults! Still, after four months, I watch in awe as my little guy handles grown up food…as he shovels way too much in, gags a little and then sticks a bit more in for good measure. He loves to play and learn and food is no exception to this.

I wish more parents had a positive experience of the first few scary months of BLW, but I often hear of parents abandoning ship because it is too scary or too messy.

I have created a list of a few things to get you started and help you feel more confident in committing totally to the BLW experience. As you get started on your journey, keep these tips close at hand to remind yourself that you and baby are in complete control…

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  • Have confidence in yourself. This is the single most important piece of advice I can give. Brush up on your first aid, attend a red cross course or at the very least, know what to do in an emergency choking situation. Learn the basics of back slaps to bring up a lodged piece of food, and understand the process of checking airways, breathing and circulation. Armed with this knowledge you can take a much more relaxed approach to BLW. Look here at the Red Cross site for many great tips
  • Relax. Once you have confidence in your ability in a sticky situation, and trust that your baby knows what he is doing, then you can relax and pass the calm vibes onto your little one. At the start of my BLW journey, I used simple yoga breathing techniques to relax, release and let go of any tension in my body. I kept that calm feeling throughout every early meal until it became natural to both me and baby.
  • Trust in your baby. Your baby has been born with a gag reflex and it starts way further forward on his tongue than on yours. This reflex is your friend, the sound of retching or heaving are his way of dealing with an object and keeping him safe. Try not to interfere while he deals with the object himself, but be at the ready to step in if he can’t handle it
  • Bibs. Double up, I use a long sleeved coverall with a smaller dribble bib on top to fit close around the neck. You will not be so worried about staining the clothes underneath and again you can sit back and relax while chaos take over in the high chair. Tip: Cut the bottom half off of old baby grows and use them back to front as full coverage bibs!
  • Cover the floor. Buy a cheap shower curtain and let the food rain down! Pop in in the washing machine, shake it out after a messy meal, pick big bits up and give them back to baby, and relax in the knowledge that your flooring is protected!!!
  • High chair. I took my high chair for granted until I tried out a friends contraption! Make sure it doesn’t have a fiddly harness or tray that locks too tightly around your baby, you need to be able to whip them out quickly and easily if they become distressed. Look here at the Ikea Antilop, great value, and easy to clean, great for BLW. Look here at the safety 1st baby highchairs, plastic free, able to grow with your child, fairly easy to keep clean but slightly more expensive.
  • Gagging is good. as I mentioned before, it is your babies way of clearing a blockage or learning that trying to swallow something before breaking it down isn’t such a good idea.
  • Silence is not good. look to see if they have panic on their own face, or look like they are silently struggling to bring something up. This is definitely your cue to step in and manually give a helping hand.
  • Let them get back to it. However shaken up you feel, don’t pass your anguish on the baby. Let him get stuck back in straight away so as not to start associating anything bad with his eating.
  • Know that milk is still the main source of nutrients. Please try not to stress over the quantity of food on the floor, or the amount he is actually eating. Food is still just for fun in this phase, once you take the pressure off getting food into baby, and let him take his time over meals, he will become better equipped to understand his own appetite, not what you think his appetite should be.
  • Eat together, don’t stare. Whenever possible, eat at the same time as baby. DO NOT sit and stare at him eating, as fascinating as it may be. Let him see you chewing and swallowing, watch from the corner of your eye, chat and laugh. How would you enjoy a looming figure watching you, praising you and getting involved with your plate of food!!!
  • Don’t overcrowd the tray. My guy likes to eat from a white china plate, he can see the food clearly and knows where and what he wants to reach for. Try adding food slowly to the high chair tray.

Stop The Slop!

Sippy Cup Safety. What You Need To Know..Stainless Steel Or Plastic.

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Green Kid. We love the new stainless steel sippy cup

Have you given any thought to your sippy cup situation?

It took a long time before it dawned on me, I was pouring boiling water into a plastic cup, but how safe was it to be re-using, re-washing and re-filling this plastic cup with boiling water three times a day.

The BPA free thing is almost taken for granted now, I assumed it meant my plastics were totally safe, but it is still plastic, still full of a whole host of other nasties having their gender bending and toxic effects on all of us.

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I miss using the doidy cup with my little guy

When the time came to use a cup, we started with the doidy cup above.  Probably a bit gimmicky, the slanted design lets the baby see the water level, it also means you can’t store water in it which could be a good thing.

Tommy Tippee

This one is going in the bin after it’s studio session!

We then bought a Tommee Tippee sippy cup.  Filled up in the morning with freshly boiled water and then left in my handbag until lunchtime to leach to it’s hearts content.  After a couple of months use the plastic also started to look a bit dull and worn, eroded almost, and if the plastic was in some way being broken down, where was it all going?  Probably into the water he was drinking from it.

Panic, research, and one GreenKid £20 stainless steel sippy bottle later, I can now take the time to really think about plastic.  Excited?

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Green Kid. Stainless steel sippy cup

A little scientific bit about BPA

Bisphenol A is widely used in the production of plastic.  In fact it was so widely used that when the U.S. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention conducted a survey, they found it in 93% of urine samples taken from those tested.  Almost every sample was tainted.  So what could be the effect of BPA on the body.

The bad news is, BPA has an oestrogenic effect on cells at their most basic level.  What does this mean?  In animals, low doses of BPA during pregnancy and lactation can reduce survival, birth weight, and growth of children early in life,  it can delay the onset of puberty in adolescence, reduce testosterone levels and impact reproductive systems adversely, and it has also been linked to cancer, obesity and diabetes in later life.

Parents and manufacturers rightly became more BPA savvy and it was swiftly removed from many products.  Childrens products like bottles, cups, pacifiers, cutlery, bowls, plates all became potentially lethal with the findings…because of the size of their little bodies, babies and toddlers actually have the highest ratio of absorption of toxins from plastics so removing BPA became a fashion and a necessity.

The discovery more recently that BPA-free products are releasing chemicals with even more oestrogenic activity than BPA-containing products is therefore quite alarming.  Everything you thought was safe to use just became a little more dangerous.

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Even BPA free, how safe is this bottle.

Did you know…

BPA is also found in the linings of most tin cans and aluminium cans, sometimes you can see it, but often it is transparent.  It stops food or liquid coming into contact with and being tainted by the metal container.

What can you do to cut down your exposure to oestrogenic activity?

Simply put, all plastics leach chemicals, even more so when subjected to everyday processes like microwaving, dishwashing and storing. It would be a long and testing process to eliminate plastic from our lives totally, but a few changes could dramatically cut the amount of chemicals we are ingesting.  The alternatives are also more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

  • Only use bottles for their intended purpose.  Do not reuse water bottles, leave water in them for long periods of time or leave in hot places.
  • Never microwave anything in plastic, heat speeds up the process of leaching. Use microwave safe glass or ceramics.
  • Allow food or drinks to cool before storing in plastic containers or cups if you must use them.
  • Avoid wrapping foods in cling film, often made from PVC these can release pthalates into your food.
  • Better yet, try stainless steel baby bottles, sippy cups, and sports bottles.  Even glass bottles can be a suitable alternative.
  • Eat fresh, keep tinned, canned and plastic packaged products to a minimum wherever possible.
  • Try letting baby gnaw on wooden or fabric toys and get rid of pacifiers and plastic teether toys (easier said than done, try my baby biscotti recipe for sore gums)

I have a little way to go to be as plastic free as I would like to be, but I am getting there.  Good luck on your journey!