Baby Led Weaning (BLW) Round 2 and 2.5ish

I like to say “round” instead of stage or trial, since we’re in this for the long baby led weaning fight.  We’ll be patient and we’ll be diligent in our efforts.  I say “we” but it is really like a boxing match- it all depends on the other person (in this case: Bambina).  Even though I’m being a rebel by skipping all the purees and cereals, I am taking the usual 3-4 days in between introducing new foods in case there are any funky allergic-like reactions.

Sillyboy, as an infant, started having slight unhappy stomach issues when he had apples, but it was actually applesauce (we even tried sugar free) that did it.  We didn’t offer anything apple related and slowly figured out it was the sauce vs. whole apple slices.  Luckily he grew out of it and has both apples and applesauce often without any tummy troubles or allergies.

First BLW food: sweet potato spears (sauteed)

Second BLW food: bananas (raw, peel on- sliced like so, below).  See, you need to leave on the peel so baby has a handle or a grip to hold the mushy food.  She did hold the banana, take a little chip off- but then she was done.  I won’t say it was a #fail but after two days I decided to try something different in flavor and color.  We’ll come back to my beloved banana soon though.

Third BLW food: avocado spears (peel on).

Yes, absolutely with the peel on.  Those U.K. moms are so clever.  At first I was skeptical, so I sliced spear-shapes sans peel.  They lasted about 2 seconds as Bambina pummeled them into mush with her mighty baby strength.  I say pummel because I think she knew it looked squishy and was testing it out and decided to have a bit of messy fun.  Then I realized the error of my ways and gave her 3 or 4 slices with the peel ON.  And that’s when I like to say Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!  Because that’s what we do around here, and I am not exactly sure what it means except you have to say it loudly when something goes your way and is awesome sauce.

Bambina went to town and knew immediately what to do with the peel-on slices.  She didn’t even give the non-peel slices a second look.  She concentrated on picking up a piece- first with her left then with her right hand, and stuck it directly in her mouth and started gumming it.  I may or may not have cheered before quieting down to finish my meal and not make Bambina feel awkward at all.  The rest of the fam had sliced avocado in our salad, to be sure that she is really having something we’re having as part of our meal .

She ate and she smeared some and went right back to picking pieces up and eating some more.  It was a glorious she’s-never-done-this-before day!  Bambina did so well (and must have enjoyed the avocado a ton), she didn’t have many stray pieces or hidden crevices full of mushy greenness.

There you have it, round 2.5ish for the poor banana attempts, and a real round 2 for the avocado goodness.  We will carry on and give a few more rounds to different options- more colors and definitely up the texture and flavor variety.  With BLW, there isn’t a real timeline of what you should try when, except for fruits and veggies, then meats and grains.  Bambina seems to be up for it. Carry on.

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Baby Led Weaning Round 1

BLW time here at casa de’ LunchingMom.  Bambina just hit the half-birthday mark and has been working on her sittin’ up skillz (skills with extra umph right there).  And since I’m a crazy potato girl (sweet potato that is, though I try to limit our nightshade veggie intake), I thought she might enjoy some roasted or sauteed sweet potatoes.  One of the goals of baby led weaning is that your child will eat with you, instead of eating before or after or not be present and part of the family meal time. Here’s a great essay that simplifies BLW in a nutshell from Mom365.com

I remember when Sillyboy was little, the husband and I thought we were so awesome at tag-teaming at meals.  Except one of us always had to reheat our food. No one wants to nuke a freshly prepared whole-food meal of goodness (see radio wave lunch here)!  So for two nights we had a sweet potato side with dinner- and no one minded at all.

I washed and peeled two organic sweet potatoes then sliced them up into sticks so Sillyboy could regard them as having fries for dinner, and Bambina would have a good size to hold and munch. Then sauteed them stove top in a pan with a touch of sesame oil (try it- because it’s an amazing compliment to the sweetness).

Most of the articles and videos I’ve watched recommend the bigger the better in slicing shapes for BLW.  Think spear shapes or potato wedges.  This way your baby has something to hold onto in either hand, and adequate area to gum the food. Once they get the pincer grasp down (8-10 months-ish) you can hit up the smaller slices.  A lot of U.K. families swear by leaving the peel on most fruits and veggies, which is really helpful when handling avocado (a first favorite here and abroad) and bananas.  Babies learn which side has the good flavors pretty quick.

Baby’s food and the fam’s food done at the SAME time= #win.  I placed about 3-4 sweet potato slices on her highchair tray (no plates  or utensils needed) and tried not to stare Bambina down intently just waiting to ooh and ah.  So we all said our dinner prayer and chowed down.  I did peek at her from the corner of my eye as did the boys- to keep an eye on her for fear of choking and/or taste-bud delight.  It could go either way, really.  Luckily she loved it!  She was really quick to grab a piece at a time and start gumming it.  She smeared it around, she threw some pieces on the floor (aka gave the dogs some snackage), but managed to chew a few pieces off- eat some and spit some out.  Every time she’d run out of big pieces, I just handed over more until she was totally not interested which was about when we were all done eating.  Then I had to clean.

Clean I did.  I cleaned the tray, the floor, the seat, and what?- How did sweet potato get smeared inside her onesie?! I didn’t realize until she was having her bath she had smeared it in her hair above her ear. wth.  I did purchase a fancy long sleeved bib cover I plan to use when we’re out and about (Ikea makes super cheap useful ones that you can purchase on Amazon, because Ikea doesn’t have online purchasing for most of their kid items, especially not to Missouri), but she gets a bath after dinner every night so it’s one less thing for me to wash.

I feel like it’s one more stepping stone on this different kind of food journey and I’ll try to keep you posted.  Have you tried anything like BLW before?  Do you stick to purees (homemade?) and just give baby a nosh every once in awhile of your food?

BLW aka Baby-Led-Weaning

DS, DD, SAHM, EBF, STTN, CIO and BLW.  Obviously, us moms love our acronyms and they come in handy when you are talking about the same things again and again.  The first 6 I’ve known for quiet awhile, especially with the help of Google and various mom/baby forums and boards over the years.  The way information travels these days, which is quicker than ever before, you can do all the paper and library book research you want, but the material could be totally outdated.  I did my library research, then hit up google and mom blogs after mom blogs, and Youtube actually helped the most!

Baby-Led Weaning is not new agey, but I’ve read it’s another cog in the “crunchy Mom” wheel that is so common these days.  It sounds like parents have realized that the way things were done when they were children- or their parents themselves were children- aren’t exactly raising the healthiest eaters each generation.  Companies are capitalizing on charging what they charge so it’s one less things for moms to learn/handle/do in general.  It was a big deal to go from small glass baby food jars, to plastic reusable ones, and then from that to these space-saving pouches.  It seems the original idea was the most green to begin with, because glass doesn’t leach chemicals and make many happy crafty projects when reused.  I digress.

BLW: Baby led weaning is simple= no mushed food, no purees.  Go.

You take what the rest of the family is having, and slice it up into adequate sizes (comparable to either a potato chip, or two fingers in size) and give it to your baby.  You don’t “help” at all! or shove food or do any extra work for baby.  Baby doesn’t need a plate or utensils.  You sit back and eat your food like a family should, together at mealtime.  It sounds so easy!  I keep reading that it’s messy, but since I made all the baby food for Sillyboy at 6 months (never before! please don’t listen to the riffraff or your mom on cereal in a bottle or other scary things), I’d take a mess over the mountains of peeling/slicing/steaming/pureeing/portioning months anytime.  We begin late next week.  Have you tried baby led weaning?  Something similar?  A combination?  RhodeyGirlTests and YoungHouseLove have both tried with differing results, but both of their kids eat real (i.e. not baby) food every day too.

P.S. by the way, DS= Dear Son, DD= Dear Daughter, SAHM= Stay at home mom, EBF= Exclusively breastfed, STTN= Sleeping through the night, CIO= Crying it out.

To TV or not to TV?

Or better yet, does the baby get TV? Or do most people start that at toddlerhood?  Or wait until the recommended (by the AAP) 2 years?  In all reality, I totally know there’s no way to avoid it once the kids get into public school (Sillyboy has enjoyed several screenings of Happy Feet parts 1 and 2 during substitute teaching and awards time during his first year of kindergarten, all without me knowing until afterwards…), and then there’s all kinds of tv everywhere: waiting rooms, mall food courts, inside stores, at the gas stations, etc.  And what about the “educational” tv shows?

ImageI think even for 5 months old, I try to avoid Bambina watching tv.  Her brain is still developing at a rapid rate, her mind is a little sponge- and I’d rather her soak up some board book story reading time than even the Veggie Tales sing-a-longs.  But I get crazy looks when I explain this to the extended family.  Especially since we do limit Sillyboy’s “screen time” which includes his time watching tv, dvds, playing on the wii, gaming on his Vtech Innotab, etc.  (We’ve yet to invest in a Nintendo DS, yet…).  He realizes there’s such a thing as too much screen time, and even brings it up to his grandparents some.  But as we all advance with technology, how do we keep it real by keeping less screen time in our every day lives?  Interactive classroom teaching is everywhere- and Sillyboy sends emails on his own and downloads and reads his choice of kid-friendly titles on the Kindle Fire.  I can’t keep up!

I guess I should get with the times and realize we can’t escape it.  We just need to keep with the old adage “Too much of anything isn’t good for you”- and that includes screen time.  Let’s see how long I can hold out before Bambina figures out who Barney or Elmo are!

Green Machine Gets Smoothie

Okay, bear with me on this “add one more green thing” food excursion, because it’s just not as easy as it sounds.  So what we’re doing, it just having that one green thing until we get tired of it and then we plan to replace it with something more awesome that’s green.  And by “we” I mean Sillyboy and I.  The husband is just a observer because he’s not sure how long our little pact will last.

Juices are all the rage- or at least they were last year.  And now- history repeats itself and the smoothie is back ya’ll!  (Yes, I say ya’ll on a random basis- don’t hate, hater!).

I was skimming through either the latest issue of Babytalk or Parenting magazines and found a small recipe section for easy smoothies.  I’m all about easy- and easy to me is 5 ingredients/steps or less (think Claire Robinson).  I attempted to find the online version of the page, but since they are melded together on one site, I haven’t found it yet to share the official copy with you.  But share I will, because I totally tore out half the page and promptly stuck on the fridge.  Out of the 3 fruity recipes listed, only one met my criteria because it was both green and vegan (i.e. no yogurt or milk).  And it was awesome-sauce.  Except Sillyboy is freaked out by the bits-o-green that float around.  Back to juicing kale instead?

Here’s the supply breakdown:

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Green Machine Smoothie

1 cup organic kale (washed and chopped- no stems please!)

1/2 green apple (peeled and chopped)

1/2 banana (peeled and chopped)

1/2 cup of orange juice

3 ice cubes

And there you have it- stick all the ingredients into a blender for about 30 seconds- the Green Machine.  I used our Magic Bullet for the one-drink occasion.  This is NOT to be confused with Naked Juice’s green machine that contains seaweed and some other many green ingredients.  It is delish/sweet/not tangy/fresh/frothy goodness.  And a bit textured.  Just a tad.  If you’re the kind of person who can handle pulp in your orange juice, you wind mind the kale crumbles in there.  But if you can’t handle it and pulp makes you gag (like the husband), maybe pouring it through a piece of cheesecloth will work better (like for Sillyboy’s anti-pulp drinking case).

ImageYou get your fruit and green servings in there at the start of the day- which is helpful in case you decide to pig out on onion rings later when the kids are in bed.  We love us some late night greasy (albeit not often) trips to Sonic.  Viola!  Green is good.  have you figured out any other ways to fit some healthy green food options into your family’s meals?

An Easy Way to Find Green at Breakfast

I challenged a 6 year old.  They love challenges, but I this was a tough one.  I challenged him to eat something green every day.  Unfortunately, green eggs and ham don’t count because A.) he’s already had that as part of a meal during a week long school author-study, B.) He doesn’t eat ham (or any beef/pork products), and C.) they didn’t grow “green” that way. The vegan version is so green, it kind of freaks me out anyways.  Ideally I would love to have him eat something green at every meal, but we’re working with baby steps here- and a pretty stubborn almost-first grade kid.  So we tried to think of foods he likes that are green: green beans, peas, kale, spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, avocado, and kiwi.   Fruit for the win!  Lucky him- and lucky momma, he enjoys Greek yogurt (though the husband does not in the least), too.

Green things Sillyboy does not like: cabbage, honey dew, brussel sprouts (I think he gets that from me), and mustard greens (ditto).

Here’s our super-easy healthy breakfast – with a bit-o-green:

1. Organic granola- we can’t get enough of the Cascadian Farms versions (U.S. grown and certified organic).

2. Fage Total 0% (full-fat) Authentic Greek yogurt (it’s actually made in Athens, Greece).

3. Pack of Ripe & Easy kiwis

Spoon in as much Greek yogurt as you love, sprinkle some granola on top, and add sliced kiwis.  Sillyboy will eat two bowls of this with two kiwis each on a wakeful weekday.  There you go- some green for breakfast.  Does anyone have other green ideas for breakfast?  The green smoothie route was short lived already, so we defeated that fad.  Not that they aren’t great, we just need a more substantial breakfast in our house of heavy eaters.  What are some other kid-friendly and time easy ideas for breakfast?

Dirt Don’t Hurt

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Isn’t that how the saying goes? God made dirt, and dirt don’t hurt.  Luckily, living in the midwest provides for lots of dirt, rocks, clay, mulch, and other natural fun landscaping for Sillyboy.  But when you add in two 70 lb. dogs who love to dig (a LOT), wrestle, and wreak havoc in your backyard, it’s tough for good clean kid fun in the dirt.  So we went with the good ol’ sensory bin, after graduating up from smaller containers on the kitchen floor in his preschool age (good busy task when I’m making dinner or washing dishes), and went with a plastic under-the-bed container.

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One bag of potting soil was added in and spread out to dry for a day.  The soil comes pretty moist out of the bag, but since we store our bin in the garage, I didn’t want various critters making a home in it.  We added some diggers, shovels, and beach toys and it keeps him entertained for hours. Every time.  We drag the bin out into the yard (hey, no clean up!) and let him play to his heart’s content.  Plus, if he’s had a good day, I let him pour a pitcher of water in the bin to muddy it up and create even better dirt play.

He’s realized if the dirt ends up outside the box, it’s less he’ll have the next time he plays.  And he looks forward to getting hosed down himself if needed.  So besides the no throwing rule, it’s all fair game.  When we’re done, we leave it out to dry in the shade.  On a warm Missouri day, it only takes an hour or two, and back into the garage it goes.  What’s your favorite sensory bin?  And have you had to create bigger, messier ones as your kids grow?

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