Baby Led Weaning

Growing healthy babies with healthy appetites

Archive for the ‘Getting Started – Finger Food Basics/Finger Food Basics – Month 1’ Category

Remember, this is a blog.

Saturday, October 14th, 2006

…so for everyone who's thinking 'where do I start?', the answer is generally 'at the bottom and read up'. In the case of Finger Foods, however, I have 'organised' (and I cannot use that word too loosely) the first couple of months' posts into Month 1 and Month 2. Look to your  left, two new sub-sections have just appeared as if by magic!
It's just what I happened to give Babybear, though, so you must absolutely do what you like if you want to give different foods (apart from things like peanuts, obviously). Good luck!

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Butternut Squash

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

Ooooh, my neighbours have just promised me a butternut squash from their organic allotment. How exciting…

More to the point I appear to have reached the end of the hellacious list that I wrote WEEKS ago on the front page which means I will soon be liberated, free at last to write about the other fifty million things that the baby has eaten recently. And post some actual recipes… be still my beating heart.

So, butternut squash, then? Roast it.

You know, peel it with a peeler, scoop out seeds (can be quite slimy and orangey) and cut into segments. Toss in some olive oil and sling in the oven at 180-ish fan and 200-ish for a normal oven. No salt, but you knew that already. I'm never very good at cooking times because I am an avid poker and prodder, but I'd say check it after 20 minutes to turn them over and you can see how long you think they've got to go. Not more than about another 10 minutes I'd have thought.

Husband and I eat this mostly as a potato substitute or in a risotto. More often the risotto, now that I think of it. I just make a white risotto (loads of parmesan, onion, carnaroli rice, garlic) and then stir the squash through at the end as it can break up too much and you are left with an orangey mush  and lord knows we are all here to avoid mush as much as possible.

The baby loves the chunks of squash, either warm or the next day cold and is very bold about eating the risotto with her hands as well. Her father and I put our salt on separately, so she's fine with it.

Oh, I have even spread warm roasted squash onto some buttered crusty bread for her when she was frankly too starving to wait a minute longer for food. I had some too, it was surprisingly comfort food-y.

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Tuesday, August 1st, 2006

Any melon except Honeydew, unless you honestly like them (in which case I would merely ask 'have you never tasted the succulent orange flesh of a Galia?' and meekly let it go…)

Melon has been the subject of some of my most rigorous experimentation.

I've so far resisted the temptation to inject them with straight Calpol à la Jamie Oliver and his vodka watermelon but I have nevertheless toiled over the best way to present it to my baby in a manner that means that she doesn't immediately drop it.

We started with thin slices of Galia. It's quite a small melon (look, realistically this is all going to get a bit Carry On so just get the sniggering over and done with now… Better? Good, I will continue.)

I used to slice the melon (obviously after having halfed it and scooped out the seeds) and then cut off, say, three-quarters of the rind so that the baby would have something a bit drier to hold onto. Worked fine, but she kept on forgetting that she had it in her hand and dropping it which was a bit of a waste.

I then noticed that if the melon was cold from the fridge, Miss Babybear seemed to prefer it and indeed spent as much time chewing the rind as she did eating the flesh. (Personally, I think that keeping melon in the fridge is a bit of a crime as it kills the taste but the Babybear's beak is sufficiently sore to warrant it at the moment.)

Thereafter, I made sure that I gave the melon a good scrub (you lot have been warned…) before cutting it so that I knew the skin was clean. I have also refined my original melon slice design since Babybear got a bit better at holding things, so now I cut the slice then cut the rind off in the middle of the slice leaving an inch or so at the ends. Then I cut the slice in half to make two smaller bits with rind on. Very, very handy for taking out as they fit nicely into those silly wee tupperwares, and what's more I can have some too. Unless it's a Honeydew. You're on your own there, kiddo.

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Monday, July 31st, 2006

The perfect baby led weaning food, I reckon. Not too messy, easy to prepare and it arrives pre-formed into the Rapley 'chip-shape'. Or the shape of a spear or asparagus, if you will.

The one mystery to asparagus is how you get rid of the woody bit at the bottom, but it's really very simple, you just hold it at both ends and gently bend until it snaps. Keep the top bit.

Uum, apart from that, steam the spears for about 6 minutes (obviously it depends on how thin they are). I over-cooked them to a sludgy green when I first gave them to Babybear but now she happily downs them al dente.

I have dipped them in hummus or cream cheese for her – am still a little frightened of putting her in charge of her own dip, since The Yoghurt Incident (see photo) – but I reckon she prefers them unadulterated. The only downside is that the season is so short. Yeah, you can get them flown in from Kenya all year round, but some of us very occasionally try to think about air miles an' that.

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Sweet Potato

Monday, July 31st, 2006

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with this orange tuber. I love it and it hates me. (Wow, what a cliché, I really must try harder with this blog…)

My friend bakes them all the time and they are delicious. When I try they seem to drip molten lava onto the bottom of my oven which I will possibly clean the weekend before we move house. No plans to relocate at the moment, I'm just trying to give you an idea of my housekeeping schedule.

The sweet potato stalagmites that litter the floor of my oven have taught me a valuable lesson, though. You can never have too much kitchen foil. (By the way, was kitchen foil much more expensive in the 70s? My mother used to get palpitations if she over-estimated the size of a roasting tray by a wasteful half-inch…she HATES watching me pull screeds and screeds out to lavishly double layer a grill pan).

Having given up on making a baked sweet potato that doesn't explode in a hail of orangey shrapnel, I now tend to cut them into wedges and roast them on the foil-lined grill tray. Toss them in olive oil first, and I have found that smoked paprika makes a sensational spicy substitute for salt.

Roast them at 180-ish if it's a fan oven, 200-ish if not, for about 35 minutes. Again, you'll maybe have to rinse them to cool if you are in a hurry.

Babybear just loves them, though. Being orange they are pretty messy, as they don't make hard chips in the traditional sense but remain pretty squashy. Oooh, I've really tempted myself with this one. We are SO having smokey sweet potato wedges tomorrow. With a salad, natch…

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Monday, July 31st, 2006

So far, my darling daughter has chomped her way through the ever-versatile potato in many guises.

Roast potatoes. Yum. What can I say? Roast your potatoes whichever way you usually do (but no salt, boo, hiss) and then cut up and give to baby. Ta-dah! Actually, I am often forced to run potatoes for Babybear under the tap as they have frankly dangerous heat-retaining properties.

Jersey Royals. Oh, she loves these. Boil or steam (steam, I say) under tender (start checking with fork after ten minutes) then cut into quarters, leave to cool or run under cold water and hand to baby, noting any peach-like prefernce for skin-side up or down.

Chips. Yeah, yeah… What-EVVUR. Give them a chip every now and again for god's sakes. But blow on them first, in that marvelously inneffectual way that parents do. Obviously I wouldn't recommend making them a part of their daily diet (nor yours, now that I come to it) but if you find yourself in a restaurant or cafe and have checked that they haven't been salted then go on… live a little.

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Roast Chicken

Monday, July 31st, 2006

You'll no doubt have gathered by now that what I am attempting to do is systematically work my way through the list of Babybear's favourite delicacies that I mention on the front page… it's taking a while, eh?

Well, nobody's feeling it more than me, let me tell you… if I don't get it finished soon I'll have to regress her to a diet of sloppy baby rice for a fortnight while I catch up on her spectacular dietary habits.

Anyhow. Roast chicken.

First roast your chicken. I do it upside down (but enough about my love life, fnarr fnarr) so that the breasts are yummy and juicy, then whip off the tinfoil (again, enough about my love life) and turn it over for the last half hour so that the skin crisps. For extra flavour I tend to stick a lemon and some herbs, rosemary or thyme let's say, up its backside (insert your own sex joke here) especially now that the baby precludes smothering the skin in salt.

I found that the easiest and tastiest bit of the chicken to give to Babybear comes off the leg, but I suspect I'm going to find it hard to describe. You know, the kinda bingo wing bit, but it's on the leg… do I mean the thigh? Maybe. Anyway, the pieces part in almost a teardrop shape, which is perfect for baby led weaning, and the sinews of the meat run lengthways. I have found that if I give her the slightly drier breast meat she loses interest quicker and because more bits come off she is more likely to gag. Whatever works for you, kiddo. Oh and she's not above sucking on a bit of the skin. Nor is her mother.

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Sunday, July 30th, 2006

Boomer has been born into a family with a long held belief in the health giving properties of starting the day with a couple of weetabix. This conviction has been passed down through generations.  This is from her fathers side I think the flaky logs are particularly loathsome.

Anyway, so I gave Boomer a dry weetabix to play with and she scoffed almost a whole one, she sucked on it chewed and generally mushed it up until it was gone.


A word of warning dried weetabix bits are like some kind of cement – they give a pebble dashed appearance. Boomer is going to require an extra half hour in the tub tonight.

I don’t really know what the solution would be perhaps immediate soaking after weetabix but that’s a bit of a faff.

I think the best solution is to let her enjoy weetabix with her papa and then let papa deal with the mess.

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Pork Fillet

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

Yes, pork fillet. If you don't believe me take a look at the Photos folder…
Anyway, we are at my mum's house and she is making dinner for her daughter (that's me – do keep up at the back). It's like Baby Led Weaning, but thirty years later.

So mum douses pork fillet in lemon and parsley butter, fries it on a ridged pan and puts it on my plate alongside some salad and some Jersey Royal potatoes. Yum Yum, thanks Mum.

Now, you might think that some lettuce, some potatoes and some cucumber might satifsy a younger person but no… once Miss Babybear had spotted her mother and grandmother tucking into their delicious meal then nothing else would do.

I first of all cut it into a kinda chip-shaped piece which was NOT a good idea as she was able to bite too many pieces off and was doing a bit of gagging.

Being my daughter, however, her will to eat the pork outweighed any sense of fear that she might have of an imminent choking incident so she continued to eat it and I was forced to take it off her.

Plan B, and this is the one in the photo, was to give her a lump the size of her fist (actually, this is in Gill Rapley's guidelines but I had forgotten) and Babybear was absolutely fine with it. She just chewed and chewed and sucked on it, turning around in her wee hands until she was left with a pretty tired and grey looking piece of meat which she dropped casually to the floor. This was, as you would expect, accompanied by a round of applause from the two preceding generations of women who surrounded her. Ma che brava!

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Pasta in General

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

26th July 2006
Funnily enough we haven't given her that much pasta yet, principally because I like it with a tomato-based sauce and she isn't supposed to be eating tomatoes yet. Also it does sometimes cross my mind that we are overloading her with gluten (what with the Organix Moon Biscuits and the constant rounds of toast) so if we're not eating pasta I'm certainly not making it specially.
I read somewhere that Farfalle and Fusilli are good for babies to hold onto, so that's what we have in the cupboard at the moment. She likes it with pesto, parmesan and asparagus, that sort of thing…

Update 4 March 2007

Nine months on from my first post and I am killing myself laughing about my po-faced 'we're not eating much pasta'… Babybear would now eat it morning, noon and night if I let her. We mostly stuck to Fusilli as the Farfalle were a bit gaggy to begin with (although she's fine with it now, obviously). I really want to recommend Conchiglie though, because the sauce gets stuck inside the shell so it becomes a dinky little parcel of veggie, carb and protein. We rarely have spaghetti as  both Babybear and her
father find it irritating, but the conchiglie are perfect for a spag blog.

Babybear eats A Lot of the three Ps, pesto, peas and pasta. It's our never-fail meal, to be honest. Sometimes I'll stir in some cream, creme fraiche or soft cheese if there is some in the fridge. Sometimes I'll whack in some fried bacon as well. Oh yes, we know how to live round our house, let me tell you…

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