nom nom nom pasta

This week I have been mostly eating pasta with my dinners.  Me and mama and dada and oma and opa are going on a plane to italy soon so mama says i’m in training.  i don’t know where italy is maybe its near mammó’s house or maybe auntie lisa or emma’s houses?  i’ll see when i get there.

Mama said already about my lentil lasagne.  Yesterday dada made penne with peppers & onions & pesto & creme fraiche (I had to ask mama to spell that bit for me) and I nommed it all up.  Then today we met Fiona & Rachel at lunchtime after me & mama’s bootcamp (it was windy i had my wintery hat on) and I ate more of that again and some broccoli.  I touched the waitress on her bottom while she asked some men what they wanted for their lunch.  Mama and the girls had a good laugh but told me that I couldn’t always get away with that.  I don’t think the waitress minded, I might do it again.

This evening then mama made spaghetti bolognaise.  Some women called Linda McCartney left her mince in the freezer and mama used it, I hope she doesn’t come looking for it.  Dada thought I needed a spoon.  No way.  Sure what else are my handies for?

– Dom

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consumption management 101 – making improvements

I was away most of last week, and have found myself getting a bit irritated when I don’t manage Dominic’s food intake well.  Let me rephrase – baby led weaning isn’t really about management, but presenting of opportunities and I feel that I haven’t been offering him the opportunity to eat at the right time always.  We’re in the middle of weaning from breast to bottle, and have settled into a rough routine of 2 breastfeeds & 2 bottlefeeds most days (sometimes more).  Seeing as we don’t have much of a fixed routine for anything feeding can be a bit haphazard – milk feeds run late, then he’s not hungry for solids, then I offer lunch late. While we were away, we might have been out and about in the car, and while me and my mum ate lunch, he was only due a bottle. Or we’re not organised enough in the evening and I end up making do for his dinner and we don’t all eat together. Making do is usually natural yogurt and or a fruit pot.  I think this would be fine if we were doing a good structured ‘protein lunch’, but I’ll be conscious he might only have had a couple of nibbles on a bit of cheese or toast at lunchtime. There’s the added pressure then, when you’re trying to prove something to someone (that blw is a good idea) and you can’t seem to get him to eat at all.  Repeat to self – he’s not eating up for me, he’s eating for him.

So this weekend, I resolved to do better. The freezer is our best friend. I made my very first lasagne, ever. People often find it odd that a vegetarian doesn’t make veggie lasagna’s often, but for years it was about the only thing on offer in restaurants. (Now its wild mushroom risottos & goats cheese tartlets…don’t get me started) A few weeks ago I made lentil bolognaise and had frozen enough to make up the lasagna. This is the recipe I used, but I added a layer of passata into the mix also. I’m not sure how authentic that is, but I love the sweet tang of tomato, and it was a nice contrast to the bechamel. I didn’t realise how easy bechamel is to make, now I can’t believe you can even buy a jar of the white stuff. In the interests of full disclosure, Mark did spoonfeed some of it to him for lunch as I’d been a bit worried about Dom’s weight gain. (This happens sporadically and after a good days eating, sense has kicked in) After a few spoon swooshes and aeroplane noises, the mouth started to clamp shut.  He won’t put up with that for long – he’ll watch your act for a bit, but as the spoon comes close he bats it away or wants to grab it himself.  But we weren’t in any hurry, so I just sighed and dumped the rest of the food out onto the tablecloth, kinda expecting it to hit the floor momentarily. But in it went – mushy strips of pasta coated in sticky sauces and lentils.

On a roll, and after planting snowdrops & crocuses (croci?) and baking banana bread (yes! really!), I decided to try soup for the first time today.  I make soup relatively often, but having had a reasonably good summer, this was the first batch in a while.  While I can’t automatically turn to the Annabel Karmel recipes,  I have a few reliable sites I look at for ideas (links on left) and My Daddy Cooks is always good for a laugh and for inspiration.  I’d thought of soup for him before, but just wasn’t sure how to get it into him – I like to avoid doing too many pre-loaded spoons.  This soup video had me foraging in the fridge, and I ended up with carrot & parsnip soup with potatoes for bulk.  I needed it to be thick to have any chance of it going into Dom’s mouth.   I used big hunks of brown bread, so they’d hold together nicely when soup-sodden.

The wee fella was having a bit of a meltdown by the time the whole lot was ready and cool enough for him.  He was only up a while from a nap, and he’s quite predictable compared to a couple of months ago in terms of his milk feeds.  Not even the sight of the 2 cats playing with a feather in the back yard could quiet him.  I can only come to the conclusion that he may have finally made the link between hunger & solids – if this is the case then great (but I won’t get away with skipping meals anymore!)   I wish I could capture the face he makes when he tries something new.  His whole face screws up like he’s eating lemons, and he’s really unsure and then just when you think you’re going to get a spit out, it’s like: hang on, this is the weirdest taste/texture ever, but wait!  I LIKE it. And in he tucks.

Given the gusto with which he tackled his soupy dippers, I’m guessing he’s into the whole soup thing.  Good thing too, there’a about 5 cups of it going in that blessed freezer tonight.

So I’ll leave you with this thought – every joyful moment, every new meal Dominic gobbles up,  is marred only by the thought of the clean up afterward. Curses… I wonder can you train cats like house-elves?

– Jill

about time

My mammy eye went off the ball there for a minute.  Dom has 5 teeth, and before now I didn’t really think about the whole oral hygiene thing that hard.So today, he acquired his very first toothbrush.  I thought there might be a gagging and general annoyance when we tried it out, but turns out baby led weaning has yet another plus!  After a good examine of it he stuck the brush straight in and gave his gums and 5 toothypegs a good going over.  I guess he’s so used to managing the spoon himself now that it didn’t seem that different.  Except without the foody goodness.  Good thing I’ve carrot soup on the go now to remedy that…

– Jill

my first curry

This week, mama thought I should try some new tastes.  She made green curry, but with lots of coconut milk so it wasn’t too spicy for my little tum.  Also, she sucked the sauce off my fud a bit before I got to it so I was only getting a little taste.

I had baby sweetcorn which is yummy and easy to hold and chomp and carrot sticks and courgette and quorn pieces and rice.  Daddy didn’t think I’d be able for rice but I showed him.  You can eat anything if you grab it with your fist I find.  I made really funny faces because I was a bit surprised at the new flavour.  I think mama and dada thought it might have been a bad idea but then I kept eating so they figured I must have been okay with it.  Sometimes I can’t be bothered holding onto the food and I just suck on it for ages.   Like with courgette.  Its slippery to hold, so I just put it in my teeth and leave it there for aaaages.

I ate outdoors again this week.  Mama brought me to the War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge, and we went for a walk, and I had some snacks sitting on the grass – Organix Carrot Sticks.  Dada thinks they look like bad food but mama set him right.  She does that a lot.  I got a bit distracted by a tractor driving up and down, I know about tractors from my book “That’s not my Tractor”.  They bought me “That’s not my Dinosaur” this weekend because mama said dinosaurs can’t distract me from eating but I’m going to keep an eye out for them.

– Dom

official Dominic sanctioned BLW accoutrements

There’s very little you need to do BLW.  A baby with hands and some food pretty much covers it.  But, if like me you like to buy nice things, then here are some of the handy things I’ve got for Dom for his foodie journey.

Since some point in the middle of my pregnancy I have funneled any and all spare money towards baby things, and mostly spend my days in jeans, tshirts & converse.  I’m hoping at some point very shortly after my return to work (6 weeks eeek!) I might cop on and buy myself a winter coat, or I’ll be shuffling round in my 2 sizes too big duffel coat I wore for the last couple of months of pregnancy.  In the meantime, here’s some of the official Dominic-sanctioned good-for-BLW kit we’ve been spending our money on.

This was the big ticket item, our Stokke Tripp Trapp highchair.  I bought this from littledreamers.ie for the best price I could find anywhere.  I got it in walnut, with the Green Tales cushion & harness.  And believe me, I research everything to the nth degree, so this was absolutely the best deal I could find inc shipping all over Ireland & UK.  There’s no need to bang on about it’s brilliance, but quickly the things we love are – pulls up to table for family fud, small footprint for our small house,  supports baby brilliantly, looks gorgeous, lasts for years (having seen it in action in my sisters houses).  Its admittedly horribly pricey in high chair terms though it was the one thing that I really wanted to spend the money on.

We also have two Ikea Antilops for the grandparents – it also supports baby really well, which is the one thing that most cheap highchairs lack. There’s nothing more annoying that rolling up towels ineffectively around babs and watching them clearly uncomfortable trying to eat.

Sometimes when it comes to baby led weaning, you’d wonder why you bother with bibs at all it can get so messy.  But you can’t actually change outfits on baby 3 times a day, so its bib on, sleeves rolled up, and if he gets squished berries on the soles of his feet, well, no bib is going to prevent that.

I got these Bibetta bibs on amazon.co.uk.  I bought two, and kinda wish I’d got 5 or 6.  They’re neoprene, so he doesn’t get soaked with enthusiastic doidy cup action (that comes later).  They were also the bib of choice on the day he had the big throw up last week, and there was not a drop spilled.  Euuuwww. I know. They’ve washed really really well, the velcro is holding up perfectly, and they dry quickly.

I also have Ikea bibs, which are cheap & cheerful.  They’re quite big, but they’re soft so they don’t get in the way of little hands and small spoons.  This is a problem with the Tommee Tippee roll n go bibs.  They’re too stiff and so they move about too much.  Even on the smallest neck setting it can ride up onto his chin and the crumb catcher bit gets caught over his arm.  They might be better size wise in a few months.  Also, they’ve stained a bit from tomatoey foods, not a fan of that, but probably nothing a bit of Milton wouldn’t sort out.

I love this thing – its the Skip Hop Mate stay-put Plate! The bottom is rubberised, the plate part clips in and out.  My sister in law picked in up in America for us but I think you can get it on amazon also. I don’t use this all the time, because he just doesn’t eat too much yet but it’s great.  He hasn’t worked out how to throw it.  Which is essential.

Unlike the Ikea bowls.  They’re rubberised too, but they’re small and light so although he can’t push it around, he can just pick it up in half a second if he decides.  I dunno what it says about our cooking that he prefers to chew on a melamine bowl.  However I use these, day in, day out.  They seem to be gone now from the Ikea site, but you can see them in lots of the pictures on here (white & red).

The matching spoons are really great – I can’t believe how I can pick out what’s a good spoon and a bad spoon for self-feeding.  If you’d asked me a year ago, I’d be like a spoon is a spoon is a spoon.  The one that comes with the Mate Plate are a bit deep and round yet.  The Ikea ones are long and shallow – they just fit better for an eater with L-plates.

Every meal needs an accompanying beverage.  And between bottles and boobs and sippy cups, the boy has a lotta ways to drink.  We also made the decision to start him on an open cup early.  The Doidy cup is fierce clever – the slant means you can see the contents, and it doesn’t need to be tilted too far back to drink from it.  Parental supervision is most definitely needed, we hold it, and Dom has a little go of holding one side too.  Sometimes he just hits it instead, and then we all get wet.  I got ours on amazon, but they’re widely available on Irish websites too.  Gotta love that super saver delivery, I tend to keep adding to basket…

I got this Avent kit for freezer storage and the spoons that come with it are similarly good.  We don’t really need that kind of thing as much as spoon-feeders would, as we don’t make up very many batches of food to freeze. There might only ever be 4 or 5 in the freezer at any one time.  But I’ve been using them for small bits of leftovers for us anyway.

And finally, to protect our kitchen table from several soakings/spraying & wiping sessions every day, I bought an oilcloth tablecloth from Cath Kidston.  You can buy by the metre or they have finished ones also in a smaller selection of fabrics. In Kildare Village they have last season fabrics for €29 (finished) as opposed to €44 in the Dundrum store.  Bargain.

Along with my trusty insulated M&S lunch bag & numerous zip lock bags we’re good to go.  I think that’s everything!  Have I left anything out or given waaaay too much info?  Don’t answer that…