Ciao Dominic!

Well off we all trooped to Italy, myself, the babs, the hubbie & his parents for a friends wedding.  It was to a be a last hurrah before I abandoned Dom went back to work.  I had high hopes for the eye-talians (as my Great Auntie calls them) – they make the best finger food, and they love babies.

First up we flew to Bologna and stayed there 2 nights.  The hotel we stayed in (highly recommend, especially for the fact that they have a resident cat, who I named Luigi for the purposes of making up stories about him and following him around with Dom) recommended a local restaurant.  When we arrived and no highchair appeared I was a bit nervous – doesn’t scream family friendly. As soon as we met the waitress & waiter all worries were appeased as they “ciao’ed” and italian baby-talked away to Dom.  Italian food is very well suited to BLW – they keep things simple – something Mark appreciates, he’s not a big fan of me shoehorning extra veggies into stuff.  It means baby can try individual new flavours and stuff cools easily! So Dominic ate some of Mark’s pasta and mince.  Minced what I don’t know, but it was Bolognaise on the menu, um…beef?  Lamb?  Incidentally, Bolognaise never seemed to involve any sauces, tomato-based or otherwise at all.  Then, for a treat, cos he was 9 months old on the day, and because we were on our holiers, he tried pannacotta.

sugary creamy stuff…mmm

Big hit!  I gave him some of my baked pear, after sucking the choccy sauce off it. Not quite as interested, unsurprisingly.  I don’t mind giving him the odd taste of sweet things that aren’t fruit from around this age, just not as a habit.  Ha!  I’m such a hypocrite…

Olives! Incoming!

If all else fails, the Italian bread basket offers the king of fingers foods – breadsticks & olives.  He was distracted by flaky seed covered sticks and round hard crunchy breadstick-rings in several restaurants and at the wedding.  (I must buy some actually.)  Olives are great for the emerging pincer grip.  Obviously they’re de-stoned, and I might have been more nervous about them as a choking hazard up till a month or so ago.  Since then he’s been pulling out food he’s finished with, and we don’t really need to stick a finger in to retrieve half chewed mandarin segments anymore.  In fact he’s taken to rejecting grape halves after the most cursory of sucks, ready for a fresh one.  He’s like a mini decadent Roman emperor.

On saturday out in the hills of Fiesole where we supped prosecco on the lawn overlooking Florence, Dom played happily beneath our feet, and had a bit of craic with the other little kids.  Then we carried him about to show him the views and watch the jazz trio.  He seemed to be particularly fond of the sax & saxophonist who waved and winked when the jazziness allowed.  This is an aside to the main subject of the blog – but this was a great wedding to have a baby at (though its also our first).  Being outside in the warm autumnal sun instead of being a crowded hotel meant he could have a play and a good look about instead of us trying to shield him from swiping peoples glasses and knocking over stuff!  Kept me nice & relaxed about the whole thing anyway, but that may have been the prosecco too!   Then at dinner, where he had his very own placecard, he ate a good quarter of Mark’s wild mushroom risotto.  We’ve given him several risottos but none have been as well received as this one.  It was creamy but light rather than stodgy.

No trip to Italy could be complete without a pizza or 6.  We even returned to one place it was so good -ristorante DR OETKER.  No, Borgo Antico, on the square by the Santo Spirito over the river in the Oltrarno area.  Their ‘Borgo’ pizza had a basic tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes and masses of milky buffalo mozzarella torn onto it when it comes out of the oven.  My selfish husband ordered a cured ham & gorgonzola topped one, so that he didn’t have to share with either me or Dom.  I didn’t give him too much mozzarella as I guess it’s not pasteurised.

Also, this place had a really cute highchair, just like a plain wooden woven seat chair, but tall with a simple wooden bar in front.  Actually, when we did get highchairs they were this ‘rustic’ like this one, those hook/clamp onto the table ones,  or the trusty Ikea Antilop.  No chunky slumpy seated chairs, and none with trays at all – he was always up at the table right with us.  This cements my view of Italy as a child friendly country.  Despite the fact they’re a low birth rate themselves, they totally dote over babies (maybe from novelty value). Italy with baby FTW!

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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…

public display of ingestion

i had my first big fud challenge at the weekend. me and mama and dada went to oma and opa’s house. they’re dada’s parents. and auntie rachel and phil were there and uncle peter and jenny too.  so there was a big table in the kitchen. it was bigger than normal because opa magicked it bigger, he’s very good at things like that.  i sat at the corner in my new chair between mama & dada.

on our way to oma & opa’s we stopped in ikea.  oma & opa and mammo have highchairs for me already, but you have to shove towels around me to sit up, and i’m still all slippy and slumpy, and i won’t eat well and i’m grumpy when i’m in them.  so i got 2 new chairs for their houses.  my parents are very happy with them even though they’ve a very fancy stokke tripp trapp for me at home, mama says its her very 2nd favouritist high chair.

so there i was with all the people looking at me in a place i’m not used to eating in, in a new chair – mama didn’t think i’d really eat much but i did!  Oma is very excited by BLW so she had put aside some food for me specially.  mama made sure there was lots of newspaper down because oma has carpet in her kitchen but i dropped hardly anything.  I ate roast parsnip for the first time it was nummy and sweet.  I had some carrot too, and some tomato from mama’s salad, and some roast pepper from her dinner too.  then because everyone else was so slow eating, I had a good play with my shaky stacky froggy toy auntie rachel & uncle phil got for me.  i had a lovely day.

-dom