Baby Bites: Adventures in Baby Led Weaning. We love to eat! Here’s a peek at our plates to get you started making balanced, healthy meals for tiny tummies!
Hookay so… here’s the deal: once a month I’ll post fun little installment of Baby Bites filled with recent recipes for Mia’s favorite meals and snacks as well as little tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. Since this is the first one, I got a bit carried away!
Baby Bites: Adventures in Baby Led Weaning!
To start things off, here’s a little background on us: Our pediatrician suggested starting solids pretty early on when Mia started drinking copious amounts of milk, started stealing food off my plate, and smacking her lips any time someone took a bite of food in front of her. This was around the 4-5 mark but we really didn’t commit to regular eats until about 6 months. We started off with a modified, beginner’s version baby led weaning in which I would make a bunch of veggie purees, scoop them up with several baby spoons, and line them up in front of her. She basically channeled Jackson Pollack at this point and had a blast flinging, tasting, and exploring the new foods. Early favorites were mashed sweet potatoes mixed with a little of my milk to thin it out, Greek yogurt, banana right from the peel, and smashed ripe avocado. We started out slow with one new food every couple of days and then picked up steam as she started getting the hang of it.
I was a little shocked at how fast her motor skills and hand/mouth coordination developed and playing turned into devouring! We’ve since progressed into a number of handheld solids but she still loves spooning mashed avocado, sweet potatoes, and Greek yogurt into her face. Of course you’ll want to talk to your pediatrician to evaluate if your baby is ready for solids and BLW and also keep any family history of allergies in mind! Always play it safe!
Oh and for those of you starting out with solid food, the Kidsme Feeder is pure flipping genius! My friend Julie insisted I buy one months ago and I’ve been profusely thanking her ever since. If you have a wee ankle-biter on your hands, you basically need one of these. Yesterday. Add frozen fruits and veggies for those tough teething times and fresh fruit and veggies as a choke-free delivery method that’s fun to chomp and easy to clean! The chickpea adores hers!
I think the general rule of thumb with solids is that if it fits through a toilet paper roll, it’s a potential choking hazard. For this reason we stick with either small, soft, easily smushed bites that are maybe the size of a cheerio, or larger, easy to handle pieces of fruit and veggies. She prefers the whole food to pieces so I usually plop down right next to her and watch her like a hawk.
We cut cucumbers, for instance, diagonally so that they’re too large to be swallowed whole and leaving the skin on keeps the veggie in tact. She slowly nibbles a little hole in the center, and then uses the remainder as a teething toy until it becomes mushy and I take it away. Sliced oranges left on the rind [seeds removed] have proved to be both easy to handle and easy to obliterate for my little one sans any choking issues.
As I mentioned before, there are a number of ways you can approach baby led weaning or feeding in general so stick with what you’re comfortable with. Though my degree is in dietetics and I have a history working at WIC as a nutrition educator for little ones, I’m still not an expert by any means; I just adore sharing our foodie adventures. I also just plain adore food, because clearly that’s all we talk about here =)
bland is boring! We season our food with a variety of fresh and dried herbs and spices, so why not do the same for the nugget? We began slowly adding them into Mia’s purees at around the 5-6 month mark. The result? She adores anything with a kick or a ton of flavor! We add cinnamon to her pops and sweet potatoes, basil and and a salt-free Italian seasoning blend to her pureed peas and green beans, garlic to just about everything, and she even seems to really enjoy cayenne pepper. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, eh?
feed the freezer: I keep my freezer stocked with purees, baby pops, sweet potato and butternut squash “fries” and even mini pancakes. As she outgrows the purees [which I simply blend and then freeze in ice cube trays, then transfer into baggies] I’ve been using them in baked goods and smoothies.
Since we have a flat of fresh from the farm strawberries, I froze pureed berries into pops, some with spinach and organic, full-fat Greek yogurt and some with just straight up berries. They make a perfect naturally-sweet treat for hot Spring and Summer days.
I may or may not steal an occasional pop from her stash during naptime. Shhh!
I’ve also been letting her in on the recipe testing for this blog! Here are a few chickpea-approved dishes:
The Gruyere grits and asparagus spears were a huge hit! I had to make more the following day because she ate so much off my plate. She hasn’t tried seafood yet, but when I made my shrimp pesto pasta she swiped noodles off Paul’s plate, sucked the pesto off, tossed the noodles, and went back for seconds and thirds. I’m making her a batch of asparagus pesto this week because she’s so crazy about it. I’ll be leaving out the pine nuts though! Broths and soups of all sorts have also been a favorite around here, I’ve been living off my freezer stash from the last time I batch cooked and shes been happily slurping and sampling away.
Smoothies, sorbets, and frozen baby pops are nearly a daily staple for the chickpea and she and I split an avocado a day, either in the form of guacamole or straight up with a spoon. It’s really exciting finally being able to give her my food and not have to make special baby foods at mealtime. I hope her adventurous streak continues!
That’s all for this month! Hopefully I’ll have lots of new recipes to share with you in next month’s installment of Baby Bites! If you don’t have a miniature human to feed at home, don’t fret, I have oodles of adult recipes for you up my sleeve as well. This baby food business will just be a little somethin’ extra from time to time.
Looking for more baby bites and toddler meals? I’ve got you covered!
Check out the Chickpea tab at the top of this blog for more kiddo-friendly tips, tricks, and meal ideas