Baby Led Weaning Shopping List

Baby Led Weaning Shopping List Essentials

Are you new to Baby Led Weaning? Not quite sure what things to have on hand for your little one? Use this handy shopping list at your next grocery shop!

Life with little ones can be so much easier when you’re prepared. I learnt this lesson when Possum started solids. It’s basically what led me to try meal planning!

Here I was in the kitchen everyday at 5pm with a hungry tot and absolutely no idea what to feed her let alone Legoman and myself! That’s not a happy head space to be in everyday. Since then meal planning has saved our hungry tummies and tired brains many times over.

But the other little trick that worked was getting to know what foods were easy, quick and nutritious for Possum to have. I would make sure these would go on our shopping list each week so that I knew there was always something in the house Possum could eat if she wasn’t too keen on whatever it was we were eating at that meal.

Here is a shopping list of great foods for baby led weaning so that you can have a quick reference and help your day run a little smoother. Is there anything you would add? I would love to hear and I can add to the list.

  • Banana – and here is a little trick to make it easy for bub to hold: use your little finger pushed into the end of a peeled banana to split into three segments. Game changer!
  • Sweet potato – makes sweet potato wedges super easily. Cut into wedges and roast at 180°C for 30 minutes or until starting to brown.
  • Field mushrooms – possum loooooooved to demolish a roasted field mushroom for dinner. Roast at 180°, smooth side down, with some olive oil for around 20-30 minutes. Cut in half to serve.
  • Cucumber – or cubumber as Possum now calls it. Cut into sixths for easy to hold chunks. We never bothered to peel it.
  • Oats – mix 3 Tbsp oats with 3 Tbsp water in a rounded dish then microwave for 2 minutes. Easy! Comes out as a very easy to hold oat biscuit.
  • Pear – allergy friendly and easy to munch.
  • Avocado – the perfect foot for baby led weaning! So much messy fun! Cut into chunks and have the bath (and camera) ready!
  • Yoghurt – plain full fat yoghurt. Offer on a preloaded spoon or put in a bowl and embrace the mess! A great substitution for sour cream in recipes too!

Now our Possum is two! We are really pleased to have gone down the Baby Led Weaning path. It was such a fun and enjoyable way to introduce food into her world. We are due with bub #2 in August and I am certainly going to choose to do Baby Led Weaning again. You can read a bit more about our Baby Led Weaning experiences here and here.

How’s Baby Led Weaning going for our family?

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Easy Toddler Craft – Put old food magazines to good use

Easy Toddler Craft - Put old food magazines to good use

Hi my name is Ruth and I’m addicted to cookbooks and food magazines. If I had my way, I know of at least 4 food magazines I would subscribe to PLUS there is my want list of cookbooks. This easy toddler craft activity came about as I have recently started to run out of room for all the cookbooks and food magazines I actually do have (plus our little family has been trying to get rid of stuff). This put me in the unpleasant position of sitting down and having a bit of an honest and upfront chat with some of my dear old friends.

I had foodie mags on my bookcase from 10 years ago. 10 years. I don’t think I have any clothes I still wear from 10 years ago! And like clothes, food fashion has changed a lot. As I sat there flicking through, it became very clear and obvious there was no way I was going to cook anything out of most of these treasured tomes. The one recipe I pulled out was for bread. Yes, simple old bread. The little black dress of food.

So how did we get from saying good bye to these old food magazines to spending some quality time with my now 2 year old? The conversation went a little bit like this…

Possum: Mummy, I want to do some craft.

Me: Sure sweetheart, what craft would you like to do?

Possum: Black craft.

Me: Okay… how about some cutting and pasting instead?

And so this is what we did.

equipment

You will need:

  • old food magazines that you have said your final goodbyes to (look how young Jamie Oliver looks on that cover!)
  • Scissors (we haven’t reached scissor skills yet so these were just for Mummy to use)
  • Glue stick
  • A scrapbook or old notebook for pasting into

Possum and I sat down at her craft table with the food magazine, scissors, glue and notebook. I asked her to point to and tell me what pictures she wanted me to cut out. It was then her job to paste them into the book where ever she wanted. If your child was a bit older, they could have the job of cutting and you could ask them to find a picture of someone smiling, someone cooking, a tomato, a car etc. This activity is great for:

  • Spending one on one time with your little person
  • Developing language skills. Get them to talk to you about the pictures. For example “You want me to cut out the picture of the man? What’s the man doing? Oh you think he’s cooking? What do you think he is cooking?”
  • Developing fine motor skills. There’s pointing, cutting with scissors, using a glue stick, turning and orientating the picture, placing the picture. All wonderful things for little hands to practice.
  • Developing spatial awareness. How many pictures fit on the page? Where do you want that picture to go? Is that picture too big for the page? I was amazed to see how carefully Possum wanted to stick her pictures. There was absolutely overlap and bits hanging out of the book, but everything had it’s place. Really wonderful to watch.
  • Developing a love and interest in real food! “What’s in that picture? You think it’s chicken? Do you like chicken? What vegetables are there? What colours are they? Maybe we can buy some … next time we are shopping?”

Possum and I sat down and cut and pasted for about 30 minutes before she had had enough. And we both had a really lovely time together. And since then she now asks for cutting and pasting (instead of black craft!).

So instead of putting those old food magazines into the recycling, how about you sit down and share some time with your toddler for this easy toddler craft. Put those old food magazines to good use!

Easy toddler craft

***Want something else fun to do with your toddler? Check this out!

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Why your first pregnancy is luxurious

Why your first pregnancy is luxurious

I am pregnant. I feel that summarises a second pregnancy to a tee. I just am. The end. Yes I have a belly. How many weeks am I? Um, let me think….

Rewind 2 years and 9 months and it was a very different story. I bathed in my state of fertility. I carried my belly with the pride of a first time pregnant mum. I luxuriated in my state of pregnancy.

I went to pregnancy yoga, every week. Yes, every week. And was on time. And had clothes without stains.

I also went to the pool. Every week. After work. And never felt rushed to get home for bed time, bath time, dinner time, cranky afternoon time.

Oh and I did African dancing. Of course! Until I was 7 months pregnant! How the hell did I do that???

Did I feel like going to a pregnancy massage? Sure! I will be there in a jiffy! Now? I had a friend call and say she needed a case study to complete her pregnancy massage certification and would it be okay if she gave me two free 90 minutes massage. Best call ever! But then reality hit home. Baby sitting. Where was I going to find baby sitting? Trying to book a time suddenly became like trying to organise a UN Peace Summit. But I have one booked, and boy oh boy am I looking forward to it! 4 more days, just 4 more days.

First time around there was also this endless time (or what seems like it now) to just sit and be pregnant. To really tune in and appreciate the magic that is happening in your belly. I remember every week checking to see what developments were going on. Knowing when bub could start smelling, tasting. How big it got each week. I had every pregnancy app under the sun and would check them all every Monday, even though they all said basically the same thing.

I have actually deleted all the pregnancy apps from my phone this time around because they are taking up valuable space that could be used for the 208839524975634975 photos and videos I have of Possum!

My real life bubby (well she will be 2 next week!) is now what consumes my world. I don’t need to read a book or check an app to know what she is doing because it’s all happening right in front of my eyes! And the day to day learning and discovery that she is doing astounds me more than the measurements of my belly baby. And that doesn’t bother me one bit. Because I know once this belly baby is born, that’s when the wonder will grow even more!

So this pregnancy is just that. A waiting game, until I get to meet this little person inside me and let life truly explode with joy and wonder. In the mean time, I will tolerate wearing hand me down maternity clothes that kind of fit. I will sleep as best I can because my toddler still wakes in the night occasionally. I will not squeeze too much in my week to prove that pregnancy and babies won’t change me. Because it already has. I have no points to prove. I have succumb joyfully to the life of a mother.

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How I Found Out My Daughter Has An Egg Allergy

How I found out my daughter has an egg allergy

When I think of children and allergies I think puffy faces, difficulty breathing, severe rashes and Epi-pens. My family’s experience of food allergies has been a very very different one to that. I want to share with you our story.

My daughter was born at 40 weeks and 5 days in a pretty amazing but intense birth. We were lucky enough to not need any intervention during the delivery and after a bumpy start, we were able to start our breastfeeding journey. She was a happy little feeder but things took a turn for the worse when at 10 weeks of age, I was diagnosed with a massive breast abscess. It measured 7cm x 8xm x 4xm and required immediate hospital admission and needle drainage. Disgustingly and amazingly they removed a total of 125ml of pus from my left breast over 3 separate aspirations. During this time I was on a long and heavy dose of antibiotics.

It wasn’t until I started to feel well again, that I realised just how sick I was. My happy little feeder wasn’t bothered as I had been breastfeeding her pretty much non stop for the past month as I just didn’t have the energy to do anything else! She was fat and happy!

Fast forward to when Possum (my daughter) is around 6 months of age. I was standing in the kitchen, Possum on my hip, munching on some strawberries. Possum reached out, grabbed the strawberry from my hand and ate it! And so began our Baby Led Weaning journey.

I had read lots of info regarding babies and allergies as Legoman (hubby) and both our families have multiple allergies and figured our children would most likely have at least one allergy too. The info I had read and in discussion with our GP, supported the idea of early introduction of foods likely to cause allergies. So we basically didn’t limit what “type” of food she was offered but rather just made sure it was a suitable size, shape and texture for her.

One of her first foods was egg yolk. I had read of its wonderful nutrition for bubs and it was a lovely soft texture and easy to hold onto. I would fry up an egg and peel away the white to offer the yolk. One day, when Possum was about 7 months old, I offered her an egg yolk as I had done multiple times before, only to have her sit far back in her high chair as if she was trying to move away from it. I was a bit confused and just sat with her for a little while. After a couple of minutes she gobbled up the whole thing very happily! I thought nothing more of it and soon after put her down for a nap. She went to sleep well, and an hour later I heard funny sounds coming from her cot. I walked in to find her covered in vomit and looking distressed. I immediately picked her up only to have her vomit down my back. She sounded really snotty but was breathing well. But not crying at all. I tried breastfeeding her, only to have her vomit all the milk straight back up as well. I was starting to panic. My daughter was not a vomity kind of baby. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Possum then kept vomiting another 4 or so times, fluid pouring out of her. I called Legoman, packed the car and drove her to the local hospital. But by the time we got there, she was her happy normal self again. Utterly confused, the three of us went to a local park to have a bit of quiet time and fresh air.

After discussing it with Legoman, we both just put it down to a bad egg and didn’t think too much more of it. Just to be safe, we didn’t offer her any more egg for another a week or so, and when we did there was absolutely no reaction.

Other things were starting to happen though. Possum went from waking once in the night, to twice, to three times, four then five. She was very clingy and easily upset. Her weight seemed to level out. My once butterball of a baby was starting to look lanky. When I took her to the doctor she had dropped from the 50th centile on the growth charts to the 15th. For a baby feeding as much as she was, something wasn’t right. We had a couple more episodes of vomiting in her sleep, which weren’t associated with egg or any other consistent foods. She also then developed a horrendous nappy rash, which had large raised pock marks. A doctors visit and a couple of swabs later, nothing was identified as a cause. It wasn’t until a girlfriend said “That’s what happens to my girls when they eat something they are allergic to” that a penny dropped.

Possum had food allergies. But what the hell were they??

Ambitiously I took it upon myself to put Possum and myself on the RPA elimination diet, which looks at reducing intake of natural food chemical ie amines, salicylates and glutamates. This diet was also gluten and dairy free, but included egg.

Dinner on Day 1 was a simple egg and white rice pie. All it was, was egg, rice and chives. I don’t know if it was because she was starving but Possum gobbled up a lot of the pie for dinner. When I undressed her for her evening bath, her entire trunk and back was covered in a very fine rash. I posted a photo to social media and the consensus was an allergic reaction. So no more egg, not until we saw a specialist.

I abandoned the elimination diet after a week as it was unbearably hard and I found myself hungry and angry most of the time. It was also the week of Possum’s first birthday.

So off to the GP for a referral to an allergy clinic.

Possum had a blood test, perfectly normal.

Then we attended a large teaching hospital for Possum to receive skin prick testing for over 30 different allergens. This is when we got our answer!

Possum has allergies to egg yolk, sesame, fish, hazelnut and pecan.

All foods which she and I had been eating regularly.

Immediately both Possum and I took all these things out of our diets. Her sleep improved. Her mood improved and she started to grow. And grow a lot! 4cm in one month!

I felt a huge amount of relief to finally know what was causing my daughter’s body so much distress. I felt frustrated and sad that these foods were no longer going to be part of our family’s diet. I felt hopeful that one day she would outgrow some of them.

She is due for her egg challenge now at nearly 2 years of age. It has been booked twice only to be cancelled at the last minute by the hospital due to no beds. So we keep on waiting to hear what may happen.

Possum has been amazingly calm and accepting of her dietary limitations. No tantrums and no fuss. I think it helps that she and I have the same rules for each other (as a breastfeeding mum I don’t eat her allergens as they can be passed on to her through my breastmilk). It can make birthday parties, going out to eat and general play dates hard. We always pack plenty of our own food incase there isn’t something suitable and meal planning has eased alot of stress. We have learnt to read ingredients on EVERYTHING, as quite often allergens are snuck into foods unsuspectingly.

I am grateful Possum’s allergies are not anaphylactic. But the chronic stress her body was experiencing was a horrible thing to witness.

I hope our story has given a different perspective on what having a child with food allergies can be like. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a message below.

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Baby Led Weaning – 17 months on

Baby Led Weaning - 17 months on

Once upon a time, way back in the golden olden days, I had a baby. A gorgeous butter ball of a 6 months old baby.

I now have a lanky chatterbox toddler!

I did a post 8 months ago (that maths is correct yeah? Dad??) to reflect on our Baby Led Weaning journey. And here we are now with our gorgeous Possum about to turn two (!!!) next month. Safe to say we are past the sweet potato wedges and patties phase and into the “I’m a little person with my own little palate and no you can not make  me eat that roast potato” phase.

In my previous post I had talked about Possum dropping down on the weight centiles and not being quite sure why. Was Baby Led Weaning to blame? The answer was a big fat no! Turns out she has multiple allergies and a lot (and I mean A LOT) of the food I was offering her was actually stuff she was allergic to. Our beautiful Possum is allergic to egg, fish/seafood, sesame, hazelnut and pecan (no great loss with that one IMO). So once we had that figured out, care of blood tests and comprehensive skin prick tests, we were then able to keep her on a modified diet. The amazing thing was she then had a massive growth spurt not long after! As if her body was saying a huge THANK YOU for finally understanding what it needed. The sad part was, as I was and still am breastfeeding it meant couldn’t have any of those things either. No more pad thai, no more fish and chips, no more sesame snaps. Hello to reading the ingredients on EVERY SINGLE THING when you do the grocery shopping. I still do read ingredients lists religiously because companies are constantly changing their ingredients without telling you. All of a sudden the rice crackers we had been buying, plain rice crackers, had sesame seeds listed in the ingredients list. Well that explained the angry nappy rash!

Anyway! I digress!

So Baby Led Weaning is all about, well, weaning. As any introduction of food is seen as the beginning of the shift for a child from a purely milk (in our case breastmilk) based diet to a fully food based diet. I am proud and also a little freaked out to say we are still breastfeeding. I say freaked out because I am also 24 weeks pregnant! I never in a million years thought I would be a tandem breastfeeder but that is kind of the direction we are heading at the moment. I have had some horrible horrible experiences with feeding aversion prior to falling pregnant which made our breastfeeding relationship hugely stressful and made me want to wean cold turkey. Thankfully the pregnancy actually helped to mellow things out. And here we are. Possum seems to be slowly cutting out her first thing in the morning feed which is nice, though some mornings she will ask “I want just a tiny little bit of mummy milk”. If we are home she will still have a feed before her nap and then has another feed before bed time at night. She doesn’t always feed to sleep anymore which is another bonus as it meant Legoman and I actually went out one night BEFORE she went to bed! Amazing!

So our Baby Led Weaning journey continues. It looks a heck of a lot different to 7 months ago! Let’s see where we will be in 7 months time!

How is your Baby Led Weaning journey going? Are you where you thought you’d be?

Moist Egg Free Banana and Date Muffins

Moist Egg Free Banana and Date Muffins

Cooking is my therapy. And when Possum (now 21 months old) decides sleep is for losers, mummy needs therapy. This recipe was conceived and baked in 30 minutes. In time for Possum and I to curl up on the couch together, eating muffins, watching Ratatouille and being friends again.

Since Possum was diagnosed with an egg allergy, I had gone right off baking. Not trusting egg replacements and I think being a bit OTT with mourning the lack of eggy goodness in our kitchen (as I’m still breastfeeding I’m not eating egg either). Now I am 18 weeks pregnant and recognizing I needed a healthy snack when I’ve got the munchies (goodbye nausea, hello appetite again!!).

I’m very proud to share with you my recipe for…

Egg Free Banana and Date Muffins

Makes 12 mini muffins (next time I would double the recipe)

3/4 cup SR flour

1/4 cup oats

1/4 cup almond meal

1/4 cup desicated coconut

1/4 cup coconut sugar

2 Tbsp chia seeds soaked in 1/2 cup water for 15 minutes (looks a bit like frog spawn……..)

1 very ripe banana mashed

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp No Egg mixed with 2 Tbsp water

8 dates chopped

1-2 Tbsp melted butter

Mix all your dry ingredients together. 

 

Add your No Egg mixture, chia seed mix, milk, banana and butter. 

 

Mix until just come together. Spoon into pregreased mini muffin pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 180 fan forced (200 standard).  Cool on wire rack. Enjoy!

  

These are low in sugar and have a good mix of yummy healthy things in them. Possum declared after one bite “I love muffin!”. Therapy was a success in more ways than one!

Baby Led Weaning – 9 months on

My beautiful little Possum is now over 15 months old. I absolutely have a toddler for a daughter now. No more baby! She walks! She talks! She tries to feed her baby doll! Before giving birth I always wondered how the heck I would manage parenting a toddler vs a baby. I know it’s very early days, but can I just say toddlers are awesome fun! Crazy, frustrating, hilarious fun 🙂 Much prefer them to babies at this stage.

Na-na for Baby

Na-na for Baby

When Possum was 6 months old she grabbed a strawberry out of my hand and started to eat it. And so our Baby Led Weaning journey began.
9 months down the track and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on how it’s all gone thus far.

Alot of people steer clear of BLW (Baby Led Weaning) because they think a) their kid will choke to death and b) that their bub won’t get enough to eat. I can safely report that Possum has absolutely had her fair share of gag moments, but has navigated them all safely. Once or twice I have swiftly gotten her out of her high chair to have her cough up the massive chunk of watermelon and then shove a new piece in her gob straight away. No tears, no stress. Just a little tot who loves her watermelon! In terms of not getting enough to eat, I breast feed Possum on demand which at the moment equates to about 3 feeds in 24 hours, 4-5 if she is teething or just having a rough day. She also eats three meals and has two snacks. With all of this she is only on the 10th centile for weight but is an otherwise healthy, happy and growing little lady.

So what have been the wonderful things along the way?

  • Watching her learn so much every time she eats. She now holds things up to her nose to smell them!! Seeing this makes me so so proud! In the early days it was the amazing fine motor skills that blew me away. How quickly she learnt how to hold and eat banana and avocado without mashing it all over herself. The way she can pick up a single green pea.
  • The photos! So many great pics of smiles and mess and food and mushroom juice that looks like beards and avocado that looks likes dentures…. ah such sweet memories.
  • The human peeler. The food goes in with peel. Mouth moves around. Peel comes out. Amazing.
  • No pureed mush!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! From day one, most of the things that Possum has been given, have been exactly the same as what we are eating. This has meant a bit of a shift in how we eat and how we plan our meals, but this has led us to be more prepared and also eat healthier throughout the week. It’s nice to see how she likes different foods prepared and what flavours she really enjoys. Easy to distinguish when they’re not all mushed in together.
  • She can partially peel a mandarin!!! If you get her started she will do the rest. The other day she even walked over and put it in the bin (we may never see her do that again until she’s 21…). She also pulls the green leaves off her strawberries. Awesomeness.
  • She will eat and entire pear. and I mean entire. She even tried to eat the stem one day. Generally she searches through the grocery bags to see what she can chomp on while I put stuff away. Hurray!

    Nom nom nom

    Nom nom nom

  • It’s amazing how she isn’t fazed by stuff. Near choking experience… meh! Just shove more food in once it’s out!
  • Opportunity for communication has led to her language exploding and her using sign to let us know when she is finished. Makes meal times easier, and even easier for the grandparents when on baby sitting duties. She can now say toast (more like toooooooooooooooooast), strawberry, cracker, mushroom, na-na, cheese, apple, ice, peas, noodle. she has a word for butter (she eats butter in chunks like cheese) but I can’t think of it…
  • How the mess has gone from crazy to minimal. We use two wipes to clean up now. One for me and one for Possum to help (she says “wipe wipe wipe” when she’s finished and loves to help clean the chair, herself and of course my face!). Sometimes I don’t even bother with a bib! So wouldn’t have thought that was possible 9 months ago!

    Spag bol without a bib! It can be done!

    Spag bol without a bib! It can be done!

  • The friendly pair of Currawongs that comes to our garden to eat the remains from under Possum’s high chair. One only has one eye, I am particularly fond of that one 🙂 They aren’t scared of us now, so hang around while we are outside. Possum gets very excited to see them and waves and says “hi!”.
  • It was so so worth it! So worth it. And Legoman totally agrees too.

And the not so great bits…

  • Some days I wished I had an open mouthed, spoon fed, garbage disposal unit. Oh how easy life might be….. Outings really were a bit tricky in the middle there. But we battled and got through and here on the other side it is much much easier.
  • The mess. It’s a love hate thing the mess. It’s fun to watch. A bummer to clean up. We quickly devised a system. We use cloth wipes and kept a stash with the bib stash. We also went to op shops and stocked up on old tablecloths for under the high chair. We use a milk crate (just don’t tell the milk companies…) to put all the grotty wet wipes and tablecloths in and wash every couple of days.
  • Worrying about weight. When Possum was only breastfed she was on the 50th centile. Now she is on the 10th. And we are all trying to figure out why! I wonder if the same thing would’ve happened had she been a spoon fed baby. But then again she is happy and her development is wonderful. Just has made me a bit of a worried mummy.
  • Allergies. We are trying to figure out if Possum has an egg and possibly fish allergy. She came out in a rash after eating egg as well as having a massive vomiting episode after another meal of egg. Plus two other vomiting episodes after fish…. but then again she has also had fish and egg other times without any issues. Bamboozles my brain… Initial blood tests have all come back as normal so fingers crossed…. Just means no egg or fish at home. Poop. Two things I love. I am certain this would be the same whether we did BLW or not as there is such a strong family history of allergies unfortunately.
  • Sometimes I do feel a bit like a wanky parent saying “oh we did Baby Led Weaning (insert smug smile here)”.
  • I went in to BLW thinking I would never have a fussy eater. How wrong was I. We have certainly had to battle a phase of not eating any vegetable other than mushrooms (random!) and being just a carb junky. But once again that phase passed. But be warned, BLW does not immunise against fussiness!

And the big questions is… Has Possum weaned? No, not yet. And as long as I have this amazing milk making super power, and Possum keeps asking for it, then we will continue along this amazing breastfeeding journey we are on together. I am so proud of us for continuing despite newborn issues, blocked ducts, a breast abscess, returning to work and life in general. I would like to take a moment to say a massive thankyou to my wonderful husband for being a constant support. Without him I don’t know where I’d be. Thank you Legoman for being a rad dad!