Frittatas

Here’s a really simple idea for finger foods which are ideal for baby led weaning – once you’re satisfied that babies are comfortable with the ingredients (mainly eggs you need to be confident with) it’s great to start combining things and making it more interesting.

All you need to do for this is beat eggs and then add in some ingredients of your own – I often find that I buy eggs all the time and end up wasting them, or baking a cake – so this is a great way to use those leftover eggs to make a healthier savoury option….and use up random ingredients leftover in the salad drawer too.

At this stage we had covered all of the basics and were starting to introduce stronger flavours – these might look a bit on the strange side but I can assure you they are extremely tasty – the flavour combinations were cheese/spring onion, red onion/pepper and pea/ asparagus.

I think we also added in some Parsley and Chives at this point too.

I whisk up all the eggs in a jug and then pour them straight into a normal muffin tin (well greased), before adding in the other ingredients to ensure they are distributed evenly. These frittatas are then baked for 10-12 mins -and left to cool- In the early days I would slice these up to serve, so that Arlo could hold them more easily. These days he will make these disappear in two seconds.

Top tips

  • You can batch cook and then freeze these.
  • These are also ideal for lunch time snacks

Chef Arlo

Did you know that daddy is a chef! At 21 months it’s about time that Arlo started learning a trade and so daddy picked up a packet of Pastry and set up an invitation to play on the kitchen table (apparently this is also called “mise en place” and is quite a professional set up.

Basically he chopped up lots of ingredients and set them up in little dishes ready for Arlo.

First of all they spread the included tomato sauce all over the dough base which they rolled out onto an oven tray.

Then they chucked on a mix of ingredients which work well together – leftover chicken, sliced red onion, peppers and cherry tomatoes along with chunks of mozzarella.

There’s no set way to do this – everything just got chucked on and then daddy sprinkled on some herbs and popped them in the oven for just shy of 15 mins.

These tasted delicious and the activity kept Arlo amused for quite a while. Lots of interaction with daddy and chatter about colours, vegetables and food items.

Have you tried cooking with your little one yet? Share some of your ideas in the comments – we would love to try them out!

First foods – Week one

Arlo turned six months over the Christmas period so I set up a weaning advent calendar. Instead of opening a door to a chocolate every day, he had the opportunity to experience a new taste.

He had experienced a few tastes – baby porridge being one of the first textures and also banana…. I remember he also stole a chip from right under my nose whilst sitting on my lap but this was before I got myself organised.

Day one – finger sizes slices of avocado

As I mentioned in my previous post, we decided to start our journey with meal times at 5pm – it’s important to try and stick to a routine for the first month so choose a time which suits you, so you could go for breakfast or lunch instead of dinner, but eventually you’ll be adding them all in.

Day two – strawberries

My decisions on the first foods to try were based on a couple of things – I used the Ella’s kitchen stickers and weaning pack to give me lots of ideas, and then I also figured out that the Aldi “super six” deals change every Thursday which gave me the opportunity to try things I wouldn’t normally purchase for pennies.

The first week with baby led weaning involved lots of grasping of food – and awkward mouth missing attempts. So much went on the floor that it seemed like a ridiculous waste of both food prep and also money…..

They eat what you eat

This phrase is really important, and it’s the perfect time to adapt your lifestyle, we started cooking a lot more foods from scratch. Batch cooking and omitting salt etc.

By day three I decided to simply put aside a couple of slices of steamed carrots from my own dinner – no extra cost or prep involved.

Day four was melon – I’ve read lots of different theories about the order of foods to try first – veggies vs fruit / cooked vs raw etc…. I just went with a mixed approach.

Day five – broccoli

Now broccoli is admittedly not one of my favourites, but it’s really great for weaning so here’s a little bit of advice.

Get the frozen stuff.

It’s got pretty much all the nutrients as fresh and is a really cost effective approach. Broccoli is amazing for BLW – Arlo could hold the stems really nicely and as time progressed he loved dipping them into sauces too. I also kept frozen cauliflower, out of season frozen fruits which are great for porridge / yoghurt toppings and also for adult smoothies. Spinach pellets are also a fab one to pop into a pan of boiling pasta at the last minute.

Day six

Our first negative experience was with sweet potato. (At this stage I wasn’t sure if it was the texture or the taste which caused this reaction. I noted it down in my diary and then tried to offer it again every so often in different formats – baked/mashed/wedges etc – I know now he really doesn’t like the taste – he will eat it mashed with carrots or as a soup if the flavour is somewhat disguised.)

By now Arlo was used to having something to eat with us so we offered him some baby food from a pouch and he had about 1/3 of it so he was building up an appetite. It didn’t seem like he was consuming much at all over the first week but I did also notice bits of broccoli appeared in his nappies on this day.

Day 7 Tomatoes – I wasn’t planning on getting these on so soon, I’d heard lots of skin contact rash stories about acidic foods but as he seemed to be doing so well, and we wanted to offer something raw, we went for it and he loved them. The skin around his mouth did appear to go a little bit red but this faded during bath time and caused him no problems.

At this stage by the end of week one I had also been offering the “successful” foods repeatedly – banana at lunch time was going down particularly well. Arlo was used to the routine, and despite not liking the sweet potato, wasn’t put off from trying new flavours.

Weaning – Preparation

This is going to be a long one….. probably best to do this in a few stages!

So you’re probably approaching the six months mark and now you’ve settled into a routine, it’s almost time to turn everything up side down (quite literally).

I would always advocate the guidelines which at this point in time state that it’s best to wait until your baby is six months old. It’s also really important to look for “the signs” – things which show your baby is physically ready to begin weaning.

In the meantime I decided that I wanted to fully embrace baby led weaning. I read as much as I possibly could and bought/ borrowed quite a few books. I also signed up to all of the different baby brand websites for free resources. The Ella’s kitchen Pack was amazing.

I decided to attend the weaning course with some of my NCT group which was a very balanced session, informative without being pushy.

I also attended a free first aid course at my local children’s centre – this was really beneficial as one of the primary concerns with BLW is the risk of choking – so being prepared for any kind of emergency is always useful.

I started purchasing things from my amazon wish list – and also digging out items I’d bought at the baby show whilst pregnant. Looking back I really wish I hadn’t spent quite so much money on these items – so I’m going to share a list of what I had, and be honest about how necessary it all was.

1. Get a diary – note down what you try and at what time. Record skin reactions and any side effects which appear in nappies. For the first week you will memorise every single spoonful, but eventually the novelty wears off and you can get a contact rash from satsuma’s or the after effects of mango in a nappy and spend a while trying to figure it all out.

2. The high chair.

This is very important advice – don’t waste money!!

Whilst it’s lovely to have something which looks nice, looking back I really wish I had bought one of the basic ones from Asda, Aldi or IKEA instead of my Cosatto thing. Very quickly I discarded the straps and the soft insert because cleaning them was a nightmare. Quite often I took the whole thing outside to wash with a hosepipe because I couldn’t get into the nooks and crannies to get rid of mush. It was also quite a heavy bit of kit and I had to buy a second portable thing to take out and about.

As a side note if you’re almost ready for weaning then spend some quality time with the high chair – do messy play and sit your baby in the high chair during meal times so they know it’s a fun place to be. If they’re used to it by six months you’ll be off to a flying start.

3. Utensils

I’ll be honest – I bought about six different brands of baby spoons, Annabelle Karmel ice cube trays, a steamer/blender, a stick blender, plastic bowls, portable Tupperware, sticky plates, bamboo portion plates and all sorts. One phrase springs to mind “all the gear and no idea” – I don’t know why I bothered with the blending stuff but maybe I needed a back up in case BLW didn’t go to plan?

Quite honestly I tried everything once and most of it got shoved to the back of the kitchen cupboard. The things we used the most were the little munchkin spoons and bowls – they had lids so were used as Tupperware for out and about. My tactic was to always give Arlo a spoon to hold – even when I was feeding him, we’d swap spoons and he would happily bang and tap and get mush in his eyes and ears and up my walls – all part of the learning process.

4. Beakers

As soon as you start offering food, also offer water. Again, I bought quite a few different beakers to try out and never stuck to anything specific – this worked well for us because Arlo hasn’t ever been particularly fussy about colours or styles of beakers. The Nuby 360 took a while to figure out, but became a firm favourite until he got a bottle with straw.

Once you’ve got these basics you’re pretty much all set to begin. You can get different floor mats, or maybe a tarpaulin, and there’s a huge variety of bibs around too. Our strategy was to conduct meal times stripped down to the nappy – after quickly realising Arlo was a messy baby, to save ourselves an extra load of laundry we decided to start our weaning adventure at 5pm every day for our evening meal – and then swiftly follow this up with bath time.

6. Don’t forget the toothbrush

You can pick up a little one for less than a pound at home bargains. I gave Arlo his to gum at bath time when we began weaning and he would use it as a teething aid. Setting the association between bath time and brushing teeth early on worked well for us. I can’t quite remember when we introduced toothpaste but it wasn’t straight away.

So now hopefully you’re all set with the equipment and you just need to decide which foods to try first.

We went with banana – I think it was a success. I was quite alarmed when he decided to shove the whole piece into his mouth but tried not to react, I think I managed to keep the same tone, stopped myself from getting up or stopping and just let him lead the way.