Archive for the ‘Feeding’ Category

Review & competition: HIPP Organic pouches

November 18, 2013

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I must confess that I’ve always liked HIPP Organic. Both my little ones used their formula milk (after breastfeeding) and we regularly buy their baby food jars and snacks. So when I had the opportunity to review their new baby food pouches I jumped at the chance.

Eight month old Baby does a lot of self-feeding. His evening meal is identical to ours and he has lots of finger food. But I still use a fair bit of jarred baby food. Sometimes spoon fed by me, sometimes a loaded spoon controlled by him, sometimes on toast or as a dip for breadsticks. Having some new pouches to try was great. Especially when out and about as a pouch seems easier to carry than a jar or Tupperware box. Baby seemed intent on learning how to suck direct from the pouch too which is really not a great look but probably a very valuable skill when mess really isn’t an option.
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So what did we try?

Baby’s favourite savoury pouch was the sweet potato, cauliflower & sweet corn bake which he had on toast. More substantial than just a pure veggie mix he wolfed this down.

He also really liked the banana and baby rice smooth pouches. I used these as an alternative to his usual porridge and they proved a handy substitute for a meal out and about.

But his absolute and easy favourite was the banana, apple and apricot with yoghurt. Yoghurt is his favourite food anyway so this was probably a no-brainer. I like that this doesn’t need refrigeration so is perfect for meals on the go.

And so that big brother Bub wasn’t left out he had the plum, pear and blackcurrant smoothie pouch. And really enjoyed it too.

I don’t know how typical a mum I am when it comes to weaning. I love the ideas of baby led weaning but at the same time I’m kinda lazy and willing to adopt a ‘whatever works’ strategy. HIPP did send me the findings of their weaning survey (see below). Only 1/4 of parents are willing to follow their instincts on this issue, according to HIPP. Maybe I’m one of them?
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Anyway the nice people at HIPP have promised a £25 hamper full of lovely HIPP Organic goodies for one lucky reader of this blog. To enter just leave a comment on this post. I’ll then pick the winner at random. The competition will close on Monday 2 December 2013.

(Disclosure: I was sent the pouches of food by HIPP Organic. My views are wholly my own.)

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Weaning update – 8.5 months

November 7, 2013

Two and a half months into weaning. Baby is doing pretty well and definitely loves his food. But he still doesn’t eat a huge amount. Tiny portions compared to all his baby friends. But he enjoys it which at this stage is probably the most important thing. And isn’t waking up hungry or anything. So he’s probably getting what he needs.

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I am being much less purist in my baby led weaning than with his big brother. We started off doing just finger food. But after a month Baby wasn’t really eating much at all and what he was offered wasn’t very varied. He’d have bread really often and very few veggies. I decided to introduce a bit of spoon feeding. This was partly because it was an easy way to vary his diet. But also because he seemed to really like it. I never push him to eat anything he doesn’t want to. And if he wants the spoon to do it himself he is welcome to it. But lots of the time he is happy for me to spoon feed – I think it’s because he gets the food in quicker. So in some ways we have gone backwards rather than forwards. But he seems happy and is very much in charge so that feels fairly baby led to me.

Our routine feels a bit transitiony but has been working for a couple of weeks at least. Here it is:

7.30am Wake, 8oz milk
9am Nap
11am Wake, breakfast
12.30pm 8oz milk
1.30pm Nap
3.30pm Wake, lunch
5pm 5oz milk
6pm Occasional catnap in sling
7pm Tea
8pm Bath
8.15pm 8oz milk, bedtime

His breakfast and lunch don’t really fit in with family mealtimes which is another reason I have used a few more baby food jars etc. Typical meals are:

Breakfast
– Weetabix, or
– Baby porridge, or
– Mini shredded wheats
– Plus a handful of Dry Cheerios or a banana

Lunch
– Half a baby food jar (stage two)
– Some finger food like toast, bread sticks, baby crisps etc
– Some grapes, strawberries or blueberries

Tea
– Whatever the family are having, true BLW style
– Full fat natural yoghurt

Not exactly the most inspiring menu but it works for us! Would love some extra ideas though, welcome your recommendations.

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A taste of independence

October 26, 2013

Baby is increasingly keen to do things his way. He loves nothing more than getting hold of a cup, plate or spoon. Anything I might normally do for him, or keep out of reach, he now wants. He giggles when he gets them too, as if he is thinking “Finally!”

He insisted that he wanted to do his bottle himself. Getting it in his mouth was fine, tipping it up wasn’t. But I’m sure he’ll get there soon.

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Changing up the routine?

October 22, 2013

Am getting clear signs from Baby that it’s time to change up on his routine. At present he is still more or less following his routine at six months, with a few solids chucked in here or there. But at nearly eight months he has begun being really fussy with his milk feeds again and I’m wasting loads. His solid intake is ok but not amazing so it’s not that the little lad doesn’t need the milk. But I think maybe he doesn’t need it quite so frequently.

Here’s our current routine food wise:
8am Milk 8oz
12n Milk 8oz (fussy, rarely has much)
1pm Lunch
4pm Milk 5oz (fussy)
6pm Milk 5oz (very fussy)
7pm Tea
8pm Milk 8oz (bit fussy)

The fussy bottles take an age to give him, need to be offered repeatedly, and are almost never finished.

So I think Baby is definitely telling us he’s ready for a change. I am a big Baby Whisperer fan but by this stage her routine advice is pretty flexible. So I shall just tweak and see what happens.

I think I’m going to try:

8am Milk 8oz
11.30am Lunch
1pm Milk 8oz
4.30pm Snack
5.30pm Milk 5oz
7pm Tea
8pm Milk 8oz

This will drop 5oz milk but he’s dropping at least that anyway so I am not too worried. If he has a smaller amount of milk at his 1pm feed I’ll probably switch to a bigger 5.30pm feed just in case.

This approach does load most of the calories into the afternoon. But this has always been his way. In the mornings he is mostly tired and sleeps a lot if he can. Baby is only awake in the mornings for an hour or so before his first nap so I’m not ready to slip breakfast into the mix quite yet.

Recipe: wakey, wakey cakes

October 8, 2013

I am a lazy cook. Something has to be really worthwhile for me to roll up my sleeves and get baking. But these are so good I’ve made them twice in as many weeks! Brilliant for breakfasts on the go or indeed any time an easy, mess-free snack is required. Both my six month old and three year old love ’em.

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Wakey Wakey Cake (makes 8-12)

2 weetabix
20g cornflakes
100ml milk
1 small banana

1 small fairy-cake tin & cases (optional)
Butter or olive oil for greasing

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1. Preheat oven to 190C (or 170 for fan ovens) and grease the tin.
2. Mix together one of the weetabix, milk and cornflakes, crushing cornflakes in the process until you have a paste.
3. Mash the banana into the cereal mixture until smooth, then add the second weetabix. You should have something with a sticky, cement like consistency.

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4. Divide into six and spoon into the greased tin or into baking cases (optional), pressing down with a spoon so that you have six little discs of cereal mixture. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

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5. Remove from the oven and turn out onto a cooling rack.

These can be made more interesting for an older baby by adding a handful of raisins, apricots or other fruit. They are great warm or cold and will keep in an air right container in the fridge for a few days.

And here is proof that they really did go down a treat. Baby isn’t really showing them off at their mess-free best though as he had some yoghurt just before.

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Recipe from the wonderful Baby Led Weaning forum.

Don’t make children eat their greens!

September 23, 2013

Read this great article in the Guardian today about fussy eating in children.

The author talks about his struggles to make his children eat their greens. It concludes that this was ultimately counter-productive and made them less likely even to try them.

Psychotherapist Susie Orbach, author of Fat Is a Feminist Issue, is quoted in the article:

She sees such anxiety as centring on issues of control and rejection of the offerer of the food rather than the food itself. In other words, you’re not getting upset when your child won’t eat because it’s not healthy. It’s because you perceive the child as rejecting your love. And the whole framing of the issue around health and nutrition – food as “medicine” – is misguided.

“As long as we make food ‘healthy’ or ‘good’ food an issue,” she says, “we are going to produce anxiety. We should just eat well when we are hungry. We need to be relaxed about it – like you pee when you need to. When nourishment is labelled ‘bad’ or ‘good’, it becomes part of an emotional language and therefore problematic.

“We have a society with rules, regulations and terrors about eating and BMIs and God knows what, and mothers being assaulted by industries to create body hatred. It’s induced.”

This story comes at a great time for me as we embark on baby-led weaning with our second. One of the main benefits, from my point of view, is the lack of control parents have over what and how much their baby’s have. I know with a more traditional weaning approach I’d have been anxiously documenting every mouthful and getting concerned over X, Y and Z. By letting Baby feed himself and deliberately stepping back this just isn’t an issue. Any temporary lack of hunger or dislike of a food one day just isn’t a big issue and is not something likely to be blown out of proportion. We’ve not had a single ‘bad’ mealtime as Baby always enjoys playing and experimenting with what we give him. No stress meals are fab.

This isn’t to say we don’t have our food fad issues with our three year old. Despite BLW him he can be fussy from time to time. He much prefers food separated out into distinct bits rather than mixed together. This is a shame as he no longer eats and enjoys his Dad’s cottage pie. He also claims not to like onions which is annoying as they are a staple of many meals. But by serving his food slightly earlier in the preparation process, before it gets mixed together, we can usually prevent any issues fairly painlessly.

Three year old Bub definitely has a feast or famine approach to food. Some weeks he eats everything we give him and then wants more. He’ll consume adult portions of meals and is endlessly hungry. Usually these phases coincide with him growing two inches almost overnight. But other times he has almost no appetite. Three small mouthfuls of a meal and he claims to be done. On these days he appears to eat almost nothing and you think he might waste away. This is a pattern we’ve observed in him over several years and we’ve learned to put our anxieties to one side somewhat. I know that trying to control or influence his appetite would be unhelpful and stress inducing on all sides. I thank my lucky stars I was baby-led weaning when he was younger as this feast/famine approach would have driven anyone doing purée/spoon feeding nuts.

Mealtimes in our house aren’t perfect. But any issues we have probably say more about me than him and I try to keep that in mind. I do feel bad when I cook something new and he won’t even try it. But forcing him would remove any traces of enjoyment from the meal and probably make him even more fussy next time. So I try to resist.

“It’s very difficult with children,” says Orbach. “You want to give them something delicious and nutritious, but children go through food fads when they are rejecting many foods. It’s just part of their development. Probably you will feel upset, but you must approach the issue in a neutral way. Don’t lose your rag. The meal table should never be a site of conflict. You shouldn’t make any threats around food.”

Good advice, I’ll try to remember it!

Baby-led weaning: the first few weeks

September 22, 2013

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Have been meaning to update on our baby-led weaning progress for ages. But to be honest things are just ticking along so nicely I didn’t feel I had much to report. But that in itself is a good thing, especially as first time around I did struggle a bit. So here’s the news on our first three weeks.
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Having waited until Baby was six months before beginning I can totally recommend this approach. We offered a couple of bits when he was about five and a half months but then kind of left it. He wasn’t really that good at sitting up and didn’t seem too interested in eating. At six months we started in earnest with some food at tea time and occasional bits at lunch time. He seemed to get it really quickly and was soon very happily munching away on whatever he was served. Leaving it till six months really seemed to work well as he got it so quickly and naturally, much faster than Bub who started two weeks younger. It’s also doing wonders for his manual dexterity. I could swear he’s getting his pincer grip sorted already!
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Can’t remember all he has eaten but it definitely included:

Carrot, broccoli, courgette and other steamed and roasted veg
Toast and butter
Pasta in various sauces
Humous and pitta
Cucumber, baby tomatoes
Fish, chips, mushy peas, baked beans
Cream cheese with breadsticks
Cheese including cheddar, babybel and feta
Porridge
Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes
Wakey, wakey cakes
Chicken with noodles
Veggie chilli with sour cream
Lots of fruit including pears, grapes, clementines, blueberries, banana
Natural yoghurt
The tiniest bit of his dad’s birthday cake

I can honestly say I haven’t puréed a thing or used shop bought mush. He just eats more or less what we do.

It’s been much easier to introduce foods to Baby because our schedules already coincide nicely with his. Our family lunch and tea times dovetail nicely. No need at all to cook extra or alternative meals. I’m conscious his meals might be a little salt heavy so do my best to minimise that but otherwise we all eat the same thing.
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For more info on baby-led weaning I recommend the wonderful BLW forum.

Not a ‘snacker’ anymore

September 7, 2013

I’ve written several times about Baby’s snacky tendencies. From very early days he was a ‘little and often’ breast feeder. Always fairly unpredictable except that he’d take a lot before bed and first thing. After I moved to bottles and formula he was initially very similar. Big feed in the morning then an ounce here and an ounce there before a big feed at bed.

But we’ve now, at six months, cracked it. He now has three 8oz bottles and two 5oz bottles a day (routine here). He drinks what he wants from these in one go (usually all of it) and then doesn’t need more until his next regular feed.

So what did we do? Three things I think helped.

1) Getting the milk flow up. When we first started on bottles my boy struggled with all but the slowest flow bottles. These most mimicked my breast feeding flow which he was used to. All fine but boy, they were slow. Even with a size two MAM teat it was taking 40 minutes for him to drink an 8oz bottle. No wonder he lost interest in feeding in the daytime. He’s only recently been comfortable with a size three teat but using it has been a revelation. An 8oz feed now takes around ten minutes. A 5oz feed can be drunk in three if he is so inclined. He’s now taking in what he needs for a full feed and the snacking has vanished.

2) Not mis-reading tired cues. In the day time Baby gets tired after around two hours. But in the early mornings he gets sleepy after only being up an hour or so. Now I know this I just pop him into bed and he dozes off. But a while ago I used to interpret his crabbiness about an hour after waking as hunger. Even if he’d had lots of milk I’d be offering more. And because it was soothing and helped him relax he’d take some. And then began a vicious circle of him not being that hungry later, etc etc.

3) Not being too hasty to offer feeds. I certainly don’t advocate keeping a hungry baby from his milk. But I think in earlier days I offered Baby milk when actually he really wanted something else. Mainly he was tired (see point two). But he might also have wanted a change of scene or toy or a cuddle. Gradually over time I’ve come to hold back a bit just to see what he really needs. And more often than not milk isn’t it.

So there we have it. My experiences and reflections on easing out of a snacking situation. What are your experiences?

Formula feeding safety

September 2, 2013

Baby is now fully formula fed. And seems to be quite happy doing so. But imagine my dismay when I discovered we were making up his feeds in an unsafe way. We also did the exact same wrong thing with Bub.

What I’ve always done is put some boiled water in a sterilised bottle and then measured out the formula in advance in a separate container. When I need the feeds I mix both. The formula powder hits the water at room temperature. And this is apparently not considered safe. The water needs to be at least 70 degrees to kill any bugs in the powder.

I did a fair bit of online research into this to check it. And it’s hard to do as there are lots of bits of conflicting information (including this respectable American site which says it’s ok to just use tap water…!) The most definitive UK advice is from the Department of Health and Food Standards Agency and is available here.

However having said all that I’m not sure that we’ll actually amend how we make up the formula. I am going to use a flask of hot water when I can. But there are times this just isn’t practical. And for early morning feeds my flask has gone cold so this doesn’t work here. Baby is still fairly unpredictable waking anytime between 6.15am and 8.15am so I’d have to get up at 6am just to boil the kettle. Or have a teas made. And then have him cry whilst I cool it down. Tough to follow the guidance in that situation.

For now we’ll just do the feeds hot when we can and cool when we can’t. He’s over six months now so I feel reasonably ok about it. How do you make up your formula? Any tips?

Six months old :-)

August 27, 2013

This time six months ago I was in labour. And look what I got to show for it? My lovely baby boy. How time flies!
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Things have changed a lot recently. Purely on formula. Rolling and turning. Sleeping through the night 🙂 All good stuff.

And more fun to come. I’ve purposely held back from weaning till I had to and so we start in earnest this week. He’s had a few bits to grab and bite but I don’t think he’s swallowed anything yet.

For posterity here is his routine at six months old. No solids in this. It’s not exact as we go by his signals but so long as we are at home he’s pretty predictable now.

As a snacky feeder he doesn’t often drink all his milk in one go. So below I’ve given the times I offer a new bottle but he doesn’t necessarily drink it all up then. Often he’ll have half then and the remainder an hour or so later.

8am: Wake, 8oz milk
10am: Sleep, usually at least two hours and sometimes up to three
12n / on waking: 8oz milk
2pm: Sleep, usually 1.5 to two hours
4pm / on waking: 5oz milk
6pm: 5oz milk
8pm: Bath, 8oz milk
9pm: In bed asleep

You can see how he tanks up on milk before bed. How lucky we are with his sleep. It can occasionally be tricky to get him to doze off but once out he does sleep well. Perfect baby I think!


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