Well hello my friends,
Here we are in another new month... wow wow wow.. How did it get to October and the leaves are turning brown and falling down?!!
This month's blog post is all about weaning. This isn't something i've shared much about on here, partly because I don't feel qualified to do so and partly because I'm not sure if it 's of interest.
However, as this space has always been partly journal, part connecting and sharing, I've decided I want to talk about our weaning journey. Maybe some of our ideas will be helpful to others starting out on their weaning journey and if not, this will be here for me to remember how fun it was in years to come.
I'm going to share a few simple recipes that Ivy-rose enjoys (disclaimer that I can't guarantee your baby will) and a bit about what has worked for us, what she likes and what information I've found helpful for plant-based weaning and recipes.
For those new to my site, hello again, my name is Jo. I'm mumma to one seven year old and one nearly ten month old. You can read more about me in the tab with that title.
Ivy-rose is our baby girl and so far she's keen to try whatever I make. Our meals are all plant-based because I do nearly all the cooking in our house. By plant-based I mean 'vegetarian' if you need a label. We eat some dairy and my husband and son both eat what they want when we are out, which includes fish and meat, and on the occassion my husband decides to cook he might make some fajhitas or something more traditional.
Before we started weaning I spent a lot of time researching and reading about plant based weaning to ensure I was covering all the elements of what a baby needs. I am not a nutritionist or dietician so please seek advice from an expert if you need information on plant based weaning or anything diet related.
Some of the resources I found most helpful include:
The NHS resources - for vegetarian and vegan babies
SR Nutrition - Registered Nutritionist, Charlotte Stirling-Reed's webiste
Wean In 15 - Joe Wick's (The Body Coach) weaning account for food ideas.
Deliciously Ella - this is not weaning specific (some recipes needs baby-fying) but she is always a staple inspiration for me.
Dr Gemma Newman - aka The Plant Power Doctor.
The First Steps Nutrition Trust - an independent public health nutrition charity that provides information & resources to support eating well from pre-conception to 5 years.
We started our weaning journey when Ivy-rose was just shy of 6 months and prior to that she was exclusively breast fed.
Our food journey began with simple foods like porridge, potato, pureed fruit and veg and it has gradually progressed from there.
My confidence has been led by Ivy-rose, who is one determined little lady. She loves trying bits and pieces of what I'm eating. She often grabs food off my plate and also enjoys feeding others. She doesn't like being spoon fed and grabs the spoon after a few mouthfulls every time. This is more of a recent thing and I've started allowing her to hold the spoon herself and helping guide her little hand and coordinate the picking up of food and directing it into her mouth.
It is VERY messy!! I end up on my hands and knees wiping the floor at least 3 times a day, sometimes more.
I'm much more confident with baby led weaning, preparing finger foods, coming up with ideas and letting Ivy-rose loose. When I weaned our son I didn't have the same knowledge, or information that's available now, and I wasn't eating a plant-based diet. He wasn't as bothered about feeding himself and was quite happy for me to lead the way with a spoon, which worked well at the time because I was more nervous.
I am really proud of how far we've come with Ivy-rose in 3 short months and how quickly she has learned to eat and loves feeding herself. She moved very quickly to 3 meals a day over the space of a few weeks and there wasn't much hanging about with puree or repeating porridge for days. We didn't use any baby-specific rice or porridge either.
A great thing about Ivy's weaning journey has been the fact that seeing her try all these different foods has had a positive impact on our son. It's definitely encouraged him to eat more fruit & veg and he sees the importance of setting an example for his sister. We've been allowing for less options at meal times and eating together more too. He's an amazing big brother and wants to do everything he can to help (most of the time).
I've listed below the foods Ivy-rose has tried and enjoys eating regularly at 9/10 months old. There are probably lots of things I've forgotten.
I know there's lots of advice out there in terms of how to combine food with breast feeding/formula and bottle so I won't go into that, but we didn't stick to any rigid routine with milk. Please speak to a health professional for your baby's specific needs.
I've felt relaxed about milk feeds and trusted Ivy knows how much milk she needs. Feeds have gradually decreased as she's eaten more. Generally she breastfeeds when she wakes up around 6am (about an hour before breakfast) and before bed (after dinner) at 6.30pm.
I've been attempting to wean her from night-time feeds too but that has been harder. Some nights she feeds once and other times twice.
Between those times I feed as and when she wants milk. Her daytime feeds are not regular or scheduled and some days I am at work so she has no breastfeeds during the day. We've recently introduced a bottle of formula in the afternoon to prepare for a grown up weekend away. Sometimes she takes this and other times not.
We've always given her water in a cup with every meal from the outset of weaning and she does drink a decent amount of water.
Finger foods Ivy-rose likes
Broccoli cut into small trees and boiled until softish.
Thinly sliced courgette and aubergine fried in coconut oil.
Wholewheat penne pasta, buckwheat pasta, brown rice pasta with various homemade sauces or just with a little hummus and garlic mixed through or plain cheese.
Macaroni cheese (without salt).
A banana split down the middle into 4 thin segments (she prefers the whole thing now).
Cucumber cut into slices.
Avocado cut into segments.
Tangerine segments - she literally devours these, sucks the juice out and chucks the skin.
Toast with nut butter or unsalted butter.
Pitta bread with hummus.
Lentil rice cakes broken up.
Homemade banana pancakes.
Homemade chickpea fritters with grated veg.
Home made chips roasted with olive oil (sweet potato, carrot & normal potato).
Cherry tomato cut into bits.
Cheese scones. She's only tried a little bit of mine but really likes them.
French toast, made with egg, cinnamon & cacao powder. Not so popular.
Plain french toast. Not popular.
Egg fried rice, which she eats with her hands.
Blender muffins (all sorts).
Blueberries cut into bits.
Blackberries cut into bits.
Mango cut into slices.
Pineapple cut into bits (wasn't a huge fan).
Melon cut into bits (not had this very often).
Pear slices (loves these).
Raspberries cut in half.
Mushrooms fried in a little coconut oil. Not a fan.
Spoon foods Ivy-rose likes
Porridge or overnight oats with anything (mashed banana, cinnamon, pear, apple puree, nut butters, tahini, raspberries).
Weetabix with milk, yoghurt and banana or on its own
Lentil dahl with grated carrot, sweet potato & peas.
Broccoli & cheese soup.
Scrambled eggs with spinach.
Tofu scramble with spices & peas.
Lentil soup/soup of any description.
Mashed up beans with tomato, cumin, cayenne, grated carrot.
Greek or coconut yoghurt with fruit puree, chia seeds and ground flax.
Pureed raspberries, apple, pears.
Giant cous cous with pesto or hummus.
Quinoa with grated veg, cheese and tomato.
2 dessert spoons GF flour
2 dessert spoons oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 carrot grated
Place all ingredients into blender (apart from oats/carrot) and blend until smooth.
Add oats & carrot and stir them in. If needed add more flour/milk.
Pour into muffin moulds. It will make approx 6 small muffins.
Place in the oven at 180 for 20 mins approx.
(Slightly) Spicy beany chilli
1 can kidney beans
1 small onion
1 can any other beans
1 tin of tomatoes
1 sweet potato
1 normal potato
Grate or chop your garlic.
Cut potato into cubes and place on baking tray cover with spices and drizzle with oil (less chilli powder for babyy version).
Roast in the oven until potato is soft.
Whilst potato is cooking, add chopped garlic & onion to pan with a little oil and fry for a few minutes.
Add a little more of each spice to the pan and mix.
Grate carrot into pan.
Add tin of tomato and beans and mix again.
Allow to simmer for 15 mis on low heat.
Add 100 mls water.
Once potatos are cooked, add these to the pan and stir.
Mash to desired consistency for your little one.
Broccoli & cheese soup
1 head of broccoli cut up
1 large potato
1 clove of garlic
Oil to fry
1/2 Kallo low salt stock cube
Water to cover
Handful cheddar cheese
100mls milk of choice
Grate or chop garlic and fry in a pan with a little oil of your choice for a few minutes.
Cut your brocolli and potato into pieces and place into your pan. Fry for a few minutes before adding water & stock.
Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
Add your milk and cheese.
Once everything is cooked mash or blend your soup depending on baby's stage of weaning. I usually blend it as my son prefers it this way too.
1 mug red lentils
1 chunk ginger
1 grated carrot
Handful frozen peas
1 clove garlic
1 can full fat coconut milk
1/4 Kallo low salt stock cube
Grate your garlic, carrot & ginger.
Fry garlic and ginger in a little coconut oil and add spices.
Add carrot and lentils and fry for a few mins.
Add coconut milk and water and stock.
Allow to simmer for 20 mins and add peas and more water if needed.
Blend if required.
Super simple roast sweet potato
1 whole sweet potato cut into wedges or coins
Cut your sweet potato into circles or into wedges and sprinkle with your spices and oil. Place in the oven for approx 30 mins (until soft).
I always make more then we need with these recipes and I keep a few small tubs of veggies in the fridge for when I'm not around and for speed at meal times. Quite often Ivy will be munching on cold cooked veggies whilst her food is cooking or cooling down.
What are your favourite weaning recipes? Does your little one have a favourite food?