Monday, June 29, 2015

Baby Led Weaning at 6 Months: Banana

This was fun! The banana was really ripe so it almost melted away as he tried to eat it. I simply cut a banana in half, took the bottom half and scored a line about 3/4 of an inch down and peeled the banana up to that line. Once he started running our of banana (mostly because it ended up absolutely everywhere!), I repeated the process again. 

Beware, banana causes constipation! If you feed your baby banana, try also feeding oatmeal, plums, asparagus to help make sure he gets lots of fibre to help move it on through his system!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Baby Overnight Oats

I started making myself overnight oats for breakfast and I love them. With unpredictable wake times and being hungry all of the time, I find that its so great to have breakfast ready to go. I stumbled upon this great tutorial on Organize Yourself Skinny that got me started experimenting with my own flavours.

Since my son now sits at the table with me as I eat breakfast, I of course wondered if I could make him his own overnight oats, but I couldn't find any recipes! I'm mostly doing Baby Led Weaning and hadn't planned to do any cereals. But a few days into Baby Led Weaning I realized that it's important to prevent constipation and thus prevent having an unhappy baby that hasn't pooped in five hours when he usually poops 4 times a day, oops! Oats are an easy first food to digest and known to be good for preventing constipation so I decided to give them a try.

Which oatmeal to use?

So then... which oats to use? Baby oat cereal, instant oats, old fashioned rolled oats or steel cut? Some quick research led me to discover that steel cut are the least processed but also require the most cooking because of that. So I decided to give both steel cut and rolled oats a try. 

After experimentation, I found steel cut oats to be more difficult to grind and don't come become as soft when soaked overnight, probably because they haven't previously been steamed and rolled as rolled oats have been. As such, they didn't produce as nice of a texture as the rolled oats. So my preferred oats for this recipe are rolled oats.

Why soak?

Honestly, laziness. I'm already preparing overnight oats for myself, and at 6 months, a baby only eats 3-9 tbsp of cereal a day. In our case, because he's getting fruit, vegetables and meat as well we really don't need more than 3 tbsp at 6 months. Am I really going to cook 3 tbsp worth over the stove? Absolutely not. I suppose this is why they sell baby cereal which is almost the same as instant oatmeal only fortified: it requires less cooking because its already been cooked. In order to use regular oats, overnight soaking seems like the perfect solution.

If you do some research online, lots of blogs and websites claim soaking is healthier as it reduces the amount of phytic acid. That may or may not be true but my research yielded only results that claimed soaked oats were easier to digest than cooked oats so I decided to go ahead with it!

Basic recipe

1 tbsp rolled oats, ground
2 tbsp breast milk, refrigerated or room temperature which has not been refrigerated yet

Grind the oats using a blender or food processor. I used my Cuisinart Smart Stick as it has a food processor attachment.

The resulting oats are not as fine as flour or infant cereal but since we aren't doing very fine purees my son didn't seem to mind. If you're more patient than I am you can probably get them to be even more finely ground.

Ground Oats
Ground Oats

Mix the oats and breast milk in a container and store overnight in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours. I like to offer him oatmeal when I eat it in the morning so I just make our oats at the same time and we eat them when we have breakfast together.

Infant Overnight Oats
Infant Overnight Oats

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Baby Led Weaning at 5.5 Months: Getting Started for Fun

Though its highly recommended to only start giving solids at 6 months, we started a bit early with foods that were easy to hold and suck on. We really only did it as a way to keep him entertained when we sit at the table. Most of what we've handed him he's only sucked on and practiced chewing so far. He still spits out any chunks he manages to break off. The real benefit has been watching him improve his dexterity and also improving his ability to sit.

I make an effort to sit him at the table with me when I eat, especially at dinner time when everyone is home. He gets something random to play with, either a toy, a spoon or a piece of what we're eating.
If you're planning to do baby led weaning but are terrified of your baby chocking or gagging, you can try starting with some of the easier foods we've started with. Browse my 5.5m posts to see pictures showing how I chose to cut various foods when starting out. They are foods which don't come apart very easily and that are satisfying to suck on. Note that it's recommended that you start baby on iron rich foods, so though you might try to introduce a large variety of foods like we are, you'll also want to ensure you're consistently offering foods high in iron and pairing them up to help the iron get absorbed. Some foods are also easier to digest than others, so you might decide to avoid certain foods for the first while if you baby struggles with digestion.

Note: As soon as Wyatt started actually chewing and breaking large chunks off, I completely changed my approach to what I gave him. What I previously considered safe, I found was too hard and could become a chocking hazard when bitten off, so we then transitioned to roasted vegetables that were easily mashed when pressed on.

Baby Led Weaning at 5.5 Months: Orange

This was a fun one. I was peeling an orange to put in a fruit salad using a knife so I had rind with some extra juicy pulp on it. He loved sucking off the juice and kept going even when it was just rind. His face was priceless as it started to get bitter! This was really easy to hold for him and not too stressful as he didn't manage to bite off any pieces of the rind.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Activities to Keep a 5 month Old Entertained

I've been having trouble keeping Wyatt happy and entertained when we stay home. He seems to get bored quickly and even my old stand by songs just aren't cutting it anymore to entertain him. I thought he was tired when he started crying, but turns out that he really does want different activities and when I change it up to something he likes I easily get another happy 20 minutes out of him, which is saying a lot. He gets easily frustrated by the fact that he can't crawl yet and is constantly trying to move!

So here is my new go to list to keep me inspired and having fun when we stay home.
  1. Sing a song, especially one with actions or that involves touching him. (Think along the styles of head, shoulders, knees and toes).
  2. Bath
    You might not consider this an activity but he loves it, especially if I get in with him and pour water, spray water and kick water with him. It's a completely different experience when we're in there together!
  3. Sit in high chair
    Though solids aren't recommended until 6 months, Wyatt is loving sitting in his high chair at the table while I eat. At first I gave him extra support with blankets and just gave him a simple toy or spoon to play with. Now that he's showing lots of interest in food sit him there and give him something safe to suck on: chicken bone, broccoli, celery, watermelon rind, etc.
  4. Read
    Wyatt loves doctor Seuss books, I think because they rhyme and have very few colours on the pages. Though lately he prefers to handles the books, hold them and try to put them in his mouth. We do this little game where we take ABC, which is white in front and blue in back and show him the from and say "light side" and flip it over and say "dark side". Or open the book, say "open" close it and say "closed". This activity is part of our wind down routine and he just loves it. I also try to point out objects in a book instead of reading if he's losing interest, but he's not very interested in that yet.
  5. Wind
    I take a blanket and just fan him with it while he lies on his back and he'll easily giggle for 20 minutes. When he gets bored, I'll lightly brush his body with it instead of fanning it, he's in a phase where he loves to touch everything and that really seems to entertain him. He also likes it when I blow on his belly or toes or even face.
  6. Naked time!
    When he's upset, i often just take his diaper off and give him his toes while on the change mat. He loves sucking on them and likes being diaper free. If i want to give him some more naked time, i lay out this awesome $6 change pad from Ikea on the carpet and let him roam naked until he gets bored or pees or poops himself then throw it in the wash for next time.
  7. Go outside
    I lie him straight on the grass in the shade. Sometimes he hates it, sometimes he loves it, all depends on his mood. If he doesn't like it I might help him sit or lie him on a mat but with his fingers touching the grass. He loves the texture of it and of course tries to grab it and put it in his mouth.
  8. Massage
    Grab some coconut oil and rub it all over him, between his toes and fingers and those cute leg rolls!
  9. Blow bubbles
    Make or buy bubble blowing soap and blow away.
  10. Stack stuff and let him knock it over: measuring cups, tupperware or an actual stacking toy
  11. Give him every day objects to handle, one at a time: water bottle, tupperware, measuring spoons. Make sure they aren't small enough to fit through a toilet paper roll to make sure they aren't a choking hazard. I find he gets frustrated really easily with toys and objects if they don't fit in his mouth and are easily held so I use this as a last recourse. Some good ideas for every day objects on Plain Vanilla Mom.
  12. Play with water
    Sit outside with a spray bottle, peri bottle, some small plastic bowls with just a bit of water and let baby go to town while helping him sit up. Some more water inspiration on Dirt and Boogers, or try Coloured Ice Cubes and Water or Bubble Discovery Bowl.
  13. Explore smell
    Try raiding the spice drawer, maybe rubbing different spices on your fingers to have baby smell.
  14. Explore touch
    Either give baby different types of fabric to touch, or walk around the house letting him feel every day objects, the wall, wood, plastic, etc. You can even make a sensory board or bin with different fabrics to feel
  15. Peekaboo
    There are a lot of variations of this to play!
    • Take a toy and a tupperware big enough to hold it and hide in inside, over or under.
    • Hide a toy under a blanket and ask baby to find it.
    • Sit your baby in front of a mirror and show him how to play peekaboo with his own hands and face.

Baby Led Weaning at 5.5 Months: Asparagus

This was a big hit. We lightly steamed it and gave him a chunk of the stem to start. Because it's very fibrous like celery, it doesn't come apart easily and he can happily gum it for a while.

Baby Led Weaning at 5.5 Months: Strawberry

At 5 and a half months I'd only do this with a very large strawberry and watch carefully that the entire thing doesn't end up in his mouth. We gave him a ripe one that wasn't too ripe, so he was able to suck on the juicy flesh but the inside was hard and easier to hold onto. It was definitely the most challenging for him to hold, but he managed rather well by mostly sucking the tip of it.
We cut the top leafy green part off, though it would make a good handle if you don't mind your baby potentially eating the leaves.

Baby Led Weaning at 5.5 Months: Watermelon

I thought he'd like watermelon because the cold rind would feel good against his gums, and like cucumber it's mostly just water. I only gave him a bit of flesh so that it wouldn't be too bitter to the taste.
I might experiment with peeling it and just giving him the rind, I think the skin was tough to chew on and not as satisfying. In any case he enjoyed it, though not as much as broccoli.

Baby Led Weaning at 5.5 Months: Celery

I didn't think he'd really like celery because its hard. Turns out that I was wrong, the first time I gave him really fresh and crispy celery it kept him entertain for a good 20 minutes. I really like this as an option because it doesn't come apart easily, and it doesn't require cooking. So it's just something fun for him to hold onto.

Baby Led Weaning at 5.5 Months: Chicken

I tried to give him an actual piece of chicken, but it fell apart way too easily for my comfort level given that he's still only 5 and a half months.
So instead I gave him a bone. I chewed off any potentially loose cartilage to ensure he didn't inhale anything. He surprisingly found it quite enjoyable to gnaw on!

Baby Led Weaning at 5.5 Months: Broccoli

Broccoli was the first food we introduced to our four and a half month old, long before the recommended guidelines of 6 months. We did it thinking it would entertain him and help him practice holding objects, not thinking he'd really ingest much. Turns out he loved it, sucked and swallowed most of the little green tips off the broccoli and it was very easy for him to hold.

We lightly steamed it and let it cool before giving it to him. We also took care to remove any really loose small stems from the sides so he wouldn't suck in an entire stem.

Note that broccoli is known to be difficult to digest, and in the past was recommended to introduce later, around 8-9 months so keep an eye out to see if it upsets your baby's belly if you introduce it early.

The video below is of Wyatt enjoying broccoli for the first time at 4 and a half months old. 

Baby Led Weaning at 5.5 Months: Cucumber

This is one of the first solid foods we introduced to our son, mostly because it seemed safe enough that he wouldn't get too much off to swallow, and I had read that cold it would feel good against his gums. It was a big hit!
Though it's highly recommended to wait until 6 months to give your baby solids, and to start with iron rich foods, we gave this to him at 5 months as he just couldn't keep his hands off our plates.
Tip: If you're weary of baby swallowing anything and just getting started, cut the seeds off.


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