Baby food – getting your baby started

Baby food – getting your baby started

Starting your baby on solid foods is both an exciting and daunting milestone for many parents.

I started Baby Chloe a week before her 6 month health check-up.

I know that many people start earlier but I decided that as the current guide lines say you don’t need to start feeding your baby to 6 months old, why over complicate life with an extra task. I also thought this way if I had some questions I knew I could ask at her health check-up.

In hindsight I can see that for some people, starting earlier could be great for exactly the reason I held off. It gives you a daily activity to do. Saying that your baby still needs to be ready to start e.g able to sit up properly in the high chair. You can’t feed them if they are all slumped over 😉

Purees vs baby led weaning

I’m a qualified dance and gymnastics coach, so I’m a big believer in skill progressions. You have to master the basics before you get to the harder skills. So that is the approach I’ve been taking to starting solids. This is the method that you will also find is followed by many feeding specialists. My favourite experts in this field are Rachel Coley from Cando Kiddo and Alisha Grogan from Your Kids Table.

Rachel has a super fab online course that you can do that goes into all the nitty gritty details. You can read the basics of her process here and buy the course here. I know that it probably sounds a little strange to do a course in baby feeding but I found it really helpful. It has given me the knowledge and confidence to create meals that are developmentally right for Baby Chloe. This course doesn’t provide you with recipes but instead gives you a guide about progressing through the different stages and textures of food. At first I thought recipes would have been good as well but this way is better like that saying ‘give a man a fish and you’ve feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ve feed him for life.’

So if you are wondering what is the first progression – yes it is purees!

My fave puree recipes for 6 – 7 month old

I’m a big believer in making life easy, so I did a mixture of store brought purees and home-made purees. This took the pressure off of me having to make everything.

The first week I made up a batch of broccoli puree and sweet potato puree.

The second week I made the Salmon Avocado Sweet Peas and Spinach puree from Buona Pappa and Quinoa Blackberry Avocado and Banana puree also from Buona Pappa (in this recipe I used raspberries instead of blackberries). I love watching Barbara’s youtube videos. She is full of energy and her enthusiasm made me feel like I could super easily make those recipes. So the confidence boost from watching her videos is worth it.

Then from there I tried to make one or two new recipes a week, while still rotating through the ones that we already had down pat.

For breakfast I started with baby rice cereal and then sometimes I would mix a fruit puree through e.g. pear or apple. I then started offering yoghurts at breakfast as well.

Moving on from purees

As Baby Chloe was going quite well with the purees, at about the 3 week mark I started doing some mashes e.g. mashed banana or mashed avocado or mashed canned peaches/pears/apricots (just making sure to get ones low in sugar). If you can find a really soft fresh pear, you can mash it up and then add a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.

At 7 months of age I started her on dissolvable puffs. Just make sure to read the packet carefully to make sure they are suitable for your baby. You want to make sure it melts in the mouth, that way they want choke on it. Some puffs are made for older babies and aren’t quite as melt-in-your-mouth.

Good nutrition

As the lovely Barbara from Buona Pappa says in her videos I tried to make foods that had brain boosting ingredients e.g. the essential fatty acids in avocados and oily fish. So I do avocado at least twice a week and salmon twice a week.

To make sure Baby Choe is getting a variety of nutrients I tend to think in colours – as different coloured foods have different vitamins. So if she had something green for lunch I’ll try to give her something orange for dinner.

The most important nutrient that health professionals get concerned about is iron. From 6 months of age your baby needs more iron in their diet. This is why most baby cereals are iron fortified, so it’s probably a good idea to include some baby cereal for breakfast each week.

Do I need any special tools to make baby food?

For a few weeks I was obsessed with the idea of getting a Baby Bullet. It looked so cute and seemed to be a great way to make baby food. However I decided to first try and use my own blender and guess what? It worked fine. Also the Baby Bullet is made by the same people who make the Magic Bullet/Nutri-bullet, so it’s really the same thing just with cute graphics and tiny containers.

After watching some videos from Buona Pappa I realised that I already owned a steamer basket! Hilariously I had one and I didn’t even know what it was for… I thought it was some sort of thing that stopped hot food from burning your benchtop. Ops!

So armed with a steamer and a blender I was off and racing.

Storage

Your baby will seriously have two or three spoonfuls of food (if you are lucky!). So you’ll need to store the food in the fridge if you are going to use it again in the next day or so or pop it in the freezer. I really liked using this style of stackable little pots. Some of my other mommy friends prefer to do it in an ice cube tray and then pop the cubes out into a freezer zip locked bag. So feel free to try that as well.

Do you have any fave recipes or tips for starting solids? Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts 😊

Newborn bedtime routine

Newborn bedtime routine

Newborn bedtime routine

Those early days with a newborn can be pretty tough. I found having a simple bedtime routine made me feel a little more in control of the situation. So when Chloe was a newborn I did the following mini bedtime routine:

  • Fresh nappy (obviously)
  • Leg massage (I didn’t use any special technique – just what I thought would feel nice)
  • Pajamas on
  • Lavender spray around the cot (mostly for me) – ThisWorks Deep Sleep Pillow Spray is a good one
  • Bedtime story – Guess How Much I Love You was one of our early favourites
  • Feed

We found this routine helped Chloe know that it was now time for sleep. However you should be warned that newborns wake up, a lot!! They need to feed their little bellies. So you won’t be getting much sleep. Sorry…

Getting a crying newborn baby to go to sleep

Unfortunately you will find that your newborn baby will cry a lot, generally the crying stage peeks at about 6 weeks and then starts to ease off. I found that the following helped me through that time:

  • Understanding that it is a completely different world for your baby. There is no snuggley womb or relaxing whooshing sounds.
  • Knowing that it doesn’t matter what you do – babies cry, it is there only way of communicating. So relax you are doing a wonderful job!

The thing that worked best for Baby Chloe was cuddling, while walking and singing. One sleep deprived day I made up this song to help pass the time, feel free to adapt and sing to your baby…

The windy wafts, the windy wafts
Poor Baby Chloe’s got the windy wafts
They don’t feel nice and she doesn’t like when she gets the windy wafts

FYI – the windy wafts is an upset tummy. Sometimes when I was tired I would accidentally sing ‘windy wasps’… Which would make me laugh.

I also did a lot of shussshing which is surprisingly very relaxing and would often send me off to sleep before the baby.

Baby sleepwear

Many newborn babies love to be swaddled as it helps stop the startle reflex from waking them up at night. You can wrap them up like a little burrito using a wrap or use a sleep sack. I love newborn sleep sacks as you don’t have to worry so much about your wrapping technique, you just zip them in.

For Baby Chloe, she loved a snug burrito wrap the first few days at the hospital. The nurses at the maternity ward are burrito wrapping experts!

The first night at home we put her in a sleep sack and she loved it. After that night she hated both sleep sacks and being wrapped up. So from then on we put her in a onesie for night time sleeps and for day time sleeps we just had her wearing whatever outfit she was currently wearing.

What are your best newborn sleeping tips?

Reading to your baby – 6 to 7 months old

Reading to your baby – 6 to 7 months old

I really enjoy reading books to our baby. I love to read in general and children’s books are super fun.

Here is a round-up of Baby Chloe’s favourite books for months 6 and 7.

Where is Little Fish? by Lucy Cousins

A lift the flaps board book about a game of hide and seek with different fish – stripy fish, twisty twirly fish, curly whirly fish, shelly fish, crab and of course little fish and mummy fish.

The flaps are quite sturdy. Four of them flip down and are easy for my baby to reveal if I pop my finger under the top of the flap. The other two she hasn’t mastered yet. One flips up and one diagonally.

The storyline is simple for a baby, the illustrations bright and happy and the last page mentions kisses. Which is a fun way to finish the book with kisses on your baby.

Black and White by Jane Foster

Baby Chloe has been loving this book since she was a newborn. It features black and white animals and flowers on a coloured background. The book labels and describes each object e.g ‘mooing cow’, ‘happy little penguin’ and ‘lovely flowers with dots’. I enjoy this one too.

Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton

She loves this book and I find myself quoting this book during the day. Especially when preparing meals as I may have put Chloe in her highchair and she starts to get a bit huffy, so I recite from the book ‘Rhinosaurs snort and snuff, and little dogs go ruff ruff ruff…’ It certainly changes her tune.

This book also ties in well with playtime. We have some bath animal farm toys and I can pick these up throughout the story and use them as props. You could use any farm animal toys that you have. I’ve also used chunky puzzle pieces.

The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

This has been a favourite for a while now. However, now that she is older she has her favourite pages. So I often skip around and only read the pages that she likes. She doesn’t love the four pages were the Pout Pout Fish chats to his friends. She loves the ending of this book. It includes lots of smoochy kisses and she loves the purple fish and the Pout Pout Fish’s cheerie cheery face.

The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton

Originally I was alternating between reading this book and Moo Baa La La La also by Sandra Boynton but lately I have been using this book as part of our bedtime routine and Moo Baa La La La as a book for playtime.

This book includes all the usual bedtime routine jazz e.g having a bath, putting on pajamas and teeth brushing in a fun way. I can see this book growing with Chloe as there is lots of things to discuss e.g the different animals and it talks about ‘on top’ and ‘beneath’ as well as ‘big’ and ‘small’.

Goodnight Sophie

When Chloe was born, my mum gave her a set of four Sophie the Giraffe books. This one is part of our bedtime routine and the other three I try to alternate them each week.

This is a simple but sweet book that goes through the bedtime routine.

This book is very pastel in colour and although Chloe has had this book since being a newborn, it didn’t capture her interest to just before she turned 6 months old. I think this was due to the colours being too light and she couldn’t see it properly as a baby’s eyesight doesn’t fully develop to about 6 months old.

What kinds of books are good developmentally for this age?

Every baby is different but you’ll find that babies aged six to seven months like:

  • books with animal sounds
  • lift a flap books
  • touch and feel books
  • books about babies routine – eg bath time, bed time etc.

You know how I just said that every baby is different? Well many babies in this age range like touch and feel books but my baby doesn’t seem to be interested in them yet… or I haven’t found the right one to keep her interest! So don’t worry if your baby is like this too. Just go with the flow and read books that both you and your baby enjoy together.

How I do it?

I try to read to baby Chloe everyday. The trick is to make it part of your daily routine. Sometimes I miss a day or even a few days and I try to stay relaxed about this and be kind to myself. I figure that if I manage to do it most days than I’m headed in the right direction.

If I’m organised, on Sunday nights I try to put a stash of 5 or 6 books by the reading chair in Chloe’s nursery. I’m using this cute little chair from IKEA as a place to stack the books.

I then put some on the floor and some on the lower shelf. By Monday lunchtime the books are sprawled everywhere.

I was using this super cute book stand from IKEA. But now Chloe keeps trying to pull up on it and it is tipping onto her. Ops! So I’m going to have to put that in the cupboard until she is a bit older.

Why do I have books everywhere? So that she can work on her book handling skills. Being able to hold a book and turn the pages is an important pre-reading skill. Although at the moment all she does is pick them up and chew on the corners, yummy!

The challenges of reading to a 6 – 7 month old baby

Chloe often likes to chew on the book. If this happens I either let her chew it and select another book to read to her or I swap the book for a teether type toy. I often have a little playgro giraffe hanging on the edge of the chair for just this situation, you can get similar Bright Starts one from Amazon. During her bedtime routine I have a teether from Nuby ready to go, she loves this thing and it is sooo cheap!

I’ve also found that Chloe likes to turn the book around and flip back to the front cover. I think she is trying to figure out how all these pictures fit inside the book. When this happens I sometimes stop reading to point out the front cover, back cover and spine of the book or if I’m feeling a bit sleep deprived I just let her play with the book for a bit and once she has stopped spinning it around I begin reading it again. Understanding that the book is made up of a front cover, back cover and spine is also an important pre-reading skill.

Sometimes Chloe will stop paying attention and start investigating the arm of the chair. If this happens I might swap to another book or keep reading depending how far into the book I am. If it is a favourite book, she seems to look back to the book as I get to her favourite parts.

The Pout Pout Fish is quite a long narrative for a baby and when I first started reading it to her I would read just a few pages until eventually we worked up to reading the whole book. And then I could read the whole book no problems but now sometimes as I mentioned earlier, she likes to skip through to her favourite pages and that is perfectly ok!

Over to you

I’d love to hear what books you are reading with your baby. So please let me know in the comments your fave books and the age of your baby.

A new start…

A new start…

Hello to my lovely readers! I can’t believe how long it has been.

We had baby Chloe in January this year and it has just changed my life and perspective more than I could have imagined. I thought I’d get back to blogging in a few weeks but I have been in a loved-up bubble for the past 9 months and it has been wonderful. I don’t regret taking the time out for a second.

I’m returning to blogging, so I can share this wonderful new adventure with you all. I have found reading and watching (hello YouTube – my new found bestie!) about other Mama’s journey’s to be so helpful on my own journey and I’d like to be a part of that community.

I know that previously I have blogged mainly about subscription boxes, so I’ll understand if my new Mama content isn’t quite for you. I’ll still be doing subscription box reviews but I’m also going to do posts about Mom life as well. I’m super excited about this new direction for my blog and I look forward to hearing about your experiences too!

My baby subscription wish list – October 2017

My baby subscription wish list – October 2017

It’s been exciting times at Joy in the Post as we are expecting our first baby in January.

So as someone who loves subscription boxes I’ve been comparing the different baby subscription boxes to decide which ones I’d like to get for my little bundle of joy.

As a first time mama I’m really not sure of what is going to be good for me and my family. So I’m excited to try out lots of different things. I also want to be prepared, as I know that I don’t cope very well on little sleep and I want to have know that I have got the right gear for being a mama handy.

I’ve narrowed down my list of boxes to try to my top three (in no particular order):

Ecocentric Mom

Ecocentric Mom – I want to do what’s best for my baby but also the environment, so I like that this box features non-toxic, organic and natural products. I feel like there is so much research to do to find good eco products and I think this box will take out some of the guess work and make it easier to get familiar with brands and products that are eco and baby friendly.

Bluum

Bluum – I like that this box is curated to your babies age. I think this will make it easier to have age appropriate items on hand at the right time. I’ve been reading a few different baby development books (e.g. The Wonder Weeks: How to Stimulate Your Baby’s Mental Development and Help Him Turn His 10 Predictable, Great, Fussy Phases into Magical Leaps Forward and Brain Rules for Baby)  which is why I think it’s so important to have the right toys and books at the right stage and I think Bluum will help me with this.

Flower Child Mystery MCN Box

Flower Child Mystery MCN Box – I’m planning to use cloth diapers and I thought this would be a good way to try different brands and really figure out what is going to work for us. I subbed to this box a few weeks ago and I am hoping that it will arrive in the mail in the next two weeks. The website says that it is mailed around the 28th of each month.

Tell me what you think

What is your favourite baby subscription box? I’d love to know!