Christmas Cheer

Posted by Linda on Tuesday Jan 6, 2009 Under About, Drinks, Eating Out, Freya, Weaning

Now although we follow a Pagan path in our household, we enjoy Christmas dinner as much as the next person, and presents, and lights, and decorations etc. So we were obviously excited about Freya’s first Christmas. We had bought her a few present, but didn’t go overboard as at 9 months I don’t think she was really aware of anything except that there were all these boxes that she wasn’t allowed to touch. Dinner was going to be a simple affair as we were having Christmas day alone and then seeing family on Boxing day. I got a large chicken breast joint thing from Sainsbury and did mashed potato, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. Tony isn’t that keen on roast potato so I didn’t see the point and I don’t mind mashed potato. The idea was to have this at lunch time but we didn’t dressed until late so by the time I was ready to cook Freya was already begging for food so instead we put her out of her agony with some lunch and did it for the evening meal. It was almost perfect. The mashed potato was creamy and smooth and the chicken well cooked, but I couldn’t help thinking that there was something missing. It wasn’t until three days later, when we had come back from visiting relatives, I realised that in the oven lay some roast sweet potatoes now all cold and shrivelled. Never mind. Freya really enjoyed what we gave her anyway.

Boxing Day we went to my sister’s house for a party. I had to be more careful about what she ate there as it was mostly processed snacks and crisps. She was a little tired and overwhelmed to eat properly anyway, but I think she had a mini sausage, some bread and some pineapple and cheese on sticks. My sister in law was very impressed that she was drinking from a cup, but remained sceptical about baby led weaning even though Freya did demonstrate that it was perfectly safe. She even showed her a little gag and was very surprised to find herself being patted on the back. ;-)

That night we stayed with Freya’s great grandparents and she decided that this was so exciting that she couldn’t possibly go to sleep before 11.30pm and even then she tried to put up a fight when I realised she was getting grumpy. I had packed a small selection of foodstuff so that if she got hungry I had something for her. A banana, some plums and a rice cake. As she hadn’t eaten much at my sister’s, she ate the plum before bed and I think I gave her the banana in the morning. The poor old rice cake didn’t get a look in.

Although I’m glad I took the extra snacks, it was really liberating to have her just eat what was available and enjoy it. She really isn’t that fussy and will eat whatever is put in front of her with minimal fuss. We had taken the Bumbo with us so wherever we were we could sit on the floor with her. She certainly doesn’t mind sitting at the table but until I can get hold of one of those seats that you can strap to the dining chairs it’s the floor I’m afraid.

The only other thing to report is that Freya is now showing signs of preferring certain foods (pasta) over others and we are also getting to the stage of her eating things one day and then not touching them the next. I’m not worried. All I can do is offer it and, if she doesn’t want it, I eat it or it goes in the bin. It’s not like I’ve gone to any extra effort making food just for her. That’s the beauty of baby led weaning.

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Two teeth

Posted by Linda on Tuesday Dec 23, 2008 Under About, Eating Out, Freya, Linda, Weaning

Freya has two teeth now. The second one is coming through a bit crooked, but then she is my daughter so it’s not entirely surprising. I had to have a brace for two years for all the good it did me. As soon as my wisdom teeth came through my entire bottom set just went back as crooked as they ever were. I really hope she gets better treatment than I had if she needs it.

Food has still been going very well. I read about other people have blips and bumps, but as yet we haven’t had any although every day I expect her to turn around and just not eat anything. Even when she has a cold she loves solid food. I guess it’s easy to eat than her usual breast milk in some ways.

She was weighed at 8 months and hadn’t put on very much weight at all. She had dropped below the 9th percentile, if you take much notice of those things, but I am only mildly concerned. I know that I have a healthy, happy and hugely energetic little girl. She looks so long and slim though just like Daddy!

We went out for Tony’s Christmas meal on the 13th and I was really torn about leaving Freya. A friend of ours looked after her and I knew that Freya would be perfectly safe, but I was worried that she would cry the whole time we were gone and the friend would never look after her again or even never want to see us again!

I packed Freya a lunch of pasta, creme fraiche, sausage, chicken, courgette and red pepper. I threw the courgette and red pepper in the water that I was cooking the pasta in and it worked really well. I think I used chives and paprika. I wasn’t expecting her to eat much to be honest. I thought she would miss Mummy and Daddy too much but I made much more than I thought she would eat just to be on the safe side. To be honest it tasted so good that I wondered if our Christmas dinner was going to be as nice!

How wrong can you be? Not only was she grinning happily when we arrived to pick her up, she had eaten most of her dinner (a few lonely pieces of pasta and courgette hadn’t made it and lay strewn across the floor – sorry Emma) and she had only had a little grizzle once in the four hours we were gone. I was proud, relieved and perhaps oddly a little hurt. There is the realisation that actually she doesn’t need me and Tony as much as we would like to believe.

Anyway, Freya eats three meals a day now, even if we have to wake her up for dinner. The day we didn’t she woke at 11pm, was really angry and would not go back to sleep! Banana still seems to be the best food for breakfasting in bed (although she makes us laugh when she eats it) although she has been trying to steal some of our toast again lately.

Lunch remains pita breads, normally with cheese, carrot and cumin, as they are so very easy and I know that Freya will eat them and enjoy them. Plum for afters.

Dinner is whatever we have although I did give her fish the other day instead of burgers. Since Tony hates the smell of fish I was very careful about washing up straight away and dealing with Freya eating it. It seemed to be successful and Freya liked it. I’m glad, as fish is supposed to be good for them. Much more is going in now than ever before. We pick her up afterwards expecting to see stuff all over her legs but with the exception of rice there is very little mess. The other day I noticed that when she dropped something, even if it was seemingly on purpose, she would reach down and pick it up and continue eating.

Just one last tip – When your baby is eating and you want to take a photo, don’t leave the knife you were using to cut the pita breads up in front of them… :-p

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Bite the meatball…

Posted by Anthony on Saturday Dec 6, 2008 Under Eating Out, Freya, New Food, Weaning

We took Freya to Ikea for dinner and, knowing how much of our food we normally have to give her, gave her a plate of her own.  Five meatballs and two big boiled potatoes sat staring up at her next to her own dollop of lingonberry sauce.

The first thing she did was to take a large handful of sauce and eat it.  Even I would be hesitant to eat that sauce on its own, but that is what she did.  As expected, it was a little much for her and she did not like it.  She tried a meatball, but could not find the pruchase to open it.  I cut one open, she tried to swallow it whole.  She chewed half-balls quite well, but ended up spitting them out quite soon.

By now, the floor was looking like a meatball battleground; chip-spears (stolen from our plates) lay discarded by the gravely-wounded meatballs, who lay dying in little pools of lingonberry blood.  Some were barely wounded, others were torn asunder.  One or two had almost made it away from the carnage, only to lie inert in the path beside which this awful tragedy had taken place.

Freya herself looked like she had been in an accident of some kind; her face, hands and sleeves were red with sauce and red fingerprints decorated every pale surface within range.

She was brought home, bathed and put to bed eventually.

This morning, we discovered evidence of the event that we had been awaiting so eagerly.  This morning, we saw the first tooth to break free of its gummy captivity.  This morning, we brushed the sharp implement of destruction and nipple-mutilation.  And it is sharp.  I was not sure what I expected, but it hurt to run my finger along it, like a knife or prepared flint.  This thing, this incisor, could easily break skin and excise flesh.

My daughter is now armed, a warrior in the fight against the edible invaders…  She will find them in the dining room, she will eat them in the bedroom and she will nibble them in her buggy.  Never have so many foodstuffs had so much to fear from one small child…

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Three meals a day!

Posted by Linda on Friday Oct 24, 2008 Under About, Cutlery, Drinks, Eating Out, Freya, New Food, Weaning

Suddenly we think Freya has got it. No longer is this about play. Freya now eats and eats and takes a good long time over it too.

Tony cooked for the first time that we have been weaning Freya on Sunday and we had sausage pasta. We have given up just now with the pasta so Freya gets a slice of toast instead with the sauce, but this was the first time she didn’t seem to want to get out of her Bumbo. She carried on exploring and eating long past us finishing our dinners. It was especially amusing to see her examining the toast towards the end. It looked as if she was considering the quality and vintage – turning it over and over, having a little nibble, feeling it. It was great fun to watch.

I have been a little more adventurous with what I take out with me now. On Wednesday I took melon, chicken and rice cake. I think bringing breakfast into the equation has led to a decline in lunch so she just has a nibble now.

Breakfasts… Well, she has always enjoyed toast and bagels so that stays on the menu but we do get a bit fed up of the crumbs and sharing our breakfast so I bought some fruit and custard pots from Heinz I think they were. I do like the idea of her eating more fruit and since she finds it easier to spoon feed herself rather than pick up slimy fruit I thought we could give it a go even though it may count as goop. They are just fruit and milk, nothing extra, no added sugar or anything. We tried a little for breakfast Wednesday morning and she seemed to like it although we decanted half a pot and she had maybe half of that. However, that was the morning come the evening…

Tuesday evening was very unusual. I was planning cottage pie but in the end did jacket potato with a mince topping. Freya had scooped out potato mixed with the mince and baked bean mix. Since we hadn’t had too much luck with mince so far I didn’t expect her to eat much. We loaded the spoon and wondered what would happen and whether I would be going back to the toaster for our reliable back up. No need. She loved it. Spoon after spoon went in. She still hasn’t grasped the idea of filling the spoon herself but after it’s loaded and handed to her it goes straight in. She ate more that night than I had ever seen her eat.

Wednesday the same thing happened (even though i can’t remember what it was we had). This time she still seemed hungry after having nommed on everything we had given her. I ran to the fridge and cut some melon, but she’s actually not too fussed about melon. Then I remembered the half a pot of fruit custard. She finished it completely. Admittedly there was quite a lot on the bib afterwards but again I was amazed at the quantity that she managed. She was still looking round for more food after so back to the kitchen again for some rice cake. After a brief feed on the rice cake she was finally done and went for a much needed bath.

Last night we had the evil burger and chips. I had bought some veggie burgers as I thought they might be lower in salt as the veggie sausages were. How wrong can you be? The veggie burger had twice the amount of salt that the beef burger had! I cut just a sliver of each off for Freya and gave her some chips which have practically no salt at all unless you cover them in it yourself. Ugh! She loved it all although we didn’t share our burger bun this time. She was again hungry after so I got a whole pot of fruit custard for her and some melon. She had a quick suck on the melon before going back to the discarded chips, but the fruit pot… She ate the whole thing and I suspect could have managed another one if we’d let her.

Damn you Heinz! Making it so easy for me to give my child fruit in the form of mush. Still, since she feeds herself I think it can still count…

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The two Bs of baby led weaning

Posted by Linda on Thursday Oct 16, 2008 Under Eating Out, Freya, New Food, Weaning

There are two items which seems to be considered ‘must try’ food for baby led weaning and I confess that, up to now, we hadn’t.  These are broccoli and bananas. Well we have now.

The broccoli I wanted to try as it is supposed to be very healthy and easy for babies to grasp. Freya didn’t seem to mind it and, considering it takes moments in the microwave, it will probably be something I will do now and again. She wouldn’t use the handles on the trees though. She did it her own way.

Today at lunch time the bananas I bought a week ago finally looked ripe. I don’t know where I got this tip but it worked wonders. Cut the banana in half or thirds and gently separate into sticks. Bananas naturally divide into three. You get three really nice fingers that stay together really well when grabbed by little fingers, but are soft enough to be gummed. No slippy mess. As we hadn’t tried banana before I gave her it first and I had pita bread on standby in case it wasn’t liked. With baby led weaning it really doesn’t matter so much about savoury/sweet. She ate most of the banana but then wanted her tray taken away. She still seemed to be interested in food though so I then gave her the pita which she ate without the Bumbo tray. There was very little mess. A few blobs of banana and that was about it. I made sure that there wasn’t a huge amount of hummus in the pita so it would squish out.

Yesterday dinner was a disaster for us adults so I won’t even bother to mention it, but at lunch time we were out and I took rice cakes with us. I tried them with hummus this time and although I didn’t think the hummus travelled well, very dry, Freya ate practically a whole cake. The most I’ve seen until now was half. I need to think of other things to take out with us though. I don’t want to bore her.

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Another day, another dinner

Posted by Anthony on Sunday Sep 14, 2008 Under Eating Out, Weaning

Yesterday, we went to a Harvester (a common restaurant/bar in the UK) for my birthday lunch.  As a birthday lunch, it was a little delayed (my birthday was actually last week), but Freya enjoyed herself.

We were not too sure what to give her.  There was a salad-cart, but it was self-service and so we decided not to risk it; some of the other diners were shorter than the sneeze-guards, for a start.  Instead, we tried a bit of bread roll.  Freya loves bread.  (the scientist in the back of my head reminds me that it may be the amylase in her saliva converting all the starch to sugar, since she does gum it a long time before swallowing)

Curiously, that seems to be her favourite.  We tried a cooled, un-salted chip.  She gummed it a little, sucked some of the mushy potato from the middle, and then dropped it.  She was much more interested in my dinner.  Thai-style chicken is probably very nice when you are 6-months old, but I wasn’t sure about it.  The last thing I would need is a choking baby this early. (edit: in hindsight, I think choking was not something I needed to worry about – over a year later, I don’t think she has ever even gagged without dealing with it – either by coughing it up or sticking her hand in her mouth to move it – faster than we could respond and trust me when I say that you respond fast when you see it)

She finished with breast-milk and fell happily asleep.  Of course, she still hasn’t had a poo since we started seriously weaning her a few days back, but that might just be coincidence; sometimes she just stops going for a while.  That might be something to watch out for.

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