Thursday 27 March 2014

FIRST VEGGIES (For Babies 6months +)

Congratulations Mums and Dads!! Your little angel is half way to one... Yay!!This indeed is a very exciting time for parents (and overwhelming at the same time!), as it is an important milestone for your baby. Till this time your little one has been feeding either on breast milk or formula, and now it’s time for your baby to explore something new i.e. solids or food in simple English. So go Mum, get ready with some special bowls (cups are good)and spoons , oh and don’t forget to have some bibs (long ones)and keep some warm face washers hand. It is going to be outrageously messy! With time the sleepless nights are just going to get a little better, and your little angel will be a lot more effective communicator.
When your baby reaches 6 months the iron store that the baby is born with,(key for baby’s overall development),starts to diminish and needs to be replenished from other sources apart from breast milk or formula. Diet has a serious impact on the baby’s brain, immunity and they need the best food to be able to hearing, tasting, talking and doing all other normal activities well in life.
Here are some important nutrients that your baby will need:
Proteins: Available in meat, cheese, egg, pulses (lentils and beans)and grains
Carbohydrate: wholemeal breads, oats, brown rice and potatoes

Fat: Babies under 2 years need certain amount of fat to support their rapidly growing bodies. It plays an important role in their brain development. Fat is present in meat, cheese, egg, wholemilk, and yoghurt. Animal Food tend to contain saturated fat and is more likely to cause high cholesterol and heart diseases. Vegetables (Avocados) and fish contain unsaturated fats and oil, and they have more kilojules as saturated fat but are good for us.
Iron: The first iron rich food that should be introduced to your baby is iron fortified rice cereals. Red Meat and spinach has the highest iron store.
Calcium: Available in dairy, leafy vegetables, tofu.

Potassium: found in vegetables, fruit , grains. Bananas and rockmelons are high in potassium
Vitamins available in green leafy veggies, fruits, milk , cheese, egg etc. Spinach, cauliflower , lettuce, broccoli, are very high in Vitamin K which is essential for normal blood clotting.

Zinc: Available in brown rice, leafy greens, cucumber, carrots to name a few.

Is you baby ready yet ?
  • Your bay might show the following signs if he/she is ready for more than just milk.
  • Your baby might start to show a keen interest what you and everyone else are putting in their mouth.
  • Your baby must be chewing everything in sight specially hands or toys although that could be signs of teething too
  • They might just start demanding feeds more frequently and might wake up hungry at night.
  • Good head and neck control
  • To be able to sit upright.(with some support)

Getting Ready
When you know its time for your baby to start on solids you might want to get organised a bit. It just makes life a bit easy.
Blender: Although we may call them “solids” the consistency of your baby’s first food needs to be mushy rather runny, more that of a thick shake or smoothies. You may choose to mash food with a fork or may be pass it through a sieve, a blender  or a  hand blender will sure make your life much easier. Your baby is still learning to swallow and she will be taking food using her lips and not tongue. Blending will also help to prevent gagging. A flattish small spoon without sharp edges is recommended. Too big your baby is going to gag, too deep they will not be able to get anything off it!

First Veggies (why root vegetables??)
Root Vegetables are the best first food for your little ones. They are naturally sweet and from my extensive research on google I have found that orange fleshy vegetables like pumpkin, carrot and sweet potatoes are very rich in calcium, beta-carotene, potassium, protein iron and Vitamin C. They are very low in calorie and high in fibre too. These veggies are unlikely to cause allergies in infants and blend to a very smoother consistency. 
Start with carrot, pumpkin, sweet potatoes followed by broccolis, potatoes, parsnips, corns and  green peas.
Don’t rush it. Try one food at a time consistently atleast for 10 times. That way you will know what your baby likes and adverse reactions if any. Your baby’s digestive system is still developing so any harsh food is an absolute “no no”. Once your baby is used to rice cereals mix veggies in them. If you do not want to use blender try grating cooked vegetables. Get creative, mix it up. Try combination of veggies and fruits . Don't forget it is all new experience for your little one. When you put the first mouthful your baby will most likely screw up their face, food will be in and spat back  and they may look at you with an expression on their face that may say something like:“ what do you think you are doing and what was that”!! Stay amused. Stressing is not a solution.. trust me..its all part of the game ! and it 's only going to get better. Feed them before they get too hungry and tired, morning is the best time after they have had their normal milk feed. If they refuse to be fed try again later.
1/2 cup carrot peeled and diced
1/2 cup pumpkin peeled and diced

Water to steam or cook.

1.Steaming your vegetables is the best  as it helps to lock in the nutrients. You may use a vegetable steamer and steam in microwave for about 5-6 mins and then blend to a smooth puree adding some left over water from the steamer.
2. Alternatively, In a saucepan take enough water and add the carrot and pumpkin. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender. Blend them with the left over stock in the saucepan to get a smooth puree.
3.Pressure cooking for atleast 3-4 whistles will do the job as well. You may then blend the vegetables using the left over stock in the pan to a smooth puree.
These  veggies can also be blended using breast milk or formula. Best is to steam them and blend using formula or breastmilk whatever your baby takes.

Other Great Combos:
Pumpkin, sweet potatoes, broccoli
Pumpkin, carrot and apple
Pumpkin, carrot and parsnip.
Green Beans and sweet potatoes
Pumpkin and Potatoes
Carrot and green peas and apricot
Potato, carrot, cauliflower
Avocado and Pumpkin and Sultanas
Broccoli and Potato or Pumpkin
Some Do’s and Dont’s
Do’s : Do give your child meat, fish, cheese, yoghurt, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh fruit juices rice cereals, grains, pulses, legumes
Don’t : give your child salt, sugar,tea, honey, sugary drinks such as store bought juices, sweet and salty biscuits, chocolates. lollies ,nuts  and the like. It is okay to use cows milk in your baby's food however cows milk is also not recommended as a drink until 12 months.
Sugar is not good for your baby’s teeth and they might develope a sweet tooth once they grow up. Salt is harsh on their tiny liver and kidney which is still growing. Adding salt to your babies diet can lead to serious illnesses including high blood pressure and kidney failure. It is important they enjoy the natural flavours of fruits and vegetables. Honey causes serious illness in some babies too called botulism. Hence it is not recommended until the first year.

Ingredients :
1 teaspoon( a knob ) of unsalted butter or olive oil.
1 cup finely diced vegetables (any combination of onion, carrots, celery potatoes, pumpkin, green peas, broccoli, sweet potatoes)
a small stick of cinnamon.(discard before blending)
11/2 cup chicken stock.(depends on consistency)or just water if you prefer.
( I have used pumpkin, carrot and green peas)
In a pan heat butter and add all the veggies and sauté them for 5 mins. Cover with water or stock and bring to boil. Simmer gently for 15-20 mins until the vegetables have cooked through. Check with a fork.
Turn off heat and blend into a smooth puree or fork mash it.
For a more meaty meal add chicken or beef in the soup. You may blend to a smooth texture or else flake it into thin strings with your hands before serving at about (8 months +) for a combination of texture. Remember your baby can chew even with her gums.

As your baby grows and gets used to variety  try a few variation:

Adding pasta or rice to soups adds body. Add them into soup before the chicken stock or water and cook until done
Use your instincts and watch your baby closely. Try different taste and texture depending on what your baby likes. When your baby has good hand control you may even offer lil bread fingers or steamed vegetable fingers to explore. But never ever take your eyes off them while they are eating in order to avoid choking.

BANANA CUSTARD( 7 months +)

1/2 cup cows milk (full cream) ( or formula)
1 small or 1/2 large ripe banana mashed
a few drops of lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
2 tsp custard powder (use only eggless) / or cornflour

In a saucepan prepare custard using milk, custard powder and cinnamon powder (follow packet instruction)
Once custard is ready, cool custard
Mash the banana with some lemon juice and stir into the custard and serve immediately. Remember to check temperature before serving.

Being a first time mum and managing your baby without much help and support of your immediate family ( like myself) is not only hard it can get quite challenging and stressful at certain moments. But if you look at the positive aspect you are the boss. It feels so nice to share all that I have learnt and experienced over the last three years, and thought might be useful and handy to other mums as well. It is fun to do things differently. My message to all mums out there, be kind to yourself and be proud of yourself. Use your own instinct and do whatever makes you and your baby happy. Always remember, it is only you who knows your baby the best. And most of all enjoy your bubs.. they grow up freaking fast!
And now that you have made it till the end of this post take a  deep breath. I am taking mine, Lol. I hope I have been able to cover all those important aspects that you need to know before your baby is ready to start on solids for the first time. It is just handy to have all useful tips and ideas compiled under one roof to make life easy and simple. If you need any clarification regarding anything related to this post or share any thing in particular that might benefit other mums please feel free to leave a comment here or a message on facebook. I hope to add some more  baby and toddler  friendly recipes in the coming weeks.

The idea and inspiration of todays post is adapted from the book :"The Yummy Scrummy In Your Tummy Cookbook" by Sofie Toomey. For more advice on feeding your baby, your babies dietary needs and concerns please talk to your family health nurse or doctor.

Notes:Any excess puree can be frozen in  an airtight containers suitable for freezing baby food. Always allow the food to cool down before freezing and use within 24 hours. You may defrost and reheat in microwave when needed. Always discard any uneaten purees or food and never ever re-offer it to your baby the second time. The saliva mixed with the food gets contaminated with bacteria and your baby can be seriously ill if fed. I have never frozen baby foods and always preferred to make them fresh in small quatity. For more tips on food safety visit this page


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With deep care
EAT as you LIKE


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