How early is too early to start introducing solid foods?

How early is too early to start introducing solid foods?

I am often contacted by parents whose baby of 22-24 weeks is showing interest in solid food. They are wary of starting too early,  yet feel their baby is giving them a clear lead that s/he is ready. While I am unable to offer specific guidance for individual babies, my general response to this dilemma is as follows.

 

I would like to thank Gill Rapley, the one who coined the term Baby Led Weaning (BLW) who wrote the text below. Please check out her website for more information at rapleyweaning.com.

 

The 6-months ‘rule’

I always refer to the 6-months ‘rule’ because it keeps babies safe from premature interference with their eating. However, my actual position, based on my research and clinical experience, is that whatever an individual baby is ready to do is probably what’s right for that baby. There is good reason to believe that those developmental abilities that are visible to us (sitting upright etc.) are a reliable indicator of the maturity of that baby’s (internal) digestive system – nature very rarely makes mistakes. So, if a full-term, healthy baby can (genuinely) sit upright, grasp food and get it to his mouth UNAIDED, then he’s probably ready to do just that. If he’s also ready to chew it – and perhaps even swallow it – that’s fine, but it is more likely that these skills will follow in due course.

 

I make a point of emphasizing the six months ‘rule’, even though I don’t consider it to be cast in stone. This is because it’s all too easy for those who don’t understand the concept of BLW to misinterpret any suggestion that starting earlier than this is acceptable. This can be the beginning of a slippery slope into dangerous practices, which I absolutely do not condone.

 

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It’s really exciting to start foods but this baby isn’t quite ready yet!

 

What is the ultimate goal?

The problem is that it’s tempting to see more ability in one’s child than is actually there, and to offer that little bit of help to enable them to achieve a particular goal. This includes: providing extra support to sit up or reach out, guiding their arm towards their mouth, or – worse – putting the food into their mouth ‘for them’. Mostly, this doesn’t matter, but when it comes to eating, a baby’s ability – or inability – to manage the necessary sequence of actions is an important safety factor. ‘Helping’ them over a hurdle they cannot yet manage for themselves is potentially hazardous.

 

It’s useful to remember that the ‘achievement’ of eating is the adult’s goal, not the child’s. The baby doesn’t know that’s what the point of all this is. She is just finding out how her own body, and the things around her, work. If she doesn’t manage to get the food to her mouth, sowhat? She hasn’t ‘failed’ – and she has no sense of needing help. Her parents’ role is to give her the OPPORTUNITY to do whatever she is ready to do. Whether that be touching food, picking it up, licking it, biting it, chewing it and/or swallowing it – or none of the above – not to enable her to do something she can’t yet manage. Six months represents an average age of readiness, in the same way that most babies take their first step around their firstbirthday.

 

Is 6 months the ‘magic’ age?

Clearly some will be ready to walk earlier – and some later – than that. We don’t try to prevent those who are ready earlier from walking before the ‘correct’ age. If we are prepared to accept that a good proportion of babies will not be ready to feed themselves with solid foods until they are seven, eight or nine months, then it is perfectly reasonable to allow that there will also be a few who may begin before they reach the ‘magic’ age of six months. The crucial point, as I see it, is that the move should be spontaneous and autonomous.

 

In my opinion, arguments about the ‘right’ age for introducing solid foods are important only if it’s the parent, not the baby, who decides when putting food into her/his mouth should begin – as happens, of course, with spoon feeding. Such arguments are redundant if the decision is made by the baby because all babies develop eating skills in a set sequence, in line with their overall maturity. Theoretically, there is no reason why a baby of one or two months old should not be offered the opportunity to sit upright and pick food up from a plate.

 

What stops this being a sensible option is not that this is the ‘wrong’ age but that the baby simply isn’t capable of it. The same would apply at three, four and five months. It is extremely unlikely that any infant under about five and a half months would, without any ‘help’, be able to get more than a taste of solid food. Those that can are the exception, not the rule. Provided this is fully understood, starting solids ‘early’ does not, in my view, constitute a problem.

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         Here’s a 5-month-old baby who is not ready to start complementary foods

What are the words to describe what is happening?

A key challenge in all this is that we don’t have the right words to describe the introduction of solid foods when the baby is in control. ‘Starting solids’ with spoon feeding and purees means someone else putting food into the baby’s mouth on a day decided by them. But ‘starting solids’ using BLW simply means providing babies with the opportunity to eat if and when they want to and are able to. It’s up to the baby to take it from there.

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

 

To get all the information you need about introducing complementary foods, sign up for my online course at blw.jessicacoll.com . You’ll get my unlimited support and all the answers to your questions.

I want to know: how early did you start solid foods with your baby? Comment below!

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Can you switch to BLW? Can you do a bit of both?

Can you switch to BLW? Can you do a bit of both?

 

I get lots of questions about whether it’s possible to switch from conventional weaning to baby-led weaning (BLW), or to do a bit of both. I also hear stories about parents being asked to leave online groups because they aren’t ‘true’ BLWers. So I thought it was about time I explained my thinking on all of this.

 

First off, I’d like to thank Gill Rapley who wrote this text. I agree with what she wrote so decided to not re-write it all. I’m sharing her text here to reach out to more parents interested in getting more information about Baby Led Weaning (BLW) to make sure they are doing it safely. To find out more about Gill (the one who coined the term BLW), check out rapleyweaning.com.

 

What is BLW?

 

Parents are often asked “Are you doing BLW or are you spoon feeding?”. But the real question should be “Are you taking a baby-led approach to weaning or a conventional one?” This is because baby-led weaning (BLW) isn’t a feeding method, it’s a fundamental approach to babies and food. It’s about how you view your baby’s capabilities in relation to eating, not just whether or not you feed her with a spoon.

 

BLW encompasses offering healthy foods, sharing family mealtimes, making sure only your baby puts food into her mouth, and trusting her to know whether to eat, what to eat, how much and how quickly – as well as offering her graspable foods from the outset and letting her pick them up with her hands. It’s quite possible to decide not to use spoons and purees without fully embracing the trust and respect for your baby that is what BLW is really all about.

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

 

Can we ‘switch’ to BLW?

 

Yes! I firmly believe that it’s never too late to switch to BLW. While a baby who has been started on purees and spoon feeding can’t truly be defined as having been fully BLW’d (see Why definitions matter, below), that doesn’t mean that he and his parents can’t be said to be currently following a BLW approach. It’s no different from a mother who starts off formula feeding and then switches to breastfeeding – her baby won’t have been ‘exclusively breastfed’ but they are nevertheless a breastfeeding couple now. Everyone is entitled to change their approach when they learn something new, or when they discover that what they’ve chosen isn’t working for them.

 

Can we ‘do a bit of both’?

 

This is a tricky one. I am totally in favour of parents doing whatever works best for them and their child. If this involves a combination of spoon feeding and self-feeding, so be it. What this isn’t, though, is a combination of BLW and conventional weaning – it’s really just conventional weaning, but starting at six months (from when the introduction of finger foods alongside spoon-fed pureed or mashed food has always been recommended). BLW is about more than just offering your baby food to pick up – it’s about trusting him to know what he needs. If you’re topping him up with a spoon after he’s had a go with his hands, then you’re not really doing that. The bottom line is that trusting your baby and not quite trusting him are simply not compatible. So, while doing some self-feeding and some spoon feeding may work for you, it’s not BLW.

 

A lot of parents who say they are ‘doing a bit of both’ are in fact just following conventional weaning, without realising it. The reason is to do with timing: BLW was beginning to be talked about at around the same time (2002) as the minimum recommended age for solid feeding was changing from four months to six months. The result is that many parents don’t realise that finger foods were already recommended from six months – alongside purees – prior to this. They therefore believe that offering their baby any finger foods means they are ‘doing (some) BLW’.

 

Why definitions matter

 

Does the definition of BLW really matter? I believe it does, for two reasons. First, it matters for parents who are hearing about BLW for the first time. If they are to make an informed decision about how they want to approach weaning with their baby they need to understand the underpinning ethos of BLW. If they don’t, they may implement only part of it and then be dismayed when it doesn’t ‘work’. Worse, they may do something dangerous, such as putting lumps of food into their baby’s mouth ‘for her’, which could lead to her choking.

 

The second reason I believe the definition matters is to enable an increase in knowledge about children and food – globally. If what we think may be the lifelong benefits for babies of being BLW’d (better eating habits, less risk of obesity etc.) are to be proven – or even disproven – by research, then studies need to define clearly and unambiguously what ‘true’ BLW is. If researchers set out to compare babies who have been BLW’d with babies weaned the conventional way without accurately defining what those terms mean, then there is a real risk that some babies will be said to have been BLW’d when, for example, they had purees for the first two weeks, or were routinely spoon-fed at certain meals, or were always fed separately from the rest of the family. This muddying of the waters would make the results of the research meaningless, and could well mean that some of the real benefits of BLW don’t show up. (It’s the same as researchers’ insistence, nowadays, on a clear definition of ‘exclusive breastfeeding’; it’s only since the importance of this has been appreciated that the real differences between breastfeeding and formula feeding have begun to emerge.)

 

Belonging to the ‘club’

 

So what does this mean for BLW groups and forums? Should parents who are ‘doing a bit of both’, or who started off following a conventional approach and then ‘switched’ to BLW be allowed to be members of the BLW ‘club’? My answer is yes, I think they should. While I do believe it’s important for everyone to be clear whether what they are doing is or isn’t ‘true’ BLW, I don’t believe anyone should feel ostracised for not choosing (or being able) to follow it to the letter. Everyone is different: for some, their support network of family and friends is pro-BLW, while others face resistance every day. Some babies have specific medical or developmental challenges that impact on their eating. For many parents, being able to share others’ experiences is what gives them the courage to keep going at the level they are, or to make the leap to ‘full’ BLW.

 

People meet at different points along the parenting route but we can still be friends and travel together, sharing what we have in common while at the same time respecting our differences. While it’s not helpful to admit people whose intention is to make trouble, I like to think anyone who is genuinely interested in finding out more about BLW would be made to feel welcome in a BLW group.

 

Check out my BLW Online Course for parents at blw.jessicacoll.com to get all the answers to your questions. In this course accessible 24/7 and worldwide, you get to ask me an unlimited number of questions and I answer them very quickly. Once again, I would like to thank Gill Rapley for writing this text.

I want to know: Did you take a baby-led approach to weaning or a conventional one? Comment below!

bites, babies, blw, baby led weaning, baby food, recipe

Cherry tomato bites for babies

Cherry tomato bites for babies

 

Today I’m sharing a brand new recipe that I created for babies: Cherry Tomato Bites for Babies. It’s super simple with only a few ingredients. These cherry tomato bites can be served at any time of the day and can even be frozen and reheated to eat on the go. The texture is absolutely perfect for Baby Led Weaning (BLW).

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

 

bites, babies, blw, baby led weaning, baby food, recipe

 

Lots of parents ask me why I use so many eggs in the recipes I create for babies. Here’s one reason: according to new research, feeding eggs to infants could provide them with key nutrients for better brains.

 

So, how do you prep these delicious cherry tomato bites for babies?

 

Here are the ingredients that I used to prep this recipe:

 

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Place 6 eggs in a bowl and add warm water.

 

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Beat the mixture until it’s foamy like this:

 

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Then, add spices and spinach with cheese (optional) and mix well. Add the sliced cherry tomatoes and bake in the oven.

 

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bites, babies, blw, baby led weaning, baby food, recipe

 

Ingredients

6 eggs

2 tbsp warm water

2 cloves of garlic

½ cup fresh basil (or 1 tbsp dried basil)

½ tsp ground pepper

1 cup spinach, chopped

1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

12 cherry tomatoes, sliced

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line muffin tins. Place eggs in a large bowl and add water. Beat until foamy on high speed, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, basil, pepper, spinach and cheese. Mix well. Pour the mixture into 12 lined muffin tins and place the sliced cherry tomatoes on top of each bite. Bake in oven for 20 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

 

I want to know: will you serve these at breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack? Comment below!

 

 

 

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Can babies eat foods grilled on the barbecue?

Can babies eat foods grilled on the barbecue?

 

It’s getting hot outside and it’s time to light the barbecue. You might be wondering if babies can eat food grilled on the barbecue. The question is: are barbecuing and Baby Led Weaning (BLW) compatible?

 

The answer is yes, starting at around 6 months old. You do want to make sure you do it safely (as with everything else) because research shows that cooking meat, poultry and fish at high temperatures may increase you and your baby’s risk of cancer.

 

Here are a few tips from the cancer.ca website:

 

  • Marinate meat, poultry and fish before cooking. Studies have shown that marinating these foods can prevent the formation of cancer-causing chemicals.
  • When barbecuing, choose lean cuts of meat, poultry and seafood over higher-fat meats. Trim off visible fat. This will reduce the amount of harmful chemicals that develop from the smoke created by burning fat.
  • Barbecue slowly and keep the food away from the hot coals so that flames are less likely to engulf the food to prevent charring.
  • Try grilling vegetables, veggie burgers and fruit slices. Most experts agree that plant-based foods do not form the cancer-causing substances when cooked at high heat.

 

Foods grilled on the barbecue are great for babies because they maintain their shape yet babies can easily bite into them. Asparagus are delicious this time of year. Why not try barbecued asparagus? Here is a 6-month old enjoying asparagus on the barbecue:

 

asparagus, barbecue, babies, baby, blw, baby led weaning, whole foods, bbq

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

 

Even grilled mushrooms are totally appropriate for babies:

 

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If your baby just sucks on a strip of meat without actually eating any, he or she is still getting some iron. It could also occupy a baby for quite some time!

 

Here are some free barbecue recipes that you can try for your baby:

 

Chicken satay with creamy peanut sauce (includes a cooking demo video)

 

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Simple burgers for babies (feel free to cook these on the barbecue)

 

blw, baby led weaning, veal, beef, beef recipe, beef recipe baby, burger recipe, iron baby, jessica coll, baby solids, choking baby

 

Grilled lamb chops for babies

 

lamb chops blw Baby led weaning

 

Minty Lamb Meatballs

 

The mouthwatering final product! BLW

 

For more Baby Led Weaning (BLW) recipes for babies, GET YOUR FREE COOKBOOK FOR BABIES HERE.

 

What will you grill on the barbecue this weekend?

salmon, salmon recipe, baby, baby led weaning, blw, omega 3, fish baby, iron baby, iron, recipe, baby recipe, blw recipe

Thai Salmon Bites

Thai Salmon Bites

 

There is no need to wait until your baby is 12 months to offer him/her fish. In fact, it’s a good idea to offer fish to babies from 6 to 12 months because it’s packed with good fats, iron and zinc. The problem with fish is that it usually doesn’t hold together very well. It’s dry and falls apart easily when babies handle it.

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

 

I created this recipe with fish that actually holds together. The trick? Cut up the fish into bite-sized pieces while it’s still semi-frozen BEFORE baking it.

 

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To prepare the recipe, I cut the skinless salmon into squares. Then, I marinated the fish in a delicious mixture of oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, pepper, lime zest, ginger, coconut and cumin. Then, I baked them in the oven for 6 minutes.

 

These can be served as a fancy appetizer or as the main course along with some zesty roasted cauliflower. They’re 100% juicy and they actually hold together.

 

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Thai Salmon Bites recipe

 

450g salmon, boneless, skinless

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon or lime juice

1 tsp (5 ml) garlic powder

½ tsp (2.5 ml) pepper

1 tsp (5 ml) lemon or lime zest

1 tsp (5 ml) ground ginger

1 tbsp (15 ml) coconut, shredded, unsweetened

½ tsp (2.5 ml) cumin

 

 

Place salmon in the freezer for about 20 minutes until semi frozen. In a medium bowl, add the rest of the ingredients. Remove salmon from the freezer and cut salmon into 3 cm (1 inch) squares. Than, add the salmon to the bowl and cover on all sides. Let marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C) and place salmon bites onto a covered baking sheet. Finally, bake for 6 minutes or until fully cooked. Let cool and offer to your baby. Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Cannot be frozen.

 

How often do you eat fish?

 

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blw, baby led weaning, baby, baby recipes, gluten free, grain free, dairy free, vegetarian, real foods, eggs, apples, bananas, pancakes, breakfast, breakfast ideas

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

 

Want to try a different take on the “classic” banana pancake? Try my Baby Led Weaning-friendly apple cinnamon pancakes. This is the perfect recipe to add to your breakfast rotation.


In my household, banana-egg pancakes are a staple of our breakfast rotation. Why? Because they are simple and made with wholesome and nutritious ingredients. Eggs in particular are loaded with nutrients which babies need. Add some almond butter and apples to the mix, and your baby is in for a delicious, no sugar or salt added, grain-free treat.

 

This recipe couldn’t be any more simple to make. First, I mashed my bananas in a large bowl.

 

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Next, I grated the apple. As seen in this picture, you can leave the skin on the apple. It’s faster and the skin adds fibre to the pancakes.

 

blw, baby led weaning, baby, baby recipes, gluten free, grain free, dairy free, vegetarian, real foods, eggs, apples, bananas, pancakes, breakfast, breakfast ideas

 

After that, I added the rest of the ingredients.

 

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I gave the ingredients a good stir until they were well combined. Then, I poured about ⅛ cup spoonfuls of batter onto a preheated pan. Once the pancakes started to bubble, I flipped them gently with a spatula. Please note that these pancakes do not have the same texture as pancakes made with wheat flour. Finally, I let them cool on a wire rack and enjoyed them immediately.

 

blw, baby led weaning, baby, baby recipes, gluten free, grain free, dairy free, vegetarian, real foods, eggs, apples, bananas, pancakes, breakfast, breakfast ideas

 

blw, baby led weaning, baby, baby recipes, gluten free, grain free, dairy free, vegetarian, real foods, eggs, apples, bananas, pancakes, breakfast, breakfast ideas

 

blw, baby led weaning, baby, baby recipes, gluten free, grain free, dairy free, vegetarian, real foods, eggs, apples, bananas, pancakes, breakfast, breakfast ideas

 

blw, baby led weaning, baby, baby recipes, gluten free, grain free, dairy free, vegetarian, real foods, eggs, apples, bananas, pancakes, breakfast, breakfast ideas

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

 

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes Recipe

Makes 12 small pancakes

 

2 bananas, ripe, mashed
2 eggs
1/2 cup apple, grated (1 small apple or 1/2 medium apple)
2 tbsp (30 ml) almond butter, softened (or any other nut/seed butter)
1 tsp (5 ml) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) nutmeg
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) vanilla
1-2 tbsp (15-30 ml) cooking fat (coconut oil or unsalted butter)


In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add all other ingredients and stir until well combined.

Melt the cooking fat in a skillet over low-medium heat. Carefully pour the batter into the pan, using approximately ⅛ cup for each pancake. Flip the pancake to cook the other side. Allow to cool before serving to your baby. Pancakes can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 6 months. To reheat, place pancakes in the oven on a lined baking sheet at 350°F (175°C) until warm.

 

Did you baby enjoy these apple-cinnamon pancakes?

 

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gluten free, no bovine protein, dairy free, chicken, baby, blw, baby led weaning, barbecue recipes, summer recipes, paleo, soy free, egg free, no salt added, baby recipes, iron, real food

Chicken Satay with Creamy Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay with Creamy Peanut Sauce (for babies 6 months and up)

 

Barbecue season has arrived! Time to light the barbecue and celebrate warm weather. Today I will show you how to prepare my newest recipe: chicken satay with creamy peanut sauce. Since a number of you asked me for more meat recipes, I thought I would create another one that can be cooked on the grill. Thank you Chanel, Joannie, Jacinthe, Sabrina, Anne-Marie, Melissa, Stephanie, Carolane, Marie-Michelle, Catherine and Noémie for asking!

 

If you’re looking for more recipes just like this one, my Baby Led Weaning Recipe eBook is now available in PDF format. Each recipe featuring real foods was created by me, a registered dietitian. Check it out! Now, back to the Chicken Satay recipe. Here’s a video of how I prepared the chicken satay with creamy peanut sauce:

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

This mouth-watering dish is totally appropriate for babies 6 months and up and all members of the family because these are super soft. I used the following ingredients for the marinade: coconut milk, fresh ginger, garlic, curry powder and lime juice.

 

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I used chicken thighs because they are so much more tender than chicken breasts. It’s partly because of the fresh ginger breaking down the meat fiber and the fact that thighs contain more fat. This chicken satay practically melts in your mouth. I used this container to mix the ingredients:

 

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Then, I added the marinade ingredients to the container and added the chicken to it to marinate 30 minutes. Afterwards, I grilled the chicken on the barbecue.

 

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I served the chicken satay with creamy peanut sauce which is also easy to prepare. All I did was whisk some peanut butter, lime juice, coconut milk, warm water, fresh ginger and garlic powder together in a bowl and it was ready.

 

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Sooooo creamy!

 

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Note: if you’re using bamboo or wooden skewers, let them soak in water for at least 15 minutes before using them so they don’t burn. Here is the final product:

 

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Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce Recipe (6 months and up)

 

½ cup (125 ml) coconut milk

1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh ginger, grated

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 ml) curry powder

Juice of ½ a lime

4 chicken thighs (400 g), cut into pieces about 2 inches (5 cm) by 1 inch (2,5 cm)

 

In a medium container, add coconut milk, ginger, garlic curry powder and lime juice. Stir. Add chicken strips and coat with the marinade. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (or overnight for best flavour). Preheat barbecue to highest heat. Thread chicken strips onto skewers lengthwise and cook without turning them. When the chicken doesn’t stick to the grill anymore, turn the skewers and cook another 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Let cool and serve dipped in creamy peanut sauce (recipe below).

 

*Can also be made in the oven on a covered baking sheet at 400F (200C) for 10 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other.

 

Creamy Peanut Sauce Recipe

 

2 tbsp (30 ml) natural peanut butter

Juice of ½ a lime

2 tbsp (30 m) coconut milk

2 tbsp warm water

1 tsp (5ml) fresh ginger, grated

1 tsp (5 ml) garlic powder

 

In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Serve with chicken satay.

 

What’s your favourite food to cook on the barbecue?

 

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No-Bake Breakfast Balls

No-Bake Breakfast Balls

 

Pressed for time? Try these no-bake breakfast balls. They’re made with all natural ingredients and come together in just 10 minutes.

 

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These no-bake breakfast balls are the perfect thing to have on hand for a quick BLW breakfast or to-go snack. With no refined sugar, salt, eggs, gluten or dairy, these balls are 100% delicious.

 

 

They’re convenient, nutritious, delicious, and are the perfect size for little ones to hold on to. These little balls load whole, nutritious foods like oats, fruit, dates and coconut. As an added bonus, they’re made without any added sugar and free of all major allergens. Did I mention that they only take 10 minutes to make? Try these no-bake breakfast balls today. They’re so tasty that you won’t just be giving them to your baby – you’ll be enjoying them too!

 

These no-bake breakfast balls couldn’t be any easier to make. First, I took some cherries out of the freezer and let them thaw slightly. You can use other types of frozen fruit like raspberries, blueberries or strawberries.

 

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And I mashed them up.

 

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Then I added the oats, dates, shredded coconut and coconut oil.

 

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I gave the ingredients a good stir and rolled the mixture into balls about the size of a ping-pong ball. That’s all!

 

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Look at this 9 month old baby loving them!

 

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Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

No-Bake Breakfast Balls 

Makes 10 balls

 

½ cup (125 ml) frozen fruit, defrosted, mashed (cherries, blueberries, strawberries or raspberries)

1 cup (250 ml) oats

1/2 cup (125 ml) soft and sticky Medjool or Deglett dates, pitted, chopped (about 3 large dates)

⅓ cup (80 ml) coconut, shredded, unsweetened

1 tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil, melted

 

To a medium bowl, add all ingredients and stir to combine. Roll into ping-pong sized balls. Let sit for 20 minutes before offering one to your baby. They will soften. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days and in the freezer for up to 6 months.

 

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Where do you plan on bringing these along?

 

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Inspired by Healthy Little Foodies

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Zesty Roasted Cauliflower

 

Zesty Roasted Cauliflower

 

In a rut of roasted sweet potatoes and carrot sticks? Cauliflower is an extremely versatile vegetable, and is loaded with good-for-baby nutrients like calcium, folate, and vitamins A & C. Vegetables high in vitamin C, like cauliflower, help your baby better absorb iron – something babies need a lot of. So try this delicious take on cauliflower – it’s sure to become a family favorite!

 

This recipe couldn’t be any easier. First, I cut the cauliflower into florets about the size of an adult pinky finger. Notice my finger on the left of the picture:

 

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Then I sprinkled the florets with the garlic, oil, pepper, cumin, and chili powder on a lined pan:

 

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Then, I tossed until the florets were well coated. I roasted it for half an hour, until the florets were golden brown. Meanwhile, I washed and dried the cilantro, and zested and juiced a lime.

 

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After removing the florets from the oven I immediately added the juice, cilantro, and zest, and tossed to combine. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of this perfectly caramelized vegetable:

 

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Isn’t it beautiful?

 

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We enjoyed these with my Southwestern Black Bean Burgers.

 

Zesty Roasted Cauliflower

Yield: Approximately 6 cups

 

1 head of cauliflower, cut into 2-inch florets

2 cloves of garlic, minced

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

2 tsp (10 ml) cumin

½  tsp (2.5 ml) chili powder

½ tsp (2.5 ml) pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) fresh cilantro, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

Zest of 1 lime

 

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut cauliflower into pieces approximately the size of an adult pinky. Place cauliflower individually on the baking sheet, cut side down. Sprinkle garlic, olive oil, cumin, chili powder and pepper onto cauliflower, toss to coat. Roast for 30 minutes. Add the lime juice, zest, and cilantro. Allow to cool and serve to your baby. Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 

What’s your go-to veggie?

 

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Southwestern Black Bean Burgers

Southwestern Black Bean Burgers

 

Beans are difficult to offer to babies because they’re small, hard, and round. But I have the solution: these baby-friendly southwest black bean burgers! This burger is something the whole family will enjoy and is perfect for baby led weaning (BLW). These burgers are loaded with iron, protein, and an alphabet of vitamins – exactly what your little one needs.

 

This recipe is so simple to make. It has 3 main ingredients: black beans, sweet potatoes and onions.

 

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First, I cut the sweet potatoes in half, and baked themMeanwhile, I mashed the black beans until they were nice and smooth, no lumps.

 

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I also diced up an onion.

 

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Once the potatoes were cooled, I removed the skins, and mashed them up. Then I added all the ingredients to a single bowl, and shaped them into burgers about 3 inches in diameter. I used Ricardo’s burger press because I love how it shapes the burgers.


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I baked the black bean burgers in the oven for 25 minutes. Then, I flipped them very carefully. They will be soft (that’s normal). After that, I baked them for another 30 minutes.

 

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We enjoyed these burgers with some avocado, extra raw onion and a slather of BBQ sauce. For baby, you can just give them a burger and some avocado.

 

Southwestern Black Bean Burger Recipe

Yield: 10 mini burgers

 

2 cups (500 ml) sweet potatoes (about 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes)

1 cup (250 ml) black beans, unsalted, cooked, rinsed and well drained 

½ cup (125 ml) onion, diced (1 small onion)

2 tsp (10 ml) cumin

2 tsp (10 ml) chili powder

½ tsp (2.5 ml) paprika

1 tsp (5 ml) oregano

1 tsp (5 ml) garlic powder

½ tsp (2.5 ml) pepper

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scrub sweet potatoes under water with a brush. Cut potatoes in half and place on a lined baking sheet, cut side down, and bake for 40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mash black black beans until smooth, and dice the onion. Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and let cool. Peel and mash sweet potatoes.
  3. To a large bowl, add all ingredients and stir until combined. Shape mixture into 3 inch (7.5 cm) diameter patties and place on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes. Flip the burgers very carefully. They will be soft (that’s normal).
  5. Bake for another 30 minutes.  Allow to cool and serve to your baby. Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 

Inspired by Minimalist Baker

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

 

How did your family enjoy these black bean burgers?

 

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