dme, alimentation autonome, purées

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

Is it safe to combine spoon feeding and BLW? Can you do a bit of both?

 

I often get asked if it’s possible to switch from traditional spoon feeding to baby-led weaning (BLW), or to do a bit of both (what some call “combination feeding”). Some people say that you have to wait 2 weeks between spoon feeding before offering pieces of food but I’m here to tell you that you don’t. Purees are just another texture. Some parents decide to spoon feed their baby at first and now want to try offering pieces of food. I’m here to tell you that’s it’s never too late to start offering pieces of food to your baby but it is important to proceed safely, no matter what approach you decide to opt for. According to this research study, children introduced to lumpy food after 9 months eat less fruit and vegetables at 7 years old and have more feeding problems, so don’t offer purees forever!

What is BLW anyway?

 

With Baby Led Weaning (BLW), parents offer whole pieces of food to their baby and let them feed themselves starting at around 6 months of age. In this case, babies aren’t spoon fed by someone else.

 

Can mashed foods or purees be offered to a baby who is doing BLW?

 

If mashed foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes or apple sauce are on the menu, you can offer them in loaded spoons and let your baby bring them to their mouth on their own. All you need to do is offer the loaded spoon’s handle to your baby and let him or her feed him or herself. To learn more about how to offer loaded spoons to your baby, sign up to my online course here.

 

 

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, it’s never too late to offer pieces of food. 

 

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’?

 

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, great! What this isn’t, though, is a combination of the BLW approach and the traditional approach – it’s really just the traditional approach, but starting at six months old (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 theoretically not full BLW. 

 

A lot of parents who say they are ‘doing a bit of both’ are in fact just following traditional approach, without realizing 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 realize 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 does this 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. 

 

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 traditional 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.

 

About choking hazards

No matter what approach you choose, your baby can choke. He or she can choke on coins, toys, chips, candies, gum, popcorn and anything, really. That’s why every caregiver needs to know what to do in case their baby is choking. Please refer to this information from the Red Cross and take a first aid class for babies. According to Amy Brown’s research, BLW was not associated with increased risk of choking compared to spoon feeding.

 

Food pouches

Food pouches can be quite practical when out and about but I don’t routinely recommend them because they’re not very stimulating for babies. Babies just suck and swallow the applesauce and don’t even need to chew. It’s quite a passive experience. Here is a question I got from a parent:

“My baby is 14 mo. I give her pouches after a meal if she doesn’t eat much. Do you recommend those?”

I don’t recommend offering pouches after a meal if your baby doesn’t eat much because she will come to expect those if offered regularly. It can lead to more picky eating in the long run. Here and there as a convenient snack, pouches are practical but not on a regular basis. Also, it’s ok if your toddler doesn’t eat much at a meal because she is probably eating every 2-3 hours because of snacks in between meals. If she doesn’t eat much at one meal, that’s ok. She may not be feeling well or may not be hungry so will eat at the next opportunity.

 

I asked the parents who follow me on social media to ask me their questions about purees and solid foods and I answer them below. Do note that I have not met these parents so I always recommend talking to their pediatrician or nutritionist. To get my unlimited support and ask me all your specific questions (and support my business, thank you!), subscribe to my online course. 

William will be 9 months old next week. He’s been eating purees since he was 4 months old, but I’ve always offered him solid foods as well. He eats about 250 g of purées. For a few days now, we always start with the pieces and when he gets tired, he continues with purees to have the same number of grams as usual. Is this a good solution? 

Since your baby is already 9 months old, he is able to handle finger foods himself. It is certain that by stopping spoon-feeding, there will be a transition period where he will eat less. During this period, he will take a few more sips of milk and as he practices, he will eat more and more. At this age, he should eat about 3 meals a day and you can offer him food that he can grab himself with his hands. Sticks work well. All you have to do is offer safe, soft and nutrient-filled foods. For your particular situation, you can stop spoon-feeding him and offer him solid foods. For inspiration and recipe ideas, subscribe to my online course. 

 

My daughter is in the nursery and they don’t do BLW so we have started a classic diversification. She is 5 months old and cant sit up straight. When the conditions are right, can we give her solid foods on the weekend and under what conditions? 

I suggest starting introducing solid foods at around 6 months of age, when your baby shows all the signs that she is ready (see my online course). If she is offered purees at the nursery, eats them and it is going well, you can continue like that. If your baby doesn’t want to be fed and doesn’t eat much at all, you can just stop spoon-feeding her until she shows all the signs that she is ready. There is no problem feeding a baby with a spoon in the nursery and offering finger foods at home, as long as the food choice is safe. If you would like your baby to have an active and intuitive experience at all meals, you can discuss with the nursery about the benefits of BLW. Let me know in my online course if you need arguments. 

 

My daughter is 9 months old and started purees at 4.5 months old. She has difficulty with the chunks in the purees but she is getting better. I’m afraid to give her solid foods because when she eats bread, she puts it almost whole in her mouth. It scares me. 

Since your daughter is already 9 months old, you can stop purees and offer her soft and safe solid foods now (see my online course for examples of foods to offer). Here are some tips that can help you in your particular situation: 

  • You can cut her bread into various shapes (squares, rectangles, sticks) so that the feeling is different every time she takes a bite. 
  • You can offer her only one food or even one bite at a time (example: a small bite of bread) to help her take her time. 
  • You can offer her water frequently during the meal in an open cup. This will help her slow down and take her time to eat. 
  • You can introduce safe utensils such as a small fork or spoon. These require more motricity and will slow down her flow. 
  • You can talk to her during lunch about things other than what she is eating. Tell her about her toys, friends, etc. and it will make the meal experience more enjoyable. 

My baby is 7 months old. We started the classic method (cereals) at 4.5 months old, and since the age of 6 months we have been offering him food in pieces and we offer him purees at the end of the meal. Can I give him meatballs, a bell pepper or a cucumber? 

In this particular situation, you can stop feeding your baby puree. We want him to eat by himself, actively and at his own pace so that he eats enough but not too much. There may be a transition period when your baby will eat a little less until he develops the skills through practice. He will drink a little more milk and quickly become an expert eater. If the meatballs are tender enough, they can be offered to your baby, but I don’t recommend raw bell pepper and raw cucumbers to newborns because they are too hard and can cause choking. To find out what you can offer him to eat, subscribe to my online course. 

 

My baby is 7.5 months old. She’s been eating purees since she was 4.5 months old. I want to give her solid foods but she can’t sit up straight yet. Is BLW appropriate for her? 

You can read my answers above to find out how to introduce solid foods. To start introducing solid foods, I recommend that all babies be able to maintain a sitting position for a few seconds (among other things). It is important to offer a variety of textures quickly so don’t wait too long. If your baby is not able to maintain a sitting position for a few seconds at 7.5 months old, I suggest consulting a physiotherapist to see if there is a delay. 

 

My baby is 6 months old and started purees at 5 months old. He eats everything! How can I switch to solid foods? 

Since he eats everything, it is certain that by stopping spoon-feeding, there will be a transition period where he will eat less. During this period, he will take a few more sips of milk. It will only last a few days. If he shows all the signs that he is ready (see my online course), you can introduce soft pieces of solid food and stop giving him purees. 

 

Is it normal that our nursery only offers vegetables to my baby? 

Since your baby has huge nutritional needs, she needs to eat a wide variety of foods, including vegetables, fruit, meat or alternatives, good fats and others. I suggest discussing her great needs with the nursery and offering her a wide variety of foods at home. 

 

My baby is 8.5 months old and eats purees. He plays with his food. How do I make him understand that he can eat what I offer him? I want some recipe ideas for his age. 

It is still normal for your baby to play with his food. Playing, licking, throwing and chewing are part of his learning. One day, he crushes a piece of pancake, the next he takes it in his hands, and the one after that he puts it in his mouth. That’s progress! Set an example by eating with him. You can also vary the shapes of the food offered to make it more interesting for him. Here are some recipe ideas for an 8-month-old baby: 

 

Is BLW possible for a 5.5-month-old baby? He eats a little puree but not every day. 

Your 5.5-monthold baby may be BLW ready. He must absolutely show all the signs that he is ready (see my online course for the signs). Since he doesn’t seem to eat a lot of purées, you could just stop offering them and start BLW when he’s ready. 

 

My baby is 5.5 months old and her pediatrician is against BLW (choking). He recommends purees before 6 months. Despite his advice, I want to do BLW. Can I start with the purees and then switch to BLW? 

First, according to Health Canada: 

It is important for parents and caregivers to provide a variety of soft textures (such as lumpy, tenderly cooked and finely chopped, pureed, crushed or ground) and finger foods from the age of six months. 

You can discuss this with your pediatrician so that he is aware of the current recommendations. Some babies need to eat purees before 6 months of age because of a special situation (see your pediatrician). If your baby does not have a special condition, you can wait until she shows all the signs that she is ready and start introducing solid food at that time. At 5.5 months, she may be ready (see my online course), but you may also have to wait 1 to 3 weeks. There is no hurry to get started so if you want to do BLW, wait a while and it will come soon! 

 

My baby is 7 months old and is spoon-fed. She doesn’t eat much and mostly plays with the spoon. We started purees a month ago and eats very little. Can I introduce solid foods? 

Especially if she doesn’t eat much, you can offer her soft pieces of food and so she can play with them (see my online course for food ideas). You can stop giving her purees. There may be a short transition period where she will eat less, but it should not last. Since she plays with the spoon, she will play with food and will probably become an expert eater quickly! 

 

My baby is 4 months old and we started offering him purees. At what age can I combine purees and solid foods? 

If you started purees at 4 months old and it’s going well, you can introduce solid foods as soon as your baby shows the signs that he’s ready (see my online course). Most babies start at around 6 months of age. You will then be able to stop spoon-feeding him. There may be a short transition period when he eats less, but it shouldn’t last. 

If you started purees at around 4 months of age and your baby eats almost nothing, you can stop offering it altogether and introduce solid foods when he is ready, which is around 6 months for most babies. 

 

My baby is 8 months old. He eats rice cookies and pancakes. What else can I give him? 

My online course is a wealth of information for inspiring meals for babies between 6 and 12 months. There are recipes for bites, popsicles, cookies, roasted vegetables and much more. 

 

My baby is 4.5 months old. Is it safe to spoon-feed my baby with his nanny and do BLW at home? 

First, you have to ask yourself why your 4.5-month-old baby needs to start solid foods. It is rare for such a young baby to have a real need for food since his milk meets all his needs until he is about 6 months old. Ideally, I suggest waiting until your baby shows all the signs that he is ready before starting to eat, usually at around 6 months of age. You can start BLW and discuss it with your nanny to make her feel comfortable with the approach. You can even subscribe to my online course and give her access to it so she can watch all the videos of babies who are doing BLW. 

 

My baby is 7.5 months old. I’ve been trying to give him purees since he was 5 months old, but without success. He likes cookies though! What should I do now? 

Since your baby is already 7.5 months old, you can start offering him soft pieces of solid food that he can grab himself. Since he likes to grab the cookie, he will certainly not have a problem with BLW. Get inspiration for examples of meals for your baby in my online course. 

 

What’s important?

Do what is best for your family. Be informed about safe introduction of complementary foods by signing up for my online course. Know that your baby can choke on just about anything so make sure there are no choking hazards around.

 

My BLW Online Course

Check out my Infant Feeding Online Course for parents 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. This course is for parents who started purees and want to offer pieces of food and parents just starting out with BLW. No matter what approach you have decided to take, this course is for you because you don’t want to stay on purees forever. The courses don’t expire so sign up anytime and get lifetime access. CHECK OUT MY INFANT FEEDING COURSE TODAY!

Thank you Gill Rapley who contributed to writing parts of this blog post.

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.

 

 

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:

 

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

 

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

 

Place 6 eggs in a bowl and add warm water.

 

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

 

Beat the mixture until it’s foamy like this:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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!

 

 

 

How to Serve Chicken Meatballs to Your BLW Baby

How to Serve Chicken Meatballs to Your BLW Baby

One of the biggest challenges of baby-led weaning is finding appropriate shapes that baby can handle, but are not a choking risk. These tender meatballs do just that. Large enough to avoid swallowing whole, but small enough to get a good grip, these curried meatballs will be a regular on your menu.

Meatballs are a great way to include high quality protein, spices and even vegetables into your baby’s diet in one convenient package. Not only that, but they are quick to prepare and will help you curry favour with the whole family. Culinary bliss is right a-round the corner!

Check out this video to see how simple it is to prepare curried chicken meatballs for your BLW baby:

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.

 

Like this video? See more like it by subscribing to my Youtube channel.

How to Prepare Curry Chicken Meatballs for Your BLW Baby

Start by pre-heating your oven to 400˚F. Next, you want to put a pound of fresh ground chicken into a large mixing bowl.

BLW, Fresh, Salt-Free, Tasty, Meat, Chicken, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, lunch, dinner, healthy, safe, protein
Feel free to substitute ground turkey for chicken.

 

Let’s turn up the flavour! Add half a finely diced white onion and one whole grated carrot to the bowl. Grate a tablespoon of fresh ginger into the mix and finally add two teaspoons of your favourite curry powder, a pinch of pepper and a dash of cinnamon.

BLW, Fresh, Salt-Free, Tasty, Meat, Chicken, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, lunch, dinner, healthy, safe, protein
Try not to “ball” your eyes out when dicing those onions.

 

Mix all the ingredients together well. Roll the meatballs into a shape slightly larger than a golf ball and place on a covered baking tray. If you’d prefer, you can roll a few into a log shape for baby, which is even easier to handle than a ball.

BLW, Fresh, Salt-Free, Tasty, Meat, Chicken, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, lunch, dinner, healthy, safe, protein
Try the log shape (seen at the bottom middle of the tray in this photo) to give baby an easier grip.

 

Bake for 20 minutes. Using an internal thermometer, check that the thickest meatball is cooked thoroughly to 165˚F, the safe temperature for ground chicken. Once cool, serve to your little one and make sure to enjoy some yourself.

If reheating, make sure you reach this same temperature before serving. Try microwaving with a bit of unsalted chicken broth or coconut milk to make sure they stay tender.

BLW, Fresh, Salt-Free, Tasty, Meat, Chicken, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, lunch, dinner, healthy, safe, protein
Invest in an internal thermometer and calibrate it regularly to stay safe in the kitchen.

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

Do you have a favourite meatball recipe? Share in the comments below!

How to Serve Chicken Drumsticks to Your BLW Baby

How to Serve Chicken Drumsticks to Your BLW Baby

What is full of protein, is a good source of easily absorbed iron, has a natural handle for baby and takes just minutes to prepare? Drumroll please…my favourite chicken drumstick recipe of course!

This recipe will not only drum up compliments from family and happy gurgles from your baby, but it is easily made BLW safe so that your little one can experience new textures and flavours without fear. So don’t be a chicken and follow these simple steps to get our BLW chicken drumsticks on your table tonight!

 

Check out this video to see how easy it is to prep chicken drumsticks for your BLW baby:

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.

How to Prepare Chicken Drumsticks for Your BLW Baby

First, preheat your oven to 375˚F. Then line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place six fresh or safely defrosted chicken drumsticks on the lined sheet.

 BLW, Fresh, Salt-Free, Meat, Chicken, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods
Lining your baking sheet makes for less mess and helps keep your kitchenware looking like new

It is time to season! First, sprinkle ground black pepper onto each drumstick. You want to add a healthy pinch for each stick, about 1/6th of a tsp (or simply divide a full teaspoon of pepper between the drumsticks).  Next add garlic powder, using the same method and amount. Finally, again with the same instructions, sprinkle on some dried basil.

 BLW, Fresh, Salt-Free, Meat, Chicken, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods
Using herbs and spices are a great way to add flavour without the salt and are absolutely safe for your BLW baby

Once your oven is ready, bake the drumsticks for 30 minutes. When the timer rings, flip the drumsticks and bake for another 30 minutes.

 BLW, Fresh, Salt-Free, Meat, Chicken, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods
Quick, simple, safe and tasty; that is the BLW way!

Place an internal thermometer in the thickest part of the drumstick (being careful to not hit the bone) to ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly to 165˚F and is safe to eat.

 BLW, Fresh, Salt-Free, Meat, Chicken, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods
Always make sure meat is cooked to the correct internal temperature so it is safe for your baby and your family to eat

Now we want to make these drumsticks BLW appropriate! Once they have cooled, take off the skin. Next, remove the little pointy bone the sits beside the large bone.

 BLW, Fresh, Salt-Free, Meat, Chicken, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods
Although chicken skin contains fat which babies need, it can be difficult to handle and should be removed. Feel free to sprinkle more seasoning after the skin is removed

Offer to baby and let them enjoy!

BLW, Fresh, Salt-Free, Meat, Chicken, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods
What a perfect integrated handle! MAKE SURE THE TEXTURE IS RIGHT FOR YOUR BABY BY TESTING IT FIRST.

 

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

 

What is your favourite BLW-appropriate chicken dish? Share in the comments below!

blw, baby led weaning, meat, iron, baby

How to Serve Meat to Babies

How to Serve Meat to Babies 

Dust off your slow-cooker and pull out your best roasting pan because today we are looking into how to safely provide meat to babies when doing Baby Led Weaning (BLW). I also answer your questions at the end so read on.

 

Why Meat?

At around 6 months old, your baby’s iron needs are the highest they will ever be. Meat is not only rich in iron, but it has a special type of iron that’s only found in foods from animals. This type is better absorbed by your baby than the iron found in plants. Meat also has lots of protein, zinc, vitamin B12 and fats. Since your baby is probably not eating a large amount of food at this age, meat is a “bang for your bite” food.  Even just sucking on the meat juices provides that precious iron and other minerals.

 

Here, a little one enjoys a soft chicken meatball, perfectly safe for baby led weaning

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

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. Sign up for my online course to make sure you are well informed.

 

Being Safe

Providing meat to your BLW infant does take a bit of additional care for it to be safe, including the following from Health Canada:

  • Avoid meat or fish that is :
    • Raw, like sushi or rare steak
    • Highly processed like bacon, hotdogs or processed deli meats
    • Fried, using breading and unhealthy oils
  • Offer meat or fish that has been:
    • Cooked at these minimum temps:
      • Beef/veal/lamb: 77°C (170°F)
      • Pork:  71˚ C (160˚F)
      • Ground beef/veal/lamb/pork: 71˚C (160˚F)
      • Poultry (pieces): 74˚C (165˚F)
      • Poultry (whole): 82˚C (180˚F)
      • Ground poultry: 74˚C (165˚F)
      • Fish: 70˚C (158˚F)
      • Shellfish: 74˚C (165˚F)
      • Meat/Fish Leftovers: 74˚C (165˚F); reheat only once
    • Checked with a digital thermometer for temperature at the thickest part of the meat (ensure the metal tip is not hitting the bone)
    • Properly stored in a ≤4˚C (39˚F) fridge or ≤-18˚C (0˚F) freezer (refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours)
    • Made into the right size and shape:
      • Pieces of meat about as long as an adult pinkie finger (~2-3 inches long) and that are log shaped work best
    • Made safe by removing pointy bones and skin
    • Cooked without salt or sugar

 

Lamb burgers cooked gently on the barbecue: scrumptious for you and baby!

Buying Your Meat

Deciding where to buy your meat is up to you. Conventional meat, the regular type you’d find at your grocery store, may contain growth hormones and antibiotics. However, Health Canada sets a maximal limit to the amount left in food, which should be below harmful levels. You may choose to buy organic meats, which are those produced without the use of antibiotics or hormones. You may also decide to support local farmers; often small farms cannot afford the organic certification, but do not use antibiotics or hormones in their meat production. At our house, we buy a large animal from a local farm and split it between friends to save time and money. Check out this link for more info about hormones and antibiotics in meat.

 

When Do I Offer Meat to My Baby?

You can offer meat to your baby any time it is on your menu, so that your baby can be part of the family meal. It is important to offer babies iron-rich foods 2 times per day to help them reach their iron needs. While this does not always have to be meat, it is a well-absorbed option. Make sure that the meat is soft enough for your baby so it’s safe.

 

How Do I Prepare Meat for My Baby?

Meatballs

You can take 1 lb of ground meat (any meat, so chicken, beef, lamb, veal, bison), add spices and herbs, shape it into meatballs that your baby can easily grab. A 6 month old’s hand movement ability is quite limited and they can’t pick up small pieces of food. They don’t even have the ability to re-position a piece of food in their hands so I found that log-shaped meatballs work best. About the length of an adult pinky finger. That way, the baby will grab the log-shaped meatball and some of it will be sticking out of their fist so they can easily take bites. You can experiment with different shapes like golf ball sized meatballs once your baby gets more practice. You can bake them in the oven at 400˚F (200˚C) for about 20 minutes. Meatballs are super convenient because you could freeze them and take them out when you need them. Check out my minty lamb meatballs for a fancy yet easy meal. Here is another video about How to Prepare Meatballs for My Baby.

Sausages

I’m not talking about store-bought sausages because those can be quite tough, salty and might contain some processed ingredients. I’m talking about easy homemade sausages without any casings. You can find my amazingly tasty homemade sausage recipe in my BLW recipe book.

 

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Try your BLW-friendly sausages with sauerkraut.

 

Kebabs

You can make kebabs from ground beef or bison, mixed with your favourite herbs and spices about 4 inches (10 cm) long, thread the seasoned mixture onto a skewer and cook on the barbecue for about 10 minutes.

 

Slow cooked

You can cook meat in a slow cooker or pressure cooker to make meals like pulled pork or stews. Just don’t add salt while you’re preparing the meal because babies really don’t need a lot of salt. Feel free to add salt to your portion!

 

Meat on the bone

Meat on a bone works really well because there is an integrated handle so babies can get a good grip. Some examples: garlicky chicken drumsticks (recipe in my BLW online course) and grilled lamb chops.

 

Meat in soup

You can even offer the meat from your soup because it’s usually quite tender. All you need to do is remove the chicken from a chicken soup and offer it to your baby.

 

Liver pâté

The most smooth textured and the highest in iron is liver pâté.

 

Meatloaf

Here is my fav meatloaf recipe!

 

Your questions, my answers:

 

What is the best meat to offer to your baby?

There isn’t a best meat to offer to your baby but I do want to say that liver contains a lot of iron so that’s always a good option. Vary the types of meat offered to your baby, like chicken, veal, pork, beef. Offer your baby the types of meat that you eat at home.

Can I start meat after 6 months old? My pediatrician recommended that I start at 9 months because of digestion.

Meat isn’t more difficult to digest compared to other foods, for most babies. If you’re offering iron-rich foods that aren’t meat before 9 months old and your baby is meeting his or her high iron needs, you can introduce meat at 9 months old if you prefer.

I want to give my baby meat but blending it makes me want to vomit and I am not sure how to give him it BLW style. He is 7 months old with no teeth. Meat is such a tough texture!

Babies can eat meat as long as it’s soft, even without teeth. Most of the work is done with their gums (they’re strong) so teeth aren’t needed. No need to blend the meat. You can choose a cooking method from above and offer it to your baby as you would eat it.

How can I prepare meat to avoid having my baby gag when he eats it?

Choose a cooking method from above to prepare meat safely for your baby. It’s normal that your baby gags and this is actually a protective (and wanted) reflex that should go away with time. Sign up to my ONLINE COURSE to learn all about the gag reflex and what to look out for.

How much meat should my baby eat in a day and how to cook it so it tastes good and is easy to chew?

The rule of thumb is to offer a serving size of about the size of your pinky finger to your baby at a time. That way the piece is easy to pick up and handle. Depending on the age of your baby and what else your baby eats in a day, try to offer an iron-rich food twice a day between 6-12 months old. The iron-rich food can be meat or another iron-rich food that’s not meat.

At what age to give sushi or raw meat like ham?

Officially, Health Canada recommends to wait until your child is 6 years old before offering raw meat and fish like sushi. Ham is very salty so I’d wait until your baby is at least 1 to offer a few pieces here and there.

 

What’s your favorite way to serve meat to your baby?

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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:

 

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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.

 

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)

 

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Grilled lamb chops for babies

 

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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?

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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.

 

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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Simple burgers for babies (3 ingredients only!)

Simple burgers for babies

 

I’m so excited to share my simple and soft burgers for babies recipe with you. 3 ingredients and that’s it.

 

Ingredient #1: ground veal (you can also use beef).

 

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Ingredient #2: an apple.

 

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Ingredient #3:  onion.

 

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After that, I washed the apple and then grated it.

 

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After, I chopped up the onion. I incorporated all the ingredients to a large bowl and combined.

 

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Then, I shaped the mixture into perfect mini burgers using Ricardo’s burger press.  It makes these tight burgers that really stick together.

 

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Then, I placed the simple burgers for babies on a lined baking sheet. Afterwards, I cooked them in the oven for 20 minutes at 400F and voilà!  We served them two ways: some preferred them with homemade mayonnaise and a pickle and some preferred sharp cheddar only. It would have been good with a slice of avocado on top as well.  Sides were steamed green beans and a kale salad. Raw leafy green aren’t appropriate for babies since they can stick to their palate so you can offer the simple burgers and green beans to your baby.

 

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Here is 6-month old baby E absolutely devouring the simple burgers for babies.

 

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Not bad for a 6-month old, right?

 

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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.

 

Simple burgers for babies

 

Ingredients

 

1 lb (450 g) ground veal or ground beef

1 apple, grated

½ cup onion, diced (½ small onion)

½ tbsp dried sage (optional)

½ tbsp pepper (optional)

 

Preparation

 

Preheat oven to 400F.  Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix to combine.  Then form mini burgers about ⅓ the size of adult burgers, approximately 4 cm in diameter (1.5 in) by 2 cm (¾ in) in height. I used Ricardo’s burger press but it’s not necessary.  After that, place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes.  Finally, let cool and offer to your baby.  Makes 14 simple burgers for babies.

 

What did YOU serve these simple soft burgers for babies with?

 

The Best BLW Meatloaf

The best blw meatloaf recipe

 

I decided to create a blw meatloaf recipe that’s totally appropriate for babies just starting out with solids. Do you have older kids as well?  For some reason, these seem to appeal to that age group more than the traditional sliced meatloaf.  So… great for everyone in the family! Also, this blw meatloaf recipe uses real nourishing ingredients only so no commercial ketchup, breadcrumbs, salt or sugar added.

 

It’s super simple. I put all the blw meatloaf ingredients into a large bowl.

 

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Then, I mixed to combine and transferred the mixture among 12 lined muffin tins. Next, I baked the blw mini meatloaves at 350F for 20 minutes. While the meatloaves were cooking, I prepared the homemade ketchup. Then, I just put all the homemade ketchup ingredients into the blender and processed until smooth.

 

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Then I transferred the ketchup mixture into a saucepan.

 

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After that, I let the ketchup mixture simmer for 20 minutes uncovered until it thickened.

 

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When the BLW mini meatloaves were cooled a bit, I topped them with the homemade ketchup.

 

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We enjoyed them with my amazing Cajun Sweet Potato Fries.  You can find the cajun sweet potato fries recipe in my Baby Led Weaning Recipes iBook HERE.

 

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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.

blw Meatloaf Recipe with Homemade Ketchup

 

Meatloaf Ingredients

 

1.3 lbs (600 g) ground beef

¾ cup onion, chopped (1 small onion)

1 cup leek, chopped (1 leek)

¼ cup green onions, chopped (3 green onions)

1 egg

½ cup almond flour (optional)

1 tsp basil, dried

1 tsp thyme, dried

1 tsp oregano, dried

1 tsp sage, dried

½ tsp pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

 

Homemade Ketchup Ingredients

 

3 medjool dates

1 ½ cups tomatoes, diced

1/8 cup apple cider vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp dry mustard

1/8 tsp allspice

 

Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin tins. After that, add all ingredients for the meatloaves to a large bowl and mix to combine. Next, transfer the mixture among 12 muffin tins. Then, bake for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, you can make the homemade unsalted ketchup. Add all ingredients for the homemade ketchup to a blender and process until smooth. Then, transfer to a saucepan and simmer on low-medium for 20 minutes, uncovered. When the meatloaves are ready, let cool and then add the ketchup on top. Enjoy!

 

Try them out and let me know what you think!

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Slow Cooked Leg of Lamb

Slow cooked leg of lamb with spiced yogurt and herb salad

 

I’m about to share the recipe for the BEST meal I’ve ever made: Slow Cooked Leg of Lamb with spiced yogurt and herb salad. What’s more, it’s totally appropriate for babies 6 months or more doing Baby Led Weaning (BLW). I perfected this recipe several times throughout the years and I’m so excited to share it with you today. Impress your guests and make this slow cooked leg of lamb next time you have them over!  It’s not only a slow cooked leg of lamb.  It’s a layered full meal complete with spiced yogurt and a herb salad.  This is part 7 of my “Half Lamb for Babies” series.

I snapped more than 15 pictures as I prepared this meal. Check out how I proceeded!

 

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.

 

4 days before

 

To begin, I started thawing the leg of lamb in my fridge.

 

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I also pulled out some homemade chicken broth from the freezer and started thawing it in my fridge.

 

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1 day before

On the day before the event, I prepared the liquid that the leg of lamb will be cooked in. I took 4 room-temperature lemons:

 

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Then, I juiced them to obtain 1 cup of lemon juice.

 

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I combined the spices into the lemon juice and broth mixture. This is the smoked paprika I used:

 

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Here’s the liquid that the leg of lamb will be cooked in:

 

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After that, I took 15 garlic cloves:

 

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And smashed them like this:

 

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Then, I put the smashed garlic cloves in the fridge until the next day. I took the jalapeños:

 

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After, I seeded the jalapeños and quartered them (yes, babies can have jalapeños in this recipe because it gives the sauce a little kick but doesn’t burn the baby’s mouth). I put them in the fridge.

 

The day of the event

On the day of the event, I seasoned the leg of lamb.

 

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After, I added the onions, garlic and jalapeños to the roasting pan, then the liquid mixture. I placed the seasoned leg of lamb in the middle. The meat (super high in iron by the way!) was cooked at 425F for 45 minutes then 2 ½ hours at a lower heat.

 

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The house smelled divine! The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender.  Check out the recipe below for instructions on how to prepare the spiced yogurt and herb salad (can be prepared the day before). Here is an appropriate serving size of the lamb for a baby 6 months or more:

 

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And here is the herb salad (most babies are ready for a raw herb salad like this one at around 12-18 months old):

 

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It’s all coming together! The spiced yogurt, herb salad and meat:

 

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Add on the sauce and it’s almost complete!

 

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We served it on a mixture of mashed potatoes, celery root and carrots that my mom made. Check out the layering of the meat, sauce, spiced yogurt and herb salad.  Here is an adult-sized serving:

 

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I cannot explain how good this meal tastes. Here is a child-sized portion:

 

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And the toddlers sitting/standing around their table with their fancy slow cooked leg of lamb with spiced yogurt and herb salad:

 

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We were 12 people total and everyone finished their plate. Some even asked for more.  I’m not kidding when I say it’s the best meal I’ve ever made!

 

Slow Cooked Leg of Lamb with Spiced Yogurt and Herb Salad (for babies 6 months +)

 

Ingredients

 

Lamb

5 cups chicken broth

1 cup fresh lemon juice (I used 4 lemons)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon whole cloves

1/2 tablespoon ground coriander

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons thyme

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

2 onions, coarsely chopped

15 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed

3 jalapeños, seeded and quartered

One 5.5 lb semi-boneless leg of lamb, tied  (2.5 kg)

Sea salt (optional) and freshly ground pepper

 

Spiced yogurt

2 cups plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup packed cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Salt (optional)

Ground pepper

 

Herb salad

3/4 cup packed parsley leaves

3/4 cup packed cilantro leaves

1/2 cup packed tarragon leaves

1/2 cup snipped chives

1 jalapeño—halved, seeded and very thinly sliced crosswise

1/2 cup very thinly sliced red onion

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Preparation

 

Lamb

Preheat the oven to 425F. In a roasting pan large enough to hold the lamb, whisk the chicken broth with the lemon juice, cloves, coriander, paprika, oregano, thyme and peppercorns. Then, add the onions, garlic and jalapeños in an even layer. Season the lamb all over with salt (optional) and pepper and place it in the roasting pan, fat side up.

Braise the lamb, uncovered, for 45 minutes until it just starts to brown. After that, reduce the oven temperature to 325° and braise for about 2 hours and 30 minutes longer, until the meat is nicely browned and starting to pull away from the bone. Then, transfer the lamb to a carving board and let stand for 10 minutes.

After that, strain the braising liquid into a medium saucepan and skim off the fat. Then, boil the liquid until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Season the jus with salt and pepper; keep warm.

 

Spiced yogurt

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl.

 

Herb Salad

Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl and toss well. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the strings off of the lamb and carve the meat into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange the lamb on a bed of mashed potatoes, celery root and carrots. Drizzle the jus and spiced yogurt over the lamb, top with the herb salad and serve.

This recipe was inspired by Food & Wine.

 

What do you usually prepare when you have people over? Let me know if you try this recipe by commenting below!