Sunday, 29 May 2011

On trying to consolidate blogs

I've spent a significant part of this morning trying to import this blog into my day-to-day blog, so that any residual readers can keep up with where Jacob is now. However, it would seem that whilst I can easily import it, I can only mix up the posts, not keep them neat and separate on a Baby Led Weaning page.

Soooo .... I'm going to have a bit of a fiddle, and see what I can do, but in the meantime, allow me to leave a signpost, for anyone else who stumbles across this blog.

Go here, to My Name is Beth. I started blogging as part of the Hundred Days project (click on the Hundred Days tab) and then continued wittering on about Jacob growing up. There's some BLW stuff in there too, honest.

Would love to see you there.

Beth x

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Porridge Pancakes

I just managed to successfully make a perfect porridge pancake this morning so thought I'd update my recipe..

PERFECT porridge pancake
2 fl.oz. boiled water
2 scoops formula - mix these in a bowl
3 tbsp porridge oats - mix into the milk
1 and a half tbsp mashed banana

Cook in microwave on high for 3 minutes (my microwave is about 650W so very low...), allow to cool, serve.


Sunday, 11 October 2009


A friend asked me for some of the recipes I've been using, so I thought I'd post here those that have been most successful so far. Most of them came from the recipe section on the BLW forum, so I can't take credit for them, although a few have been adapted for my own end.

Porridge Pancakes
I often have porridge for breakfast, especially in the winter, but it's the cheating 'Oats So Simple' kind that's probably laden with salt and sugar. So for Jacob, I bought supermarket own-brand plain porridge oats, and make these porridge pancakes which are easy for him to hold. Essentially, it's overcooked porridge, kind of like a flapjack. It took a lot of fiddling with microwave timings to get these right, so I would imagine the time it takes will differ according to the strength of your microwave. You can also cook them on the hob, but I haven't tried that so no advice here.

1 fl.oz. boiled water
1 scoop of formula - mix these in a cereal bowl. You could use full-fat milk or breastmilk instead.
2 tbsp porridge oats - mix into the milk
Any fruit - grated/mashed/chopped into small pieces. I like to use mashed banana (about 1 tbsp) or 3 blackberries. If you add too much fruit, it won't bind together.

Cook in the microwave until the top is like a flapjack and the edges are pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Allow to cool (you can leave it overnight in the fridge if you're organised enough to make things in advance), then prise out of the bowl with a spoon and give to baby. You can cut it into soldiers if you prefer.

Easy Peasy Breakfast Biscuits
These are great for using up any baby rice you mistakenly bought/were given. The recipe is straight from the BLW forum (I don't want to get ostracised for stealing people's recipes).

8 fl. oz. pure apple juice
4 oz. plain flour
4 oz. baby rice

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (I found it was far too sticky and added a lot more flour, although I didn't measure how much. I would say probably another 2 ounces). Turn onto a floured surface, roll out to half an inch thick. Cut into any shapes you like, bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes on a greased baking sheet.

I found the biscuits to be chewy (and really tasty!), very easy for those mornings when inspiration doesn't strike. They freeze fantastically, I just take one or two out and defrost in the microwave for 30 seconds or so.

Drop Scones (aka small pancakes)
Drop Scones were one of the first things my mum taught me how to make when I was younger, they're really easy and very tasty.

Half a pint of milk
1 egg -mix these in a bowl
Add self-raising flour to a thick batter consistency (I use approximately 6 ounces), then add 1 or 2 tsp baking powder.

You can either make them plain or add anything you like. Suggestions include:

Chopped: spinach, tomatoes, ham, peppers, spring onion, raisins or peas (I wouldn't use whole raisins in case of choking), blueberries
Grated: cheese, apple, carrot
Cooked: lentils
Mashed: banana, butternut squash, sweet potato
Whole: raspberries, blackberries

Don't use too large a quantity of whatever you choose, as it'll change the consistency of the batter and the pancakes won't cook. Trial and error I'm afraid, as I don't tend to measure very often!

I make a batch of the batter, then put small amounts of my chosen extra ingredients into cereal bowls, and add some of the batter to each of these, then cook the pancakes.

Heat sunflower oil in a non-stick frying pan, and pour (drop) single tablespoons into the oil. They'll spread out to a diameter of approximately 3-4 inches. Allow to cook, gently lifting the edges from the oil. When bubbles appear throughout the pancake, the first side is cooked. Carefully flip it and cook the other side.

Make sure it's cooked through though, you don't want your baby getting any raw batter.

Blot the oil on some kitchen towel and leave to cool. They freeze really well, you can defrost them by leaving to stand, or in the microwave or toaster.

Apple and Cinnamon Slices
Thinly slice an apple.
Fry in butter with cinnamon.
Allow to cool.

Yum! This makes apple soft enough for your baby to have a go on, as otherwise it may be a choking hazard (like raw carrot) due to its propensity to splinter.

Stuffed Peppers
Pepper, halved lengthwise, seeds and stalk removed
50g spinach, chopped
50g full-fat ricotta
Grated cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs to top

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
Brush the outside of the pepper with olive oil, place on a greased baking tray.
Mix the spinach and ricotta in a bowl, spoon into the pepper halves. If you have too much, fill another pepper ;)
Top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs.
Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes until topping turns golden brown.
Allow to cool, will keep nicely in the fridge for a day or so.

I like to chop the halves in half again (lengthwise) as this makes them perfect for little hands to hold.

That's all I can think of for now, I'll add more as they occur. Enjoy!

Weeks 4 and 5 - TEETH

Whoops - just remembered I hadn't updated in almost two weeks, bad mummy. We've been overwhelmed here, as quickly following the chickenpox outbreak we had an awful cold (for Jacob and me) and 3 teeth popped through in quick succession.

As a result, there have been several days where Jacob has had little (or nothing) to eat, solids-wise, as it was just too painful for him. Even previous winners in the teething war, like cucumber or raw peppers, caused wincing, shivers and ear-banging when they touched his gums so we didn't push it.

The teeth seem never-ending, I'm pretty sure there's another one on the way out now. When possible we've been trying to squeeze in meals, and Jacob's been enjoying things that don't require much chewing (because of the teeth). Soup has become a favourite, and I have to admit that I've resorted to spoonfeeding him on a few occasions. This caused no small degree of angst, however I reasoned that as Jacob's arms were hanging by his sides, he was refusing to reach for anything but was leaning eagerly forward, making hungry noises with his mouth open, then in effect it's still baby-led. He demolished 2 small platefuls of soup this way, plus 2 large slices of mango (it was very slippery, I held and he nibbled).

Mango has become his definite favourite, and he has developed a ridiculously cute habit of carefully examining his bib for any leftover bits, gasping with pleasure when he spots one, then carefully sucking it off the bib.

What else... spinach and ricotta stuffed peppers are another favourite which he has no trouble eating, and he also loves new potatoes, as he can easily bite chunks off with his new teeth.

We've had one outright rejection so far, which was mashed potatoes. He was happy to play with it, but spat it out as soon as it went in his mouth. I mashed some butternut squash and combined the two, and he ate a little (personally, I can think of nothing worse than unsalted, unflavoured mashed potato).

We need to try and get back in the swing of daily meals though, it's been very hard as his milk intake has dropped and it's a battle to get his RDA into him (again, probably due to teething pain). As a result, I'm reticent to fill him up with food when he's not getting the good nutrition he needs from his milk.

I'm sure it'll sort itself out though, once these teeth have come through. How long does it take again?


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Week 3 - Chewing and eating (maybe)

We've been up and down with the eating over the last week, Jacob seems to have had a mild case of chickenpox (I say mild, as the spots are few and far between and the jury is out as to whether they're just baby pimples) and that combined with the teething has meant that he's been very fussy and not overly keen on being strapped into a highchair.

Having said that, he is very enthusiastic when he's in the mood, happily chewing or sucking on larger pieces of food, and at least liberally smearing his face when given a loaded spoon, if not actually eating it. He seems to have stopped gagging so much (our pantomimes of chewing have got better and now stop him mid-gag so he can have a good giggle at our idiocy) and we've seen evidence of Things passing through him (nobody ever told me parenthood = getting excited about the contents of dirty nappies).

I wrote the following list of foods he's tried down for a friend, so thought I'd post it here as I was quite impressed when confronted with the whole thing:

Banana (easy and yummy)
Cucumber (easy and good for teething)
Peach (stabbed a bit onto a baby fork and he had no trouble)
Mini shredded wheat (dry or soaked in formula)
Cherry tomato
Grated carrot
Mashed potato
Mango, Melon and Pineapple (supermarkets often sell these presliced for £1 for lots of slices, almost as cheap as buying the whole fruit, easier and less waste and effort! Perfect for holding).
Toast (spread with unsalted butter, or cream cheese, or puree [free samples of, I hasten to add])
Red pepper (raw, sliced)
Rice cake (plain or with butter or with cream cheese)
Crumpet (with butter or puree)
Lasagne (Jacob just stripped each layer off and sucked it, he completely demolished it)
Easy-peasy breakfast biscuits (see recipe on
the BLW forum, use more flour as they're sticky. I made loads and froze them, they're brilliant for breakfast if you can't think of anything else).
Pitta bread (with houmous)
Plain yoghurt (or with puree mixed in)
Porridge (or porridge pancakes, see BLW forum for recipe)
Roast butternut squash/sweet potato
Broccoli (steamed)
Apple fried in cinnamon
Soup (with bread to mop up).
Drop scones (i've made banana or blackberry)

Mostly, we're having lots of fun with trying things. He's dropped his milk intake quite dramatically, but I think this is more to do with the discomfort from his teeth, combined with the chickenpox, and an increased interest in what's going on around him which is distracting him from his food.


Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Week 2 - lots of new tastes

We're well into our second week of BLW now, and at times finding it a bit hard to make time for meals, but have still managed to offer food at least once a day.

Towards the end of last week Jacob's milk intake dropped by about a third, and he was tired and coughing a lot. We thought it unlikely that he was dropping his milk naturally due to the introduction of solids, since the only thing that seems to have gone down is juice sucked off various fruits.

A possible reason came to light yesterday, when I had a text from a friend to say that her baby (with whom Jacob was in close contact 10 days ago) has chickenpox. Sure enough, Jacob has a few spots scattered around, and so we're just waiting to see if they develop further.

On Saturday (before pox suspicions were raised) we went out for the day to Barry Island with friends. Jacob enjoyed the beach, having his first dip in the sea and his first go in a ball pit at the soft play centre. As is practically expected of you at the beach, we had fish 'n chips for lunch. We know that whilst the very idea of BLW means letting your baby share your meals; little kidneys can't cope with very much salt so I don't think we'll be making chips a regular part of Jacob's diet. I did let him have a go on a few (unsalted) ones which had been left to cool by the side of my plate. He wasn't very keen though, and was far more intent on launching himself headfirst out of his Daddy's arms onto the floor. He was caught at the very last second, but it scared the life out of all of us, so we decided to leave the food for the day.

Since then, he's had a go on a rice cake with cream cheese, which he smeared liberally all over his face but wasn't too bothered about eating. Yesterday he had crumpets with butter (I read the packet afterwards and saw that crumpets have a shocking 0.5g of salt EACH, that's half his RDA) and some strawberries. He loved the strawberries, and we saw the first evidence this morning that they'd gone through his system ;)

Today we bravely offered his first 'proper' meal, of veggie spinach and ricotta lasagne with salad. Putting it on his tray, I was all poised to start cutting it up and offering it to him on loaded spoons, when he showed me how silly I was being by easily peeling off the top layer and shoving it in his mouth.

It was by far our most successful meal to date, we sat for nearly an hour while he chewed every last piece, making encouraging chewing faces/noises every time he started to gag. He hunted around on the floor and in his lap (and in his hair, and in the folds of his bib) for any bits he'd missed (or spat out) and had a second go on them all.

There was significantly less food when he'd 'finished', so we'll have to wait and see whether or not anything goes through.

I never thought I'd be this interested in or eagerly anticipating the contents of a nappy.


Friday, 11 September 2009

Day 6 - Rice cake

Today was a bit of a fail - Jacob was up all night and we were exhausted as a result. His first feed was at a very uncharacteristic 5.30am so our rough daily plan was all over the place. He was very clingy and not keen to be left even for a minute or two all day so I resorted to plonking him in his highchair in the kitchen so he could watch me clear up and wash up.

I gave him a rice cake to nibble on, keeping a close eye as I was worried about him 'inhaling' it as it's so light and fluffy. It was fine though, he enjoyed the taste and had a good chew on the bigger pieces.

Letting him eat on his own like this isn't really the idea of BLW; we're supposed to eat as a family so that Jacob can watch us and see what we're doing, and he can share our food. I'm sure, though, that there are going to a few days where life gets in the way of idyllic family mealtimes. We'll do our best though, especially when he moves on from the fruit/veg stage.

We had aimed to do another meal at some point during the day, but it just wasn't feasible with the state he was in with his gums, so we gave in and put him down for an early night at 6pm.

We're both going to try and catch up on our sleep tonight ready for a day out with friends tomorrow at Barry Island.