This post originally appeared at Rebel Angel.
Disclaimer: The Little Freddie pouches in this review were gifted for review.
So it’s been a while and a lot is going on in the world right now. I’ve been struggling to get my monthly Emmy updates live as they take a lot of work to put together and time that I just don’t have – after going back to work, I wanted to spend as much time as possible with Emmy when I’m at home.
Then the world changed…completely. I’m not going to go into it all now, but Emmy and I actually started isolating a couple of weeks before most as she decided to develop a cough at just the wrong time. More on that another time, I’m sure, but after a trip to the doctors and a course of antibiotics, she’s feeling a whole lot better, but now Ben has become the stay at home parent while I work upstairs most days! That’s the good thing about my job – I can work anywhere with an internet connection, whereas Ben’s work has shut down. So while this time is quiet for a lot of people, it’s been kind of crazy for me actually – I’m working more than I have in over a year plus spending time with my little family when I can.
So today we’re talking baby led weaning! We chose to go down this route pretty early on after discovering that Emmy is a very independent and wanted to eat her own food, her own way, by herself. I’d like to go back over our baby led weaning journey one day, but to get started, today I wanted to share what Emmy’s meals currently look like at just over a year old (I know, how did this happen?!).
Our (Personal!) BLW Guidelines
Everyone’s methods and “rules” for feeding their babies are different – some choose very strict baby led weaning techniques, others offer only purees and slow increase how well pureed and mashed these are; some offer a combination of both. Here is what we do currently:
At around 8 or 9 months old, we started giving Emmy 3 meals a day, and now she eats 3 meals and 2 snacks a day usually. She occasionally skips a snack in favour of nursing instead as she’s still breastfed (usually 2-3 times per day, but with me being at home all the time now, she sometimes requests more!). Her current routine looks a bit like this:
7am: Wake up & nurse
7pm: Nurse & bed
We try to eat with Emmy at every possible opportunity and offer her the same things that we’re eating. Where possible, she has the exact same meal, but often this will need to be cut to suit her better – for example, a cherry tomato will be sliced into quarters, a sausage cut into strips. We make sure not to include any added salt in her meals, but seasonings (such as herbs and spices) are included – we just try not to make anything too spicy! Traditional BLW recommends that you model the way you eat food for your baby to see, so this is why we choose to eat the same things at the same time as her.
Of course, this isn’t always possible, and Emmy often eats her last meal of the day (what we call “tea”) by herself, although we’ll snack on little bits of whatever she’s eating usually and will always sit at the table (or breakfast bar!) with her.
We offer utensils at meals but are happy if she just wants to use her hands too, which happens most of the time! Early on it was just a spoon which we would preload and put down for her to pick her, or we would offer it to her mouth if she was willing. She’s now started using a fork too after watching us and demanding one, and she’s just getting the hang of it now! We have a few long handled Tommee Tippee spoons and a little Munchkin child’s spoon and fork set which are easy for her to hold.
You can find the plates you’ll see in these photos at the following links:
- Bamboo fox plate
- Easymat suction placemat – this fits the IKEA Antilop highchair tray
- Bee design suction placemats
And a quick note on bibs – we don’t use them, we use Ben’s old T shirts instead! This is a little hack I came across – he doesn’t wear them any more so it doesn’t matter if they pick up a few stains; they’re big enough to cover her basically from neck to toes; you can turn them around backwards to get more wear out of them; then you simply chuck them in the wash when they’ve got grubby!
For every meal, we try to include at least 1 type of:
- Protein (meat, such as grilled chicken, sausages, strips of pork chop; eggs, often scrambled, as an omelette or boiled; beans; lentils; fish; peanut butter; or yoghurt).
- Starch (bread, rice, pasta, wrap, potatoes).
- Dairy (yoghurt, cheese).
- Vegetable (sometimes raw, such as cucumber, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, spring onions; sometimes cooked, such as peas, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, aubergine etc.)
- Fruit (orange, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, mango, plum, pear, pineapple etc.)
Baby Led Weaning Breakfasts – 1 year old
I’ve never been a big breakfast person, but during maternity leave, that changed! Even before Emmy was born, I knew I needed a good breakfast to get my tired pregnant self going through the morning, then this has continued as I knew I needed to set a couple of example, and that wasn’t going to happen with just grabbing a cereal bar at 10am when I got a bit hungry.
At the moment, our favourite breakfast is an omelette (or scrambled egg) with any veggies we can find in the fridge – usually tomatoes and spring onions – with half a slice of lightly buttered toast and a serving of fruit on the side. You can see an example of this in the first photo above.
Above is a (pretty big!) breakfast of tomato omelette with grated cheddar, toast, yoghurt drops and melon.
Other options have included:
- a lightly buttered crumpet cut into strips
- English muffin cut into strips
- jam on toast (this is a favourite!)
- Weetabix with warm milk and honey (NB: honey is only suitable for babies over 1 year old)
- cornflakes with milk
- boiled egg with toast soldiers
- yoghurt with fruit or homemade yoghurt drops (just little drops of yoghurt frozen on a baking tray)
We always have a serving of fruit with breakfast – we most often have berries at breakfast, but for some reason, I’ve got orange slices pictured here!
Baby Led Weaning Lunches/Dinners – 1 year old
Our lunches and dinners (or “tea” as we refer to the evening meal) are the more ‘creative” of Emmy’s meals. Usually Emmy shares leftovers from the tea that Ben and I ate the evening before (which we have after she’s gone down to bed due to the time of day we finish work). This can be a huge variety of options, but usually consists of a protein, starch and vegetable followed by some fruit.
Her tea is more tricky as she usually eats this by herself, but we make sure it’s a meal like one we would eat. We tend to meal prep a bit for these, so we’ll have several portions of pasta with sauce, falafels, fishcakes etc. made up and stored in the fridge or freezer ready to heat up for her.
I’ve taken some photos of different meals Emmy has eaten over the past few weeks, so I’ll describe each below the photos – I’ve tried to get creative with the presentation of some of these!
Cheat’s pizza with sliced cherry tomatoes, chopped rocket and sliced strawberries.
Cheat’s pizza is a staple for when we’re running low on ideas and prepped meals. It’s simply bread (we usually use pitta bread or flatbread, but pictured here is just toast) with tomato puree spread on top, any veg/cooked meat you’d like to pop on top and sprinkled with cheddar/Red Leicester cheese. Toppings for us are usually sliced tomatoes, spring onions and shredded chicken or ham.
NB: She had more strawberries than are pictured here – they just didn’t look pretty on the plate!
Mac and Cheese with ham and butternut squash, with a side of roasted broccoli and sliced tomatoes, and quartered blueberries.
This meal was actually from when Emmy was a bit younger so it’s a smaller portion.
Homemade tuna fishcakes (made here using boiled potatoes, tinned tuna and spring onions) with peas, yoghurt and mandarin slices (we used to cut these in half for Emmy, but she now devours them whole!).
Cheese and tomato toast on wholemeal bread with avocado, grated cheddar and strawberries.
Chicken pot pie made with shredded chicken, sweetcorn, carrots and lentils, topped with pastry, followed by an oat biscuit with a raspberry.
A fun meal, cheesy beans on toast! We get low sodium and low sugar beans when we can find them if Emmy will be eating them. Followed by tinned mandarin slices in juice – these are a big hit for Emmy and are brilliant for younger babies as they’re soft and easy to chew.
This was a bit of a random fridge meal – leftover spiced lentils with grilled prawns and baby corn topped with spring onions. (The baby corn is sliced into quarters here).
Terrible photo, but this is a good staple meal in our house – omelette wraps. Here we just fry some spring onions, tomato and whatever veg we can find (here it was mange tout) then added 1 egg to make an omelette, then simply roll it up in a wrap and hand it to her! If there’s some that doesn’t fit in the wrap, she has that on the plate by itself. I’m always shocked how well she can eat a wrap like this!
Then finally, this dish is an absolute favourite around here! Emmy’s staple tea is filled pasta (this might be tortellini, ravioli etc. filled with basically anything – chicken, sausage, spinach and ricotta, spicy tomato); we buy this ready made from the supermarket then divide into a few portions in freezer bags, usually around 10 pieces of pasta per portion at this age, and pop them into the freezer. They then take 5 minutes to cook straight from frozen rather than 3 minutes. We usually top these with a simple tomato sauce (sometimes this is a cheat’s version of tomato puree mixed with hot water, sshh!) or with a “sauce” in the form of a pouch.
Above it has a side of shredded rocket and sliced nectarines in one image; grated cheddar cheese and avocado in the other.
This is another example of the filled pasta staple meal I mentioned above, but with a pouch. Here we used a Grass-fed beef lasagne with a pinch of parmesan pouch from Little Freddie, which was kindly gifted for Emmy to try. We don’t use a lot of pouches, but these were total lifesavers when our house was turned upside down lately when we had a new kitchen installed (over a month without an oven with a 10 month old, and 2 weeks without a kitchen sink…that was interesting!). We’ve found that pouches work perfectly for us when we need something quick to serve Emmy or as a “topping” for things like pasta or jacket potatoes. Pasta and tomatoes are basically her favourite things in the world, so popping this yummy mix on top of her filled pasta was like heaven for her! I have to admit that Ben and I snuck a taste too as we couldn’t resist, and we were very pleasantly surprised to find that it tasted as good as (if not better!) than a homemade lasagne! I often stress about making sure Emmy’s diet is well balanced with all the nutrients she needs and I was really impressed by this dish as it’s packed full of protein (with 20% beef in each meal) and all organic ingredients.
These are available to buy in Sainsburys, so make sure to click here to check out the coupons currently available for Little Freddie pouches. We’re going to be going back for more when we can!
We’ve also added a few toppings to this dish – grated Red Leicester, tomatoes and spring onions with grapes on the side for later.
And yet another couple of examples of filled pasta! The first was one of Emmy’s first tries of this dish so she had the pasta without a sauce, simply topped with some basil, with tomatoes, mozzarella and cottage cheese on the side and followed by strawberries. The second is with peas and some leftover pork meatballs (and some bits of Babybel too!).
Some more ideas of lunch/dinner meals we’ve served Emmy (but not photographed), all served with sides of veg and fruit:
- Jacket potato with tuna/cottage cheese/beans/cheddar cheese/chilli.
- Baked sweet potato wedges with avocado, sour cream and shredded chicken.
- Salsa chicken – this is chicken cooked in a pressure cooker with salsa and stock (trust me, it’s good!). Served either by itself with sides like avocado, cheese etc. or in a wrap.
- Chilli con carne with sides.
- Homemade veggie curry with butternut squash, sweet potato, chickpeas, lentils etc.
- Homemade chicken noodle soup with shredded chicken, noodles, carrots, any veg left in the fridge.
- Spicy sausage pasta with sausage meat, tinned tomatoes, fennel seeds, garlic, carrots and spring onions.
- Spaghetti bolognese.
- Pasta puttanesca – a tuna and tomato sauce with olives, capers and garlic.
- Spanish omelette – made with chorizo, potatoes and onions.
- Aubergine parmigiana – made with sliced aubergine, tomatoes, parmesan and mozzarella.
- Prawn Thai curry, using any veg (usually baby corn and mange tout) with a curry paste and coconut milk.
- Sausage, egg & chips – we make a healthy(ish!) version of this where we make homemade oven baked chips.
- Homemade lasagne with minced beef, lentils, carrots, onions and tomatoes.
- Toad in the hole – sausages with Yorkshire pudding, asparagus and gravy.
- The good old traditional roast dinner with meat (roast beef, pork, chicken or lamb) with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, a couple of veggie sides.
- Chicken fajitas with sliced chicken, mushrooms and onions.
- Shepherds pie with veggie sides.
- Stuffed aubergine with rice.
- Oven baked salmon with rice and veggies.
As I mentioned before, we offer Emmy snacks once or twice a day, depending on how often she’s nursed that day and whether she asks for them or not. Here are some ideas of snacks based on what we currently give Emmy:
- Slice of malt loaf
- Babybel or a handful of grated cheese
- Homemade hummus and carrot sticks
- Crackers with peanut butter
- A couple of sweet potato falafel bits
- Handful of blueberries or raspberries
- Half a crumpet
- Homemade oat biscuits using oats and bananas
- Hard boiled egg
I talked about pouches for lunches/dinners earlier, but we’ve also found sweet pouches make an excellent snack. Emmy loves fruit, so a little fruit puree pouch is brilliant for an on-the-go snack where I can’t carry fresh fruit all day or don’t have the chance to chop it up. She also recently tried this Creamy Blueberry & Banana Greek Style Yoghurt pouch, gifted by Little Freddie again, and absolutely adored it. Again, we were impressed by their commitment to “real” food for babies, and on top of that, we’ve been impressed by their sustainability commitment too – we received a little recycling bag where we can pop our used pouches (from any brand, not just Little Freddie!) and send them back so they don’t end up in landfill.
As I mentioned before, these are available in Sainsburys, and don’t forget to grab your coupons for these here!
So those are the types of meals we give Emmy at the moment. If you’ve got a little one you’re looking for meals for, I hope this gave you a few ideas! And feel free to share yours too – I’d love to hear about them!
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