10.31.2012

Happy Halloween!

Lobster, yum!



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Pinterest my Tummy

Last Tuesday when Katie posted about the latest Pinterest Challenge, I was psyched to join in. I've missed every single one to date. Nothing could stop me time time 'round. I was so in! Tuesday night I started sifting through my boards, hunting for the pin of a project I had in mind. Along the way I found several recipes my growling tummy insisted I try. And so hatched the week of Pinterest Challenge: Tummy Style.

Night one was the Salted Caramel Cake in a Cup. It was nothing to write home about. I love the idea of single serving cakes or cookies in a mug, but they seem to fall short. I think the issue is that they always call for one egg. So the egg-to-flour ratio is way off producing a dry end result. Think of a brownie mix: if you want fudgey, moist brownies you add one egg, cake-like, dry brownies, you add two. So with these cakes and cookies in a cup you're using an entire egg for 1/12 the amount of dry ingredients. Next time I think I'll try leaving out the egg and using an appropriate ratio of an egg substitute that you'd find in a vegan recipe. I'll let you know how it works out.

On to night two when I made one of our favorites from a year or two ago: Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread. Just as AMAZING as the first time around, just as gone in one day as the first time around. Tip: if you plan to make this bread, don't plan to eat for a few days leading up to it 'cause you're going to need to save up your calories for the gorge-fest about to happen.

On night three I made baked mini donuts using one of my favorite recipes, but instead of cinnamon and nutmeg, I added mini chocolate chips. They were kind of like mini chocolate chip muffins and super delicious.
On the fourth night I made macaroni and cheese, classic and delicious. I was going to use Annie's Spicy Mac & Cheese recipe, but then at the last minute I was in a classic mac mood and decided not to add the spice. I left out the peppers, onions and used straight-up cheddar cheese. Then, instead of a crumb topping, I sprinkled it with cheese. I always use a crumb topping and it's always the part we avoid when serving ourselves. There's nothing better than more cheese with your mac & cheese.

On the fifth night, in the midst of prepping for hurricane Sandy, I made Enchilada Pasta Casserole. I used green enchilada sauce because that's what we had on hand. Fail. As I was putting it all together I tried to salvage it with lots more corn, which helped, but it was all still kind of blah. Maybe a red enchilada sauce would give it the kick that it needed, but it was just blah. S ate his with Tabasco and I didn't eat mine. I'm not a big pasta fan and the casserole was just as much work to make as regular enchiladas. We'll stick with regular next time.

On the sixth night (afternoon) Hurricane Sandy hit us hard. We lost power and we've been in the dark ever since. I started work on a big Pinterest Challenge house project in the living room, but without light, I have no good photos. I did manage to wield a paintbrush quite nicely in relative darkness though...more to come as soon as the power lines are set free from a massive tree.
 thankfully no one was hurt and no houses were crushed when the poor old tree fell. It made a huge explosion of a sound and I saw the top branches hit from our front door. Poor old tree.

So all in all I'd give the recipes mixed results. Hooray for pull apart bread, mac & cheese and mini baked donuts. Boo to enchilada pasta and cake in a cup. And boo to you, happy Halloween!

Linking up to YHL, Bower Power, Our Fifth House & The Ugly Duckling

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10.28.2012

Pinterest Challenge v. The Storm

You can't hold me back, storm!

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10.22.2012

Oatmeal, Flax & Banana Pancakes (GF)

This morning there were two over-ripe bananas (at least by my just-barely-yellow-banana-loving standards) in the fruit basket on the counter this morning just begging fruit flies to come make their home. Side note, where on earth do those things come from anyway? Do they live on fruit or just eat it? Usually I'd bake the bananas into some banana bread for S, but since Mamie Jayne is in town for one more day, baby M had a playmate to distract him long enough for me to make him some fresh pancakes for breakfast.

This recipe is similar to the pumpkin pancakes I made a couple weeks ago (and several times since). Just some fruit, oatmeal and an egg to hold it all together. They were a big hit with baby M and tasty with syrup for mummy!

Oatmeal, Flax & Banana Pancakes
gluten free

3/4 c. oatmeal
3/4 c. ground flax
2 ripe bananas
1 egg
handful of craisins

1. In a food processor with the blade attachment, process oatmeal into a powder

2. Add flax and pulse to combine

3. Add bananas and egg and process until smooth - consistency should be like brownie batter, if needed, add a little milk to thin or oatmeal to thicken

4. Throw in a handful of craisins and pulse until combined

5. Heat a skillet and spray with Pam

6. Drop by spoonfuls and flatten to pancakes, cook until golden on the first side, flip and cook until golden on the second side and pancake is cooked through

Serve with sliced bananas for baby and sliced bananas and syrup for mom

Yummy, mummy!

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10.19.2012

Big Butt Baby Pants

I've been sewing for baby M again lately - finally finding the time after many months of very little free time and little inspiration. After sewing so much for his nursery, I hardly had any ideas left! Enter the Big Butt Baby Pant pattern from Made by Rae. A couple of my girlfriends with babies the same age as M were sewing and posting photos of theirs on Facebook, which was just what I needed to get the sewing bug again.
After the first pair, which I made following the pattern exactly (top left photo below), I started adding pockets, flat fronts and contrasting bums. The bottom pair are the latest, made with fine wale corduroy - one pair with whale bums, the other with owl bums.
Of course, I just have crummy phone photos of the first two pairs. Side note: I don't understand why my iPhone takes the.worst.photos.ever. when others get blog-worthy shots. Please, what's the secret?

And the latest pair in corduroy with a contrasting bum and pockets, so cozy!
The Big Butt Baby Pant pattern is easy peasy to follow, but make sure to check out her errata page - she gives a tip for keeping the crotch area from bunching. The pattern costs $10; go ahead, support a fellow blogger.

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10.16.2012

10 Months Down

Month ten started off all sunshine and roses and ended all lions and tigers. Roar. I’ll be the first to admit that having a baby who has been a surprisingly great sleeper spoiled me. This month began the 10:30pm check-in with mommy, a fifteen minute nurse and rock session that always began juuuuust as I drifted off to sleep in my room. Then it moved to 9:30 and now hovers around 8:30. Of course that in itself isn’t bad at all. But combine it with a 5:45 wake up, a couple weeks of solo momma & Baby M time, a momma who is a night-owl and cannot put herself to bed early and this momma is tired. I’m blaming Wonder Week 46 and hoping it passes soon. Or maybe it’s those first two teeth that joined us this month!

Teeth
Tooth #1 came in like a lamb – the morning of his 9 months appointment I felt his gums like I have been for months. He’d been leaving a snail trail of drool everywhere he crawled, but he wasn’t fussy and his sleep was great.
look at all that drool!

We had zero teeth for months. That afternoon when his pediatrician asked whether he had any teeth, S and I confidently said, “nope, no teeth yet.” Then, she peered into his mouth and what does she see? The white bud of a bottom left (his left) tooth that popped through during the day. Two weeks later tooth #2 appeared after two days of extreme fussiness and a desire to be held all day long, which was trying for his daycare momma who has two other not-yet-mobile infants to care for too. Once #2 came through baby M was all (toothy, albeit crooked ones) smiles and babbles again. His nighttime sleep, unfortunately, remains a little off.
see them? they're in there!
Sleep
Along with the night wakings, baby M dropped a nap. That makes one nap, at 9 month old. I’d like to officially call all my friends who told me the drop-to-one nap happens between 14-16 months, liars. And it’s not one of these epic mid-day, three hour naps they all enjoy. But on the weekends a 1-1.5 hour nap two to three hours after he wakes up is just long enough for me to clean up a bit, put a load of laundry on and shower, which is all I really need. Then we’re off and playing all day long…until 5:30 when he crashes and we start the bath-boob-bed routine we’ve had for months...
...and he’s sound asleep by 6:30.

Play
We’re back in the pool after a month away from PawPaw’s bucket; we started swim lessons! Baby M was so excited to get in the water during our first lesson. Each time we go he squeals and splashes and has a great time. He’s getting better with his back float, but still doesn’t love it. Last weekend he dunked his face underwater four times. Unlike most of the other babies, he didn’t care at all and just kept swimming for the edge of the pool where he can now crawl out quite well. He has been dunking his face in his bathbucket for a couple weeks now too, but I’m not sure if that’s his attempt to drink the water or if he’s really dunking his face. We usually run the two miles to the pool and on the way home I bundle baby M all cozy in his new stroller BundleMe. He loves riding while I run; I try to pick him up from daycare in the jogger at least once a week and while S is away we take long walks with Feeney before bath every evening.

Baby M’s favorite toys include his fake corn, plastic whiffle ball, a little red wooden car (he loves to throw and chase everything, including the car) and a piece of cardboard at home (it has teeth marks on both ends – one side from M and the other from Feeney) and assortment of faux junk food at daycare. He often greets me with a donut in his hands. He’s also very into cruising the toys at daycare now – they have several activity tables lining one wall; he walks to the end and then holds out an arm as if to say “move that couch over here so I can keep going.”

He’s not doing that much cruising at home, he much prefers to zip around at a super fast crawl, however, he has learned to climb stairs at home - a new skill I discovered one evening when things were a little too quiet. I turned around after having put him on the ground less than a minute earlier and there he was, halfway up the stairs, lifting an arm to wave hello.
 
We let him climb a few more times with a spotter behind him and then the novelty wore off. He hasn’t attempted a climb in a couple weeks.

He’s also very into playing with doors right now. He wants all doors shut. “Shut the front door, Maddox.” It makes me giggle.

We hosted our first play date while S was away. We intended to go to the park, but rain forced us to change our plans and we had four babies to play in our living room. One little girl brought a drum set that M really liked, so we went out and bought one too later that week when we saw it on sale at Target.

Earlier in the month we went to baby M’s first Navy football game!
watching the parade of Midshipmen
It was soooo hot outside that we couldn’t spend enough time with our friends who didn’t have a tailgate tent to shield us from the sun. No worries, we ended up in S’s parents’ tailgater where they had a huge tent, lots of food and tons of people to watch baby M. We didn’t see him for a couple hours. Baby M managed a very short nap in the Ergo as we walked into the stadium and then watched all of the action from S’s shoulders. He loved it.
touchdown!
Baby M also loves his dog. He has a special laugh/squeal that he only uses when touching the dog. It used to be that he’d crawl around the dog, then he moved to crawling over the dog when he was in the way, now M actively seeks out the dog and crawls over him, head butts him or if he’s getting sleepy, will cozy up to Feeney’s fur.
wearing the sweater I knit for him

In the morning we’ll feed the dog then go to the kitchen where I put baby M down while I make coffee. Within seconds he’s bolting across the house for the dog and his food dish. It’s like Groundhog Day every day; unlike the stairs, the novelty of the dog bowl does not wear off.



The swing is also still a big hit. We packed up his baby swings a while ago, but he still gets his fix at the park every day with his daycare momma and at home, outside in his personal park.
Apparently he causes quite the scene when it's time to get out of the swing at the park. He really hasn't learned that he needs to share with the other babies yet.

Eat
Midway through the month we started a small second meal of solids in the late afternoon/evening. I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence but every single day he gets an afternoon snack, he wakes for milk as I’m going to bed. I’m currently sending him to daycare with a snack to have at 3:30 in hopes that it won’t interrupt his sleep, but so far it’s not working. Ironically, if he does not have any snacks and just has milk, he sleeps through the night. It’s maddening since he’s so wee and should eat a bit more.

We had baby M tested for food allergies at his 9 month appointment and were very happy to learn that he doesn’t have a true gluten allergy. It’s just a gluten sensitivity, which means there’s a good chance he’ll outgrow it by the time he’s 2 or 3. Unfortunately it’s still in full effect. Stupid mommy forgot that meatballs are held together with breadcrumbs. Baby M had one for breakfast and threw up several times throughout the day. Oops.

Miscellaneous
I bought the Maxi Cosi Pria 70 convertible car seat for my car a few weeks ago. He loves it, I love it! It can rear-face to 48” tall and forward face for a long time after that. It’s rated one of the longest lasting convertible seats in terms of height and weight limits and is specifically recommended for cars with a tight back seat (front to back, not side to side.) Plus it has side impact head support, which I like and M doesn’t mind at all. Baby M and I could be a walking advertisement for it, we love it that much.

Baby M had his first cold this season, which was very short-lived. We propped his mattress up with a towel to help keep his nose clear and used the snot sucker, aka torture device, in the morning. We took hot showers together and he ate chicken soup from one of his stacking cups. He was feeling better within two days and all better within a week.

Mid-month I opened the door to baby M’s nursery to find him standing in his crib looking eye-to-eye with me. He’s been pulling up for over a month, but it took him this long to do it in his crib. Now it’s all standing in the crib all the time. And near the end of the month I walked into find a woodchuck in the crib, gnawing away on the side rails. I made crib rail covers that night.



Baby M learned to clap this month. He takes a lot of pride in his abilities and expects tons of praise when he claps.
The weather is getting a little chillier so I bought M’s first shoes - at least his first shoes that fit since his Tiny Toms are still too big – a pair of Robeez that look like sneakers. He wears them often, or sometimes just socks, but his feet are covered more often than not again these days. It takes several more minutes to dress him in the morning – gone are the days of one piece rompers. We've also been lucky enough to have several rainy days when I've been able to dress him in his yellow rain slicker. I love little clothes.
We’ve started to apply to be put on preschool waitlists. I had my first preschool visit last week and I didn’t love it, but I don’t think I’d love any preschool at this point. We have a few more visits lined up this month. I don’t want my baby to grow up and go to preschool. At all.

Stats
Baby M is still under 18 pounds and is super long – I don’t quite know how long though, he moves too much when I try to measure him. He’s still wearing BG diapers on the second rise setting with the Velcro touching or two rows of snaps open. At night he wears size 3 Huggies Pure & Natural. He wears mostly 6-12 clothes from Baby Gap and 9 months from Carters. However, most of his warm clothes are size 12m or 12-18 so we’ve slowly started to introduce those into the mix. I’ve packed up all of his 3-6m stuff and most of his 6m stuff is making its way to the storage bags too.

With the passage into the double-digit months I’m realizing that one is just around the corner, so I’ve started to plan his baby M’s first birthday party. I have to admit though, I’d like to freeze time and am not looking forward to it one bit!

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10.09.2012

Teething Crib Rail Covers - Sewing Tutorial

Baby M is dropping his second nap most days, but his first nap is usually only a couple hours after he wakes up and by the time mid-afternoon rolls around I'm ready for a break. Baby needs to nap! So on Saturday I put him down in his crib, gave him his lovey, L.E., said goodnight, shut the door and hoped he'd fall asleep. When I peered at him on the video monitor ten minutes later he was quietly standing at the side of the crib, facing the door. Quiet is never good.

When it dawned on me what he was doing, I bolted up the stairs to find my baby, with his one tiny, just-popped-through tooth, gnawing away at the side of his crib. Complete with white paint in his mouth. Bugger!

I used half a roll of masking tape to secure a towel to the side of the crib for the night and on Sunday sewed a set of crib rail covers to match the rest of his nursery. I made a set of four and in total spent about 5 hours on them, including time spent hunting around for what I could use for ties. It was a fairly straight-forward project and because I was able to space the ties out to fit our specific crib, the fit is much better than the covers available in stores.


Crib Rail Covers - Sewing Tutorial

1. Measure each of the four rails of your crib from the inside - if you measure the outer dimension the rail covers you make will be too long. On my crib I made two matching short covers and two matching long covers.

The inside edges of our short and long crib rails are 27.5" and 51.25" respectively

2. Measure height of rail - our rail is just over 4" high, double this number so the guards wrap around the entire rail. If the top of your rail is quite wide, add this measurement in too. (I ended up making them a touch shorter just so I could use fabric I had on hand.)

3. Measure for placement of ties - with your tape measure at the inside edge, measure to the first or second opening between crib slats - you'll put the first tie at the very edge, so depending on the spacing of your slats, you may need a tie at the first one like I did, or farther down.

The edge of my first slat opening on the short rail is 3.5" from the edge.

Continue measuring to the edge of every other slat (I put ties at nearly every slat on the short ends where he stands to watch the door). On the short end I measured 3.5", 8.5", 15.5" and 24". On the long end I measured 9.5", 17.25", 25.25", 32.5" and 40.25".

4. Count and cut ribbon/ties - I used double faced satin ribbon leftover from our wedding for the ties. Count one piece of ribbon for each tie (you'll cut them later.) I needed 28 ties for all four rail covers.

Cut each of your ties 24" long with an angle cut (this edge will be hanging down on the finished bow)

Fold and cut each of the ties in half with a straight cut (this cut will be on the inside of the bumper.)


5. Cut fabrics - I used a cotton quilting fabric for the outside and a quilted/pique fabric with a little padding for the inside. You could add a layer of waterproof PUL to the inside, using this technique from the baby bibs I made last spring.

Take your measurements from above and add 1" all around for seam allowances and cut matching sized pieces of facing and lining fabric for each rail cover
  • My short rail cut fabric was 28" x 9" 
  • My long rail cut fabric was 52" x 9"



6. Pin ribbons to lining fabric - the most important thing to remember when pinning your ribbons down is the 1/2" seam allowance at each end of your fabric! Add 1/2" to all of your measurements and then pin your ribbons down on the RIGHT side and facing into the CENTER of the backing fabric.

Given the placement measurements above I pinned my ribbons at .5", 4", 9", 16", 24.5" and 28" on the short side covers and .5", 10", 17.75", 25.75", 33", 40.75" and 51.75" on the long side covers. 



7. Stitch down ribbons - using a 1/4" seam allowance, stitch down pinned ribbons

8. Pin ribbons to right side of backing fabric - sewing your facing fabric to the backing, pin the ribbons in two or three places to the center of the backing fabric so that you don't catch them when sewing the fabrics together.
  

9. Pin fabrics together, right sides facing - be careful not to snag the ribbons that you've pinned out of the way.


See, the ribbons are tucked inside:


10. Stitch around all four sides with a 1/2" seam allowance - leave a 3" opening on one short edge for turning. Be careful that you don't catch the first ribbon that you placed 1/2" from the edge.

11. Clip corners


12. Turn right side out and press

13. Top-stitch around edges & burn ribbon edges to keep from fraying - I used the gas stove top to ever so slightly melt the edges of the ribbons to keep them from fraying.

14. Tie to crib - tie to the crib so that the bows are on the outside of the crib. First tie in a double knot, then tie a bow, if desired




15. Toss a teething toy or two or twelve to keep your baby's teeth razor sharp.

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10.05.2012

Power's Out

We never lose power here. Maybe a few blips here and there, but never for extended periods of time like others in our metro area. I mean there are people who have gone weeeeeeks without power after a storm here.

So today when we lost power in the middle of the work day, I stood up and walked into the kitchen to fill up my water bottle, fully expecting the power to cycle back on in a minute or two. After a few minutes of nothing at all, I called the power company. Then ten minutes later I called again and got an update that power should be restored in 5-6 hours. Um. I've got deadlines.

I packed up my laptop (and my pump, but we won't get into that) and headed out to our local library. Which was also without power. So I trucked to the next nearest library where I set up shop for the afternoon. I had a bit of nostalgia for law school while I was there; I missed having some of my closest girlfriends in the carrels next to me. And of course I missed being able to nap in the middle of the day.

The power outage reminded me of two things. First, we need to find a freezer to replace the one we have currently - not to buy straight away, but to watch and know is available when ours dies. We bought ours used five years ago and know it can't last forever. The problem is, the custom built spot we created for it in the basement, which fits it perfectly...doesn't fit other freezers on the market. That and missing a three-way switch in one spot are our only basement regrets. I have a lot of liquid gold in that freezer, we need to be able to produce a replacement ASAP when needed.

And second, I saw a bit on the news the other night about smoke alarms. We need to make sure we have photoelectric smoke alarms in our house and not just an ionization alarm. Watch the clip, it's worth the couple minutes of your time.

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

This morning as I was sitting in the air conditioning on this lovely October day, I had a craving for my favorite fall treat: a pumpkin spice latte. Unfortunately it's a work day, I'm wearing yoga pants and the tank top I slept in last night, I haven't showered yet (in ahem, how many days?), baby M is still sleeping, and S is at work. I can't exactly run out to Starbucks. So I decided to finally try something I've pinned. And the results are fab.
This recipe makes a lot of latte. It fills up my GIANT Starbucks mug. I'm. So. Full. But I don't think I'd cut the recipe in half; you'd just be left wanting more.

Pumpkin Spice Latte
serves 2, or 1 pumpkin spice latte obsessed

2 c. skim milk
2 T. canned pumpkin (100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix)
2 T. sugar
2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
3/4 c. strong brewed coffee

In a saucepan heat milk, pumpkin and sugar until hot, but not boiling. Stir in vanilla and pumpkin pie spice and whip with a wire whisk. You could whip in a blender for a few seconds to get the milk super frothy, but I did not. Pour coffee into two mugs (or one really large mug), add the pumpkin milk mixture and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

Enjoy!

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10.04.2012

Baby Led Weaning: the First Few Months

We started Baby Led Weaning (BLW) just shy of Baby M’s 6 month birthday. The “weaning” part of BLW doesn’t mean to wean from breast milk as the U.S. definition of weaning might suggest, rather it means to introduce supplementary foods to a baby’s diet. For the first 12 months, breast milk is best (for breastfed babies, of course.) With BLW you skip the purees, which aren’t necessary now that the AAP has issued guidelines that all healthy babies should delay all solids until at least 6 months, and head straight to the table food.

For the first month or so Baby M’s solids diet consisted of occasional “meals” where he’d sit in his highchair and we’d give him bits of this and that from the fridge. His very first solid food was half of an apple, which he creatively used his bib to hold in his mouth.




Contrary to my intuition, big pieces of food worked best in the early stages. Babies don’t have a pincher grasp at 6 months nor can they open and close their fists to shovel food into their mouth; so food that’s big enough to stick outside of both sides of their fist and firm enough not to get crushed works best in the early stages of BLW.


Some of our early successes included toast fingers (a slice of oatmeal bread – you want to avoid super high fiber grains as they can hinder absorption of nutrients), toasted and cut into three slices, roasted sweet potato rounds, halves of ripe fruit with the skin on, and bananas with a bit of the skin left on to act as a handle.


With all fruits make sure to scrub them very well before serving – including melons, mangoes and other things you cut or peel since salmonella can contaminate your knife or peeler.



After a few weeks of BLW we discovered that Baby M had a possible gluten allergy. The AAP doesn’t recommend delaying most foods unless you have a family history of food allergies and we do not. There are early studies that show delaying food could result in more allergies! However, never give babies honey before age 1. Not raw, not baked, not cooked. Honey can contain botulism spores that are fatal for babies; heat doesn’t always kill the spores. Also, avoid whole nuts as they are a choking hazard, and minimize salt as much as possible. Babies’ kidneys aren’t developed enough to handle a lot of sodium so keep their intake below 200mg a day – it’s very, very little, so make sure you read labels.



Around 6.5 months we started to do breakfast every day and at 7 months Baby M really started to consume his foods as evidenced by his diapers. His pincher grasp developed around 7 months too, which opened up a whole new world of food. The blueberry obsession started right around this time as did the one for fresh mozzarella cheese.



I started to get really adventurous with food this summer, offering different textures and flavors. It turns out Baby M likes his food spicy! Puffs dipped in salsa? Yes please! Curry lentil? Spicier the better!


Baby M's first tooth just popped through, but having no teeth never seems to get in the way of his little vacuum cleaner belly. Here are some of the things we’ve tried during his first few months of BLW:
  • Apples, halved – these work best when zapped in the microwave for a few seconds to soften them up. Make sure to cool them well before serving, or prepare the night before and store in the fridge overnight
  • Ripe peaches, plums, pears, etc. – I quarter them for him and sometimes remove the skins. If you keep the skins on, just watch for when most of the flesh of the fruit is gone and then take the skin away. I’ve found that he’s really good at spitting out the skin when he’s done with the fruit
  • Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries – I crush the blueberries slightly to break the skin and have only used frozen blackberries and raspberries so they’re already soft
  • Cherries – pitted and quartered
  • Melon – very ripe and cut into big wedges, not cubes
  • Mango – very ripe, peeled and cut into strips
  • Prunes – chopped into several small pieces – Baby M has two prunes every day
  • Oranges, quartered
  • Strawberries – I waited until he had a pincher grasp and cut them into very small pieces – watch for a reaction from strawberries and tomato
  • Tomatoes – again, like strawberries I cut these into little pieces. Baby M spit up after having a lot of tomato once and I haven’t given them in large quantities since – mostly because I hoard tomatoes for myself. Selfish mommy.
  • Sweet potatoes – cut in rounds, drizzled with olive oil and cracked pepper, roasted at 350 until soft, still firm enough to grasp. French fry / “finger”size pieces work well too
  • Avocado – cut into wedges – at first we gave them to him with the skin on so he’d have something to “grip” and now he eats them without skins
  • Mashed potatoes – I mash ours with a touch of cow’s milk and add spices
  • Turnips – mashed
  • Squash – mashed with spices
  • Grilled salmon – a huge hit and great brain food! Baby M has salmon once a week
  • Turkey meatballs
  • Pasta - we chose a gluten free variety for Baby M
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese – I cut off a 1oz round from a log of mozzarella and cut it into chunks – mozzarella is one of our go-to proteins in the morning
  • Pancakes – try a whole grain variety instead of white flour and try adding ground flax to the mix
  • Waffles – ditto whole grain pancakes
  • Breakfast sausage – remove the casings before offering sausage and watch the sodium levels of the rest of the day’s food
  • Smoke salmon – also watch the sodium levels
  • Hummus – Baby M likes his hummus on puffs – he’s a big fan of zesty lemon flavor
  • Yogurt – whole milk yogurt is great for babies because their developing brains need more fat than we do – I load the spoon for Baby M and let him hold it
  • Applesauce – unsweetened – yummy, but messy
  • Chicken – strips are easier to grasp and suck on – Baby M isn’t a huge rotisserie chicken fan, but he does like chicken in curry
  • Lentils – we make curried lentils and let Baby M go to town with his hands. It’s messy, but he shovels every last bit into his mouth!
  • Chickpeas – straight from can (rinsed well) and crushed a little to take the “round” out of them. Sometimes I crush them in my hand, sometimes with the back of a fork
  • Steamed Broccoli – broccoli is one of the only things Baby M isn’t interested in eating. I imagine if I put spices on it, he’d like it
  • Zucchini – cut into thick rounds, drizzled with olive oil and sautéed with onions and garlic
  • Corn, lima beans, peas – fresh or frozen – avoid canned because of extra sodium
  • Watermelon – cut into a wedge – Watermelon is one of the only things Baby M had trouble eating. He gags a lot with it no matter how I cut it, so I’ve taken off the menu this year. I think he likes it so much that he eats it too quickly and doesn’t mash it around in his mouth enough before swallowing. However, friends in my due date group say their babies have no problems with watermelon
  • Eggs – We started whole eggs early, but Baby M didn’t start to love them until 8 months. Make sure the yolks are cooked through
  • Rice crackers – we spread them with hummus or sunbutter (like peanut butter but made from sunflower seeds)
  • Lobster – in tiny pieces since it’s a little hard to chew
  • Steak – cut into strips – it’s hard to chew, but the flavor is there. I have minced it into little pieces, which Baby M was able to consume a bit better
  • Ribs – Baby M really liked ribs. I tore the meat off the bone and shredded it from one rib and then let him gnaw on the second. Super treat!
  • Oatmeal – I cook ours with raisins or craisins and share with him – of course he usually ends up eating most of it and I’m left hungry!
  • French toast – served without syrup for baby, but with syrup for mommy ;)
I also bake things like oatmeal "cake" and pumpkin oatmeal flax pancakes that I keep on hand in the freezer for days when we have little leftover from the previous night’s dinner to offer him.

At 9.5 months old we’re still doing one meal a day together at breakfast and breast milk for the rest of the day. Baby M is smaller but still sticking to his growth curve and sleeps really well at night, so we’re sticking with that routine for now. However, very occasionally we’ll offer a snack, if we’re eating out at lunch or S and I are having our dinner early, before Baby M goes to bed. On hand we have the following commercial “baby” snack foods:
We love Baby Led Weaning and can’t imagine having gone the traditional puree route; Baby M hasn't eaten anything I haven't eaten and enjoyed myself and trust me, I'd never eat meat in a jar. He continues to surprise me with the variety and quantity of foods he enjoys every day. And a big bonus is that BLW has pushed S and me to vary our dinners so that we can encourage Baby M to try new foods in the morning.

What have been some of your baby’s favorite early foods?

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