Some more of Fletcher’s favourites

recipes on Amateur Mommies

A few weeks ago, we shared some insights into our journey with solids. As part of that, we shared some of Fletcher’s favourite meals. Since then, we’ve had so many requests for a follow up with more recipes so, here are a few more yummy additions for your DIY baby purees and snacks. We try and keep it interesting for our growing boy, but he mostly enjoys anything we give him, which we are so thankful for. We are trying to keep the flavours varied so he develops a love for different kinds of foods and we aren’t stuck with a toddler who will only eat microwave noodles and crackers. Here’s hoping… 🙂

Coconut oil roasted butternut/pumpkin:

  • Try roasting your butternut chunks in a bit of coconut oil before mashing them for baby. The coconut brings out the sweetness in the butternut and the roasting keeps the butternut a but firmer than steaming. This does mean that the mashed/pureed finished product is a bit thicker and we found that the texture was not as smooth as steamed butternut, so Fletcher took a few spoons to get used to it, but just add a few teaspoons of water to your puree to thin it out. It really is yum!

Pears and plums:

  • Simple and delicious. If you have very juicy, ripe pears you might not need to steam them at all before your puree them, but if they’re a bit harder then try steaming for 3-5 minutes in very little water because they can become watery if you are freezing and defrosting portions (ice cube trays are amazing for this).
  • I chose dark red plums which I kept until very ripe and then did not steam them at all before blitzing up with the pears (five part pears to one part plum – this can be done in bulk and frozen). The dark red plums made for a fun, bright colour when mixed with the pears.

Apples and strawberries:

  • Also simple and delicious. Apples, unlike the pears and plums, do still need steaming, but only until they’re tender (when pureed they make for a chunkier mix if not over cooked and it’s good for baby to introduce different textures).
  • Strawberries, if very ripe also don’t need steaming (they also lose their colour if you steam them, which is a bit sad so try use them fresh). They can be added to apple mix before blitzing, the seeds seem to disappear and you’re left which another bright mix to freeze or use immediately. I also used about five parts apples and one part strawberries but try and vary the quantities so baby gets used to all the flavours and combos.

Baby hummus with carrot and cucumber sticks

  • Finger foods can be fun and exciting for baby and also for you. Teething rusks are great for little hands to grasp and gums to munch on but for something with a bit more flavour try some carrot and cucumber sticks dipped in homemade hummus. The carrot and cucumber sticks (skin on) will be hard enough for baby to munch on without taking off big chunks to choke on. But still keep an eye on them regardless and don’t cut the sticks too thin, like Julienne vegetables, rather leave them a but chunkier – about the width of your thumb.
  • For the hummus use half a can of chick peas (drain away the liquid) and mash or puree them along with one teaspoon of organic peanut butter (don’t use ordinary store-bought brands as these contain sugar), a squeeze of lemon juice, a teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of cumin. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also add a small amount of garlic. If your mix is a bit too chunky, you might need to add some water to thin it out. Dip your veggie sticks in your baby friendly hummus and watch your little one enjoy some fun finger foods.

What do you feed your little one? Why not share your recipes and meal ideas with us in the comments section, or email them through to submissions@wearethejoys.com, and we’ll put together a menu of favourites from our readers.

A solid start in life

Amateur Mommies: starting solids baby food

For those who don’t know us and Fletcher personally, let me inform you that we have a very solid little man. He is tall and big and strong, and since he wasn’t sleeping very well, we decided to start the journey onto solid foods just after he was 4 months old. The baby-led-weaning sounds great – to just give them a piece of whatever you’re eating to hold and nibble on and they will fit in with your eating habits and choose what they like and don’t like – if you are brave enough for the mess it creates and aren’t terrified of them choking. Baby-led-weaning also doesn’t really allow you to track how much your little one is taking in as a lot will go all over his face and on the floor. We decided to go a with the old school approach of home-made purees, starting with veggies for a few days, then adding fruit and finally introducing proteins in week 3. It really is much easier to monitor how much they are consuming when you are in control of the spoon and our little man has proved to be a veritable vacuum, eating just about anything we give him and almost always finishing what was put in his bowl. It sounds like we could be giving him more, but not according to his weight gain over the last 6 weeks – he is still putting on 220 or so grams a week, which is the highest weight gain allowance in the newborn scale. From 6 months on, he should only be putting on between 80 and 140 grams a week, so we have to go back for a check-up in a month to make sure our giant baby isn’t putting on too much weight too quickly.

We started with good old butternut and had the camera rolling for the obligatory 21st video clip of “ahh this was your first food”.  He didn’t seem too impressed but didn’t spit it out either and now butternut is a staple that we always have on hand. After the first three weeks of weaning (first week veggies, second week fruit and veggies and third week protein, fruit and veggies) we started getting a bit more adventurous with what we gave him. We wanted to get the allergy tests – which he passed with flying colours – out the way early on, so we have given him peanuts, fish and eggs.

Wanting to give him the healthiest option and introduce him, right from the start, to good food choices, we have made all of is meals at home with fresh ingredients. Barbs and I love cooking and eating together, and being in the kitchen preparing a meal is more of a fun family activity than a chore. We want Fletcher to have this love for preparing good food and choosing healthy but tasty options right from the get go. That way we’ll have a child who makes good food choices and turns into an adult who, in turn, makes good food choices.

Here are some of his favourite meals so far:

  • Apples, pear and yoghurt
  • Paw paw, apple, pear and yoghurt
  • Rolled oats, apple, yoghurt and peanut butter
  • Brown lentils, butternut and sweet potato
  • Carrots and cinnamon
  • Roast chicken, butternut and kiri cheese
  • Cauliflower, broccoli and kiri cheese
  • Baby Bolognese, butternut and sweet potato
  • Hake and veggies

If you’d like the recipes for any of Fletcher’s favorites, we’ve included them here.

Fletcher’s Menu

Amateur Mommies: some of Fletcher's favourites

Apples, pear and yoghurt

  • For one portion: 1 tbs apple and pear mix, 2 tsp full fat plain yoghurt
  • Peel and chop 3 ripe pears and 3 apples (any colour), and steam for 10 minutes or until tender. Blitz for 5-10 seconds in the Nutribullet (if you have one, else a good old potato masher will do the trick) and keep in the fridge to use as necessary.
  • This makes a tasty and easy breakfast or anytime snack

Paw-paw, apple, pear and yoghurt

  • For one portion: 2 tsp paw-paw, 2 tsp apple and pear mix, 2 tsp full fat plain yoghurt
  • Cut a paw-paw in half and take the seeds out of one half, cover the other half in clingwrap and keep in the fridge. Cut the paw-paw into small pieces and mash with a fork to add to your apple and pear mix as above. Add some full fat plain yoghurt (no sugar or flavourings) for another great breakfast meal.

Rolled oats, apple, yoghurt and peanut butter

  • For one portion: 2 tsp rolled oats, 2 tsp apple (or apple and pear mix), 2 tsp full fat yoghurt and half a tsp of organic peanut butter.
  • Simmer the plain rolled oats until soft (10 minutes) and blitz or mash them up (they will still be grainy but this is good to introduce some different textures).
  • Add to your apple puree and yoghurt. Introduce some organic peanut butter (ingredients on the tub should only list peanuts, no preservatives etc.) as a nice flavour alternative and to check for peanut allergies. Watch your little one for signs of a rash or difficulty breathing the first time you give them peanut butter.

Brown lentils, butternut and sweet potato

  • For one portion: 2 tsp brown lentils, 3-4 tsp butternut and sweet potato mix
  • Cook the brown lentils (one cup lentils and 2-3 cups of water) until very soft (approximately 25 minutes). Mash or blitz until smooth – you may have to add some water as the lentils can be quite thick.
  • Peel and cut your butternut and sweet potato into similar sized chunks and steam for 10-15 minutes or until soft. These can be mashed or blitzed until smooth.
  • Add lentils when you are introducing protein or just give your little one the butternut and sweet potato mix, they usually love it just as it is.

Carrots and cinnamon

  • For one portion: 1 tbs carrots and cinnamon mix
  • Peel and chop a few carrots and steam until soft. Carrots are a bit tougher than other veggies so they might need a bit longer in the steamer. Mash or blitz them until you reach your desired consistency and add a few sprinkles of cinnamon for another exciting flavour for your little one to try.

Roast chicken, butternut and kiri cheese

  • For one portion: 1 tsp chicken, 3 tsp butternut, 1 tsp kiri cheese (full fat cream cheese)
  • After a roast chicken dinner take a few pieces of the softer breast and thigh meat and blitz with a hand-held blender until smooth. Add some of your butternut puree and chicken gravy to help with the blending. Add more butternut and cream cheese for a nice filling suppertime meal. We find that Fletcher sleeps well after a heavier dinner including animal protein.

Cauliflower, broccoli and kiri cheese

  • For one portion: 1 tbs cauliflower and broccoli mix, 1 tsp kiri cheese
  • Take a few cauliflower and broccoli heads and remove the stalks. Steam for a few minutes until tender and mash or blitz.
  • Add your cream cheese for some protein and give for lunch or dinner.

Baby Bolognese, butternut and sweet potato

  • For one portion: 1 tsp baby Bolognese, 3-4 tsp butternut and sweet potato mix
  • Fry around 4 tbs of lean beef mince in a pan until cooked through. Add 30-40ml of chopped tomato or tomato and onion mix and simmer for another 10 minutes. Blitz with the hand-held blender until smooth or slightly chunky. This will be enough for about 5-6 portions of baby Bolognese.
  • Add your butternut and cream cheese to your baby bolognese mixture for a miniature lasagne effect, your little one should love it. It makes them nice and full so also a good supper time option.

Hake and veggies

  • For one portion: 1 tsp hake, 3-4 tsp of your baby’s favourite veggies
  • Steam one piece of hake until cooked through. Flake off a few pieces (approximately 30g and use the hand-held blender until you reach a consistency your little one will tolerate. This will be enough for 4-5 portions when added to the veggies.
  • Add your little one’s favourite vegetables for a tasty meal, but watch for any signs of allergy the first time you give them fish (preferable to do it at lunch time so you can monitor them throughout the afternoon).

NOTES:

  • Keep the water from simmering your veggies in case you need to add some liquid to your blended mix if it is too chunky.
  • Use an ice-tray to freeze individual portions.
  • Mix and match these recipes to keep baby interested (variety is the spice of life).
  • Increase or decrease the portion sizes to suite your little one’s appetite.
  • Let baby sit in the kitchen with you in a pram so you can wheel him around as you move from chopping board to pot to blender – he loves to get a good look at the action and all the smells and noises are exciting.
  • I am no dietician, just a mom on a mission to give her baby a good solid start in life and wanting to share her ideas with other moms on the same mission. This post in no way constitutes medical advice. If your child shows any signs of food allergies, please consult your caregiver immediately.

The rewards are great!

Amateur Mommies: the rewards of parenthood

So I don’t want you all to think that there is no sunshine and there no roses when it comes to this whole Mommyhood thing, there are. Really. Ya ok so at the moment our theme song is one from the legend Billy Joel and the words are “in the middle of the night… I go walking in my sleep”, because some nights we are up every other hour with our tiny human but the joy he brings to our lives and the little things that he does daily are so rewarding.

The first few months are terrifying that’s for sure. And as cute as they are when they can fit all snuggled up onto your chest, you get very little in the way of interaction from your tiny being in the first few months of their lives. You’re up all night with them, washing and sterilising bottles and breast pump apparatus all day, doing loads of laundry (how something so tiny can produce so much washing is extraordinary), changing nappies, giving bottles, burping, rocking to sleep and repeating every 4 hours, and somewhere in all that you are trying to remember that you are married to that other ship passing by you in the night, and fitting in visits from all the aunties and actually your tiny bundle does nothing more that lie there and be a tiny bundle. A tiny, pooping, crying bundle.

6 months down the line we have a strapping baby boy who smiles and giggles when we do the silliest things. He thinks his mamas are the most amazing people in the world! It’s the grandest feeling when you are rewarded after a long sleepless night with a big gummy smile from inside the cot and out stretched little arms, and the little face almost saying “pick me up mama, I love you and I want to give you a sloppy kiss.” Everyday his little eyes see more and he learns and grows more. He tries new foods and reacts to his favourite toys, giggles when he splashes water on himself from his wild kicking in the bathtub, discovers new noises that he can make and is very happy to show them off to us. We have a little wonder being growing up in our home, and it is a privilege to be able to grow with him on this journey. You feel much more like a mother when your little person starts reacting to you and giving you soul food.

For those who are in the early stages with your bubs, enjoy them being so tiny, don’t wish away a single moment, they really do fly by! But hang in there when you feel a little down, your tiny human will start feeding your soul in the most  nourishing and heart-warming way so soon, and all hard times will be forgotten. Otherwise parents would never move on to baby number 2.

Like a good old cross-your-heart bra.

Amateur Mommies: like a good old fashioned cross your heart bra

Something you need to give your partner when it’s the middle of the night and you have a crying baby and no-one else is there to relieve you is support. Even if you have no idea what you’re doing, no idea why the baby is crying and no idea if you will make it to the end of the night to see the glorious sunrise, believe in one another. Support one another and the decisions you make in those wee hours. Like mad support – like a good old beige, three clip, cross-your-heart bra. That teeny, tiny, gorgeous bundle of screaming baby will break you otherwise.

When you first have your baby and you’re safe in the hospital, it all seems totally doable. There’s a nurse checking on you every now and then, a doctor to come say some encouraging words and loads of people wanting to visit and bring flowers and tell you all kinds of wonderful things about your life ahead with your beautiful baby. What a wonderful time! Then a few days later you pack everything up and go home, wow. What an exciting thought! Taking your baby across the threshold of your home for the first time, to lay him in his cot, in his nursery you carefully made into a nurturing and comforting environment. Having washed all his little clothes and lovingly folded them, chosen a coming home outfit, and which onesie will be his first pair of pyjamas, which teddy will sleep next to him, and which lullaby you will gently sing to him tonight to send him off to the land of nod. But then he starts to cry. And you think it must be time to feed, so you either sit down comfortably to breastfeed or go to warm up a bottle. All the while your baby getting more and more hungry. Ok quickly now get the bottle in. Nope that’s not working, now the milk is just running all over his chin, all over the cute little onesie you chose and he’s still screaming. Ok let’s try a dummy?! Flip where did we put that gripe water? Your mild panic starts to worsen and the screaming continues and neither you nor your partner can remember when you packed the gripe water, the baby won’t take the dummy or the bottle and the breast milk is not coming our fast enough so it’s not even worth trying when he’s this mad. Ok let’s do some swaddling, rocking and singing. Hmmm, my singing is not loud enough – come sing with me! And so it goes… sometimes all night.

And that’s when the night becomes dark and full of terrors… Barbs and I would actually want to cry when we saw the sun going down because we knew what was coming…

In those hours when you can’t settle your little one, or he has tummy cramps, or has weed all over the changing mat and his pyjamas and the teddy and you, and you can’t remember what time you last ate or if you have managed to drift off into some kind of fitful sleep whilst propped up in the nursery chair with you baby on your chest and drool running down into your cleavage, use your partner. Ask for help. It took two people to make this baby and it will take those two people, and all the effort and patience in the world to raise it. Take turns if you’re bottle feeding. If you’re breastfeeding, Dad’s take some tea and a rusk through to the nursery or do the nappy change and rocking back to sleep after the feed so that Mom can get a head start on getting herself back to sleep. Everyone will be tired. Whether one of you is back at work and the other is home with baby all day or not. The degrees of tired might differ slightly but you will both take strain in those first few weeks when baby feeds every two hours and poos every other. But hang in there. It’s short-lived. Soon you will have a smiley gorgeous little thing who only feeds every four or six hours and lets you sleep in between. Eventually he will be in his own room and you will have your bed back. And when you stop breastfeeding you will get your body back slowly. And you will look at your fat little giggling baby and reminisce about when he was so small that he could curl up on your chest to sleep. You will miss him being so tiny, even if that was only 3 months ago.

Then nights become less dark and the terror slowly disappears. If you support, encourage and love each other. Even when both Mom and baby come crying to you at 3:00am, Mom saying “please take him I can’t do this anymore!” Take the baby, kiss your partner and tell her to go to bed saying “don’t worry love, I’ve got it this time”. Even if you are terrified and overtired yourself.

So you’re ready now, are you?

are-you-ready-to-have-a-baby

The short answer for that is no. No, we are not ready. How can we possibly ready for sleepless nights and a December holiday waiting with baited breath for baby to arrive and turn our whole world upside down? Not to mention finding extra money each month just to get through. No. Not ready. Excited and terrified, yes!

We have now finished our 6-week long antenatal class, along with 7 other first-time parents-to-be, and apparently we now have all the information we will need to go out into the world and be great Moms. Well shucks, I can hardly remember what we learned in the first week of class and now I’m supposedly ‘ready’. We were given various pamphlets at each class, had a talk from a paediatrician, a psychologist, a nurse and safety official, a pilates instructor and an occupational therapist, all to arm us with all the info we need. We learned about breastfeeding and the various birthing methods, how to bath and care for a newborn and watched some scary videos. But none of this is any good to anyone until the baby is actually born. And how this little baby is going to enter the world is out of our control. We can plan all we like for a natural birth but if he doesn’t turn head down this ain’t gonna happen.  How we are going to feed him (bottle or breast) and whether we will get him to sleep in his own cot from the very beginning is also out of our control. We don’t know if he will need OT, if we will be at the paed every week or if we will both end up with postnatal depression. With the vast amount of information we received during antenatal classes, from the amazing baby apps on Barbs phone, baby books and advice from friends and family, we still have no clue how we will be as parents.

But there are some things I do know. I do know that we are each others’ world. I do know that we want this little baby so much and he is already so loved. I do know that we will try our very best to be exactly what he needs and exactly what each other needs, every day. We will do it our way. Maybe not the best way, but “our way” works for me. Sure, you may come and visit us and the dishes might not be done, and we might both look like the Wreck of the Hesperus and have had nothing to eat but lasagne for two days, but we will be happy. A happy little trio. That much I do know. Ok, so maybe we are ready 🙂

So do I sit with the Dads or the Moms? Some antenatal hilariousness, by The Other Mommy

So being the “Other Mommy” of Little Spot has had some fun moments already. I am clearly not growing a baby in my belly but I am mentally preparing for becoming a Mom. It’s surreal to say the least but I am amazed at this little being already, and so damn grateful to Barbs for everything she has done to get us so close to becoming a family of three. EEEEKKKK! Ok just breathe.

They tell you that in antenatal classes… just breathe. Everything will be fine. We had some interesting moments getting the baby in, and now it seems we will have even more fun getting the baby out.

At our first every antenatal class, having arrived all bright-eyed and ready to learn about our darling bundle of joy, we took turns introducing ourselves as couples and parents-to-be. The very excited dad in the front row introduced himself and his wife, the nervous couple in the back did the same, followed by the couple sitting next to us – who had definitely not figured us out yet. When Barbs introduced me as her wife and the dad from the next door couple’s eyes just got bigger and bigger. I’m pretty sure he was thinking, “so how did they actually get the baby in there??? And they are both girls – how on earth did they possibly make a boy???” Mind absolutely blown.

The following antenatal class was a lesson on exercises for the moms-to-be to keep the muscles supple and strong. The midwife asked all the dads to go and wait outside while the moms did their exercises. So where should I go – outside with the dads (probably to talk about rugby and how glad they are that they don’t have to do exercises – sounds rad) or stay with the moms? The midwife said I should stay with the moms. OK cool, she knows way more than I do, so I better listen and stay with the moms. The pilates lady came in and did a little intro to all the moms-to-be and kinda looked at me suspiciously as if to say, “lady, I can see you’re not pregnant, what are you doing here?” And probably thinking, “shame maybe she’s a bit cuckoo and thinks she’s pregnant… let’s leave her alone and help her with her fake preggie exercises.” So there I was, in amongst all these preggie bellies learning to control my pelvic floor muscles, stretch my abdomen, hold the muscles around the baby and of course… breathe. And try not to look at Barbs too much because I’ll definitely laugh.

The lesson ended with the obligatory, awful natural birthing video, made in the 90’s, complete with a perm. The man next to us (who after two weeks still hadn’t quite figured out how we got this right) was turning more and more green as the video went on. When the placenta made its appearance he said loudly “WHAT is THAT?!?!” He and his wife didn’t arrive at last night’s class, I think the whole thing was just too much for him.

As we learn more about this little bundle we are going to look after ALL OUR LIVES (showee about that breathing thing) I can’t help feel that we are the luckiest people in the whole world! The wonders of the 21st century and modern medicine have helped us to become what all little girls dream of – a Mommy. Well not yet, 3 months to go and I’m sure more fun and games with antenatal class on the way soon!