She Says… A Blended Approach

Remember when I said that Emmett didn’t follow in his big brother’s footsteps in terms of loving food? Well he may not have been interested in the very beginning, but he certainly is now! Apparently I just wasn’t giving him what he wanted.

Mashed up stuff? Eh. It’s ok. But big things he can feed himself? YES PLEASE.

food2

I think we may have a baby led weaner on our hands. (Haha, “weaner”).

A week or two ago I was eating a banana while holding Emmett and he nearly jumped out of my arms to grab it from me and stuff it in his mouth. I offered him a piece to see what he did with it, and much to my surprise, he was actually really effective at gumming it to pieces. He even swallowed a few without gagging.

I read a bit about Baby Led Weaning back when Owen was little, and offered him some little bits and pieces and chunks of things to feed himself when we first started food, but he wasn’t really into it. He really just wanted me to shovel the mashed up stuff in as fast as I could. Emmett’s fine motor skills are more advanced than his big brother’s, though, and he seems to really like the “take charge” approach when it comes to his food.

The banana experience must have taught his little mouth a few things about how to macerate and swallow, because since then, he’s been game to try just about any food, mashed, chunked or clutchable in his chubby little hands. He’s not eating a lot, but at this stage “eating” is really just about tasting and experiencing anyway, not actual caloric intake.

food1

So we’re doing a blended approach. Some homemade mash, some little tiny bits of things on his tray, and some big things that he can practice sucking/gumming/holding to his mouth. He’s really good at getting all sizes and shapes of food into his mouth. He’s had (and liked) avocado, sweet potato, apples and peas. He even likes teething on cold red peppers. I always mix things together to make weird, strangely yummy combos like sweet potato and apples so each meal is a bit different.

food3

I think we’re ready to try some more foods, and to start to incorporate spices like cinnamon and cumin, like I did with Owen too. I’m thinking carrots and green beans next. I don’t really remember when we started proteins like beans and tofu with Owen, but maybe that is on the horizon as well.

What were/are your baby’s faves?

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6 responses to “She Says… A Blended Approach

  1. I’m a BLW fan! my main reason was laziness . . . and I figure it will work well for a second child when you have less time too. and I can imagine watching the big brother made him interested in eating real food.
    we did things that you can make in sticks/handles for a few weeks (sweet potato, banana, etc), until her pincer grip was good. then we pretty much just fed her whatever we were eating unless it was a choking hazard. we saw a few gags but nothing I ever worried about. she was a great eater, at least until she hit toddlerhood!

  2. We never had success with BLW. I wish…sounds so much easier. Both my boys would either toss the piece of whatever over their highchair’s tray or try to eat it and then vomit everything up. I gave up early on.

    I saw your instagram shot of the peas and the comment about secretly enjoying making baby food–I totally agree! I loved making my boys their purees. It was the “foodie” in me that loved this stage. In fact, I was sad when my youngest finally started eating our table food.

    Both my boys started on either butternut squash or sweet potato. From there, I did apples/pears/cauliflower/beets/broccoli/zucchini, etc. Dried apricot puree blends well with things that are more tart like plums. I would usually mix beet puree and cauliflower. Mixing your peas with some mint is nice too. When they got a bit older I would do a lentil dahl and sneak things like kale or swiss chard in. Love this nutritionist’s book & recipes:

    http://www.sproutright.com/index.php

    Also referred a lot to:

    http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com

    The Weelicious book by Catherine McCord has some baby food recipes at the front that I’ve tried with my youngest with success.

    Happy baby food making, Kate!

  3. We are currently going through the exact same thing with number two. No luck with purees, and then the other day C grabbed for the apple slice that I was cutting for her 3 year old brother. Then I gave her a red pepper which she also loved. But I panicked with both the apple and red pepper because she ended up gumming off good size pieces that looked perfect to choke on. I know BLW people say chocking risk is low, but I don’t know…. Have you had this experience?

  4. I was wondering how you came about learning about his food allergies. I’m hoping to get my little one, who is EBF and just turned 4 months, tested at his appointment a week from today. I’ve cut dairy and all nuts out of my diet, but I want something more conclusive than what I’ve come up with.

  5. Kate,
    I remember that you had some experiences with Owen and eczema and had tried out a number of different things in terms of food to see if any of it helped (dairy, wheat, etc). I think you’ve mentioned that Owen is still gluten free (I could be wrong) is that due to eczema or more because of your husband’s celiac disease.

    I hope you don’t mind my asking, but my daughter (now 5) is experiencing a pretty severe case of eczema we’ve had to get oral steroids this month, hydrolatum cream, A & D ointment and while some things seem to be helping (very slowly) I’m beginning to wonder (and read) about potential links between gluten and eczema. Just wondering if you had any thoughts on it.

  6. @Kimberly, this is so great to hear! Thanks for the tips.

    @Meredith, thank you for those links! I love Weelicious but didn’t find her until after Owen was past the baby food stage, so I relied on my own made-up recipes. I do love this stage and I can’t wait to make some more. Great tip about apricot puree also… I’ve never heard that one before.

    @Jessica, I’m wary of the choking too. So far Emmett seems really good at spitting the big pieces out (or letting them drool out of his mouth), so I haven’t had to worry about choking. He has a pretty quick gag reflex, though, so I guess that’s the first thing that would happen if he got a big chunk. I do watch him closely though — you never know!

    @Jessie, Investigating food allergies/intolerances is a LONG road. Unfortunately one that I know a lot about thanks to my experiences with my first. This time around Emmett had mucus and blood in his stool from a very young age, so I started experimenting with removing foods from my diet while breastfeeding. As he grew he started squirming and arching after eating, clearly in GI distress. Even after being off of dairy, eggs, soy and chocolate STRICTLY for 8 weeks there was still blood in his stool and he was losing weight. We tried all hypoallergenic formula (milk and soy free Nutramigen) and by Day 3 the mucus poop was gone and he was puking less, sleeping more, and all around happier. I stopped breastfeeding at that point. Recently his face started getting red, blotchy eczema on it after eating applesauce mixed with rice cereal. Since the exact same thing happened with my first (but it took me 6+ months to figure out that gluten and oats were the culprit), I knew what it was and stopped the cereal immediately. Unfortunately from what I have read/heard, doing allergy tests on babies this small doesn’t really help, because their guts are so leaky that they get a lot of false positives. GOOD LUCK!

    @Maureen, I’m sorry to hear about your daughter’s eczema. Yes, we keep Owen strictly gluten free mostly because of his reactions to gluten and oats in the past (bad eczema, inflammation/ear infections, high numbers of serious respiratory illnesses, asthma worsening). My husband’s celiac diagnosis certainly supports this as well. I personally do not believe that gluten is bad for everyone. For those with celiac or gluten intolerance, however, gluten can DEFINITELY cause eczema, among other problems. Celiac is identifiable through a series of blood tests (and confirmed by an internal scope), but gluten intolerance is something you can’t really test for and you just have to see the effects of. Children especially have eczema as a common symptom of a gluten intolerance. Though it is hard to completely eliminate (it took us months of replacing kitchen utensils and even appliances like our toaster, as well as reading the tiny print on everything we buy — even the Trader Joe’s gluten free items are not gluten free enough for my Celiac husband because they are processed in a facility with wheat), the effects have been AMAZING for our family. Please feel free to email me if you have any other questions — I’m happy to share our road to figuring out Owen’s allergy/intolerance!

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