Weaning Diaries with Emma Le Roux founder of Super Squish Food Pouches

Following on from last week’s blog post on batch cooking we wanted to post our quickfire weaning interview questions to Emma Le Roux, founder of the brilliantly handy Super Squish pouches for weaning and beyond. If you love home cooking as much as we do and want to find an easy way for your little one to eat your home cooked goodness on the go, we can’t recommend Super Squish pouches enough. They are easy to use and can be refilled over and over again, perfect for days out!

We were lucky enough to bump into the lovely Emma at The Baby Show in Olympia and were delighted to be able to find out her top weaning tips and favourite recipes.We love that Emma is a fellow batch cooker and lover of home made food! Over to Emma…..

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Tell us about you

I’m Emma, originally from South Africa, a lover of the outdoors and adventure, who is trying to balance life as a working from home mum! I’m also the founder of Super Squish – fun, reusable food pouches for babies and little kids, which were conceptualised when I was weaning my son. I noticed that he absolutely loved the ready filled store bought pouches and I was desperate to find a way to take my homemade weaning food out with me in something similar, so he’d gulp it down as quickly!

Tell us about your little one

SuperSquish-028(1)My son, Oliver, is 5 and is the inspiration behind Super Squish. He’s also obsessed with all things Lego, especially superheroes! I now understand the pain of stomping on a stray Lego brick unintentionally!

What is the one piece of knowledge you wish you’d known before you started weaning your baby?

That babies are all different and, just like grownups, often have a preference for some foods over others. Don’t worry if your little one doesn’t like something. Don’t stress, just move on and try something else in the meantime. You can always try it again in a little while. My son would not touch avocado, no matter what I tried (he still won’t today!) and yet most of my friends babies loved them!

What helped you the most during your weaning journey? Being prepared as much as possible. I used to batch cook food in advance for the week, freeze in ice cube trays, and store in freezer bags ready for when I needed them. I’d try to prepare the menu in advance for the week, so that I wasn’t winging it all the time. I loved the guidelines in Gina Ford’s weaning book – it was helpful to have an idea of what to introduce when.

What did you find hardest during weaning?  

Hoping that I was doing it right and learning to trust that I was! Mother’s angst I suppose. Suddenly you realise you the one who is responsible for introducing your baby to food and it was daunting in the beginning. But then I quickly realised that all my friends were in a similar position and relying on each other for ideas and support was so helpful.

What was the best piece of equipment you found which helped make life easier for you or your little one when you were weaning them? Apart from my hand blender, I loved the Foogo food flask from Thermos. I could heat up food and take it with me. I still have it today 5 years later and it works perfectly, although I’ve had to upgrade to a larger one to hold enough to satisfy a 5 year old’s appetite!

Can you recommend or share a favourite recipe? I love a fish pie. It’s probably best to leave out smoked fish for little ones as it has a strong flavour. My son loved eating a variation of this Fish Pie when he was little. We have loads more recipes which we both love over on our Super Squish Recipe Page.

 

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Emma has very kindly teamed up with Tickle Buds to offer all of our lovely customers a 10% discount on their first purchase from Super Squish Pouches. Simply enter the code Ticklebuds10 at the checkout.

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Batch cooking for baby- tips and tricks

We are big fans of batch cooking! It’s lovely to know that there is something in your fridge or freezer, cooked by you, ready to simply re-heat when your day has gone crazy. Cooking a week’s worth of food for your baby all at once may seem daunting at first, but it can really help if you are short on time.

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Setting aside a few hours at the weekend to plan and cook food for the week ahead for your little one can make a busy week a lot easier and knowing your baby is getting good quality home cooked, healthy and nutritious food means there is at least one less worry.

Once you have cooked your extra food portions, puree or mash the food to the right texture, depending on the age of your little one. Then cover and set aside to allow the food to cool to room temperature before freezing.  And when you need it simply remove the portion of food from the freezer and place it in the fridge to thaw. It’s important to reheat the food thoroughly before serving, and if you are using a microwave give it a good stir before you serve it in order to avoid hot spots.

Make sure not to freeze anything that has already been frozen and discard any of the re-heated food which has not been eaten. As a general rule batch cooked food placed in the fridge should be eaten within 3 days and batch cooked food placed in the freezer should be eaten within 3 months.

Top tips to ensure your fridge of freezer are filled with portions of home cooked food for baby:

  • Make extra portions of anything you can! When cooking an easy meal like spaghetti bolognaise for the family, get into the habit of making extra portions and storing them in the freezer (remember to only add salt to the adult part of the meal)
  • Cook extra Veggies: If you are making vegetables for dinner, cook a few extra for your baby. Separate them out and puree or mash them to your desired texture and store them in the fridge of freezer for later.. You can either serve these direct to your younger weaners as vegetable purees or add the puree sauces to pasta dinners for a bit of extra veggie goodness.
  • Potato wedges and mash: Bake or roast an extra potato or two when the rest of your family is eating. Once they are cooked, mash and pop them in the fridge or freezer for later – instant potato wedges or instant mash! It just needs to be heated up.
  • Mass puree fruit: Cook up large batches of fruit and puree them. You can store these in your freezer and then pop them in the microwave when you need them. Useful for an extra boost of fruit in the morning to add to porridge or cereal, to serve with custard or rice pudding for a yummy lunchtime pudding or to make into a homemade smoothie as healthy afternoon snack. (See our next blog for recipe ideas for home made smoothies for babies and toddlers).

 

  • Using baby weaning pots: In the early days it is useful to invest in baby weaning pots so you can keep your freezer organised. I tried a variety of ways of freezing purees from using the pots I already had (generally too big), using plastic bags (ok but still a little tricky with such small portions) and using ice cube trays. If you are reluctant to buy specific weaning pots, ice cube trays are a good option and work at the start. Despite being more pricey, I found investing in some weaning pots designed for babies did make life  a lot easier (the purees were easier  to remove when needed and the size of the pots were much more suitable for weaning).

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  • Label everything: even if you think you’ll remember you probably won’t! And often one mashed up pot of food can look very similar to another!! Include the names and dates and use up everything within 3 months.

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All our Tickle Buds recipes boxes are designed to make batch cooking easier! Every new recipe provides at least four portions of each meal and there are three to four recipes in each box. Plenty for both the fridge and the freezer! Find our more here.

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Tickle Buds at Eat Chiswick Market Sun 2nd/ 9th April – with free foodie goody bags to give away!

Are you confused about weaning advice for your baby, or looking for some fresh inspiration for healthy food to feed your toddler?
Come along to the Eat Chiswick market on Sunday April 2nd and Sunday April 9th and have a chat! Plus we will have free foodie giveaways and you will have a chance to win a free recipe box for your little ones. We would love to say hello! We’ll be at the end of Chiswick High Rd, opposite Outsider Tart from 10am -4pm.
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Emma and Helen

We want to make your life easy, save you time, worry and stress, so you have more time to spend having fun with your family! All our boxes contain new  recipe ideas and fresh pre-measured ingredients and are delivered free and direct to your door, ready for you to cook healthy, nutritious meals for your little one.

At Eat Chiswick Sunday market, we will be giving away free food goodie bags and you will also have the chance to win a completely free recipe box for you and your little one to try.


Recently launched by two local Mums, Emma and Helen, Tickle Buds is the UK’s first recipe box service exclusively for babies and toddlers. With the help of a nutritionist, the age appropriate recipes are all designed to offer little ones a great start into the world of solid food.  And with no more worry, no shopping to do, no wastage and no more boring food, Tickle Bud’s recipe boxes are here to make your life easier too. Come see how Tickle Buds can help you out, win a free recipe box and sample some recipes on the first two Sunday’s in April.

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Weaning Diaries from Mum and owner of Jo’s Healthy Cupboard

This week our “Weaning Diaries” series is from Jo Rae in Scotland who runs Jo’s Healthy Cupboard. Jo makes gorgeous healthy and raw versions of our favourite sweet treats- but Jo’s versions use all natural ingredients, contain no refined sugar and most importantly are good for you!

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We are very excited that Jo will be returning to our First Foods Blog with a monthly post about small healthy changes you can make in your life. We know how hard it is to make time for you, we spend so long worrying about our little ones that there is often no time for anything else.  But looking after you is also super important. Jo’s ideas are all brilliant small changes that are really easy to implement especially on busy days or when you’ve had no sleep and aren’t quite firing on all cylinders! And after trying a few myself they have definitely given me the boost of energy I have needed!

Anyway over to Jo and her Weaning Diaries….

About Mum:  image4

I’m Jo and I’m a mummy, wife, runner, Research Manager and owner of Jo’s Healthy Cupboard, which combines my various interests in health and wellness. I live in the North East of Scotland in a little town called Aberdeen. I’m passionate about inspiring and helping other mums to feel confident and healthy. I started creating healthier versions of classic meals and desserts when I was weaning my son, who is now nearly 5!!! I loved the creative process of thinking about ways to make food healthier for the whole family. My interest in health and wellness expanded from there.

 About Little One:

I have a little boy who is nearly five years old and he is starting school this August. I currently spend most of my time in between nursery and work answering tricky questions like who looked after the dinosaurs and where did human beings come from? When I’m not doing that you’ll find me hunting for tiny playmobil swords!

What is the one piece of knowledge you wish you’d known before you started weaning your baby?

 Keep it simple and don’t worry so much. You’re on a learning journey as much as your baby is.

image2What helped you the most during your weaning journey?

 My friends who were experienced in the weaning process and my NCT chums who were going through it at the same time. Plus, lets not forget Annabel Karmel’s recipe books.

What did you find hardest during weaning?

 It was quite a while ago now but I think it was the freezing and defrosting part.  I like to make things fresh and not plan food too much in advance, so it was something new to me. I learned to embrace cooking in batches and planning meals in advance so that I wouldn’t end up using quick fixes.

 What was the best piece of equipment you found which helped make life easier for you or your little one when you were weaning them?

I had a little thermal flask, which I bought from Boots that I’d use to store homemade soup or porridge if we were going out. This meant that I could always feed the baby without having to wait for someone else to heat up his food.

Can you recommend or share a favourite recipe?

Everything with sweet potato! They are so nutritious and quick to boil or bake. They have a subtle sweet taste and mix well with lots of other things. I used to make a really simple sweet potato and lentil soup for my son when he was around 6-7 months old. It consisted of onion, red lentils, sweet potato and an organic vegetable stock cube suitable for babies. The great thing about this recipe was that everyone could eat it. I would process some of the soup for my son and leave the rest for us.

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If you want to see more of Jo’s healthy recipes see her Instagram and Facebook pages.

WEANING DIARIES: Weaning tips from first time mum and Tickle Buds co-founder Emma Conder

emma-first-time-mumEmma, our co-founder, kicks off our new “Weaning Diaries” and shares her experiences of weaning as a first time mum. We hope this mini-blog will be a place where everyone who is or has been on the weaning journey can help each other with top tips and funny experiences but also share the hard times and help each other with things they learnt. This is the first of many “we’ve been there” weaning experiences so sit back and enjoy the ride!

Please feel free to comment or ask any questions, we want this to be a place where we all swap ideas and support each other!

About Mum:

I’m Emma and I’m a co-founder of Tickle Buds- trying to make the weaning journey easier! I have always really enjoyed cooking healthy food, I love trying new tastes and experimenting with new dishes. In the whirl wind of the first two years, it was really important for me to remember my passion and for it not to get lost in the business of being a first time mum. I wanted my passion for food to be something I could share with my little boy.

About baby:ralph-weaning-first-time-mum

Ralph is now just over 2 years old and currently preparing to become a big brother in January. Eeeekkk!!

What is the one piece of knowledge you wish you’d known before you started weaning your baby?

Don’t stress over the individual meals – the bigger picture is more important.  Just because one meal doesn’t go well it doesn’t mean he’s a bad eater.

What helped you the most during your weaning journey?

Talking to everyone and anyone! Hearing that other parents felt exactly the same way and finding out that all little ones go through fussy phases, definitely reassured me through the tougher days.

What did you find hardest during weaning?

Ideas!!!  I’d definitely have ‘blank’ days where I’d have no idea what to feed Ralph or what to make.  I’d stare into the fridge hoping an amazing meal idea would jump out at me.

What was the best piece of equipment you found which helped make life easier for you or your little one when you were weaning them?

My microwave steamer was my weaning life saver.  I’d never used one before, but now I wouldn’t be without it.  Being able to cook fresh veggies really quickly definitely saved me a lot of stress.

Can you recommend or share a favourite recipe?

 Overnight oats are amazing!! Place equal measures of yoghurt, milk and porridge oats in a bowl and add whatever fruit you have (frozen berries are ideal). Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.  By morning you’ll have a healthy, super-quick and delicious breakfast.

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Making time for breakfast time

 

As I sit down for my first (hot) cup of tea of the day, it makes me think about breakfast and how important it really is to make time for the first meal of the day. This morning we were all running behind, I skipped breakfast and I am catching up by myself in a cafe, sneaking a bit of me time before my work day really begins, my husband had a gulp of coffee as he ran for the tube and my little ones munched on a banana until they got a proper breakfast at nursery. It wasn’t the ideal start to our day, and it’s not that uncommon.

We are regularly told how breakfast is THE most important meal of the day, the one you shouldn’t skip. But it feels even more important now we have two little people in the house. My twins have just turned two and breakfast is a meal that is gobbled down. They seem to wake up starving and the change in energy levels after they have had their breakfast is hugely visible. From cuddly and sleepy little people (and often a little on the grumpy side), after an injection of food, they turn into bundles of energy. And even though adults are better at hiding how they feel, I know how much better I feel when I leave the house with some food inside me, I don’t charge down the street at top speed, but I do feel better in myself.

Breakfast provides all of us with the energy to start our day in a better way, it jump starts your metabolism and lets your body know that the calories will be coming regularly throughout the day and there’s no need to start conserving stores. Although it is not always possible, the best breakfasts are the ones we all share together as a family. Due to work schedules, it never seems to work for us to sit down for dinner at five pm, so breakfast is the meal we can all share or at least all be in the kitchen together. When we make the effort to do this, it always seems like a much better start to the day, we all leave the house with our tummies full and smiles on our faces.

By making time for the first meal of the day, I want my children to grow up with breakfast as a regular part of their day, a moment that we all have together, before all our different days start. It might be messy, hectic and rushed but at least sometimes we are aiming to start the day together! I hope that these early habits will stick for them and help them build healthy habits for the future.

Running out of breakfast ideas? See our next blog on some ways to make breakfast more nutritionally varied and more interesting for your little ones. 

Sparkly Mummy

Favourite First Foods

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At the beginning of your baby’s big food adventure, weaning is all about tastes. Big, new incredible flavours! Your baby has 30 000 taste buds, three times as many taste buds as you, spread throughout their mouth. Imagine the strawberry you have just eaten tasting three times as sweet, the lasagne you had for lunch three times as intense and the ice cream three times as delicious. As we get older the number of taste buds we have reduces and they tend to concentrate solely on the tongue. This is thought to be the reason why babies reject very strong tastes and as adults we are more able to tolerate them, since quite simply we have less taste buds.

But back to our babies, imagine every banana or every apple tasting three times as flavoursome! With this in mind what are the best tastes to give you baby?

Fruit and vegetables are ideal first foods. Many parents opt for baby rice but it’s perfectly acceptable to go for fruits and vegetables, they are much more nutritious and also taste better too. Virtually all fruit and veg are packed with vitamins and minerals which help support your baby’s immune system, as well as fibre which helps to keep little digestive tracks moving.

Some of our favourite first foods include:

  1.  Carrot– a lovely sweet flavour, carrots are a great source of vitamin A (beta carotene) which is vital for a healthy immune system but will also provide your baby with essential nutrients for healthy eyes.
  2. Sweet Potato– comes in two varieties: orange-fleshed and creamy-fleshed. Both have red skins and both are good sources of potassium, vitamin C, and fibre.
  3.  Banana- an ideal first fruit, it’s lovely and sweet and once mashed is very easy to swallow- great for the start of the weaning journey. Bananas are a great energy food, full of slow release sugars which provide sustained energy.
  4.  Pear–  babies love the sweet taste of pears and being one of the least allergenic foods, they are a great one to start with. Pears are also good for babies with reflux as they are one of the least acidic fruits.
  5. Broccoli- this green vegetable of goodness contains beta-carotene, folic acid, iron and potassium. It can be simply steamed and then pureed or alternative chopped into little “trees” making an ideal first finger food.

And don’t worry it’s natural for babies to reject new flavours the first time they try them, the key is to just keep trying!

The Great Weaning Journey

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Welcome to The Great Weaning Journey. This is the start of your baby’s big eating adventure and it’s a hugely exciting time. This is the first time your baby will have tasted anything other than milk as a food. Your baby is dipping their toes in the big new world of tastes and flavours and you will be there every step of the way.

But a lot of parents, myself included, approach the transition from milk to solids with trepidation, I was definitely a worrier. It’s so easy to do and after all you have probably finally got your head around the latest ever-changing milk schedule for it to be suddenly whipped from under your feet and you are starting all over again in unknown territories.

This is a huge journey you take with your baby, you will experience the highs and the lows as your little ones finds the good tastes, and the ones they are not so keen on. And yes it’s hard and frustrating and messy, and sometimes you will feel like giving up, but it’s a once in a lifetime event, the only time they will discover such variety of new tastes, flavours and textures in such a short time period. It’s an intense bombardment of the senses for your baby.

But you will be there with your little one as they take their first ever taste. You will be there as they discover what they like, as their tiny but super sensitive taste buds begin to discover there are things in the world that taste of something other than milk. You will be there as they take their first spoonful themselves, as they manage to figure out how to use their forks and spoons and you’ll be there when they reject food, when the times are hard, when you both seem to be in a battle. But the most important thing is that you will be travelling this journey together.

It’s one of our greatest journeys in life, but one that’s often taken for granted. What you share with your little one now, will stay with them forever.

First Foods Blog

This blog is for anyone on a weaning journey, whether you are at the start, part way through or nearly there, we hope there will lots of useful tips to make  weaning easier for you and your baby easier.  “First foods made easy” is written by Helen and Emma, two mum’s from West London. We were always full of questions as we undertook our own weaning journeys with our three children and we wanted to create a space that allowed people to share their weaning advice, knowledge and tips. We hope some of our tips and tricks in the blog will make your day a little bit easier. Please feel free to share your own tips or ask us questions and we will post a reply as a new blog post.  “First foods made easy” blog is all about simplifying the weaning journey for you and your baby.