Weaning Adventures: Too much information….

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I’ll start this update with a ‘Too Much Information Warning!’  
Okay, so despite Louis still preferring his food out of his mouth rather than in it, I do now have evidence that he must be swallowing at least some of his solids.  I’ll spare the details but lets just say Louis‘ nappies now reveal he’s consuming a thicker diet.  I did warn you!
This physical evidence is reassuring.  For the past few days I’ve worried that Louis‘ not progressing as quickly as he should be.  He’s certainly not enjoying his food the way my eldest son Ralph did.  (Which was rapidly and in high quantity!). But now I see things are moving in the right direction – quite literally!
So it’s a slow and steady approach – we’re still only on one meal a day and on very small amounts of simple purees.  I’m trying to keep my impatience at bay and to think sensibly about the lack of progression.  (As adults we don’t only eat teaspoons of purees so we all must get the hang of it eventually!)  I must trust Louis to let me know when he’s ready for more.
One small step we made yesterday came when for the first time Louis seemed physically excited at the sight of a spoon. He reached out and grabbed it and popped it straight to his mouth for an almighty chomp – the motion itself I see as a milestone.  He was chomping down on the spoon with such force I knew he was using it as teething relief rather than a vessel for food but it was great to see he’s getting the right idea.
And taking his lead with this, today I had two spoons at the ready – one for Louis for chew and another for me to shovel in the food. It’s a complicated (and messy) game as spoons are passed between us, often via the floor, but to seemed to do the trick.  In the enthusiasm of spoon chewing the entire cup of pear puree disappeared.  Surely he didn’t eat it all?  Did he?  His next nappy change will reveal everything I need to know..
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Tickle Buds co-founder Emma embarks on the weaning journey for a second time

It has been a busy six months at Tickle Buds HQ having just launched earlier this year! But on a more personal note for our co-founder Emma, it has been a very special year as she has also welcomed her new little baby boy into the world. In February this year, Louis, Emma’s second son was born…………..which means 6 months later it’s weaning time!

Emma and Louis will be sharing their weaning adventure as part of our Tickle Buds Blog series. Follow Louis’ weaning story for the ups and downs of their journey, some of Emma’s great new recipe ideas and all the little hiccups of first foods.

And we’re off…..

Louis has officially started on solids and just getting to this point feels like quite an achievement.  It means we’ve all survived his first six months which is remarkable in itself but also Louis’ weaning journey, despite our best efforts, suffered from a couple of false starts.

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Our first attempt to introduce Louis to the world of food was very short lived.  He was ready, (he’d been starring at us munching down meals with such jealously for the fast few weeks it was starting to feel like we were torturing him), he was eager and he was bibbed and grasping a spoon.  In an attempt to be very organised I’d earlier prepared a simple carrot puree only to realise just how unorganised I actually am as at the crucial moment I discovered I had nothing to sit him in.  Our highchair was inconveniently 120 miles north in my sisters kitchen where I had left it for my niece’s own weaning journey.  Mission aborted!

High chair retrieved and the following week I again felt ready to take the leap but a little niggly cough that Louis had been suffering with suddenly got worse.  A trip to the doctors confirmed a throat infection.  The little fella was struggling to swallow milk so introducing him to the delights of a pear would have to wait another week.

And so here we are.  Third time lucky?  After quite a build up Louis’ weaning has begun….at least I think it has!  Louis doesn’t seem to have actually swallowed much (anything!) yet.  We’re four days in and I’ve sat him down once a day.  I’ve made the decision to go for simple fruit and veg purees (avoiding baby rice) and I’ve made carrot, butternut squash and today apple.  Each time I’m met with a slightly aghast (actually, disgusted) reaction as soon as the puree touches his lips.  Now I remember this with my eldest son, Ralph, that a mouthful of food is more likely to be spat out rather than swallowed, it’s all part of the learning process.  But I’d forgotten how long this stage actually lasts and also that it’s slightly demoralising! A sweet potato simply boiled and blitzed can’t taste that bad, can it??

So I’ll continue to puree and I’ll continue to pull enthusiastic faces as every spoonful dribbles down his chin rather than eagerly swallowed.  And I’ll repeat to myself not to worry as I do know it’s very early days and that Louis will learn at his own pace.

Just one little mouthful would reassure me though….one small sign of enjoyment would tell me things will be okay…. Nope, nothing! Louis weaning adventure may well have started but I think it may take a while!!

 

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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: Weaning Multiples with first time mum, Ruth and her twins

This weeks’ weaning diaries come from Twin mum Ruth, who followed baby led weaning in order to wean her little boy and girl. Being a twin mum, feeding two little mouths at the same time, was not without its difficulties but seeing how different each child’s weaning journey can be more apparent when you are feeding multiple babies simultaneously as Ruth found out!

About Mum:

I’m Ruth, when I’m not toddler wrangling, I work part time running a debt counselling service for local people. I love food but am not a fan of cooking at all as it stresses me out trying to get everything ready and cooked well/tasting good!

 

About the little ones:

I have twin toddlers who turned 2 in October. 1 girl and 1 boy.

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

That it seems much harder to introduce new tastes/textures after about 1 year old. I probably would have been more adventurous more often in the earlier months.

What helped you the most during your weaning journey?

Having twins made me see that every child is unique in what, when and how much they will eat. My two have different dislikes/likes and it helps to know it’s nothing I’ve done/not done that has made them that way as I’ve treated them both the same!

What did you find hardest during weaning?

It’s soul crushing to prepare amazing food for them that gets rejected and ends up in the bin.

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 love my fill and squeeze pouches. http://fillnsqueeze.co.uk/ Though we didn’t do purees, I love them for minimal mess yoghurt and smoothies that I can make and then decant. Brilliant for taking out and about too.

Can you recommend or share a favourite recipe?

http://www.annabelkarmel.com/recipes/sweetcorn-fritters/ These fritters are easy to make (even for me), freezable, contain VEGETABLES (and can be tweaked for a variety of veg) and my kids eat them every time.

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.

SALT: How much is too much for babies and toddlers?

Salt and weaning for babies and toddlers

Salt is a tricky one, we know we don’t need too much of it but it was one thing I struggled to get clarity on throughout the time I was weaning my twins. Too much is a bad thing of course, but how much is too much and why is it so bad for little ones? And what’s the difference between sodium content and salt content?

I had lots of questions, but as so often seems to happen, I had no time to find proper answers to them. I hope this blog post helps!

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What’s so bad about salt?

Salt is not great for any of us, whether we are one or ninety one. Too much salt puts our kidneys under pressure and leads to high blood pressure and eventual kidney damage

So here’s the science bit (I always like to understand the why!) – our kidneys are essential for removing waste and fluids from our body and anything that stops them doing their job, poses a risk to our bodies. As blood passes through the kidneys, the kidneys filter out the fluids we don’t need and send them to our bladders to get rid of as urine. If there is too much salt in our blood, the delicate filtering process is upset, the kidneys can’t remove excess water from the blood and our blood pressure rises. This puts strain on the little blood vessels entering the kidneys and over time can lead to kidney damage.

Why is too much salt a problem for babies and toddlers?

Babies have very fragile little systems and their kidneys are particularly sensitive. They are unable to process excess salt which leads to kidney damage in the same way that it can for adults. Their tiny bodies are just a lot more sensitive to any imbalances than ours.

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What safe levels of salt for your baby or toddler?

According to the NHS the recommended daily amounts of salt for babies and toddlers are:

  • Up to 12 months – less than 1g of salt a day (less than 0.4g sodium)
  • 1 to 3 years – 2g of salt a day (0.8g sodium)

What’s the difference between salt and sodium content?

Salt is made up of two minerals, sodium and chloride, and food manufacturers often quote only the sodium content on food labels. This can sometimes be confusing if you are thinking in terms of salt content and how much salt your little one can have. Salt is made up of about 40% sodium and it’s the sodium content of salt that causes the health issues.

copy-of-signs-your-little-one-is-ready-to-start-solidsTo work out salt content from quoted sodium values, simply use the sodium figure on the packing and multiply it by 2.5. This is your salt content! If you see 1g of sodium per 100g on the label, this is the equivalent of 2.5g of salt per 100g. To find out the amount of salt per serving, just divide by 100 and multiply the answer by the serving size.

Salt and weaning your baby

At the beginning of your weaning journey, your baby will still be reliant on milk. Breast milk has exactly what your little one needs in terms of sodium, and equally formula milk has also been designed to provide exactly the right amount for babies and toddlers, so no worries there! But as you introduce solid food, it is really crucial to keep an eye on the salt content of the food you give your baby. The most important things are to avoid processed foods not designed for babies, and to avoid adding salt to any home cooked baby food.

How to reduce the amount of salt you give your baby

  • Offer healthy snacks such as fruit or vegetable sticks and try to avoid salty snacks like crisps or biscuits.
  • Make snacks yourself so you know exactly what is in them.
  • Don’t add salt to your baby’s meals. Try to add flavour through herbs and spices.
  • Swap your sandwich fillers, try tuna and chicken instead of ham and cheese.
  • Check food labels- many things like cereals and bread have surprisingly high levels of salt.
  • Try making your own pasta sauces. Shop bought sauces can be high in processed salts.
  • Avoid giving your baby processed foods not designed for babies as these are very likely to be high in salt. Weaning products for babies will not contain high levels of salt, so specific baby products are a much better option for your little one.
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Home made hummus: a great alternative to shop bought hummus which are often high in salt. This carrot hummus is from a Tickle Buds weaning recipe box. (Photo by Melissa Collins, copyright Tickle Buds 2017)

How to add flavour without adding salt to homemade baby food

Spicing up fruit purees– Cinnamon can be a great addition to apple purees. Mint often works well with fruit as do small amounts of nutmeg, vanilla and ginger.

New flavour combos for vegetables– Basil is a great herb for adding to sweet potatoes. Add garlic to green beans, nutmeg to butternut squash, cinnamon to carrots, turmeric to root veggies. Creamed spinach works well with nutmeg too.There are loads of yummy combinations to try!

Less salt = healthier weaning

By looking at labels, home cooking with fresh ingredients and by avoiding adding salt to your baby’s food you can ensure that your little one doesn’t consume high levels of salt. And you can have lots of fun coming up with healthier and more adventurous combinations of flavours and tastes. There is so much out there you can use instead of salt, it’s just a case of experimenting!

 

Diary of an imperfect mum

 

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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