Monday, December 17, 2012

Little Foodie

One of my friends recently emailed asking about what I've been feeding B lately. It seems to change like the wind as he seems to be growing like a weed. He managed to start crawling (no army, folks), clapping, pulling up, and talking massive amounts all in the course of 10 days.

The answer to the food question is, whatever is healthy that I can get down his throat. He feeds himself lately and his pincer grasp is pretty stellar, so that's helpful. However, now that he feeds himself, he's less inclined to allow us to feed him which means less is making it down the hatch. I have definitely been found on any given weekday feeding B as he's crawling across the floor or pulling himself up somewhere. Calories in are most important for me sometimes. Yes, I know kids won't starve and they'll let you know when they're hungry, but sometimes I want him to have some kind of a schedule to eat at a specific time. I may also be a little sensitive about having a small fry still. He's up at the 25th percentile now according to those stupid CDC charts, but it doesn't mean my mom ego hasn't been bruised plenty.


If we want B to eat something off a spoon that we feed him, he needs some distractions. We often give him his own spoon while we attempt to use our spoon to feed the calories. He also loves chewing on straws and those allow us to shove more food in his mouth because they take up less real estate. I also alternate finger foods for him and a spoonful of what we're feeding him next. For example, we'd give him a sweet potato piece and then shovel in some pea soup between bites. We're faster than him, still, but it's all about trickery in our house. It's a messy process of feeding, but sometimes we just have to get the job done.

Here are some of the things we spoon fed him recently: split pea soup, peas, beans, rice, meat bites (small!), lentils, lentil soup, quinoa (usually mixed with a binding agent like pureed carrots), scrambled eggs, avocado, oatmeal, hummus...

He eats basically everything we eat, so these lists are in no way comprehensive, but more because I'm speaking on lately and what I have from memory to work with.

{Finger Food Meals + what to do with leftover purees?}

He's done with purees. But, funny thing. We have plenty I'm still working through from our freezer, but I've found some creative ways to use them in solid foods he can feed himself.

  • I make pancakes a lot for breakfast because they're easy for him to feed himself and I can also eat some! I can also hide a lot of pureed goodness in them that he wouldn't normally allow me to feed him with a spoon easily. Some recent concoctions:

Avocado pancakes: (about 1 cup pancake mix prepared + 1/2 avocado)
Sweet potato, spinach & cinnamon pancakes: (2 cup prepared pancake mix + 5 cubes sweet potato + 2 very small cubes spinach + cinnamon)

Batch of sweet potato/spinach cakes this morning - lighting is poor-- working off the flourescent hood lighting. Eek!
I often make a batch and have breakfast ready for a couple days. I even feed them for a quick lunch sometimes. He can feed himself and it's not super messy. I made a batch of 10 sweet potato/spinach pancakes this morning and froze them. Now I can pull one out each morning for his breakfast.

  • I also use the purees in his oatmeal. He loves oatmeal with mix-ins and also really loves oatmeal with banana and cinnamon. I mean, who doesn't?
  • I even took a spinach cube from the freezer last night and stuck it in our spaghetti sauce. We all benefited from that little trickery and I didn't even have to taste it! {Spinach is one of those things I eat because I know it's good for me-- yay leafy greens-- but not because I find it particularly delicious.} This sneaky mom move might continue on well into adolescence as I have a sneaking suspicion that spinach or vegetables in general won't be on the top 10 list of things teenagers like to eat.
  • I make quesadillas often with squash & spinach purees, but I'm having a hard time cutting them where the contents don't completely escape. I use a pizza cutter and that works well, but it's not perfect. Some quesadilla contents: a small amount of cheese as a binder, hummus, smashed peas, beans, shredded chicken, spinach... basically whatever I can get in there!
  • Smoothies - he likes these, but doesn't drink them super fast, so I usually only entertain the idea when I'm making one for myself. All the fruit purees work well. I suppose spinach would... but I detest the idea of ruining my perfectly delicious smoothie by adding that beast in there.

{Finger Food Snacks in between meals}

As a snack, B usually gets a number of things to feed himself: sweet potato baked fries, Cheerios, puffs, and these things that we've recently started buying from our produce aisle. He's had graham crackers and obviously loves those, too. To feed him hummus, I sometimes stick it on the end of a carrot and he shoves it in his mouth. He won't eat the carrot, but the hummus is eaten! Trickster, I know.


Finally, the hardware. We use some Ikea dishes, nothing exciting there. But the utensils and his sippy cup?

Utensil set: Boon Adaptable Utensils (will be able to feed himself with soon!)
Spoon: mOmma spoon (sits up on its own and fun to chew on)
Sippy cup favorite: Playtex First Gripper Trainer (still loving this one!)

{Help: Question for YOU}

Now I have a question for all of you. We're planning to transition B to milk around a year and we'd like to know what you're giving your kiddos. Our pediatrician recommended we give B whatever we drink (none). She said whole milk is out and skim, 1% or 2% is in. I'd want it to have some fat content, but I don't think whole milk is necessary for him. Also, I'd love to have the milk to use in recipes, and I cannot bring myself to use whole milk. What about the rest of you? What have you been using or plan to use?

I'm also genuinely nervous about how we're going to handle milk in the sippy cup. What happens when I'm done breastfeeding and he wants milk at 5 a.m.? How does that work? #nervous


Brie said... [Reply to comment]

Great ideas on working those veggies into pancakes. I just started making more realistic pancakes (ie. using flour and egg instead of oats and banana) with apples, zucchini and Cinamon. I like the idea of spinach added..I think I'll try to sneak that in this week (:

As for milk. Good question. I'm in the same boat. I think we will do low fat. We drink nonfat, but my boy is only a 25th percentile kid too. Long and lean. Since he has weaned himself from bfing I just make an extra bottle of formula before bed and stick it in the fridge. I plan to do the same with a sippy of milk in case of 5am emergencies (: but then again, I've heard that they shouldn't sleep with milk bottles/sillies for fear of rotting teeth. Right now he has his bedtime bottle, a quick teeth brushing and to bed. This parenting is tricky business!

Jill said... [Reply to comment]

We don't really "do" milk. Yogurt, cheese, milk in smoothies, or cereal.... he doesn't really need the infant food of another species.

Alison G. said... [Reply to comment]

B's menu is exactly what I used to feed Scotty! you should try adding beet puree to your pancakes. It makes them pink and my kids love them! I sometimes add ricotta to the pancakes too for extra protein. I definitely still sneak veggie purees in whenever I can. As far as milk goes, my pediatricians for both Gabby and Scotty recommended whole milk until 2 years old. I was told they still need a lot of that fat for brain development. We fluctuate between 1% and 2% now. And I feel like when I weaned him those morning feedings tapered off and the sleep schedule changed a little.

Emily said... [Reply to comment]

We do Homo milk in a bottle at nap and bed time and water the rest of the day in a sippy cup. I was never able to actually BREASTfeed, so we began mixing in a bit of homo milk with the pumped breast milk in her bottle just before a year. Since we mixed it, Kaia didn't really seem to notice a difference in terms of taste and then when I quit pumping it's just been homo milk since then. I'm curious as to why your pediatrician wouldn't want you to do homo milk especially if B's on the smaller side of the scale?

At 5am if B wants a drink and you're done breastfeeding just have a bottle (or sippy cup) of water available for him. Or a bottle or sippy cup of milk works too.

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

Our ped in GA recommended whole milk and since Finn is a little guy (5th %) he could use the extra calories. So I will probably keep him on that until he's two. We buy horizon organic whole milk with the DHA.

5am wake ups .... Probably for comfort, not because he's starving. So maybe once you are done nursing he won't wake up then. Not sure, I stopped nursing at 10 months. We phased in whole milk a little after a year and it's the first thing he wants in the morning. He stands up in his crib and does the sign for milk..... The man knows what he wants.

Sounds like B is getting lots of healthy food (whether he knows it or not!) Well done Mama!

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

I find the whole "feed my baby something besides the boob juice" to be daunting. But I guess it all seems daunting until you're in the middle of it and then it's just life. I should pin this post for inspiration... It reminds me of Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook on sneaking veggies into kid-friendly food.

Party of Three Heads said... [Reply to comment]

We first used soy milk for Colston, and did half and half until he was full on soy.. then when we switched him to cow's milk we went to 2% and used a vitamin to supplement what he was missing .. as far as milk at 5 am.. I just got up and got it! lol

Teresa said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks for this, and of course for your super helpful email :) Day care told me she *actually* ate something yesterday because they let her hold the spoon!! So amazed. I love the "two spoon" trick you talked about, too, that seems to really help. We have resorted to no clothes at dinner (for the babe, though a certain hubby wishes it extended further)...she goes nuts with the purees and squash pieces! Love it! Thank you thank you!!

Kristi said... [Reply to comment]

We are all milk drinkers here. We have given both kids whole milk from 1-2 years (I did not start either of them drinking milk before a year). Once Joel turned 2 we switched him to 2% for a few months and then skim milk. We all get milk at meals. Joel gets whole milk half the time now b/c we have it for Kirstin. Once she's 2 though, we'll likely just all drink skim. The added fat is good for their brain development (and doesn't hurt their little growing bodies...since obesity isn't an issue for either of them).

As far as at night/early morning. Since Joel weaned during the night (years ago!) he's had a sippy cup (to prevent spilling) of water in his bed with him. He drinks all throughout the night. Kirstin is content with daddy holding her for a minute at the 5 am time, currently.

I, too, find that so many things change so quickly with how kids develop and grow. I find that it's so helpful to be in touch with what works best at the time for the specific child. You know B best, so go with what works for him (and you guys as his parents).

Nicole said... [Reply to comment]

You have great ideas for food. Addalee can be a bit of a picky eater, and since she's walking now, she can hardly be bothered to sit and eat! So I'm going to have to try the pancakes so she can eat them on the go!

We use whole milk for her, per our pediatrician's recommendation. She's only in the 25th percentile too! So, I like for her to get the extra calories. She likes her milk in the morning, a bit before nap, and then before bed. She handled the transition fairly well, thankfully. One thing I caught on to is that she still likes the milk heated a little. It's pretty cold coming straight out of the fridge - I think she got brain freeze once...sad. So, I just heat it up a little bit, and she trots off as happy as ever, sippy in hand.

Sounds like you're doing a great job with all the transitions and changes! Good job! :)

Stephanie said... [Reply to comment]

My pediatrician told us to do a 1:1 ratio of whole milk to water and it has worked really well for us :)

Jenny said... [Reply to comment]

Reading a toddler recipe book by the nutritionist Annabel Karmel was super helpful. For example, a matchbox size piece of cheese = 1/4 c milk. Of course, the fat and sodium content are drastically different, so that's something to take into consideration.

Our family used whole milk for 12-24 months with A. Nick and I are not milk drinkers, or even big milk/cereal eaters. The milk ended up being for recipes, like waffles, muffins, and the occasional soup. We used maybe 1/2 gallon a week for the whole family, tops. No expansion of waistlines if used in small amounts, I promise! Kiddos under 2 need more fat of all types than non-pregnant adults (yay brain development), so if you use 1-2%, I suggest adding a spoonful of olive oil into oatmeal made with low fat milk and feeding oily fish 2x a week. If you want to feed dairy products for calcium, read up on how that calcium is best absorbed - fat helps; or read about calcium rich foods like broccoli and collards.

Be prepared, switching to cows milk at every meal makes for one constipated baby - even when you're still breastfeeding. A. breastfed 3 times a day from 12-15 months (mostly before sleep), and slept through the night by 12 months. A. only breastfed 1 time per day 15-18 mo (before night sleep) and self-weaned around week 14-16 of my next pregnancy (breast milk turns 'salty' tasting after 12 weeks gestation). She was 19 months when she stopped. At each stage, I followed her lead and she was the one who chose to BF or not - completely weaning was not difficult at all that way.

Best of luck!