Baby Led Weaning with Baby #3

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I have started weaning the little one here! I cannot believe that time has gone by so fast and she is ready for solid food already. She began her curiosity of food early like my other two, but I was able to stave her off until she was 7 months old. I prefer not to give solids until it is necessary, but it worked out that we began letting her explore at 7 months.

At first she squished the food in her fingers, rubbed it into the table, plaited her hair with it, and pushed it onto the floor. All told, she rarely got more than a tablespoon or two of food inside her mouth. That is, until about a week ago. She is now 8 months old and something in her just clicked and she is now eating her food with great accuracy. She still makes a mess on the floor, but this wonderful meal pictured above, she at half an avocado, and only dropped two or three pieces.

Because she is breastfed, she has little need for solid food yet, but it is nice that we have been able to eliminate allergy concerns for many normal baby foods already. She has been introduced to egg yolk, chicken broth, green beans, potato, carrot, broccoli, peas, black eyed peas (but that was not a good idea :/), grilled chicken, avocado, sweet potato, potatoes, banana, cantaloupe and honeydew. It has been an easy journey, I don’t force her to eat, I just provide her with food while the “big people” eat and let her explore. If she is hungry, she eats, and when she is finished, she just splashes the juices. I still nurse her every 2.5-3 hours since that is where she derives her calories and nutrition.

At night, I do use a spoon to feed her egg yolk to supply her with iron. I add a little butter, avocado, chicken broth, or banana to make it easier and tastier to eat. Until a few days ago, she could only eat about 1/3 -1/2 of the egg yolk. This provides her with vitamins A, E, D and K, as well as DHA and iron a quite a bit of other nutrients (see chart below :). I wanted to avoid gluten until she has more teeth, so baby cereal did not seem like the best option for us.

I enjoy watching babies make faces at new foods and explore the new world of textures and taste. What is your favorite part of introducing solids? Which did you introduce to your infant (I could use some help with my imagination!)?

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Sneaky Ways to Get Kids to Eat Vegtables

I have found some pretty hilarious ways to get my kids to *want* to eat vegetables. Mind you, most of these revelations were found on accident which makes it a bit more ironic.

1. Serve only the adults a specific vegetable. When they ask why they don’t have any, give a polite reason why, recant if they insist.

2. Eat your vegetable first. Eat it as if it were Filet Mignon. Young children watch everything, be careful not to over exaggerate.

3. If you child is curious about your strange vegetable, offer them a bite off your plate.

4. Let them be ‘sneaky’ and eat food off of your plate, or the basket of raw vegetables off the table.

5. When your children are preoccupied with playing, sneak off to the kitchen and eat a healthy snack (like you would hide to eat a candy bar, just don’t hide as well). You will get and “Ooooooooo! Can I have some?!”

6. Let kids come up with their own combinations. I am not a fan of bottled ranch dressing so if we do not have any made, then the kids come up with crazy dipping ideas. I try not to push my preconceived ideas of normal onto them, and they now LOVE dipping veggies in pickle juice.

7. Let them shop for their own veggies. We let the kids take turn picking the fruits and vegetables and my 4 year old rediscovered her love of avocado by picking out her own at the store.

8. Allow the children to prepare the vegetables. Kids love shredding greens, cutting chives with scissors, snapping green beans, pulling broccoli, etc. They will probably sneak a bite during preparation, giggle with them and sneak a bite too.

9. Describe the cooking/preparing process like some wonderful adventure that magically makes food tastier. Watch the butter melt over beans and talk with anticipation about how wonderful it will be when it is finally time to eat. Watch the steam, notice the change in color while you cook, talk about the change in texture. Tantalize them kindly.

10. Have vegetables for dessert. Kids would have to be pretty young for this to work, but we have to remember that kids do not know what ‘normal’ is! Take advantage, and try to set a healthy worldview for your children. My kids anticipate kale chips as much as ice cream so if they finish their grilled fish, rice and veggie, we can snack on kale chips before bed.

11. Treat it like you would treat candy. “Look! We are having green beans with our chicken!” Get excited, in young children excitement is contagious. Limit when and how much they can have as you would sugar. Be kind, and be reasonable, but treat vegetables like they are special.

12. Steal a bite off their plate after you finish eating your portion, act like you just had to have one more bite. This would not work on my son who takes food stealing very personally.

13. Make them earn their vegetable. It is precious (wink, wink) and we would not want to waste it, so we have to make sure they are still hungry after they eat the main dish. After all, you want to be able to eat it if they do not.

14. Hand them the salt and pepper shaker. My salt shaker is a grinder and they cannot over do it so this is safe at my house. This lets them personalize and feel ownership over their vegetables.

15. Talk about the good qualities of your vegetables. Mention the antioxidants, foliate, calcium, vitamin A. Speak with wonder at the potential vitamins and mineral have. They do not have to understand what you say because they will understand what you are saying is amazing. Say more than, “It makes you strong.” Give details of the process and chain reaction that vegetables start. They are not just eating carrots, they are eating potential.

Kids Preparing VeggiesKale/Egg scramble

Kidversations ~ Poot Difficulties

My goofy boy waiting for Sunday dinner.

My goofy boy waiting for Sunday dinner.

JJ and I were cuddling on the couch when he very loudly passed gas on my lap. I ignored it, he is a 2 year old boy after all. It was quite a horrible smell, but whatever….until he did it again, just as loudly, and just as smelly as before.

“JJ, you think next time you could get off my lap to poot?”

“Yeah, Momma.” We continue reading when suddenly he jumps off. I pay no attention at first because we have a very up and down policy for my lap. After about 30 seconds he is still standing in front of me. His face is red, and he is sticking his rear end out while wiggling in funny ways.

“What are you doing?”

“Mommy! I can’t poot like that!” And he jumps back in my lap and eventually lets another one go.

Dear Mom,

When I was 10, I knew all about this parenting business. I always thought my mother was amazing, but there were a few things I was going to do differently. My parenting vows as a 10 year old:

  1. I am not going to serve my children silly things like peanut butter and jelly, or pizza bread.
  2. I am not going to make my children miss out on movies and activities the ‘other’ kids get to enjoy.
  3. No bedtimes in my future house. Bed times are silly, why not just wait until you are tired?
  4. I am going to enjoy every second of meaningful conversation from my children. After all, children have very important things to talk about and valuable insight to offer.
  5. I will not cry over silly things. Seriously, it’s just kindergarten, what’s the big deal?
  6. I am going to trust my future children with issues concerning moderation. We know how much cake we can eat without getting sick.
  7. I will not humiliate my children by being over involved. Cake for the class for every birthday? Embarrassing. Being the only parent to show up for in school field trips? No way.
  8. No excessive excitement over milestones. Calling Auntie over my first crush was a bit overboard.
  9. No forced hugs or kisses. Really. I will love my kids, but won’t need to hug them all the time to show them.
  10. Big sisters know how to keep charge. I will trust my oldest to handle sibling disputes. Older children know how to handle things.

Haha!

Mom, I just wanted you to know that I made pizza bread yesterday.

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S’mores Snack

We had the privilege of going to the Cincinnati Zoo and I enjoyed getting to know some ladies from one of the churches that has partnered with us in ministry. As we dove deeper into the zoo, some of the young children became a bit cranky, and one lady came prepared with snacks.

The kids who knew her were excited to for the goodness she gave out in individual zip-lock bags, and the missionary kids soon joined in with their delight.

She gave out small bags with a S’mores assortment. I didn’t need a recipe to copy her, but did inform her that I would replicate the deliciousness for future snacks to go.

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I used the off brand golden graham cereal, semi sweet chocolate chips, and small marshmallows when I made it the very next week. I filled a gallon zip-lock bag 3/4 of the way with the cereal, added 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1 1/2 – 2 cups of marshmallows.

This is perfect for children of all ages. I do have to warn you though, it did seem to turn off my ability to snack in moderation. Divvying the snack after mixing it is a great idea to prevent such a problem.

Oh, and I found this to be the perfect s’more ratio ;)20131111-145859.jpg

I will gladly take any other snack recommendations, I’m sure there are many more awesome snacks I will never think of on my own :)

Housework…Maybe Eventually…

“I have housework to do, I should do it!”

10 minutes later: “I got some work done! I should take a break.”

Baby cries. “I should sit down and feed the baby.”

Baby finishes nursing. “Playing and talking to baby is good for her.”

Children getting restless. “I should take them outside.”

We come inside, “We should do a craft.”

After craft, “Its time for lunch!”

I put the kids down for a nap, “I should sit down and take a break!” Woman gets lost on Pinterest and/or WordPress.

Baby wakes up. Children wake up.

“Time to play with the children.”

Playing steals all my energy.

“I need a coffee break.”

I notice the house. “I should do housework!”

And repeat.

Please tell me that I am not the only one!

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With children this adorable, it is no wonder they get all of my time!