31 July 2012

Tips for baby and toddler food

Last year we welcomed two babies into our family – Jamie is now 16 months old and Alex is 12 months. Hanno and I have already looked after both our little boys to help their parents have some free time together and I have no doubt there will be many more opportunities to look after them in the future.

A lot has changed since I had my own little boys to look after. Ideas about diets have changed a lot and I’m wondering how this reflects on how babies and toddlers are fed now. Jamie and Alex were breastfed exclusively for six months, then they had breast milk and solids. I think they’re still having a nightly feed before bedtime, although Sunny told me she wants to wean Jamie soon. Both boys have good appetites and eat a variety of foods.

Back in the old days, babies and toddlers were commonly given salted and sweet food. I didn’t know anyone who was gluten or dairy intolerant, or who had an allergy to nuts. I knew of one baby who was allergic to eggs and my son Kerry didn't like eggs. He still doesn't. I think good free range eggs are excellent food for toddlers. When did you introduce eggs?  What egg recipes do your children like?

When I fed my children, I wanted them to eat what we ate. I have always cooked from scratch so it was no problem to first puree things like mixed vegetables and fruits and later on, process meals like roast chicken and vegetables, vegetable soup or lamb and rice in the blender so they were a good consistency for my babies. It wasn’t long before we had a good system going and we were all eating the same food, although in different consistencies. When my children were weaned they drank water, cow’s milk, Milo and a variety of fresh and processed fruit juices.

If you have a baby or small children now, what do you feed them, and when? If you have time, would you set out a day’s menu for me, including drinks and snacks. I have a feeling things haven’t changed much, except for the food allergies, but who know, I might be completely off here. It has happened before. ;- )



  1. Interesting post, Rhonda.

    I have 3 children, aged 5, 3 & 12 months, and we practice "baby-led weaning".

    We don't introduce solids until close to 6 months, and when the child shows they are ready (my DS was 5+ months, and my youngest DD was a lot closer to 7 or 8).

    Before solids are started, they are exclusively fed breast-milk, and it is offered until they wean naturally.

    We feed them what we're eating, as long as it's a whole-food...we don't offer any processed foods until they are MUCH older, and then it's usually only when we're out and about.

    I don't introduce cow's milk as a drink until pretty close to 2. Breast milk and water are what they get until then.

    So, today, my 12 month old DD had:
    homemade toast with jam (it was gluten-free bread, but that's not her regular fare; my Mom has Celiac Disease and is visiting)

    egg salad sandwich
    carrot sticks & hummus (I often grate the carrot, but we don't puree anything)

    We will be having baked chicken thighs, new potatoes & a garden salad. I probably won't give her a serving of salad, but will probably pick the appropriate veggies out for her.
    We're having her birthday cake toay, too....and she will get some of that. It's a low sugar apple sauce cake, so it's still pretty healthy.

    She also has breast milk on demand, which probably amounts to 6-8 feedings throughout the day.

    Hope that helps!
    ~Melanie in Canada

  2. I know you asked what you feed little ones now, but when my kids were younger, I could not afford expensive baby food and my doctor (old school) said they were nothing but fillers anyway. So when they went on cows milk, I had a baby food grinder and whatever we had for dinner my boys had. We had no problems with allergies and never did. With that said, my boys still have healthy appetites and are quite fit and sturdy. Now, my granddaughter, she is 15 months old, she eats whatever my son and DIL are having for dinner just like I did when he was little. She is also on cows milk now as well. Also to note, no allergies of any sort as of yet and she has eaten quite a variety of food. I guess every child is different, but we still go "old school" with feeding our babies in our family.

  3. My baby is 13 months old, raised the same as your grandchildren - she has always breastfed and eaten what we do. I sometimes puréed foods for her that were too chewy or that she couldn't pick up, but now she can eat soft little pieces of meat and the like with no problem. I fed her eggs as one of her first foods - scrambled with a little milk.

    Here's a typical menu for her:

    Breakfast: yogurt with fruit, banana muffin with butter, or eggs (whatever we're having - she'll even eat breakfast burritos with us :)

    Lunch: rice cooked in chicken stock with spinach, or the like (oftentimes a Vietnamese-style soup or noodle dish)

    Dinner: roast chicken with potatoes (also great for lunch the next day)

    Snacks are things like cheese, bread with butter, fresh fruit (she loves berries!), boiled carrots cut into small cubes.

    Really looking forward to hearing what others do - would love some new ideas!


  4. How fun! I have a 4 year old son. I nursed for 9 months, but about 5 of those months was exclusively breast milk. We never fed him baby food, but instead pureed real food for him- squash, green beans with apple juice (helped him from getting constipated by the green beans), blueberries, bananas, etc. Then we would puree chicken soup and things like you said. He teethed on mango seeds and corn cobs!! We didn't add sugar, or give him mashed white potatoes much, but we didn't always restrict him. My Uncle, the patriarch of our family, gave him cannolli filling at 4 months! I would never have dont that, but I also knew it was a moment of honor for my Uncle, and it didn't harm my son. So, I just took lots of pictures :) We care a lot about health, but weren't overly cautious every minute. I did follow allergy related guidelines, but the grandparents fed him some things because they didn't know things had changed. I also introduced the foods that cause allergies as soon as I could because variety is important. My son has no allergies, except penicillin. One thing I've noticed with my friends is that the more cautious the parents, the more allergies the kid has. I'm not sure whether its really related or not, but its just something I have noticed. I think you are right, things haven't changed too much, other than the food allergies. I think they'll be happy and healthy eaters at your place. They are in good hands!

  5. My babies are older now but like you say things seem more complcated now. I believed then and do now there is no need for offering toddlers refined foodstuffs like rice cereal as a first food, but as we did mashed pawpaw or banana or avo. Breakfast eventually became oats or a similar porridge before eggs were introduce at 16 months or later. Morning snack banana and yoghurt preferably homemade and if milk allergy exist then goats milk yoghurt is fine. Lunch was finger foods once they were managing chewing. I made teeny tiny sandwiches with nut spreads again of there were no allergies, a fruit or soft veggie sticks like peeled cucumber. Afternoon snack usually a homemade something, cheese cubes and tea. Then supper by 18 months would be from the table masked or smoothed in some way the younge rthe child was. Hope this helps.

  6. My children are 12 & 14 yrs now. I did'nt breast feed either of them and my first daughter was fed on jars and as I began to learn how to cook I fed my 2nd daughter on a better quality of food. I was talking about allergies on my blog today. My eldest has severe asthma and my youngest has a lactose intolerance. I think people realise now that homecooked food without additives and preservatives are better for their babies.

    The comments people have written are interesting

  7. My children are 11, 8, 5, 4, and 2. All were breastfed, but with the 1st, the recommendation was to start solids at 4 months. That has changed since, and the other children all started solids at 6-8 months, just depending on the child continuing with breastfeeding till the child was ready to wean. We follow the Weston Price school of thought food-wise, so offered egg yolk (from free-range eggs)as a first food, along with mashed avocado and banana. We also gave cooked regular cereal (not infant cereal) a bit later. I mashed up whatever we were having, but also sometimes steamed or roasted other veggies (such as beets, which our family rarely eats) and mashed them so they would try more of a variety. I did give my children milk some as they weaned, but whenever possible it was raw cow or goat's milk bought from a reputable local farmer who pastures the animals or purchases hay when needed.

  8. You asked about the first egg....the baby health nurse ...remember when our big day out was the visit to the baby health centre to be told what to do?......advising that my daughter could have a coddled egg, this would've been 3rd solid food after baby rice and mashed banana. Coddled egg was revolting, made me gag just to look at, so after that I just gave her what we were eating. I had a Mouli-baby, it pureed food, but by hand, so a lot of meat and veg were pureed until she was older and could manage them. She was offered lots of raw veg, and apple slices, and sultanas were a staple to take when we went out. She was breastfed as well. Despite the dire warnings of the baby nurse, my daughter had a healthy appetite, ate anything put in front of her, unlike some of my friend's babies, who were kept on the baby clinic plan. I don't remember any concerns abut allergies. She has her own babies now, and hommous is the big thing in their house, gallons of it are churned out to the cries of "more hom" and babies eat it with organic mini pretzels, or vegetable sticks, or just off their fingers.

  9. Rebecca (The Hills, Sydney)July 31, 2012 8:13 am

    My babies (now 10 and 12) were pretty much fed anything and everything, in a mashed or pureed state. They especially loved home made stewed apple, mashed pumpkin and mashed potato mixed with a little chicken soup. They ate hard boiled egg mashed through other foods without trouble. I made home made rusks which they loved, especially the vegemite flavoured ones, and i occasionally dipped rusks in a teeny amount of peanut butter, which was a great hit. Both my kids have no allergies and are free from problems such as asthma and skin rashes. Oh, they also loved eating sand, worms and dirt!

  10. I have a 10mth old and a 3yo. The recommendations have changed even in the short time between my two kids. Now they do not recommend withholding eggs, nuts etc as there is no evidence that withholding reduces the rates of allergies (makes you wonder why they recommended it in the first place).

    When my son was a baby I was told very strongly to wait for solids until 6mths but with my new baby it was recommended that solids are introduced between 4&6 mths.

    I don't feel as creative with 'baby food' this time around. My youngest gets cereal (porridge or weetbix) sweetened with mashed apple or pear for breakfast - or toast. A sandwich for lunch (cheese, jam or Vegemite), she has fruit and yoghurt for snacks. For dinner she has a mashed vege, rice, lentils or leftovers in whatever combo takes my fancy and then at our dinner time she has a try of whatever we are eating which will often be meat and vegetables... She feeds herself for everything except her breakfast and her first dinner.

  11. Gosh I found this very interesting as I truly believe that the limited diets some of the kids are on these days actually causes allergies. My kids (30 years ago) were breastfed until after their first birthdays and given whatever we were eating. They developed no allergies and are willing to this day to try different and interesting foods. I see the babies of today being fed too much processed foods, and not given a variety of whole foods and so they are developing allergies...

  12. My kids are 9, 5 and 2. Wehad lots of trouble with breast feeding, so they were all on formula for the first 12 months, then cows milk after that. They started with solids when they were about 6 months. Ds was a bit earlier, dds a bit later. That was just when they were ready. Ds9 was brought up on supermarket baby food, and would refuse to eat anything that I made. It obviously tasted different. I was more mindful of what I was feeding my family by the time dds were born, so they only occasionally had supermarket food, and mostly ate mashed versions of what the rest of us were eating. Now, they all eat really well and eat what is put in front of them. My five year old in particular loves salads, red cabbage, sprouts... All of them eat quite healthy main meals. They all have weetbix for breakfast,Then fruit or milk for morning tea, depending on appetite. usually sandwiches for lunch, then biscuits or homemade treats for afternoon tea if they've already had enough fruit, or they will have a second piece of fruit.

  13. It is a while since mine were little. They were exclusively breastfed as long as possible and introduced to fruit and vegetable purees as first foods. I have food allergies that include egg yolk, crustaceans and some grains so I was a little more cautious. Fortunately only one has food allergies, to crustaceans, and he is training as a chef. My first two were premature and they ate a little later but solids were introduced when they were interested around five or six months. By nine months they were eating family foods as almost everything is cooked from scratch. My favourite food in winter is soup and I would thicken soups with a little rice cereal if I was short of time.

    This issue is contentious for me as I currently know two mothers who have introduced solids before six weeks!

  14. I breastfed exclusively until 6 months with both of our girls, but introduced solids differently. With Miss 5, I used commercial organic baby food because I was worried about her not eating enough. She's a bit picky, but is becoming more adventurous. With Miss 3, I tried baby-led weaning because she insisted on feeding herself. So she ate what we were eating or veggies + rice, a sandwich, fruit, etc. Both girls don't really like the texture of meat, so they have various easy alternatives. Neither of them have allergies, but Miss 5 did have eczema for a bit which disappeared after many applications of comfrey cream.

  15. Rhonda from Di
    My children are 15 and 11. They were fed the same as us, in a purried form to start they ate home made biscuits and cake and a large variety of vegetables meats etc. They do not have any allergies, eat everything Their friends however are hard work to feed, they don't like this or that. My son stayed over at his mates place on the weekend they ate lollies for breakfast, and take away for lunch. No wonder he was cranky when he got home.

  16. I would be completely guided by the mother who should be guided by her pediatrician. Some things have definitely changed - no peanut butter or eggs until a certain age. No cakes, sweets - nothing with refined sugar, fish is something else that is age appropriate. I personally dont think store bought yoghurt is good - just look at the list of ingredients. mashed avocado is great and as much organic fruit and veg as possible. Make sure you know what milk they are used to. Also solid food is introduced much later these days.

  17. Be careful of raw foods (carrots, apple slices) with small children and babies - choking hazards.

  18. I look after my 4 year GS, four days a week. His diet is terrible to most but good for him. breakfast is two chocolate yoghurts and an Up and Go, MT a pkt of tiny teddies, a slice of cheese and an apple, Lunch ham and cheese sandwich, donut. AT a pkt of chips, dinner chicken or mince, rice and veges. He and his brother both have CF and need a high fat, sugar and salt diet. i usually take him to McD's once a week for chips and coke. he is gradually putting on weight but it is a struggle, hes sitting at 50% weight for height. Funnily enough, many things that he could eat, they dont like, ice cream, chociolate bars, cakes and biscuits so he gets given the things that he does like.

  19. Hi, thanks for posting this question Rhonda, I have three children, 6yrs, 3yrs and 9 months, so I'm looking for some new idea's - especially for my youngest. All of my kids have been breastfed to around 6 months and then given solids combined with breastmilk. My youngest is now moving to having more food than milk. Once they get to 12 months I usually move them to cow's milk, provided their not intolerant (as I am).
    Interestingly, my first child was fed only food made by me, my second is an extremely fussy eater that has been caused by low muscle tone in his mouth and so he ate a lot of pre-made baby food because at times it was all he would eat. Both he and my eldest have been allergy tested by an immunologist for various reasons and my eldest is anaphylaxis to tree nuts and my second child has no allergies. My understanding is that research has found children with this style of allergy have a gene that reacts to the food, so I'm not sure the reaction can be avoided.
    My youngest's diet consists of rice cereal or weetbix with apple for breakfast, fruit for MT, veg, meat and rice for lunch (still coarsely mashed), breastmilk for AT, meat and veg for dinner. I try to give him as much of our food as I can, and he has a wide appetite.

  20. Not introducing egg until 12 months has come in the last 5 or 6 years as well as avoiding nuts and shellfish until 18 months due to the huge incidence of anaphlaytic allergy. It's sad but a sing of the times I suppose but then maybe it is better to er on the side of caution especically if a bub is already showing some signs of immune issues. I have recently hear of bubs being gluten free until 12 months also in order to give their guts a chance to develop properly. I know my mum gave my bubs cows milk from the carton under the age of 12 months even though I was breastfeeding and expressing bm for cereals etc. I was offended that she didn't support my decision more than any thought of harm that would come from giving them whole cows milk. Initally I steamed veg for the bubba's as well as fruits. They had rice cereal with pears or apples and natural yoghurt with mashed banana. Mashed avacado by the spoonful as well. As they progessed with their digestion I added grated tasty cheese to their veg and then cooked rice. Steamed fish or chicken first just flaked or shredded I added as finger food. Red meat even in slivers took a lot longer to introduce as it doesnt break up in the mouth like fish and chicken do. As soon as they were able I started introducing finger foods along with their puree and then mashed food as they progressed. Both my boys eat a wide range of foods now and steer clear of commercial food. So a day would look like;

    Breastfeed early morning
    Breakfast of cereal was rice and then moved to porridge and weetbix
    Followed by a finger or two of wholemeal toast with a scrape or veggiemite or avacado
    Morning tea was fruit and yoghurt with some finger fruit later on, so banana or stawberries or melon in small fingers or chopped up very finely
    Lunch was veggies and cheese or pasta
    Breastfeed and nap
    Afternoon tea was maybe a cruskit and a few sultanas or maybe a little finger of cheese
    Dinner was meat and veg pureed and later mashed, then finely chopped. Family meals weren't part of the paln until well after 12mths as lots of gravy and sauces are not good for babies
    Bath, breastfeed and bed

  21. My kids started solids on either mashed banana or advocado, they basically ate off our plate, except if we were having salad, then I might cook up a few veggies for them. They are all good eaters and love veggies, fruit and salads! We kept them off wheat and dairy until they were well over 1.

  22. Our daughter was on formula, as I wasn't producing enough milk. This is probably why she craved solids from an earlier age. The research I have been conducting due to my own health, has led me to the theory behind a lot of food allergies and intolerances, has to do with gut flora. In other words, how many different varieties of bacteria you have in your stomach to break down the foods.

    Modern people don't have a healthy range of bacteria in our guts because we live in such sterile environments, even to the point we have no bacteria in our food any more. If it's okay with the separate mums and dads, I'd be introducing your fermented foods like ginger beer and yoghurt. It's natural healthy bacteria found in fermented foods, which keeps the gut flora diverse, and therefore healthy.

    Do you make milk kefir too? I'm trying to track some kefir grains down. This is apparently filled with healthy bacteria for the gut - better than yoghurt. I'm told you can even make ice-cream from it. In summer, I'm sure the kids would love flavoured kefir or flavoured yoghurt pops on a stick.

    The two favourite foods my daughter loved, were mashed pumpkin and pureed apple. She never really took to eggs. Hated strawberries and bananas, until a little older. Like everyone else, I just pureed fresh veg, I even pureed chicken with the veg too, if we had a roast for dinner.

    If I would lay off anything, it would be cereals. I noticed when I started feeding my daughter soft weet-bix, she started resisting the veg. Loved her pureed veg before then too. The research I've been doing lately has shown, cereals may be adequate at filling appetite, but it changes our cells response to food. There are much better options than cereal. It's like saying breast-milk or formula? If it's possible, you feed breast milk.

    That is how I would treat cereals with babies. It fills their appetite, provides some nutritional qualities, but is inferior to simple fruit, veg, and proteins.

    A little disclaimer about the ginger beer recommendation. I'm sure you're a sensible grandma, and wouldn't feed it all the time. I'm not suggesting it be consumed as regularly as milk. :)

  23. I find the responses about allergies interesting. I'm gluten intolerant and it didn't present until adult hood but I've had some of the symptoms all my life. Because I do have the issue, I have done a lot of research about it, like you said Rhonda, it wasn't the norm when I was a child. The grains and dairy that I drank/ate as a child are not the same as the ones produced today and therein lies the issue. Being a child of the 70's I was brought up with preservatives even though my mum was always a from scratch cook. I think my mum is also slightly gluten intolerant, as we have similar issues, but isn't going to change her ways at 82! In many of the articles that I've read the research done has suggested that as the generations pass the intolerances will become allergies.

  24. My little boy is 5 years old now but I breast fed him exclusively until 6 months. After this I introduced home-made pureed food like pumpkin, apple, banana, and then changed to a thicker consistency as he got older. I grew up with all the new "health guidelines" but I had my mum telling me to feed him whatever and he'll be fine. I waited until he was 1 before I gave him egg, honey and strawberry. He hates strawberries now but loves egg and honey. On his first birthday he had an egg sandwich for lunch and loved it and scrambled eggs was quite the norm for him. I continued to breast feed him until he was 12 and a half months but then all my milk ran out :( I was advised by health nurse to continue with formula until he was 2 years old but my son hated it so he went straight on cows milk and he's fine. He has no allergies whatsoever! I still haven't given him whole nuts though because I'm allergic but he can eat peanut butter just fine. The only thing that worried me when my boy was little was choking hazards. He had a baby bikkie and it ended up getting lodged in his throat - so I waited a bit longer to introduce things like carrot sticks and cut up apple. But anything soft was fine, like watermelon, banana, boiled carrots, milk arrowroot bikkies. If in doubt there are plenty of baby cook books out there that go through foods allowed and what consistency and finger foods they should be eating at what age. The one I have is the Australian Women's Weekly "Fresh Food for Babies & Toddlers" - it has heaps of meal ideas. As for the egg I'd definitely go for it (either mashed up in a sandwich or scrambled or even in mini quiche) so long as the parents have ok'd it then there's nothing stopping you! I hope this helps. Just found this link that says to wait until 1 or in some cases 3 years old before introducing highly allergenic foods like eggs, fish and peanuts: http://www.babycenter.com/0_age-by-age-guide-to-feeding-your-baby_1400680.bc but like I said we had no problems here starting on egg at 1 years of age. That link also also has a feeding guide by age with plenty of meal ideas and they include egg in their 12 month old category.

  25. My children are now 22 and 27 and were fed according to the advice of the day; breast milk is all they really need until 4-6 months, then try a little mashed bland fruit, gradually widening their palate with mashed (we never pureed anything) veg/pasta/rice, egg yolk first then egg white (added to veg and rice), add nut butter whenever they like it, also grated cheese. Didn't add salt or sugar to their food but small amounts of homemade cake/biscuits were ok.
    They lost interest in the breast at about 9-10 months (too many other things to watch and do) and were weaned onto a cup with cows milk, water or home pressed juice.
    Oddly enough, this is not dramatically different to the advice for allergy free children today, despite the fads we've all gone through in the meantime. THere is precious little evidence that avoiding specific foods reduces the final incidence of food allergy. As soon as they can, I let them feed themselves (and just shut my eyes to the mess) and they ate a surprising range of things. Mine ate pickles and olives from about 12 months (pilfered from snacks offered to visitors).
    THere's a theory that some of the severe allergies (eg peanuts) arise from exposure to something totally unrelated like a food additive or environmental chemical, that sensitises the child's system to a tiny branch off the chemical molecule that just happens to look like one on peanuts. Our society is too trusting about food additives, cleaning chemicals, household glues and VOCs etc.

  26. CAUTION RAW CARROT HAS A TENDENCY TO SHATTER WHEN BITTEN AND CAN BE A MAJOR CHOKING HAZARD UNDER 18 MTHS. I have 4 kids 19 17 13 and 11 they were bf for 10mths,11mths 15mths and 12 mths. We started with rice cerial as a first food. My oldest two had trouble with cows milk but no other allergies. We started via the book with our first and introduced solids between 4 and 5 mths. I didnt do that again. He was a little too pudgy and wasnt really even sitting independantly when we started. With our 2nd born in 95 there were several scares of people interferring with store bought baby food. So he had mashed banana and stewed apples or pears and we didnt puree anything just mashed with a fork was enough. With him and the other 3 we waited till they were sitting independantly stopped sleeping as well as previously and we wanting to bf more often before introducing solids. They were not skinny at all and took to food alot better. My daughter started solids at 8 mths after the health nurse demanded I start but she was still gaining weight without. Whether its because I waited a while longer before starting with her on not, she had spat out textured things until she was 18 mths. I didnt wait a specific amount of time for eggs but I think it may have been over 1 just because they like to eat them with the egg cup when feeding themselves.

  27. I have 2 children (4 and 18months), we live a very healthy life, have our own chickens, cook everything from scratch, we all eat the same meals and avoid chemicals. I breastfed both children for their first year. With my first daughter I started solids at 4 months as she was refusing the breast. It turned out it was because the dairy in my breast milk was making her sick and she was full of rashes (which she would scratch until they bled). She is highly allergic to wheat, dairy, nuts, eggs plus dust, grasses and cats and dogs. My second daughter has no allergies. I wish I knew why, and there are many theories, but I find it quite hurtful to read about people's attitude towards allergies -there is more to it than simply when a particular food is introduced. Allergies are a huge health problem in todays society however please be informed before placing your judgment.

  28. The very best food you can give your grandsons is the food their mums are happy with! Guidelines change, but they are just that , guidelines. There will probably be some they will follow and others they choose to ignore. Ask first and your daughters in law will love you for it.

  29. Our boy is 7 months old. He was in the NICU the first two wks of his life due to low glucose and was put on formula right away. I also pumped, but because I had breast reduction surgery twenty years ago I was only able to make a small amount of breast milk which he had for about 3-4 months. We feed him avocados, bananas, non-gmo rice cereal, and a variety of Earth's Best baby food (sweet potatoes, carrots, rice & lentils, apples & apricots, etc) I taste every jar I open and I have to say, they are tasty, but some are bland so I add cinnamon. I did attempt homemade peas and he did not like them nor did he like the jarred ones.I look forward to start giving him what we eat because he is VERY interested in our plates when we have dinner.

  30. We had to stop nursing because of my medications but have frozen breast milk stored up to supplement a raw goat milk formula made with cod liver oil and molasses (stinky when spit up!). For solids we started with soft cooked egg yolk, avocado, squash, banana, and peaches all fresh and pureed. We freeze it in an ice cube tray for individual servings. Mango pits scraped of the flesh are great for teethers to gnaw on. Cereal is whole oats ground to flour and cooked to mush. My grandmother has nut allergies since birth so it's not a new thing per se, but much more common now.

  31. One of the things I used to do with our twins (now 3) when they were getting used to solid food was to make a big vat of porridge and then freeze it in serving-sized pots - then each morning I'd put a couple in the fridge to defrost for the next day - I started off using a blender but they were fine with ordinary porridge pretty much straight away (about 6-7 months I think). With two babies to deal with at once, and a husband who's often away, efficiency was of the essence!

    The porridge proportions I used were 1 part rolled oats to 2 parts whole milk to one part water.

    I used to make little pots of pureed fruit 'mixers', which could go into the porridge or into plain yoghurt.

    I also used to make batches of other kinds of ingredients and mix-and-match them to make little meals. Often these were just done as large batches when cooking the main meal, and just setting some aside - again in little pots - to cool and go in the fridge or freezer. Or I'd do a batch during nap time. So the twins' food didn't always match our exact meals, but they did eat the kinds of things we eat. Once they were onto chewing things we used to give them little tasters of new (or previously rejected) things from our own plates to try. We still do, sometimes.

  32. My older baby was nursed exclusively for nearly eight months. We tried without success to introduce multiple types of solids sooner but she would spit them out every time. She finally started to eat fruits, sweet potatoes and home-ground whole oatmeal and I weaned her to formula at 11 months because I was pregnant again and lost my milk supply. She had a couple of sensitivities to cow's milk, wheat, and strawberries early on which she has basically outgrown. She is nearly 2 1/2 now and eats mostly what we do, even though I will steam veggies for her if we are having a salad because she has a hard time chewing a lot of raw veggies (they're great for snacks but take too long as a meal). She doesn't get juice but drinks cow milk a couple of times a day and has water freely available and at mealtimes.

    My 10-month-old started solids closer to 6 months and is still nursing several times a day. He eats some of what we do but I have a batches of home-made baby foods that I keep on hand for use if I think that we are having something that will be harder for him to handle or too spicy. He also doesn't have any teeth yet so chunkier things are a little problematic. For example, the rest of us had pizza tonight so the baby had yams cooked in chicken stock and applesauce.
    I do try to be more careful about introducing foods to which sensitivities run in either of our families as well.

    My typical menu is:
    Getting up snack: milk/nursing
    Breakfast: cooked oatmeal (steel-cut or home-ground) with a bit of coconut oil, a dollop of plain yogurt and fruit puree for sweetness and flavor. This morning it was the last of the applesauce that I made last year and tomorrow it will be fresh cherry puree. Both kids will eat this.
    Lunch: soup or sandwiches with fruit or thinly sliced veggies for toddler, soup or cooked veggies with ground up meat or egg yolk with yogurt for baby, sometimes with ground quinoa or rice.
    Snack (if necessary): fruit and/or homemade crackers or cheerios
    Dinner: whatever we are having (for the most part) for toddler, parts of meal (if feasible) ground up for baby, otherwise repeat of lunch-type food.
    No desserts except on very special occasions and no refined sugar at all for the baby until he is a year old. I remember that my mom did something similar with me so that recommendation at least hasn't changed.
    I realized at some point along the way that they don't get a lot of straight starches and almost no sugar--but I do know that skipping the sugar won't hurt them any. There isn't a huge amount of variety in their diets because there isn't in ours either (the one down side of buying whole foods in bulk or preserving our own). The things that they don't care for because they are unfamiliar we do have them at least try every time that they show up. The goal is that they will be able to eat most things graciously as they get older and that is enough for us.

  33. As an addendum to the above, my toddler eats a fair amount of cheese for a snack or as the protein part of lunch, particularly in the wintertime. I will start giving it to the baby in tiny pieces as soon as gets teeth or turns one, whichever is sooner. It is summertime for us right now so we are loving the fresh fruit available right now and my earlier comment reflected that.
    My mom did feed us differently as babies than I am feeding my kids--she was horrified that I didn't give them rice cereal at 4 months--but thankfully she is willing to follow my preferences whenever she is watching them.

  34. Hi Rhonda,

    I have a 2 1/2 year old and 1 month old. Both were/are formula fed as I produced no milk. The 2 1/2 year old started cows milk mixed with porridge etc at 6 months and drank it as a drink at one year old. I think I stopped pureeing before 1, the little fella was never short on the tooth.

    As Claire mentioned above, I think the recommendation now is not to withhold foods unless you have a family history of allergies, because there seems to be no evidence that it makes any difference (at least until they change their mind again). As far as I'm aware, the exception is honey, because of the risk of botulism.

    This is our menu from when the little fella was about one - it hasn't changed much.

    Breakfast = scrambled eggs and toast sometimes with mushroom and tomatoes or porridge with fruit or pancakes with fruit.

    Morning tea = fruit and cheese (sliced from block) or home baking like muffin, pikelets or scones or smoothies or cracker like Ryvita and cream cheese or peanut butter.

    Lunch = Sandwhich (with good old vegemite or PB or jam or tuna and grated veg and mayo or cream cheese and avocado etc) grilled cheese on toast maybe with avocado or tomato, mini homemade pizza, bubble and squeak leftovers, vege fritters, quesadillas.

    Afternoon tea = usually nothing but some fruit or cracker if hungry.

    Dinner = whatever we're having - we eat together at 5:30. I leave chilli dishes to Friday nights so DH can change those nappies on Sat :). When he was younger I would do purees or chop things finer.

    Drinks are either water or cows milk or smoothie. Occassionally 'hot' chocolate (with cocoa) or milkshake, very rarely juice watered down.

    When I was growing up, the health concerns weren't as noticable as they are today - I ate a lot of things I would consider junk food now. Like cocoa pops sprinkled with sugar!!

    I allow treats once or twice a week now that the little fella is over one because balance is healthy, but I prefer to bake them myself at home.

    I have posted recipes for pretty much everything we eat and drink.

    Hope you enjoy your break. It's always nice to have a refresher. Hope Hanno gets well soon.


  35. my boys are 26 months old and 4 months old, the older boy is allergic to corn and always has been- I have a peanut allergy and my husband is gluten free. our second child is exclusively breastfed and with all the allergies in the family it is of the utmost importance that this not change for at least another two months.
    There are many theories as to why allergies can happen but here's one of them called the open gut theory: as a newborn the large intestine is porous and immature, at around six months the gut is better developed but before six months if foods are introduced then the porous intestine can absorb particles of this food into the blood stream and the baby's immune system attacks it and recognizes it, effectively teaching their system to recognize this food as a foreign body and react to it.
    The WHO statement is that breastfeeding is recommended for the first two years and beyond, solids are not necessary before six months and food is for fun until the child is 12 months old.

    Our older boy started off on Baby Led Weaning but had issues swallowing and so I had to make some purees also. He eats home-grown veg and fruit and is yet to actually eat any meat though it has been offered.

  36. Bastian is 19 months old and quite small for his age so we make sure food is available to him most of the time. He has three meals each day, plus an ever-changing snack plate. He dislikes both human and cow milk so we have to make sure he eats enough yogurt and cheese each day to meet his needs. His doctor advised us to add butter and cream to everything we reasonably can. I keep a printout of his menu options on the pantry door so his daddy can more easily feed him when I am not at home - I'm just cutting and pasting from said file.

    steel cut oats (½ C prior to additions) w/ flax, raisins, nuts, cinnamon, ½ banana, cream and butter
    ¾ C yogurt

    Snack Plate:
    dried cranberries
    veggie chips
    1 oz cheese
    graham crackers

    Leftover penne Alfredo w/ peas
    sliced peach
    square of dark chocolate

    Snack Plate

    Beef and Lentil Soup (incl. carrots, onions, garlic, celery and tomatoes)
    Fresh bread w/ butter

    Snack Plate + ¾ C yogurt

    Often, Bastian wakes up hungry a couple of hours prior to really being ready to be up for the day, so we keep a banana and water at our bedside. He, like many toddlers, has decided he does not like most vegetables so we have learned to get sneaky with purees, etc. Almost all of our food is organic and the limited meat we consume is humane, so our processed food options are limited. One big problem has been sourcing humane dairy products. Specifically cheese and yogurt. The rest of the family does not consume much dairy but Bastian needs it right now so we can't cut it out entirely. The problems with soy keep us from consuming much of the soy alternatives. One of the vendors at our farmer's market sells delicious goat cheeses but since it is raw, I'm thinking it is not safe for a 19-month-old. Any thoughts?

  37. You already have a lot of comments on this one, but I'll just share what we did, in general. I didn't use the blender much. I breastfed exclusively until 6 (my first) and 8 (my second) months, then introduced solids. Pretty much whatever we had on our plate and could be mashed up with a fork. :o) I really didn't use the blender much at all. Sounds awfully neglectful but it worked. :o)) I now have a 3.5 and 2 year olds who aren't picky eaters in the least and are growing wonderfully!

  38. I have 2 daughters, 14 and 11 years old. The only diet difference between the two is that the first was breast fed for just over 6 months, the second for only about a month. Both were given soy milk and rice cereal after (I didn't want to take any chances with them since my husband cannot consume full cream milk). Fruits, veggies and whatever we ate were also added to the mix (we eat food made from scratch, no fast food and very few tinned products). They did have some Gerber's fruit (I remembered my younger brother, born in 1973, being fed this yummy tidbit when he was a baby - incidentally he suffered greatly from asthma from very early on til into his late teens) on occasion, mostly so that my husband and I could fight over the remains :)
    The eldest has no allergies but suffered from asthma from very early, although has not had any attacks for the last 4 years or so.
    The youngest also has no allergies, but does have mild eczema and mild asthma that is brought on by the flu (she too also seems to have outgrown this as well).
    Strangely, I developed an allergy to peanuts after the birth of my first daughter. This after years of consumption.

    trinidad & tobago

  39. g'day
    well my kids are all grown up but thought i'd drop a line in here, i brestfed all for about 6mths they were all too close together so it was stressful trying to get milk to each of them they all had soy formula, which i wouldn't do now & wish i knew better back then too. i didn't feed meat until they had teeth other than that they pretty much ate what we ate. my eldest has a low tolerance to too much dairy not sure if allegies like these can be passed on as i can't eat any dairy either (dairy being all cow's milk products) I can only have butter.
    i think allergies are more from parents not letting their kids outside to play in the dirt, to make mudpies or play in the gardens etc. all this must help our immune systems, yeh?
    all the comments were very interesting

    selina from kilkivan qld

  40. Oh, I love your new template, Rhonda! Thanks for your blog - it is such an inspiration. :)

  41. As I always said to my mum when she was a new grandma, and a bit panicked about all the "changes" in baby care recommendations - "recommendations may have changed, but babies haven't". They are just the same as they were when you were raising yours. Sure, we know more now about food safety and allergies are certainly more prevalent now. I'm a GP, so I should know; the theory is that with the increasing use of anti-bacterial cleaners in our kitchens and improved cold chains in out food transport, children are less exposed to bugs in their early years so the immune system is looking for something to do. Studies show kids in households with pets have less allergies as there are more germs around!
    Anyway, trust your instincts, they are probably right. If you need more guidance than your grandkids' parents are giving you, I can't recommend highly enough Robyn Barker's Baby and Toddler Meals - basic common sense combined with current scientific knowledge. Above all, enjoy these babies second time around. My mum says she is having a lot more fun with my 2 girls that she ever did with me when I was the same age!

  42. Hi Rhonda,

    My partner and I are intolerant to a lot of foods, so we choose to live free of dairy, gluten, yeast, alcohol, caffeine, and fermented foods. We also live a very low sugar existence. My partner can tolerate no sugar. I still have some fruit sugar in my diet.
    As a result, we wanted to raise our son with a similar diet, to facilitate ease with food preparation, but also because we feel that we don't need these foods in our diet.
    I am only able to breastfeed partially due to a medical condition so we had to supplement from birth, but with a low allergen formula containing no dairy or gluten.
    Our boy showed a keen interest in solid foods around four months so we started him on millet cereal but quickly progressed to pureed vegetables, gradually adding proteins in plant based proteins (legumes)and then animal protein. Egg yolk was introduced at six months, and egg white at ten months. By six months he had covered about 25 vegetables, legumes, lamb, chicken, turkey, salmon, white fish, berries, stone fruit, apples, pears, and chilli, herbs and spices. I made everything from scratch for him from day one, and bought organic where possible.
    At fifteen months he has now added pork, beef, scallops, prawns, and tuna.
    A sample menue:
    Breakfast: on rotation buckwheat porridge, buckwheat pancakes, eggs, veges, frittata, baked beans (My son regularly has up to three eggs with veges for breakfast!)
    Lunch: homemade chicken 'nuggets', rissoles, veges, stews, casseroles, curries, marinaded fish
    Dinner: basically the same as lunch, sharing whatever I have prepared for myself for dinner. Desserts: custards, tapioca pudding, fresh fruit
    Snacks: fresh fruit, rice crackers with hommus, vege sticks occasional homemade muffin.
    I make my own soy and almond milk, everything is made from scratch. I use a little agave syrup, honey or stevia for sweetening when necessary. The thermomix, pressure cooker and slow cooker get a good work out in my home!
    Our boy is incredibly healthy - no nappy rash, no skin problems, no reflux, no allergic reactions. His first cold a month ago resolved very quickly. He has always been in the 95-100% for growth and an adorable boy who is very engaged with life!

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