My little guy is now 10 1/2 months old, and looking and acting more like a toddler everyday. He is standing for a few seconds on his own, walking while holding on to furniture, and climbing on everything his short little legs can pull up on. He can crawl across the living room and be halfway up the stairs in less than ten seconds!
His meals are also becoming much more toddler-like, in that we are avoiding purees as much as we can (sometimes those handy pouches like the Sprout or Happy Baby brands are convenient for on-the-go snacks!) and focusing on “real” foods. With this change, I have to repeat to myself almost daily, “I am not a short-order cook. I am not a short-order cook.” Sometimes it can be hard not to let his CF (cystic fibrosis for new readers) get the better of me. With CF, growth and maintaining a healthy weight can be difficult, but it is an important factor for good lung health. Also, once I give him his dose of enzymes (which he has to take before he eats, every time he eats or his body can not process the fat and protein), he only has an hour time frame to eat, and there is a limited amount of enzymes he can take in a day, so if he doesn’t eat well, then I have to wait at least a couple of hours before I can give him more enzymes to eat again. So for that reason, I struggle with the feeding choices. The part of me that is always concerned for his health wants to keep offering him things until I find something that he’s willing to eat. However as his dietician pointed out, doing that is teaching him to be in control of the food, which can lead to unhealthy habits. I know that this is true from experience: my now six-year-old only ate cereal, chicken, meatballs, corn, grapes, and snacks for the first four years of his life. Why? Because I would give in to his pickiness. If he wouldn’t eat the spaghetti and broccoli that we had for supper, I would make him his own separate meal of one of those things that I knew he would eat. Today, he’s a much healthier eater, but I wish I would have been persistent when he was younger about encouraging a variety of healthier foods for him. And so with my 10 month old, I am being persistent. I will give him a couple of options at snacks and 3-4 different foods for meals, and he eats what he eats. If it’s all or most of it, I feel good. If he barely touches it, I worry a bit about him gaining weight, but I don’t give in go through the fridge or pantry, shelling out food after food until I find something that he will eat. I does help me to know that I still nurse him or give some some formula after each meal, but the amount of that is slowly decreasing, and starting next month, we will begin transitioning him to whole milk! Stay tuned for next Munchkin Meals to see how that goes!
So, what does a day like this look like? I’ve taken a lot of pics to show you! (All from my phone, so I apologize about the poor quality. I’m definitely not a professional photographer!)
Breakfast: Whole wheat bagel with cream cheese and a banana. He ate about 1/4 of a large bagel and several bites of the banana, and then I nursed him.
Mid-Morning Snack: Chobani greek yogurt. He has one of these almost every day, because it’s so healthy for him and high in protein. He almost always eats the whole thing like he did with this one!
Lunch: Grilled cheese and avocado (such a yummy combination!) with strawberry slices and a few yogurt drops. He ate about a 1/4 of a full sandwich (and I finished the rest of it!) but barely tried the strawberry or yogurt drops. A pretty light lunch. Then I nursed him again.
Afternoon Snack: Honeydew melon, string cheese, and Annie’s Organic Bunnies cheddar crackers. This was his first time with the melon, but he usually likes the cheese and crackers. However, this particular time he was completely uninterested. I did give him a bottle, for his vitamins and salt intake, but only 4oz, because I do not want him to fill up on formula alone. After the bottle, he ate a couple of crackers, but most of this snack went untouched. (PS-I also realized after taking these pictures how messy our highchair cover was that day! Just keeping it real.)
Supper: I made Creamy Cauliflower Soup (a recipe shared by Allyson at Domestic Superhero, except we used “real” foods instead of the low-fat versions. We need the higher calories and fat for my little CFer!) and BLTs. He was hungry and crabby before the bacon was finished baking (Anyone else cook bacon in the oven?? So much easier!), so instead of the BLT, I made a slice of whole grain toast and spread some avocado on it. He ate his whole bowl of soup (probably 1/2 cup) plus several bites of the toast. I nursed him afterward, and then he was ready for bed! Being so active (and down to only two naps a day) wears him out!
Some days are better. Some days are worse. But I refuse to let the fears of CF run our kitchen. Nutrition with CF-specific supplements will run it instead. And starting while he is young is the key.
Thanks for reading today! Be sure to check out the other Munchkin Meals link-ups for more healthy meal and snack ideas for babies and toddlers!
The first Thursday of the month (and the new year!) means it’s time for Munchkin Meals via Brittany at A Healthy Slice of Life. Check out what the other mamas are feeding their little ones!
Last month, we were having trouble with getting enough protein in our little guy. He just hates those plain old jarred meats (the ones the smell and look exactly like cat food… can you blame him??). I think we’ve come to a nice compromise, one that leaves him full and satisfied, and (hopefully) will pacify his dietitian as well! We have a clinic appointment at the end of the month, so here’s hoping!
He is still waking up once in the night to nurse (actually, he generally wakes up more than once, but I will only nurse him one time). That time can vary between 2am and 5am. He’s definitely not a consistent sleeper, and our dietitian (man, she’s pesky! But we love her!) really wants him to stop nursing overnight. I try to put him back to sleep without nursing if he wakes up before 4am, but sometimes the little guy will just scream and howl, and for the sake of everyone’s sanity, I will nurse him. He always gulps and gulps likes he’s just starving, so I don’t think it’s simply a comfort thing. That part has been a struggle with trying to wean him off of his nighttime nursing, but I’m hoping that we get it resolved soon. My thought is that he is probably not getting enough during the day, and he’s waking up to make up for it at night. It’s a vicious cycle.
Even though his nighttime feeding is inconsistent, he is extremely consistent that 8-8:30am is breakfast. Whether he nurses at 2am or 5am, his internal clock seems to tell him he is hungry right around 8am every morning. It’s a nice schedule to have him on, because it gives me the morning free to get his older brother’s breakfast/lunch made and drop him off at school. When we get home, I give my little guy a few Gerber “Puffs” and a sippy cup of water in his highchair while I prepare his morning medications and enzymes along with his bowl of cereal and fruit. Those puffs are like baby crack! He loves them, and they have been wonderful for letting him practice feeding himself. My favorite thing about them is that since they have no fat or protein, he doesn’t need enzymes to eat them! What a great way to let him “snack” between meals or while we are on the go. He also loves bananas for breakfast, but he hasn’t mastered picking those up on his own yet (I give him half of a banana whole rather than cutting it into small pieces… kind of like the baby-led weaning! He prefers it that way). What he is getting good at is using his sippy cup. Ever since I bought him the Nuby brand with the handles, he is able to do it mostly on his own with occasional help. Woohoo! He also nurses about thirty minutes after his cereal, because the enzymes are good for one hour from the time we give them to him. After that, he has to wait until the next feeding to eat, so we try to make the most out of those little enzymes!
Anytime between 11am and 12pm is lunchtime. I typically eat leftovers from the previous night’s dinner, and then I give my little guy a few pieces of whatever I am eating to try. He’s still learning to pick things up and get them to his mouth, but he loves baked chicken and is able to chew and swallow it easily in very small pieces at a time. I don’t think he gets enough protein from such tiny portions to satisfy his dietitian though, so we also give him a jar food “dinner.” I’ve discovered that he prefers the “3rd foods” and mixing them with a substantial amount of his daily salt intake. He gets 1/4 tsp of salt per day added to his foods, so I generally divide most of that between his lunch and dinner jar foods. I’m hoping that this combo of small portions from my own lunch and the jar food “dinners” is a good compromise to the nasty jarred meats that his dietician wants and what I prefer, which is him getting into the habit of eating whatever the rest of the family eats! So far, so good! And again, he nurses about thirty minutes after his lunch.
At about 2:30 or 3pm, my little guy will nurse again. (I’m sparing you all a picture of me nursing. You’re welcome!) 😉
Like lunchtime, we are getting our little guy in the habit of eating a baby-friendly version of whatever we are eating. Last night I made homemade tomato and cheese tortellini soup (delicious!) and breadsticks with a side of peas (we were trying to use up our leftover peas, can you tell?). I gave him small portions of each, but his favorite was a big chunk of breadstick. I think sometimes he prefers the smaller pieces that he can pick up (like the puffs or pieces of meat) and other times he prefers a big chunk to hold on to. Also like lunch, he gets another portion of the jar food dinner with salt and then nursing about thirty minutes later.
In a suggestion to help him sleep through the night, our dietitian recommended that we feed him a big bowl of cereal and fruit (which I mix with 2oz formula) for his last feeding before bedtime. It doesn’t seem to make any difference in his sleep habits, but he does love his cereal and fruit, so we give it to him anyway! He loves it so much that he slurped it all down last night before I could snap a picture, but it looks just like the breakfast bowl of cereal above. He also nurses, of course.
And that’s it for our seven month old’s day of eats! Thanks for reading our his progress!
How is/was your little one at sleeping through the night? Do/did they wake up to nurse or take a bottle? How did you wean them of it?
It’s the first Thursday of the month, and that means I’m hooking up with Brittany at A Healthy Slice of Life for her Munchkin Meals linkup. If you’ve never read about Munchkin Meals, you really should click that link and check it out, especially if you have little eaters!
A proper CF diet is vital to my almost-seven-month-old’s growth and development, and I really want to get him off to a healthy start. We are still doing pureed fruits or baby cereal at breakfast, and we recently discovered that the baby boy loves avocado! He slurps that stuff right up. I mixed pureed avocado with pureed banana, and he ate a big bowl of it!
I’ve also started giving him small samplings of the foods that I eat throughout the day (as long as I’m eating during the one hour time frame when his enzymes are good!). I give him little pieces of the whole wheat bread from my sandwich or small bites of banana that he sucks off of my finger. He does really well with solid foods as long as it’s mushy. We discovered on Monday that even though he can hold a cracker and easily get it to his mouth, he still chokes on the pieces once he breaks them off. I don’t want him to have too many bad experiences that make him frustrated or scared of eating, so we will stay with the mushy foods for a bit longer!
Dinner has been a bit of a struggle lately. He was doing well with vegetables by themselves: carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, green beans, etc. However, per our dietitian’s request, we needed to start adding in the meats: ham, chicken, turkey, and beef. We have been using the Gerber brand with the meats and mixing it with homemade pureed veggies, but he doesn’t seem to like the meats at all. (Have you smelled those? They smell exactly like canned cat food. I’ve tasted them too. Bleh!) We are able to get him to eat them, but he definitely doesn’t enjoy it like he used to love the plain ol’ veggies. Sometimes it takes my husband, my older son, and myself all dancing and clapping and acting like complete weirdos to get him to eat without fussing about it. I have thought about making my own meats in a pureed form, but I’m not sure how to do that! Do I just cook the meats, add water, and blend it all in a food processor? I will most likely give it a try with some chicken soon to see if he will eat homemade meats better than store-bought. His body really needs that protein!
We will continue to work with him on the meat issue this month, and I hope that by the next Munchkin Meals, we will have better success! If you have any ideas or suggestions, I would LOVE to read them in the comments! Thank you!
Happy and healthy eats to you and your family! 🙂
I’m linking up today (and the first Thursday of every month!) with Brittany at A Healthy Slice of Life for her Munchkin Meals! It’s so nice as a mom looking for adventurous, nutritious new foods to introduce to my little guy to have this as a resource every month. I’m always so impressed by the healthy meals that other mamas are creating for their babies! Take a look, and you’ll see what I mean!
The last time I posted Munchkin Meals, we were just starting our little guy (almost six months old now!) on some foods. He has taken to it so well, and we’ve tried several of the basic foods, and are starting to become a little more adventurous.
We typically start out the day with either rice cereal or a fruit. We have a gorgeous, HUGE pear tree in our backyard, that has produced more fruit this year than we can consume, and our little guy just loves it! Both our pears and our apples this year were just the juiciest pieces of fruit ever! And I love the homegrown appeal too.
We aren’t doing a lunchtime feeding yet, but we have started doing two meals a day, so he has dinner. He has mostly been getting either a fruit (if he didn’t get one for breakfast) or a vegetable for dinner. I made a pear-pumpkin combo that he really liked! But yesterday we tried something new: quinoa! He did so good with it, even though I didn’t puree it. I am impressed with this little guy’s eating skills.
I think he does so well with the chewing, because he has been taking his enzymes on a spoonful of applesauce since he was three weeks old. He has to take these before every feeding, breastmilk or foods, so I always nurse him after each feeding (and for a total of seven times each day) to make the most of these enzymes! Thank God for health insurance, because these little suckers are expensive!
We have also introduced a sippy cup with water, and he can drink from it like a pro too!
So far, feeding our little guy has actually made things a bit easier than made any new challenges. Now that he is eating foods, we put his daily amount of salt mixed in with whatever he is eating instead of having to make a two ounce breastmilk or formula bottle to put the salt in. Not having to pump and make a bottle has made things much easier in that aspect of his needs. However, I think the biggest challenge we will face with our little one’s diet is getting all of the high-calorie, high-fat, and high-protein in each and every day. It’s so important for his growth. I grew up in a home where my father was a diabetic, and therefore, we always had low-cal, low-fat, low-sugar diets, so this CF diet is a completely different way of thinking about food for me. It’s going to be tough at times to prepare foods, especially as he grows and starts to eat what we eat as a family, that have the full fat for him, but yet a normal diet for the rest of the family. But with everything else, it’s a learning process, and we have a great dietician at his CF clinic that I know will help us along the way! And thanks to Munchkin Meals, I find tips from other moms for foods that are naturally high in these things that our little one needs to give him the healthiest start possible!
Thanks for reading! Any suggestions would be so appreciated! 🙂
I am so excited about this post! My friend at The Concrete Runner has participated in Munchkin Meals via A Healthy Slice of Life several times, and I love reading about all the healthy and yummy foods that other mamas are feeding their babies. After our clinic visit on Monday, we got the go-ahead from our little five-month-old’s dietician to start some solid foods! Woo-Hoo! It’s such a big milestone, and I am ready and excited for him. Mostly because I know he is ready. I can’t eat or drink anything while holding him without his eyes getting as big as an owl’s and him grabbing at whatever he can get his hands on. It’s time for him to have his own meals!
We start simple, with a rice cereal. I bought the typical Gerber rice cereal, and I love it, because it’s iron-fortified and easy. However, I did all the Gerber stuff before with my first son, and this time around, I really want to make some of the baby foods myself. Especially since I stay at home now and have more time to do so!
So I found a recipe for brown rice cereal for babies, and I just cut the portion down a bit so that it would fit in my handy little silicone freezer trays. Aren’t these the best?
They were given to me by a friend, but you can find them here at Casabella.com. They are perfect for making big ice cubes for punch bowls, brownie bites, or freezing baby food portions. I’d say each cube is about 1.5 oz in portion size, and the food pops out so easily! Oh, and they are dishwasher safe. Love!
Here’s the way I prepared the homemade rice cereal:
- 2 cups brown rice, cooked
- 8oz formula (you can also use breast milk or water. I am breastfeeding, but I have a terrible time pumping, so he nurses mostly with occasional formula supplements.)
Add cooked brown rice and formula to a blender. (I love my Ninja blender/food processor combo!) Puree until as smooth as possible. Pour into ice cube trays. Freeze overnight. Pop each portion out of the trays once completely frozen, and seal in a Ziploc bag labeled with the date. Can be kept frozen for up to two months. When ready to serve, take one portion (or two, depending on portion sizes and how much your little one eats) and defrost the cubes. Add more water, formula, or breast milk until you reach the desired consistency, and you can warm it up if your baby doesn’t like it cold.
One whole block is a LOT for my little guy just starting out, and I didn’t realize until afterwards that you can slice each cube in half or even thirds, depending on how much your little one can eat. I hate to waste food! (You live, you learn.) You can also add fruits or veggies to this cereal for extra flavor and nutrients. Since we are just starting out on the solids, we keep it plain for now. He still nurses 6-7 times a day, and gets one serving of rice cereal (either this homemade version or the Gerber brand) for his supper.
So, how did he like it? It was still a little bit chunky, so I steered away from the bigger chunks of rice when spoon-feeding him. Otherwise, he did just fine!
I can’t wait to start adding new foods to his diet! Keep visiting Munchkin Meals every other Thursday for more deliciously healthy baby and toddler foods! Thanks for visiting!
What are some of your baby’s first favorite foods? Do you make your own baby foods, use store-bought baby foods, or a combo of both?
For the most part, learning to cook seems pretty straightforward. If you can read, you can read a recipe. If you can follow directions, you can follow the directions in a recipe. But cooking is much more complex than that. And yet it’s one of many things we can do to benefit our family. I have written before on the importance of eating dinner as a family, and I mentioned in that post that cooking is not something that came naturally for me.
For as long as I can remember, my mom has worked long hours at her job. She works hard to provide for her family, as my dad became disabled when I was in middle school due to his Type 1 diabetes and kidney failure. He was at home, and my mom was at work, so it made sense for him to be the one to cook. I always joke that my mom is a wonderful cook… three times a year. She goes all out for the big holidays, cooking and pouring love into bowls and pots and pans all day long for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas family meals. I always loved those homemade meals, and the leftovers never lasted long enough. Her oven-baked ham or turkey, sweet potatoes, and corn casserole were dishes that I looked forward to every year. I still look forward to them.
The rest of the year, my dad was in charge, and while the food always tasted good, and I rarely complained (as far as I can recall…), he relied mostly on convenience foods: canned veggies, Hamburger Helper, tuna sandwiches, spaghetti, and frozen dinners were the meals that made it to the table most of the time. He could whip up a delicious beef and vegetable stew and my favorite, sauerbraten meatballs too, but most of the meals he made came in a pre-packaged, heat-and-serve form. When I left home, this is the only way I knew to cook. I didn’t know how to chop an onion, or grate a chunk of fresh cheese, or how to use just about any cooking tool besides the microwave.
My college roommate was the start of coming out of my cooking shell. She was a much more skilled cook than I was, and started to learn a few things from her. But when I met the man who was going to eventually become my husband at the age of twenty, I still mostly relied on spaghetti or a box a Kraft macaroni and cheese with a can of tuna and a can of peas (that is still delicious to me!). He thought it was silly. At twenty years old, he knew much more about cooking than I did. When we moved in together, he was mostly in charge of the meals, and he was adventurous! He would whip up a batch of hamburgers to throw on the grill… without a recipe! This was insane to me! Amazing! And as I was amazed, I was also scared. But I wanted to try it.
Slowly but surely, I started relying less on pre-packaged foods, and more on recipes. At first, I stuck with recipes that sounded simple and ingredients with which I was familiar. Chicken. Beef. Spices. Oils. Pasta. Sometimes they were a hit, and sometimes they flopped. I didn’t yet have the knack for it. Even if I followed the recipe precisely, it sometimes failed. Why? Through my husband and a variety of cooking shows that I began to watch, I observed a common trait. The chefs tasted their food as they cooked! Brilliant! I taught myself to taste as I went, and if something didn’t seem right, that I could add things to the recipe. This may sound silly to some of you culinary experts, but I always took a recipe as if it were a law. You couldn’t just change a recipe. But when I finally taught myself that it was okay to use the recipe as a guideline, but add my own flair to it, I began to really see an improvement in both my confidence in the kitchen, as well as the way the food turned out. I got many more “Mmms” (isn’t that the best sound a cook can hear?) when I would taste and add as I went. Less cooking, more creating.
I’m still by no means an expert, but I have taught myself to branch out and buy wholesome ingredients, and put them together in a delicious meal for my family. I still use some convenience foods. Some meals, I go mostly by a recipe, but like tonight’s menu, buffalo chicken wraps (and a plain chicken wrap for my son who prefers his tongue to not be on fire), I’m simply winging it! Some meals turn out more delicious than I could have imagined. Some meals are a total flop. And I still don’t have the knack for making “pretty” food, but my boys know that nine times out of ten, it’s going to taste good and fill their bellies with nourishment and a side of love.
If cooking scares you, I really encourage you to just dive in and give it a try. Start with the simplest recipes you can find, build up some confidence, and you’ll be on your way to Head Chef status quicker than Gordon Ramsey can call you a “donkey!” (Hell’s Kitchen is a must-see for the husband and me. We never miss an episode!) 😉
What’s your cooking style? Do you use mostly fresh ingredients? Convenience foods? Or a combination of both?
I’ve been in the kitchen almost all day. When I haven’t been out running errands or taking care of my sweet baby boy, I’ve been cooking up a bubbling batch of cinnamon applesauce in the crockpot…
…and baking homemade “Twix” bars in the oven.
My house smells super sweet for my sweet boys, and that makes me feel good.
Hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day weekend and enjoy some good eats of your own!
**If you would like to see where I come up with these delicious concoctions, you can follow me on Pinterest. I don’t do much recipe-making on my own, but I love finding new ones to try! 😉 **