Part 2: Baby Led Feeding with Aileen Cox Blundell

Porridge Muffins baby led feeding

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We caught up the lovely Aileen Cox Blundell to find out more about baby led feeding. This is the second instalment of our baby led feeding series check out part 1 here.

Aileen’s passion for healthy, nutritious and sugar-free foods led her to begin creating her own healthy, refined sugar free recipes for her family. Aileen is also an advocate of baby led feeding, which allows babies and young children to take control of their eating by encouraging them to self-regulate and be more experimental with different types of food.

What is Baby Led Feeding?

The philosophy behind Baby Led Feeding is that cooking and eating should both be delicious fun. With healthy, nutritious recipes that babies can feed themselves, it creates a positive relationship with food, right from the very start.

Baby Led Feeding works from the same principles as Baby Led Weaning. It means forgetting about spoons, purees and hours of blending meals for your baby and just allowing them the opportunity to eat on their own. It allows babies from 6 months + the chance to experiment with textures, smells and to choose what they put in their own mouth and most importantly self regulate when they are full.

So how do you know if your baby is ready for Baby Led Weaning?

Is is important to note that Baby Led Weaning is not recommended for babies below 6 months. Up until this time all your baby requires nutritionally is breastmilk or formula. Babies also need to be developmentally ready to pick up food, chew with their gums and swallow. Here are some guidelines on knowing if your baby is ready:

  1. Make sure your baby is ready! – Your baby should be able to sit up unsupported and have good neck strength.
  2. Tongue Thrust – Your baby should have lost the reflex to push foods to the front of their mouth.
  3. Grabbing Food – Since your baby will be feeding himself/herself it is important that they are able to pick up foods, hold onto them and get them from their tray to their mouth.
  4. Chewing Food – Your baby is able to chew food even if he/she has no teeth

How to get started:

Getting started with Baby Led Feeding can be worrying for parents. To ease you both into it start with spears of avocado, roasted butternut squash or sweet potato and banana. Your little baby will gradually put your mind at ease with their amazing ability to explore, chew and swallow all the delicious nutritious foods you give them.

Ideal finger foods should be big enough for your little one to hold in their fist, they should also be soft and easy for them to manage. Avoid any foods that pose a choking hazard this includes; nuts, whole grapes (cut into 4), chunks of hard uncooked vegetables and harder fruits. Go by the principle if you can squash a food between your thumb and forefinger a baby can easy chew it.

Offering your baby a well balanced diet of solid foods will ensure they are getting the right nutrients to compliment breastmilk/formula. Expose your baby to lots of foods, different textures and tastes, even very mild spices early in their weaning journey are great as it expands their palette.

Don’t rush your little one, it takes time and lot’s of patience. Remember your baby is learning!

Baby Led Feeding Recipes

All of the recipes from Baby Led Feeding are full of yummy goodness, are salt free and most importantly contain absolutely no refined sugar ever! I champion the use of natural ingredients and my aim is to get our kids eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy food and. I believe if we all work together we can change the shocking statistics for obesity in our children. Its all about eating well and loving great healthy food.

If you have a history of allergies or food intolerance ask your doctor before starting the recipes on Baby Led Feeding.

Favourite Recipe for new babies starting Baby Led Feeding

One of the biggest requests I get is ‘what should I feed my baby for breakfast?’. It can be quite daunting starting letting your baby feed themselves especially at breakfast. Believe me I tried giving my baby plain porridge made with breastmilk but it ended up all over both the baby and me. Overcooked porridge is quite dry so with a little experimenting I added in as much nutritional benefit as I possibly could and eventually the Baby Porridge Muffin was created.

Oats are high in fibre and are a slow release food which keeps you feeling full for longer. They are also a great source of iron which all weaning babies need. The muffins also contain milk which is great for calcium, eggs for protein and apple and raisins for some added vitamins and minerals. The sunflower seeds are rich in vitamins and minerals and the chia seed is a great source of fibre, protein, calcium and omega 3’s.

Baby Porridge Muffins:

Recipe makes 24 mini muffins – (Thats 24 breakfasts!)

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Oats (soaked overnight)
  • 1/4 Cup Raisins
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 2 Eggs (see below for egg substitute)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Milk (use almond or soy milk for dairy free)
  • 1 Apple
  • 2 Tablespoons Finely Ground Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon Milled Chia Seeds

How to make them:

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF
2. Make sure you soak your oats overnight. You can soak in either water or milk of your choice. (This is extra liquid to the above). They are so much better, lighter and fluffier when you do this. The next morning drain before using.
3. Chop your apple into small baby sized pieces. It will be soft when cooked.
4. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together.
5. Divide into an oiled mini muffin tray and bake for 20-25 mins or until golden brown as shown in the photo.
6. We serve ours with a tiny drizzle of maple syrup (at the weekends

Egg Substitute: 1 tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 tbsp water = 1 egg

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