We are now 6 months old with 2 front teeth and a big appetite! Finger foods are making their way into the mouth (as well as the floor and the dog) and as my little girl gets more confident with her chewing and swallowing technique we are moving her on to more normal family meals.
This makes life easier in so many ways as we don’t have to prepare separate meals for her and as she can co-ordinate feeding herself better, we can eat alongside her rather than having to feed her whilst our own food goes cold.
However, there are a couple of less attractive sides to the family meals thing, namely that we need to reduce the salt and sugar content of our meals and ensure the foods that we eat are (mostly) those we are happy for her to have. The salt thing isn’t really a problem for us, other than checking we are picking up the lowest salt brand of bread, cereals and baked beans we don’t add any salt in cooking usually anyway. There’s now a good selection of low salt or salt-free stock cubes for soups and sauces as well. The desserts and fruit squash thing is a little harder, as we include both fairly regularly in our diets and it won’t be long before she will be demanding them too. Chocolate we tend to keep for when the kids are in bed, sneaking it out for a little treat before falling asleep at 8.30pm (the issues of sleep deprivation at 6 months I shall save for a different blog post entirely). Sometimes being a role model is tough, although I guess that’s true of just about every aspect of parenting!
When I talk to other parents about family meals for little ones I often find the topic of alcohol an interesting one. Given that the majority of women completely abstain from alcohol during their pregnancy and many continue to do so whilst breastfeeding, it seems sensible to consider carefully how you will approach the use of alcohol in cooking. The conventional wisdom accepted by most people is that all the alcohol you add to a dish evaporates or dissipates during cooking. It’s wrong. In fact, you have to cook something for a good three hours to eradicate virtually all traces of alcohol. So if you add a slug of red wine into your casserole or sauce, give it a stir and let it simmer for 30 minutes around 35% of the alcohol will be retained. Obviously it depends how much you added in the first place as to how much this represents, and the chances are your child is only eating very small amounts of the food anyway, but it is worth being aware of, particularly if you habitually add a splash of alcohol to a lot of the dishes you cook.
So, new foods attempted over the Easter break included: Tuna, Spinach, Cream Cheese, Pasta with roasted vegetable and tomato sauce, Shepherd’s Pie, Stewed apple, Avocado, Bitesize Shredded Wheat (well soaked in milk), Shredded chicken, Fingers of buttered toast, flavoured yogurts, Pear and peach slices.
Number of food refusals: None so far (bet I won’t be saying that when she gets to the terrible two’s)
Chocolate Eggs Consumed: None by the baby (no need to go into specifics on the rest of the family!)
This post was originally written and published in April 2017