Friday, March 31, 2017

Baby-led-weaning (BLW) - in my words!

In my previous post I had mentioned BLW, which is Baby Led Weaning. Let me give a quick overview :-)

The first 6 months, a baby's intake is only milk. Either breast milk (BM) or formula milk (FM). No other fluids such as -  cow's milk, honey, sugar water, gripe water, etc. Once the baby completes 6 months of age (180 days), solids can be started gradually. Milk (BM or FM) continues to be the primary source of nutrition till 1 year of age.

Another criteria for starting solids is losing the 'Tongue thrust reflex' and ability to maintain sitting posture independently, without support. This does not mean that the child should be able to sit up on their own - just that if made to sit, should be able to continue sitting for a few minutes without support.

Traditionally, at this stage, a baby is spoon fed with watered down rice porridge or mashed foods. But BLW is all about self-feeding, and family food. No special or separate food is prepared for the baby.

Surprised? How can a six month old self feed? That too regular family food?

Well, doesn't your baby keep everything from toys to books to her mouth? That is the natural hand-mouth co-ordination movement. See something nearby, grab it and take it to your mouth. Comes naturally to all babies. The parent just has to discourage that with toys and books, and instead offer food in a plate for the baby to touch, feel, grab and mouth. A baby is hard-wired by nature to self feed and knows to regulate quantity too - meaning, a baby will eat as much as needed, and stop! Quantity is set by baby's appetite and hunger and not by mother's expectation ;-)

BLW is more about introducing different flavours and textures to the baby and less about replacing a milk feed with solid food. In fact, please make sure that milk feeds are not skipped or replaced by solid meal till the baby completes 1 year of age.

Another important aspect of BLW is that baby eats family food (without salt, sugar, chilly and honey for a baby less than 1 year). She sits in the dining table or floor with the rest of the family and eats what they eat. This way baby learns eating habits from the rest of the family and will mimic usage of cutlery, etc.

Disclaimer - Please do your own research before trying BLW with your baby. Check YouTube videos for differentiating between chocking and gagging. When beginning solids, it is but natural and normal for the baby to gag out larger pieces of the food. But there is sometimes danger of choking and you should be prepared for that.

Over the next few weeks I ll be following up with details on first foods that I offered to my baby, the no-salt no-sugar rule and much more :-)

Stuffed veg bun - Toddler's review

As with any dish, my daughter is the deciding authority for this too ;-) So I offered her the evening snack and watched from the sidelines :-P

Let the pictures do the talking ;-)

A vary look - Hmm what is this new dish!

A tentative bite.. Always ready for new adventures ;-)

Oh yummmmmmmm :D

A little while later, half the bun done and most of the veggies inside - completely ignored! :-P

Ah well, little S being a BLW toddler, I give her complete freedom as far as her meals are concerned :-)

Wondering what BLW is? ;-) Coming up in next post... Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Almond butter - toddler review!

My toddler is the motivation behind my every recipe and every trial :D If she likes what I cook, it pushes me to make it more often and try more dishes :)
I had used only 1 cup Almond to make butter (previous post) and it all got over almost instantaneously!! :P (Which is why i suggest you make butter from atleast 3 cups of almonds, to last you a bit).
Below are some photos of Little S enjoying the last few licks :)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Home made Almond butter - easier than you think!

After much deliberation, decided to try my hand at Almond Butter today.

Before trying anything new, I check out the method on YouTube. By watching different videos, I get a good idea on consistency, colour of final product, etc. I normally don't stick to measurements and like to eyeball it or taste as I go.. So watching videos makes it easier to get an idea on what to expect :)

You will need:
Mixie (blender) or a food processor
Salt to taste .

I took only 1 cup of Almonds. I suggest that you take more.. It will be easier to process and collect if the quantity is more. With just 1 cup of Almonds I had to scrape the butter from the walls of the mixie.

In a saucepan or frying pan, dry roast the almonds for a few minutes on medium heat.. This helps in releasing the oils better.
Now pulse the Almonds to get a well powdered consistency.  In between, keep checking and scrape the almond bits from the walls to get powder uniformly.
once they are well powdered, continue to process and they will start clumping together.
At this stage, you may add salt to taste. I opted for no salt :)
Add a spoon or 2 of any neutral cooking oil.
A couple of more minutes and you will get a smooth buttery consistency.

Your Almond Butter is now ready! I enjoyed it with a slice of bread :-)

Quick Evening Snack - Veg stuffed bun

This stuffed bun is one of my childhood favourites! Mom would whip this up in just 10 minutes!! Easy and very yummy snack :D

capsicum (you can use a mix of coloured capsicums too)
butter or Mayo as per your taste
herbs and pepper for seasoning
Jeera for tempering

PS - My mom used to add beans, green peas too. You may add in any veggies of your choice. Cauliflower, potato are good options. Just make sure that they are well cooked.

Finely chops the veggies and keep them separate.

In a saucepan, add a few drops of oil or ghee and temper jeera.
Add onions and fry till transparent.
Add in the other veggies (tomato, carrot, etc) and saute for a couple of minutes.
Sprinkle some water and let the veggies cook.

Please note - carrot takes a while to cook, so keep checking. if you choose to add other veggies like potato, cauliflower, green peas - make sure they are all well cooked before proceeding further.
Once veggies are well cooked, add salt to taste and mix well.
The stuffing is now ready. Keep aside to cool down a bit

Meanwhile, cut the buns in 2 halves.
add few drops of ghee on a tawa and toast the insides of the bun (golden colour).

Apply mayo on the insides of the bun, add 1-2 spoons of the prepared veggies, sprinkle some pepper, or any herbs like Oregano, Basil, Garlic powder on top - as per your taste.

Tada!! yummy snack is ready.. Enjoy :D

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cloth diapering? Really??

Hey guys! I am back.. This time about my obsession with cloth diapers :D

Feeling very proud to say that I have almost exclusively cloth diapered my toddler (now 21 months old). Of course occasionally we have resorted to disposables like Pampers or Huggies for emergencies, vacations, etc.. But for the most part, right from the hospital, we've used cloth!!

During pregnancy, when I was often discussing baby care with my mom, she would say, lets go the natural way and avoid chemicals for the baby. So we decided to go with traditional cloth diapering -  with pieces of cotton fabric - from old sarees and veshtis (dhotis).  By  the final trimester, I was part of several mommy groups and thats how I stumbled upon the Facebook Group - 'Cloth Diapering India' (CDI). What a boon it was. Right from the basics, to explaining each kind of Cloth Diaper, to wash care, the group had a wealth of information.

Has it been difficult? Not really.. I am a voracious reader and I love to go through articles and learn new things.. So I spent a very long time just reading the posts on CDI, the links and other member's experiences and formed an idea in my mind.

Then I gathered the courage to spend hundreds of rupees buying loads of cute prints of diapers, regardless of the brand, fit etc (poor, excited me!) And thus began my cloth diapering journey :D and I have not regretted it one bit :D I started off when my bub was just about a month old, with some newborn size diapers and some one size diapers. Over the months, I have tried several brands and as my baby grew, so did our preference and comfort. And with the passing time my stash has evolved a lot!

Just a few photos from down the memory lane, back when she was a squishy baby :)

about 7 months old bub in an Econobum Prefold, held by a boingo!

The same, from the back :-)

 One of our favourites! A gorgeous fitted diaper from Lalubaby :-)

Over the next few weeks, I ll be discussing my Cloth Diapering journey in detail,  along with lots of brand reviews! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Our fight against pesky mosquitoes!

It's beginning to get warmer in our part of the world and the one thing I'm glad about is lesser insects! Particularly mosquitoes..

My toddler has insect bite hypersensitivity. Even a single mosquito bite, she breaks into boils and rashes on hands and legs. It has been this way since she was 3.5 months. So I'm forever in search of a good, baby-safe insect repellent! She also has sensitive skin, so I am very careful on what I apply to her skin.

Paediatric dermatologist recommended that Odomos can be used after a baby completes 6 months. So once she completed 6 months, I started applying Odomos regularly!

Odomos is available as a cream, lotion and spray, and I have got all 3. Each application has about 3-4 hours of efficacy, following which you will need to apply again..I like and prefer cream the best. To be honest, the spray has a weird smell to it and not as effective as the cream - in my opinion. Also, for a small baby, we frequently wash hands, legs, they get dirty - so any cream or lotion would get washed off or rubbed off during these activities. Frequent applications however keep the mosquitoes at bay.

Simultaneously I also practiced my tennis skills vigorously using the electric bat at any mosquito that I could see! It gives immense satisfaction to electrocute those flying menaces, but not really an effective long term solution. We also used a mosquito net for a really long time, but it was a task to go in and out of the net without letting mosquitoes in or waking up my girl.. So off went the mosquito net and we settled to trying other products.

The next product I tried was Godrej Fabric Roll-on. I was extremely attracted by the advertisement which said that 4 drops of the liquid on kid's dress (one drop each on both sleeves and trousers) is enough to keep mosquitoes away! SO I promptly ordered one and was highly disappointed with the tiny sized bottle that I received! But nevertheless, gave it a shot.. Although it did seem to be effective against mosquitoes, I could not not bear the distinct odour of the product. Hubby joked - Hey it repels humans too!! And the teeny tiny bottle got over in no time.. and I do not think I ll get this one again..

Next I tried keeping powdered camphor in a bowl of water in the room and replenished the camphor sincerely. As expected, nothing happened.. someone suggested powdered camphor in neem water, and I tried that too.. I think it had Some effect, but not something I could rely on a regular basis..

Followed by spraying citronella oil in the room.. Gave a refreshing aroma to the room and did keep mosquitoes away, but extremely short-lived relief and I soon emptied the bottle of Citronella oil! Next hubby got some agarbathis that were said to contain Citronella and hence mosquito repelling..These are highly unpredictable. Some times they work,  sometimes they just seem to agitate the mosquitoes and they roam around biting us more vigorously.

A friend suggested La Flora Organics - spray and balm - all natural and I thought why not give it a try! I should say, of all the above methods I am satisfied by this so far. I use the spray more than the balm just because spray is simpler. The balm comes in a small container, which we need to rub with a finger and apply all over exposed areas - which I feel is quite tedious. Comparatively, the spray is much simpler. I just spray the oil onto my palm and then rub all over my daughter's hands, legs and neck. 

Sometimes I feel that mosquitoes do bite through thin clothing, so I always apply repellent to back, hips and any other places where I have previously observed mosquito bites. In fact, I have even observed bites on her ears - Poor baby!

The next on my list is Mama Earth mosquito repellent and I have already ordered it.. Will try that for a few weeks and then post a review :)

Apart from products, I always have a tube of Odomos in hand - just to be safe and in case I need.. Also, I mostly dress her in full sleeved dresses, full pants and socks so that the skin exposed for insect bites is less.. I highly recommend getting good quality cotton clothing as it is soft n the skin and not too stuffy or hot!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Shilpa Ramam - a street shopping Experience!

We visited Hyderabad in December 2016 and Shilpa Ramam was on the top of my list to visit. I had heard so much about it!
We started out in the morning itself, and reached even before the place opened :P
Most of the shops were still closed, so we spent a good time walking through the shops, clicking photos.

There are SO many shops, and SO many items to buy that I wish I had spent more time there! We first stopped at a trinket shop, where I picked up a couple of funky bracelets for a steal! Then moved on to get lovely shoes for my toddler <3 p="">The jewellery, beads, chains and necklaces available are Amaazzingg!! I could have spent my lifetime here :-P

Next I found this delightful Terracotta shop which had the most adorable collections ever!! I picked up some Jhumkas here.. Normally I am good at bargaining, but it was fun to chat with the shopkeepers and discuss their collections.. As I deal with dresses and fabrics myself, I enjoyed chatting with them about their products.

Another section where I spent good time is the earthern ware ! I got some gorgeous lamps (diyas) as gifts, and few for our home.. Overall had a great time walking and chatting.. Definitely will visit again with more time to spare :)

If you are in Hyderabad or planning a visit, AND if you LOVE shopping, you must visit Shilpa Ramam!! If you go there by afternoon after all shops open, you'll have more variety and you'll be spoilt for options :D

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Birthday Resolution?!

Every New Year we talk of New Year resolutions, some that are followed for longer, some that are quite shortlived!
This year I thought why not have a Birthday resolution instead.. Something that is more doable with a naughty toddler around..I barely have time to pick up dolls/books/ and other random stuff after her,So I was highly skeptical about starting something new..
I have decided to that I ll blog more regularly this year. Having plenty to share and so here goes my Birthday Resolution this year - Blog More!

Alternative (Healthy) Baking!

This is something that I have been exploring for about 2-3 years now. Traditional baking recipes call for use of All purpose flour (Maida/R...