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              Weaning Twins: How I did it (Part Two, Moving On)        

    Two of Everything: Weaning Twins: How I did it (Part Two, Moving On)

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Weaning Twins: How I did it (Part Two, Moving On)

Cottage cheese, yoghurt, and my sister's hands in my hair! 

In this second post about weaning, I'll tell you a bit about how we moved on from the first stages of weaning to eating family meals at around 9 months, as well as dropping milk feeds, and meal and snack ideas.  (You can see the first part of this post here) (Just to say again, though, I'm not a health expert of any kind, this is just based on my experience and you should follow anything with caution!!)

Around 6 weeks in to weaning my twins I started to introduce some protein to their diet.  They were having three meals a day, including rice porridge for breakfast, and I started by making some of the stew recipes in Annabel Karmel's Baby and Toddler Meal Planner.  These are really good recipes to start with as most of them contain something a little bit sweet like sweet potato and/or orange juice, so it helps little palates to adjust.  I wanted to get a bit ahead, like I did with the pureed veg and fruit, so I made some big batches which I could freeze in portions.

Some things I did at this point

- Once I had cooked a stew I would remove the meat and pulse it in the food processor (not the blender), mash the veg in the sauce with a potato masher, then return the meat to the pan.  This worked really well; it was fairly lumpy but they managed fine with it.  
- I made some cheese sauce (with cow's milk, which is fine to use in cooking from 6 months, and rice flour to start with which works in the same way as ordinary flour) to freeze in ice cube trays. 
- If we had a roast chicken I would make gravy from scratch using salt free fresh stock and freeze it in ice cubes.  I would also chop any leftover chicken in the food processor and freeze that in ice cube trays too. 
- I bought some white fish and froze it in portions 
- I continued to keep a stash of vegetables in the freezer.  Quite often I would do a big batch of whatever we were having for tea, eg I'd steam a whole cauliflower so we had enough for us and enough to freeze.  By this stage they were having their vegetables mashed or finely chopped (food processor, not the blender, is great for this).

Some popular meals from around 7-8 months

- Annabel Karmel's Lovely Lentils, chicken and beef stews
- Roast chicken with gravy, veggies and mashed potato (to begin with I would mix most of it together, then started to separate it as they got more used to chewing things without them being covered in a sauce of some kind)
- 'Fish Pie' - just a small portion  of white fish (probably a little bigger than matchbox size to begin with for the two of them), cooked in a foil parcel with a thin slice of unsalted butter covering it (lots of butter isn't so good for us but it's really nutritious for babies), then mashed into some cheese sauce, broccoli and/or peas and mashed potato.  They absolutely loved this, although I was nervous about giving them fish to begin with as I was allergic to it when I was little - I could hit the opposite wall when it came back up...
- Cauliflower cheese and pasta (usually with cauliflower and cheese sauce from the freezer, and I used baby pasta to start with)
- Pasta with cheese sauce and spinach - this was a big hit, and they still like spinach now, a year later. 

- I also tried to make sure they had some sort of finger food each meal, such as an accompanying vegetable, pieces of toast, or pieces of fruit.


I chose not to give the children any refined sugar until they were at least 12 months old (well, except for the tiny amount in Weetabix), so pudding was always fruit or yoghurt.  Fruit was mostly raw at this stage, except apple which I stewed, and they had it either whole in grabbable pieces or mashed up.  Until they were a year old I would give them greek yoghurt (I like Yeo Valley the best!) mixed with pureed fruit, usually homemade but sometimes I used Ella's Kitchen pouches.  After this point I started to use Plum fromage frais and yoghurts, and Rachel's Organic My First Yoghurts and Taste Explorers - all with no refined sugar but sweetened with fruit juice.  I know it's not a million miles from sugar, but it's not quite as bad!    

Eating together

By the time the children were 9 months old I was getting fed up of making separate meals all the time, and having to start cooking our dinner after the children had gone to bed.  We often didn't manage to eat until 8.30.  We are really lucky that The Daddy's work is only 15 minutes away and he is able to get home by 5.30, so we decided to start eating dinner together so it would all be over and done with in one go, and so we could start to broaden the children's food horizons a bit.  I would get the dinner ready at lunchtime while the children were asleep (as far as possible) and I found this much easier than trying to cook with babies round my ankles or them screaming for me at the gate across the kitchen doorway.  I think even if The Daddy couldn't get home by this time I would still eat with them, and heat his up later on.  We found quite quickly it made a definite difference to how well they ate, because they saw us eating the same things.   

More meals from 9-10 months

- I introduced lunchtime sandwiches around this time, which made it easier for me to eat with them as they could feed themselves.  Little Miss quite often preferred having hers broken into little pieces (she didn't have a single tooth until she was nearly 14 months old!).  At this stage I made them with sticky fillings to make them easier to hold, so cream cheese, leftover roast meat chopped up and mixed with mashed avocado, hummus (salty, but you only need a bit and it's easy to make if you're so inclined), leftover grilled salmon mixed with cream cheese (delicious!), cream cheese mixed with a little grated cheddar and chopped apricots (also delicious!).  I would also give them pieces of avocado, pepper, cucumber and halved cherry tomatoes to eat with their sandwiches.
- Chilli con carne and rice, with the kidney beans cut in half (simply because the skins were tricky with very few teeth!)
- Bolognaise and pasta (with adult pasta by now, cut into small pieces as Little Man would swallow them without chewing...)
- Courgette polpettes, venison stew and lamb curry from The River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook, which I can recommend very highly - I use this book a lot 
- Beef stew and mashed potato
- Baked white fish with Roast Tomato Sauce, rice and vegetables
- Grilled salmon with cheese sauce, broccoli trees and potato wedges
- Roasted chicken thighs with roasted veg sauce (courgettes, peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic roasted in chunks, then squeeze the garlic out of it's skin and pulse it all in the food processor to make a lumpy sauce) and mashed potato
- Breakfast was (and still is!) usually ready brek or weetabix mixed with mashed banana or a fruit pouch, but sometimes eggy bread (delicious made with slices of brioche) or pancakes

I did find at this stage they preferred their food to be wet, with some sort of sauce, so I'd make sure I always had something in the freezer to add to their meals if necessary.  Little Miss found it more difficult to eat pieces of vegetables like carrots and broccoli trees (probably due to her lack of teeth), so I'd chop some up and mix it into her sauce, but also give her some on the side to have a go at.  Vegetables in stew were much easier for her!

(You can see more of the things we eat now on my 'Meal Planning Monday' posts, here every Monday, or try the 'Search' box in the side bar.  Why not subscribe and never miss a post?!)

Snacks which we enjoy

- Fruit
- Rice cakes and corn thins (sometimes with a little peanut butter or cream cheese, but more often than not plain - these are a great mobile snack)
- Breadsticks
- Grated or tiny cubes of cheese (great for hand-eye coordination!)
- Sultanas (also great for those little fingers)
- Dried apricots (the dark, unsulphured ones)
- Avocado
- After 12 months I started to offer the occasional Organix biscuit or Scotch Pancake, and now they like homemade Oat and Sultana Cookies

What about dropping milk feeds? 

I can remember this being like the holy grail when I first started weaning.  I was desperate to start dropping milk feeds as I found the whole bottles-for-two thing really hard work, but it doesn't happen overnight and milk can't really be replaced with just fruit and veg.  I didn't drop any milk feeds until they were eating a good breakfast (which was made with milk anyway) and had started eating some protein at lunchtime, at which point I dropped the mid-morning bottle.  Little Man's went first at about 8 months, he was eating loads and was only having about 4oz milk for this bottle by now, Little Miss continued with hers a little while longer.  I also started giving them their morning milk after their breakfast, as I was finding they weren't very interested in it after a full bottle of milk.  The afternoon bottle stayed until around 10 months, when it was replaced with a snack.  It's just important to make sure they're getting the recommended quantities of milk, but this includes dairy products they might be eating too.

Some good places to go for recipes

Mamacook, a blog with lots of lovely recipes for babies, toddlers and grown ups too!
- I use some of Jamie Oliver's recipes quite a bit, for example Fish PieSlow Roast PorkSlow Roast Lamb (slow roasting meat like this makes it lovely and soft, and easy to eat), and the couscous from this recipe.  I just fiddle with the recipes a bit so there isn't any added salt.  
 - The Baby Led Weaning Cookbook - we particularly like the Cheese and Lentil Wedges in this book, with broccoli and tomato sauce.  
- I'm starting to put some toddler-friendly recipes on this blog, too!

Mmmm, oranges!


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