Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Baby's First Year of Nutrition + Baby Food Maker Review + GIVEAWAY

 ~~~~~~~~THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED~~~~~~~~

Lyla @ 1 year enjoying mealtime

Since this blog is about sharing my knowledge based on my experiences and education, I feel obliged to share my experiences as a new mother specifically in providing wholesome nutrition for my daughter.  Lyla, now 18 months old, is a good eater in general.  I don’t know if that can be attributed to nature or nurture but I feel as if I’m doing something right.  On my journey to attaining my RD (Registered Dietitian status), I was exposed to child nutrition and when I worked in the hospital, I covered the Pediatric unit on occasion.  However, it wasn’t until I had my own child and was thrown into a “sink or swim” mentality, that I really got the hang of feeding a child. 

Nursing had its challenges but was an overall success.  I was able to do it for 7 months which seemed like a really long time- maybe next time I’ll attempt the recommended year but I highly doubt that’ll happen.  Yes breastfeeding is an amazing bonding experience, you save a lot of money, and you know you’re baby is getting great nutrition and antibodies, but it has its drawbacks.  It was hard being the only one who could feed my baby plus I didn’t love being ostracized to the nursery or a discrete corner of the room to nurse .  When I returned to work, I found it challenging to keep up with my workload with my two 20 minute pumping breaks.  And if we were lucky to get a baby-free night out, I had to feed her the second before we left and we had three hours max to enjoy ourselves before she needed to eat again.  In short, I felt like a slave to nursing so I traded in my pump for formula at 7 months to get my freedom back.  This is why I highly doubt I’ll be able to nurse for a full year next time.

Lyla @ 5 months trying rice cereal
When Lyla started on solids around 5 months, it was very exciting.  Well, as exciting as rice cereal mixed with breast milk can be.  It wasn’t until she started on pureed fruits and veggies that I really got into it.  I tried all the jarred flavors out there- my favorite brand being Earth’s Best.  They have such creative blends- broccoli zucchini, apple sweet potato, and carrot tomato.  I experimented with homemade blends too using a steamer and my blender.  One time I blended peas, avocado, and ricotta cheese and Lyla loved it!  I tried so hard to expose her to unique blends and added spices to help develop her palette.  I guess it worked because she is not your average toddler in regards to eating.  Some of her favorites are beans, cabbage, brussels sprouts, salmon, and all types of cheese.  I was persistent and implemented the “try it 10 times” theory.  Usually, she liked foods the first time but brussels sprouts took a while.  Since they’re my favorite vegetable, she had to like them too!

Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker

Making your own baby food is a lot of fun.  That being said, I don’t have a problem with a lot of the jarred baby foods as long as they are organic and absent of additive or fillers.  If you enjoy cooking and want to introduce your baby to unique blends, try making your own.  You can microwave or steam veggies/fruit and process them in a blender/food processor or you can invest in a baby food maker like the Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker.  All you have to do is chop up the fresh or frozen ingredients, put in the machine, set it to steam and blend, and walk away.  In 10-20 minutes, it’s ready!  You can make a couple batches of different varieties, portion them into ice cube trays, freeze them, and you’re set for the week.  The machine can even defrost the frozen cubes.  The best part: way less dishes than the traditional steam and blend method and less chance of burning yourself!  They have some great demos on their website.

I had the honor of receiving one of these machines to test out.  I wish I had this when Lyla was a baby- it does makes it much easier.  Since there are no babies around to eat my test recipes, I made things that grown-ups can enjoy too. 

Zucchini, Tomato, Avocado, and Basil Dip 
Yields 1 ¼ cups (11 oz)

½ medium zucchini cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup, 6 ounces)
1 small beefsteak tomato, cut into 1/2-inch wedges (3/4 cup, 5 ounces)
½ avocado (3 ounces), sliced
1 T chopped fresh basil

Fill steamer section with 160 ml water per machine's instructions.
Place zucchini and tomato in machine and steam for 10 minutes.  Add avocado and basil and puree until smooth (30 seconds).

We enjoyed this dip with some cucumber and pepper sticks the next day with our bagged lunches for work.  It reminded me of a lite guacamole.

Since the veggie dip wasn't an original recipe, I wanted to create something special for my second recipe.  A simple berry applesauce turned cobbler really hit the spot!

Apple Berry Cobbler
Make 3 ramekins


1 ¼ c. apples, diced into ¼ inch cubes
½ c frozen blueberries
Oats and brown sugar, for topping

Fill steamer section with 160 ml water per machine's instructions.
Place apples and blueberries in machine bowl.  Steam for 15 minutes.  Once done steaming, pour off some of the excess liquid (depending on how thick you want the cobbler.  Then blend briefly so mixture remains chunky.  Divide into ramekins and top with a little oats and brown sugar.  Bake @ 350 F for 15 minutes or until cobbler topping is set.  Enjoy hot!

I had a lot of fun with my Baby Brezza.  You can buy one at Amazon or win one here!  Even if you don't have kids, this makes a great gift.  Follow the directions in the Rafflecopter and you may just win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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