Part 3: Baby Led Feeding

We caught up the lovely Aileen Cox Blundell to find out more about baby led feeding. This is the third instalment of our baby led feeding series check out part 1 here and part 2 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.

Benefits of Baby Led Feeding

There are so many benefits to Baby Led Feeding for both you and your little one. These are just some of my top ones:

Adventure

Baby Led feeding brings with it a world of adventure, of exploration and development. It is so enjoyable to watch a baby pick up food, examine it in detail before popping it in his/her mouth and devouring it before your very eyes.

Helping babies develop tastes for healthy food

Each recipe from Baby Led Feeding has been carefully planned to pack in as much goodness in as possible for your baby and family. It is important that from an early age that we feed our children a healthy balanced diet and introduce them to a wide range of colours in fresh fruits and vegetables.

Two thirds of people in Ireland are obese or overweight and the sad reality is that 1 in 4 of these are children. Sugar is a huge part of the problem but by feeding your baby healthy, refined sugar free foods from a young age they will have a love for healthier foods as they get older. The recipes from Baby Led Feeding champion the use of fresh ingredients and fruits to sweeten dishes rather than the normal table sugar.

It’s easy and saves time

We are all busy parents and most of us don’t have the time to spend hours in the kitchen over a cooker preparing meals. The recipes from Baby Led Feeding can be prepared quickly, are really nourishing and will fill your freezer up with little baby bites for when you are on the go and need a meal fast.

Enjoyment of food for both babies and the family

Eating as a family is one of the greatest benefits. Not only does your little one get to eat their food but so will everyone else (and at the same time). Babies learn by example so eating as a family will also create a positive experience around the dinner table as they watch the family eating everything from broccoli to meats. What you eat, they will want to eat so be adventurous!

Developmental

A babies hand-eye coordination and dexterity develops much quicker than babies that are spoon fed as they get practise every time they eat. They also learn to chew their food right from the beginning even before they have teeth with their gums before swallowing rather than the normal way of letting a puree simply slide into their tummy.

Healthy Eating habits

Your baby will develop healthy eating habits right from the very start. By allowing them to choose from healthy nutritious meals, they can eat at their own pace and self regulate when they are full.

No purees or airplanes!

Baby Led Feeding/Weaning means forgetting about spoons, purees, hours of blending and all those stressful feeding episodes and simply allowing your baby to feed themself.

Enjoyable Restaurant experiences!

One of our favourite benefits is being able to eat out WITH our baby. Food in restaurants will be seasoned with salt which is not good for babies so bring along some yummy bites that they can feed themselves. Most restaurants won’t mind at all and will be happy that you are getting to enjoy your meal while your baby is eating away on their own.

Favourite Baby Led Feeding Recipe when your out and about

These little quiches are delicious both hot or cold. They are packed with yummy ingredients that will satisfy your little one and can be served for dinner with some chicken and steamed broccoli or on their own as a snack.

Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach and Goats Cheese Quiche

Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche

What goes in…

  • 1 Cup Plain Flour
  • 80g Butter
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Water
  • 1 Small Onion Finely Chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Handful Baby Leaf Spinach Finely Chopped
  • 3 Organic Eggs
  • 100g Goats Cheese

How to make it…

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC
  2. Cut the bell pepper in 1/8s and drizzle with a little oil. Roast skin side down for about 30 mins or until soft. Immediately take out of the oven and place in a plastic food bag or if you don’t have one wrap in cling film to prevent air escaping. Leave aside until later.
  3. In a bowl sieve your flour, then add the butter and using your fingers rub into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add your water (1 tablespoon at a time) and using your hands mix into the flour and butter until it resembles a dough that sticks together.
  4. Roll on a floured surface until thin and then use a small circular cookie cutter to shape out 24 mini circles.
  5. Place these into your greased mini muffin baking tin and refrigerate until you are ready to add your filling.
  6. Meanwhile, head the remaining olive oil in a frying pan and slowly sauté the onions until soft but not brown.
  7. Add the finely chopped spinach to the pan and stir for about 2 minutes until the spinach is wilted down. Remove from the heat.
  8. Then open your bag with the peppers, peel off the skins and finely chop the flesh into tiny pieces and add to your onion and spinach mixture.
  9. Remove your pastry from the fridge and place roughly 1 teaspoon of the vegetable mixture into each little pastry. There should be enough for 24.
  10. Whisk the 3 eggs well and spoon 2 teaspoons of egg into your little quiches.
  11. Finally, add a little piece of goats cheese (approx 1/2 a teaspoon) to the top of each one and place in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the egg has set and the pastry is cooked.
  12. Serve with some slices of avocado for a delicious dinner.

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