Porridge Recipes

Yesterday was Nat’s 7 month vaccination appointment – he received 2 jabs. One for flu and another one I can’t recall. Anyhow, in typical Nat-fashion, there was no fever so yay. The more facepalm thing was that we now have to give him 3-4 meals a day, with fish/pork/chicken porridge for lunch and dinner respectively and still drink 500ml+ milk a day (between meals). So yes I spent last night planning his daily menu for the rest of June :0 

So basically in a day his food routine is now as such: 

7am: wake up milk feed (70 to 90ml)

8am: breakfast rice cereal with a fruit (30ml milk mixed inside) 

<NAP> approx. 1 hour 

1045/11am: fish/pork/chicken porridge with 1-2 vegetable combos i.e. sweet potatoes, spinach, peas, carrots 

12pm: pre-nap milk top-up (30ml) 

<NAP> approx 1.5 hours unless we go out then it’s a cat nap 

230pm: afternoon milk feed (90-120ml) 

3pm: fruit purĂ©e teatime snack 

<NAP> usually the shortest one around 30-45min

530/545pm: fish/pork/chicken porridge with 1-2 vegetable combos (just no sweet potato or broccoli in the evening as they cause wind) 

730pm: pre-sleep milk feed (approx 90ml) 

10/1030pm: last milk feed (approx 90ml) 

Then while reading up, I realize that baby food recipes are very similar to our adult food ones. For example, pork goes well with sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin and apple. Fish goes well with spinach, wakame (seaweed), broccoli, sweet potato. 

So to add to Nat’s list of foods (below), we’ll be trying mainly chicken and pork for the next 2 weeks. 

Carbohydrates: 

  1. Rice cereal
  2. Oatmeal cereal (best mixed with fruit)
  3. Porridge
  4. Brown rice (trying next week) 

Proteins:

  1. Fish – cod, salmon, threadfin 
  2. Minced chicken (trying next week)
  3. Minced pork (trying next week) 

Vegetables: 

  1. Sweet potato
  2. White potato 
  3. Yam 
  4. Spinach
  5. Broccoli
  6. Cauliflower 
  7. Butternut squash (his no.1 pick)
  8. Carrots 
  9. Peas (his strange favorite?!)
  10. Beetroot (trying next week) 
  11. Wakame seaweed (trying next week) 

Fruits:

  1. Apple
  2. Pear
  3. Banana
  4. Avocado
  5. Peach
  6. Papaya 
  7. Grapes 

Exciting and yummy times 🙂 

– CK 

7 month matters 

So Nat turned 7 months just as we went for a 4 day holiday in Hanoi, leaving him with my mom and helper. Thank God all went very smoothly – his daily routines were pretty much the same with some bonuses like going along for park visits with the dog. The only exception was – Nat started drinking much less milk for his morning and last night feed. So now Nat is on a 4-meal plan with milk inbetween, in line with a Heath Promotion Board (HPB) article that we came across. 


While we were away, pics of Nat at mealtimes, sent to us by my mom was something we looked forward to. That lump of orange in his bowl is actually threadfin porridge with grated carrots. 

So anyway, back to the question – why is Nat not interested in his milk as much as before? 

We know that babies who have started solids still need at least 500ml of milk daily (formula and/or breastmilk). 

Nat usually takes 550-600ml in a day but last week, he just didn’t want to take more than 80ml for his last feed at 10pm. Normally, he would drink between 120-150ml in order to last till the morning. 

Then I wonder… 

Maybe it’s time to change to stage 2 milk? 

We have not switched him yet as Nat’s PD asked us to let him continue on stage 1 for 1-2 more months (we forgot to ask why) so at his next vaccination appt, we’re going to enquire if he can move on to stage 2. 

Maybe purĂ©e/solids twice a day isn’t enough? 

So after he refused to drink milk for his 7am feed, my mom mixed his milk with some rice cereal, and he had no issues with that. Then she came across an article in the newspaper about how much babies above 6 months should eat. We basically have to help him structure his meals such that he has breakfast, lunch, teatime and dinner!?


We then incorporated the guidelines in the table above into Nat’s schedule so for the past two days, he’s been having 4 meals with milk top-ups given before his naps and after his solid meals. 

7am: 60ml-90ml milk + rice cereal 

  • Previously he would take 90-120ml of milk but this has not been the case since last week.
  • Initially, I thought maybe his last night feed is too much so he isn’t really hungry in the morning but he has also dropped his demand for milk at 10/1030pm. 
  • However, with the rice cereal, he doesn’t reject the food so I’ll have to check with his PD why this may be the case?

1030/11am: Porridge (with fish/vegetable) for weekdays, and oatmeal (with a fruit/vegetable) for weekends 

  • His favorite is fish porridge with either grated pumpkin or carrots 
  • We’re going to mix with grated sweet potato next week 
  • Oatmeal cereal is best taken with a fruit mixed inside for taste 

12pm: pre-nap milk top-up 

230/3pm: afternoon milk feed followed by fruit purĂ©e for tea time 

  • This was and still is his biggest milk feed via bottle between 120-160ml depending on his extent of hunger 

530pm: evening purĂ©e (1 main vegetable base mixed with either a fruit or another vegetable) + 1 teaspoon rice cereal & 2 scoops milk powder 

  • When Nat first started on solids, we offered 1 main vegetable but we have been giving him combinations of vegetables and fruits for the last few weeks.
  • His evening meal is quite standard as the recommended vegetables that don’t give gas problems are butternut squash, carrots and peas. 

730pm: pre-bedtime milk top-up

10pm: last milk feed 

  • This is the puzzling one that seems to be dropping on its own. 
  • Last week, a mere 90-120ml could last him until the next morning. However, if he takes anything less than that, he will be peckish at 4/5am. 

In summary, this adjustment to his feeding schedule was an interesting development that took place while we were overseas. It also just proves that nothing is too big that free wifi and whatsapp cannot solve. 

Till our next couple getaway 🙂 

– CK 

Fishy Business

So ever since the PD told us to start Nat on fish, we’ve tried 2 types – threadfin and salmon. Cod’s coming up next week. We steam the fish, mash it up and serve with rice porridge. I know, HJ always jokes that Nat’s menu sounds so much more appetizing and healthier that his own. The salmon test was interesting though as we noted that Nat prefers a certain type of salmon meat – those near the fatty belly! 


So this picture was taken today, the final day of food testing with salmon belly meat. Nat took to it quite well and finished the bowl. This was after the decision to experiment and try salmon belly meat. 

Initially, we gave Nat normal salmon fillet but, as you can tell from the picture below, he didn’t really like it. That was a bit strange because he had no issues with threadfin fillet the week before. 


I could also see that the meat texture was more flaky, abit like tuna, so perhaps swallowing it is also more difficult compared to the softer texture of salmon belly meat. As a result, Nat only took a few spoons. 

So thanks to today’s experiment, we now know that it’s not salmon in general that he doesn’t like but he prefers the salmon belly that is more fatty and softer. Yay. 

It’s like the food tasting never ends. We still have a very long list of green leafy vegetables that we’ve not tried but this is what makes it exciting I guess. 

The combination that I currently can’t wait for is salmon, tofu and spinach porridge. Sounds delicious 🙂 

– CK 

6 months and counting… 

So on my first day back at work, Nat also had his 6th month vaccination appointment. His PD then told us we could introduce protein into Nat’s diet! He can also try broccoli, cauliflower and spinach. I think his menu is more exciting (and healthier) than ours. 

So after doing some reading, I’ve decided to delay broccoli until he’s almost 7 months because it can cause gas in babies. 

In terms of what types of foods babies can take at each stage, this article organizes it nicely in a table. 

So far, there’s 3 categories of food that Nat has tried between 4-6 months, they are grains, vegetables and fruits. 

Grains: rice cereal, oatmeal cereal 

Vegetables: sweet potato (Japanese & Australian varieties), yam, carrots, potatoes

Fruits: pumpkin (local and butternut squash), banana, avocado, apple, pear 

Moving forward, these are the new types of foods that we can introduce as advised by Nat’s PD : 

  1. Fish (threadfin, salmon, cod) – I came across this that explains the types of fish that are better suited for baby food
  2. Cauliflower  
  3. Broccoli 
  4. Spinach 

In terms of how milk is balanced out with puree/porridge, the former still constitutes the bulk of Nat’s diet. 

In a day, he has a total of 5 feeds, 3 are full milk feeds while 2 consists of purĂ©ed food. 

Below is Nat’s feeding schedule between 4-6 months in summary.

645/7am: wake up milk feed (120ml)

10/1030am: mid-morning purĂ©e (3-4 ounces) followed by a milk top-up (60ml) an hour later after his bath and just before his 2nd nap only if he is still hungry 
230pm: full milk feed (150-180ml) 

530pm: evening purĂ©e (3-4 ounces) followed by a milk top-up (60-90ml) an hour later only if he’s peckish 

10/1030pm: final milk feed (160ml) to last him until 6/630am the next day 

I think we would also let Nat try feeding himself via putting bite-sized food pieces into his mouth. So far, we’ve given him baby biscuits and fruits i.e. half a banana to gnaw at. Most of the time, the food ends up everywhere else but his mouth. Owell, we all have to start somewhere right. 

What I find amusing is that ever since I started planning Nat’s menu, we also started eating fruits on a daily basis haha. 

Exciting (and healthy) times ahead. 

– CK 

Nat @ 5 months

We just went for Nat’s 5th month vaccine… in a nutshell it was quite a funny session with his PD asking “Aiyo so heavy, what have you been feeding him?” Of which, HJ replied that he thought Nat wasn’t gaining weight fast enough (he’s 8.2kg), which I think it’s alright? Then, his PD laughed and responded that Nat is chubby enough haha all this while squeezing his thighs.

Nat the drool monster while waiting for his turn


So the trip to the PD also answered some of my questions, especially with regard to his puree feeds.

In summary:

  1. We can increase his puree feed to twice a day – once in the mid-morning and once in the middle of the afternoon. However, as Nat usually naps from 230/3-5pm, we can give the purĂ©e once he wakes up. 
  2. More importantly, what kind of puree can we give in the evenings? Sweet potato & yam is no no because it can cause gas and lead to digestion issues. Hence, rice cereal, pumpkin and carrots are the safest options.
  3. Order of feed should be puree followed by milk top-up, with the latter to be adjusted according to how much puree he actually consumes. For example, if 4 to 5 ounces of rice cereal is consumed (a whole bowl), then he would be too full to finish anymore milk. Of course things don’t always go according to plan – if baby is too hungry at 6pm, need to offer 20-30ml of milk first, then start the puree. They basically have to be in a good, calm mood to eat their semi-solids.
  4. Since we had already dropped the 11pm dreamfeed quite early on, our PD told us to keep the last 10pm feed so that Nat won’t have any early morning awakenings. In summary, her guideline was 2 puree feeds (10am and 6pm), supplemented by milk and 3 full milk feeds (7am, 2pm and 10pm) over 24 hours. *Nat’s full feed now is quite fixed at 180ml. 

Here comes the exciting part…

In terms of ‘new’ foods that he can try before his next appointment, these have been added to the existing list:

  • Avocado
  • Oatmeal cereal
  • Banana (starting tomorrow!)

This is his menu for the next few days:

Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 7.18.00 pm

  • I chose not to give bananas for 3 days straight just in case he gets gassy. 
  • The yam this week is from Thailand and is a lighter shade of purple as opposed to last week’s variant from Japan, which costs twice as much and is a very dark purple.
  • On those days he’s trying out a new food item like the banana and Thailand yam, we’ll be giving him something he has already tried and tested in the evening so if anything goes wrong, we’ll know that the culprit is the new food since he has no issues with rice cereal, pumpkin or carrot.

Then at the appointment, we forgot to ask if Nat can take gripe water in case he gets another gassy episode. Oh well, we’ll leave it until his next vaccination then.

All in all, we’re just glad that all is well with Nat and that he’s getting a chance to try different foods, whilst still taking the bulk of his milk and sleeping well. The two occasions he woke up at 2am and 5am respectively was no joke man. I think we have forgotten how it felt like to wake up in the middle of the night. Looking back, I don’t know how we survived in Nov and Dec last year. 

– CK

High Chair Feeds

As a conclusion to our high chair issue, we bought the IKEA one after quite a number of our friends recommended it. At under $30, most restaurants also use it so it will feel like home for Nat. Currently, we didn’t fix the table yet but I guess we’ll do it soon once he starts finger-feeding himself maybe around 6 months?

Nat on his high chair eating his 10am puree

So far so good…

The perks:

  • The high-backing of the chair offers good back support
  • Price tag is very friendly – the seat costs $29.90 while the cushion is an extra $9.90
  • The inside of the cushion is actually inflatable so you can adjust the firmness of it by blowing in more air or simply letting air escape
  • Easy to assemble, as with most IKEA items

Downsides:

  • While the cushion cover can be washed, it gets stained quite easily – depending on how messy the kiddo is
  • Chair can’t be folded/kept away like some other models in the market but if it’s used 2x a day, then makes sense to leave it near the dining area, tucked at one corner

Speaking of puree, Nat was supposed to try bananas this weekend before his 5 month PD appointment tomorrow but the bananas my mom bought still need 1-2 days to ripen. As such, we’ll KIV that till tomorrow.

In terms of what he has tried…

  1. Rice cereal: comforting food
  2. Pumpkin: the best in terms of texture, really really soft
  3. Carrot: so-so as it not as soft/smooth as pumpkin
  4. Sweet potato: can be quite dry and it caused some gassy problems but no adverse allergic reaction
  5. Yam (Japanese sweet potato): really dark purple in colour but after boiling for 30min, texture is very soft

Once we ascertained that Nat had no issues with the above items, we then gave him the individual vegetables with rice cereal and also mixed two vegetables mixed – pumpkin and carrot puree.

Next week, we’ll be trying the banana and I bought a more familiar type of yam (light purple) vs Japanese yam.

Perhaps at tomorrow’s appointment, Nat’s PD will tell us to up his puree to 2 meals a day? Once in the morning and once in evening? The latter is a whole new ballgame because one needs to give the right food and at the right time, in order to ensure that milk isn’t rejected/refused in the process.

We shall see. Exciting times planning his schedule and menu 🙂

– CK

Fussy and Gassy

Poor Nat had quite a difficult evening last night. We suspect it’s the sweet potato. He also had more gas than usual in the PM. Then between 9-1030pm, he would cry in discomfort and did not finish his last feed. Finally at 1045pm after a tummy rub then he settled down and slept. So today and over the weekend, we’re giving him his fave rice cereal and taking a break from starchy puree.

If there’s anything we took away from our pre-natal class, it’s baby massage haha!

So once again… I was on some pseudo-detective case to isolate what could have possible caused all that gas.

Q1. Was it the sweet potato? We highly suspect so.

  • Nat was given Japanese sweet potato from Monday to Wednesday and only yesterday (Thursday) we bought Australian sweet potato and fed it to him with rice cereal.
  • I thought it was the switch to the Australian sweet potato but HJ noted that on Wednesday night, Nat strangely cried out in discomfort in the middle of the night at 2am. The last time he did that was when he was less than 3 months old. So HJ thinks it is sweet potato in general because the high sugar content may make it difficult for babies to stomach, literally. Even some adults feel gassy after consuming sweet potato.
  • So apparently, babies can be sensitive to sweet potatoes. I don’t think Nat’s allergic to it as there’s no rash or change in his poop. Instead, he just had a lot of gas.
  • Or maybe, sweet potato puree alone is fine but when combined with a bit of rice cereal = too overwhelming in terms of the starch? Linked to this, it could be that Nat was already eating sweet potato for 3 days (the recommended time to test for food allergies) so on hindsight, we should have given him sweet potato again Thursday morning.

Q2. Was it the evening feed yesterday, which wasn’t warm enough that Nat eventually didn’t finish? I doubt it. 

  • At 6pm, he drank 100ml and left 80ml so we warmed it and our helper tried to feed him again at 640pm, which he wasn’t interested so we dumped the milk away.
  • Hence, I do not think it was the milk because we always keep it warm and then subsequently discard the milk after max. 45mins if Nat cannot finish because beyond 1hour, formula milk will turn sour.

Q3. How do we know that gas was the culprit? 

  • Whenever Nat was in a lying down or reclined position, he would cry out in discomfort. So he could not sleep nor drink his last feed. I knew he was probably hungry because he would directly latch me but when we switched position to the bottle, he would refuse it and cry. Yep, just when I thought my breastfeeding days were over haha. 
  • He only felt better if he sat upright, of which he would let out a burp.
  • There was also the frequent passing of gas, which actually started in the afternoon and disrupted his nap.
  • We then rubbed some traditional Chinese stomach oil, specifically to expel stomach wind. Thereafter, he felt better and could sleep.
  • As there are a lot of possible reasons for gas in babies, we just tried to eliminate them one by one.

Thankfully, Nat was able to settle and sleep by 1045pm. As he had not consumed a full feed at night, I gave him a 60ml top-up at 1am before I slept and that lasted him until 7am.

This morning, he’s also back to his usual routine, rice cereal and a good appetite.

So I guess this gassy episode is over for now. At Nat’s next PD appointment, I’ll let his doctor know and see what she advises next.

  • Do we reintroduce it again but maybe in smaller amounts? I don’t wish to 100% cut something out of his diet, unless the reaction is a severe one. My current plan is to re-introduce it again but maybe a smaller amount and maybe test again for 2 days, not 3.

Good luck to us when we try more foods when Nat is 5 or 6 months old.

– CK

The 10pm Feed

So apparently this feed will gradually be dropped once babies start consuming more solids in the day. Nat’s currently taking puree once in the morning so it’s not time yet but before the PD tells us to increase his puree intake to 2x a day, I’m experimenting to find out what is Nat’s “sweet spot” i.e. how much can we decrease Nat’s last feed by and still, have him sleep through until 630am. This was after he slept for almost 10hrs straight last Sunday after taking 180ml at his last feed… so maybe we need not feed him such a big amount at 10pm (unless he demands it of course) and instead, increase the intake for his first feed of the day at 7am? 

From Gina Ford’s Top Tips for Weaning book

This is not to say we are reducing the 10pm milk intake indefinitely. 

  • For now, instead of feeding 180ml at 10pm, we’ve been giving Nat 150ml for the past 3 days and he is able to sleep through until 630/7am. 
  • I’m not comfortable reducing the amount any further because Nat hasn’t begun eating solids in the afternoon/evening so until then, I’m going to stick with giving him 150ml for his last feed. 
  • Ideally, I wanted to increase his 7am feed intake by 20ml since his last feed intake has decreased but as of today, he still is only able to finish 120ml in the morning. Anything more, he just starts playing with the teat. Having said that, I only tried this for 1 day so for the next 2-3 days, I’ll continue making 120+20ml and see how much he can finish. 

A key principle amidst all this is that weaning does not = replacing milk with solids. 

This article summaries it very well that milk is still the bulk of what babies need to consume. So even with solids in the picture, Nat should be still consuming 500-600ml of milk per day (including the milk that’s mixed with his puree to soften it). That is why even if we decrease his 10pm feed by a little bit, I’m hoping to increase his morning feeds. Currently, he’s consuming within range (approx. 550ml on average) so I suppose all is well. 

Who knew baby care would be this ‘technical’? Actually, I probably make it as such vs. 100% just going with Nat’s flow. 

I guess it’s a combination of our intervention as well as observing Nat’s physical needs that has worked for us thus far and hopefully we can continue to be consistent. 

– CK 

Puréed 

We’ve started Nat on puree for about 1.5 weeks and so far he has tried rice cereal, pumpkin and carrots. We think he does not really like carrots, based on his ‘meh’ facial expression but being the food champ that he is, he still finished the whole bowl. Our helper said that usually when trying new food, babies may just take in 0.5-1 tablespoon’s worth of puree so she’s never seen anything like Nat who chomps down 3 tablespoon’s worth. After that, he still drinks 100-160ml of milk. Next up in April, we’ll be introducing sweet potato and yam before his next PD appointment.

WhatsApp Image 2017-03-28 at 12.16.30 PM.jpeg

So on this topic of introducing semi-solids to babies, I came across some interesting reads.

This website, contains free downloadable food charts depending on the age of the baby i.e. 4-6 months, 6-8 months and so on. Very useful.

On my own, I refer to the food brochure given by our PD and plan Nat’s puree menu accordingly. This allows me to do what I love, which is to plot a timetable schedule of his puree breakfast as the PD told us to start feeding him puree once a day at his 10am feed first.

Now that Nat has tried rice, pumpkin and carrots mixed with a bit of milk, individually over a course of 3 days each, we can now combine the various items. This is where things get exciting because you can combine two vegetables with each other and/or combine one vegetable with rice cereal. One does not have to go into such technical detail because estimation works fine but I just prefer to lay out all the details. This way, our helper will be able to take over and prepare the puree accordingly when I go back to work in May.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 12.24.46 pm.png

Once he had tried sweet potato and yam, we’ll have more combinations to play with come April. Our neighbour also cautioned us about giving too much ‘orange’ root vegetables in case Nat’s skin turns yellowish. This article explains why.

Parents who feed their infants a lot of orange fruits and vegetables may one day notice that their infant’s palms, soles of the feet and even face have taken on an orange hue.

Maybe that’s not happening now as he takes puree 1x a day but will definitely ask our PD this when it’s time to feed him puree 2x a day. Maybe we can regulate the ‘orange’ vegetables to 2-3x a week.

Interestingly, I also found out that there’s a co-relation between sleep and introducing solids! I’m currently reading this book (below), and apparently introducing solids too early and/or the wrong solids can affect night time sleep.

book.jpg

One case in point was an example of a baby being fed bananas and avocado too much during lunch. While the baby enjoyed the taste, the book states that these two foods are quite hard to digest and not really recommended for babies under 6 months. As such, the baby felt ‘full’ and hence, cut back on her milk intake. As a result of not getting enough milk in the day, she woke up in the early morning hungry.

Moral of story is that the bulk of calories for babies still come from milk so feeding too much puree in the day/evening may affect the subsequent milk intake in the day/evening. Will definitely take note of this and try to balance things when Nat starts taking puree more than 1x a day. Currently, for Nat, what is crucial to him sleeping through the night from 11pm to 6/630am remains the same – he needs to take a full feed of 180ml at 1030pm so whatever meal he has before that should not be too filling such that he isn’t ‘hungry enough’ at 1030pm.

All of it seems to complex but after some readings, it just gets more interesting. Now, the joke is that I am asking HJ to clear some books of his shelf to make way for the baby-related books that I am reading haha

– CK

Weaning Begins 

Today is Day 2 of us giving Nat rice cereal and thankfully he’s taking to it rather well. Initially we did a taste test and it’s really bland so we weren’t sure if he would like it but he finished all the cereal in the bowl on both days! Can’t wait to start pumpkin on Wed as it’s recommended to wait 3-4 days before introducing a new food. 

For starters, this is what we know about weaning so far thanks to books and brochures. 

  1. Time of day: Nat’s PD told us to start once a day first at his 10am feed. So that’s his 2nd feed of the day. If anything goes wrong, he would have had a normal milk feed at 630/7am. More importantly, we should to pick a time where baby is happy and alert and you can’t hurry these things so it’s crucial that one isn’t rushing. On Sat, we gave it a good 1hr buffer time to try. In reality, it took about 25minutes. Today took lesser time, around 12minutes. 
  2. Consistency: Ideally it should be a bit thicker than milk but not too thick/dry either so we mix 1 dessert spoon (0.5 table spoon) of cereal to 25ml of formula milk. We derived this ratio from the box which stated 1 serving to be 4 tablespoons with 200ml water. Once Nat can take more, we will increase it to 2 dessert spoons (1 table spoon). 
  3. Milk: For most of the first year, offering semi-solids is more to give babies a taste of food from the various food groups while milk is still the main staple. So in the beginning, the purĂ©e is like an appetizer and we end off with approx 100ml milk. Only if Nat consumes a whole purĂ©e meal (4 table spoons), then our PD says there is no need to give anymore milk for that feed. 
  4. Food groups: As we are just starting out, our PD told us to let him try the following foods first as they are more starchy – rice, pumpkin, carrots, sweet potato, yam and banana (1st column of the brochure our PD gave us.)

Exciting 🙂

Then while reading up about weaning and what not, I’ve also come across BWL, known as Baby Led Weaning where the purĂ©e stage is skipped altogether and babies feeds themselves with soft, bite-sized table foods starting from 6 months onwards. I’m sure every weaning method has its own pros and cons but we’re more comfortable with the old school method of feeding purĂ©es before moving on to letting baby handle/feed themselves table food later on. 

– CK