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 

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:

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  • 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

H20, Babies and Sippy Cups?

What led to this question was this – ever since Nat was around 2 months, we had family members ask us whether we gave him water in case he gets dehydrated etc. At that point, we clarified that babies under 6 months do not need to drink water as breastmilk/formula milk contains everything they need. However, we did give sips of water to Nat as our confinement nanny told us that formula milk is more heaty vis-a-vis breastmilk. Now, at 5 months and taking into account how he began taking semi-solids at 4 months, I’ve decided to make sips of water a regular thing in the day. Along with this, Nat gets to try out his sippy cup that our friend gave to him for his 1st month 😀

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Related to this topic of H20 and babies, especially when is it safe to give water and how much water to giveI found quite a few helpful articles online:

Most experts suggest that you wait until you’ve started feeding solids to your baby, when she’s between four and six months old.

From: http://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/feeding-your-baby/giving-water-to-baby.aspx 

This one applies to exclusively breastfed babies – “Exclusively breastfed babies do not require additional water even when it is very hot outside, as long as baby is allowed to nurse as needed.” Whereas for Nat, he has all along been a ‘combo’ baby of breastmilk and formula and since 4 out of his 5 feeds are formula milk, we decided to give him regular sips of water e.g. no more than 20ml each time usually after or in-between feeds. This is to ensure that it does not interfere with his appetite for milk.

As to how much water one should give, ideally not more than 2-3 ounces over 24 hours or as per what your pediatrician recommends.

Then I recalled reading somewhere that instead of using the milk bottle, water can be offered via the sippy cup.

So here are some tips for introducing sippy cups. I think the most important one is finding one with a soft spout vs. a hard plastic one, which is for later on after baby gets more used to it. This morning was pure trial and error because I was not sure if Nat is ‘ready’ but I guess he is since he has no issues with his semi-solids and every time we feed him his milk, he will try to hold onto his bottle. Nonetheless, today I assisted him in tilting the cup backwards so the water could be sucked out so baby steps…

– CK

But first, let’s float

So this weekend, we decided to introduce Nat to the big cold pool during our staycation at Amara. The water doesn’t have such an overwhelming chemical smell so I figured it would be quite safe. Timing-wise, we went at 5pm yesterday and 11am this morning so it wasn’t too cold. Our main purpose was to get him comfortable beyond his inflatable pool. He also seems to kick more without his neck float so we’ll probably ditch that soon. 

“Swimming” with a baby is very different from without one! 

  1. I can’t dip in the pool longer than 30 minutes as babies lose heat faster than adults so 30 minutes is the maximum time for now. When Nat was younger, the recommended time was 15 minutes. 
  2. There’s no actual swimming being done unless one of us tends to the baby so the other can do laps. 
  3. There’s also not much sun-tanning while having an ice cold beer, until after dipping with baby is done. 
  4. Most importantly, one needs to plan and pick the right time to go to the pool.
  • Baby must have been fed, but not too recent as the last thing you want is for baby to vomit. 
  • Ideally, baby should have already pooped or not going to poop anything soon. Nat strangely poops slightly before 2pm everyday so bringing him at 11am and 5pm was safe. Nonetheless, always wear swim diapers as insurance! 
  • Baby also needs to be well-rested i.e. not just before nap time if not you’ll be dealing with a potentially cranky and overtired baby. Yesterday we brought him after his PM nap and today we went down at 1115am, 1hr after his 1015am feed and 1hr to go before his post-bath cat nap.
  • If the baby is unwell, or just recovered, swimming is definitely not possible. 
  • Lastly, the weather needs to be on your side. Swimming before 10am and after 6pm is too cold. The noon-day sun is also another no-no. 

So when all the above is met, then yes, perfect time to go dip baby in the pool. 

I also say “swimming” because I personally think that one needs to be of a certain age before they can listen, understand and perform the skills related to actual swimming strokes. Previously, I came across a video where babies were taught how to roll and float as a safety measure in the event that they fall into a swimming pool. The context for this is that in the US, quite a lot of private houses have pools in the backward. Nevertheless, this isn’t to say there are no perks associated with baby swim classes or bringing babies to the pool at a young age. I also believe it’s entirely possible for them to blow bubbles and swim underwater. Just that for now, we’re focusing on building water confidence such that Nat will eventually be comfortable enough when it’s time to learn the actual swimming skills. Like this article summed up, it’s more fun than form at this point. 

If I have to pick something to teach, the first one won’t be kicking per say, but floating. That was what my Grandfather did with me and I plan to do the same with Nat. 

He called it the “telephone”position because baby is lying horizontal like a telephone. I was told since young that babies or toddlers need to be comfortable lying in the water, with their heads partially submerged (eyes and mouth above the water). Their back are supported initially until they get the hang of it, then the extent of support can gradually decrease. 

 

In the left pic, I supported Nat with both hands under his back but I loosened my grip and didn’t support his lower back anymore in the right pic. Hopefully, floating will come naturally in due time. 
Blowing bubbles, going underwater etc. all can happen later on because now, loving the water is no.1 🙂 

– CK 

High Chair Now?? 

So after two days of ‘experimentation’, we conclude that Nat still needs his AM nap between 730-930am. He also woke up to drink his first feed of the day at 645/7am these past two days so yay, no major changes to his routine (yet). In other news, we now have to decide when to buy a high chair and what kind of high chair -.- I didn’t think Nat would need one until 5-6 months but he’s almost 5 months now and can sit up with minimal assistance so it maybe about time I guess?

This is Nat acting all grown up inside a high chair from IKEA @ our church nursery on Sunday. Normally one would buy the attachable table and accompanying cushion for back support. The good thing about this high chair is it’s high back rest compared to our Bumbo seat that doesn’t have such a high backing.

The only downsides to this is that there are no lockable wheels and the height of the legs can’t be adjusted. I’m okay with that but my mom would appreciate the flexibility of feeding Nat on the high chair in other areas in the house besides the dining table such as the living room sofa.

There are also baby chairs by Mothercare but personally, I don’t wish to spend so much on a high chair so am not too keen on the pricer ones. As Nat will also be over at my mom’s quite often, we may need to buy 2 high chairs?!

Initially, we thought he can be fed sitting in his rocker chair when we lock it but he doesn’t like to be strapped in nowadays. Currently, he sits on my small retro rattan chair for his morning purĂ©e.

However, this isn’t sustainable because eventually he needs his own high chair and table to feed himself finger foods and what not.

While were given a Bumbo seat as a present, complete with a table tray, I don’t feel very secure strapping that to my dining table chair. Though I can pass that to my mom to use at her place in the living room.

So the search for a high chair continues and… I got to mentally adjust my mindset to one that has Nat joining us at the dining table eventually and having his high chair take up more space in our house. Clearly, part of me is still stuck in my delusion that our house doesn’t really need to be baby-friendly or filled with baby items.

Sigh…

– 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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Strange Awakenings

So the past day or so has been quite strange…  because out of the blue, when Nat is sleeping, he will currently make some “struggling” sounds then when we go into the room, he’s trying to turn over! But why in the middle of his sleep?! Then either his left or right hand will be stuck underneath his body so he will just flip right back. Guess we’ll be witnessing more of such weird antics in the next few weeks.

The two times we caught him rolling over halfway through his slumber!

Maybe we should start to be more aware of what milestones to expect next, as a lot apparently happens between 4 and 6 months of age.

A few weeks back, I took a break from my reading and research once Nat started sleeping through the night because the bulk of my literature revolved around sleep training and the like haha

Oh man, whatever happened to the time when they were just a swaddled lump. Within a few months, I got to start thinking about baby-proofing our house.

– CK