baby-led weaning | part three {six months}

baby led weaning watermelon 6 months

Today’s baby-led weaning update features watermelon, steamed carrots, hummus and mango! For those just tuning in, Isla turns seven months old this week and we’ve been at this for one month. Get ready for a ton of photos. This girl and her funny faces. She absolutely loves all this food and I literally take hundreds of photos of her at every meal. You’re lucky I was able to narrow them down at all!

Baby-led weaning steamed carrots

I was a bit nervous about introducing carrots since they tend to be harder than other veggies. I’m glad I waited until Isla had gotten the hang of eating because even though I steamed them until they smushed between my forefinger and thumb they still broke off in chunks. I was still nervous, but Isla had no trouble at all. She’s gotten really good at moving food around in her mouth and spitting out the chunks that are too big to swallow.

Baby-led weaning steamed carrots

I used whole carrots (apparently they have more nutrients than the baby ones), peeled them, sliced them down the middle lengthwise and then in half and steamed them on the stove for 25 minutes (or more depending on how big the chunks were). The key is to make sure you and baby can mush the carrots with your fingers.

Baby-led weaning steamed carrots and hummus, six months

After a few days, when I was sure Isla was comfortable and not allergic to carrots, I introduced hummus. I know a lot of people make their own hummus, but Wegmans makes one that we love and the ingredients are listed on its website so I went with that one. I did talk to our pediatrician first though because the recipe includes tahini, which is sesame paste, and sesame is a very common allergen. For those allergic to peanuts or with a history of family allergies, I read that it’s advised to hold off on sesame so please talk to your doctor first. Or find a hummus recipe made without it. There are a ton of good ones out there.

Baby-led weaning steamed carrots and hummus, six months

I sound like a broken record, but the hummus was a hit! She loved sucking it off the carrots and her fingers and even the tray and her bib, too. Also, apparently chickpeas make her tired. She was practically asleep by the end of her meal. It was pretty funny.

Baby-led weaning steamed carrots and hummus, six months

The hummus was, understandably, very messy so by the end she was covered. There was hummus in her armpits, her hair and the rolls of her neck! When we washed her face she had a bit of redness where the hummus was smeared so I panicked, of course, and asked our pediatrician. She said it was likely just a contact reaction, not an allergy since there were no signs of GI or respiratory issues. I kept a close eye on her for a few days before trying again.

baby-led weaning Broccoli and Hummus six months

A few days later I served the hummus again with steamed carrots and broccoli and she didn’t have any redness afterward so I’m hopeful it was just her skin reacting to the garlic, cayenne pepper or other ingredients. But now I know she can handle a little spice!

baby-led weaning broccoli and hummus, six months baby-led weaning Carrots, Broccoli and Hummus baby led weaning watermelon 6 months

Watermelon! Love love love. She sucks the juice right out. This is another one that’s a bit chunky though so make sure your little one can handle the chunks before introducing watermelon. I think more than anything she was very curious about the texture as she dug her fingers into it. She kept making this funny face and ripping the pieces apart before she would put them in her mouth. It was too funny. I love watching her explore new foods.

baby led weaning watermelon

I first gave her a big triangle chunk with the rind on. That ended up being way too hard to pick up though so I cut them into more narrow, triangular pieces without the rind. Watermelon is a bit tough in terms of texture, as I mentioned, so it was easy for her to pick up (not slippery).

baby-led weaning mango

This picture sums up our experience with mango. I don’t buy mango normally so I don’t think it was  quite ripe enough when I served it. Even I didn’t really like it. She devoured an avocado instead. (I always have avocado on hand. It’s a trusty back-up.)

babyled weaning prune juice

Prune juice! Isla was having some diaper trouble since the introduction of solids so we started giving her a little prune juice with her meals. First of all, she loved it! And second, it worked! We tried pear juice first for a few days and that didn’t help, plus, to my surprise, she prefers the prune juice.

baby led weaning

So what’s next, mom?! Isla is turning seven months old this weekend and since she’s getting really good at managing a variety of textures and tastes, I’m feeling brave and want to try some actual recipes. Simple, basic things with pasta, then maybe add an avocado or pesto sauce (I’m waiting a little while to introduce tomato sauce and other acidic foods). I’m also contemplating meatballs and chicken, though I’m not quite sure how to go about the latter, plus cauliflower and another fruit. Any favorite recipes for a seventh-month-old? Any chicken suggestions?

For more about our journey with BLW:
BLW week one | BLW part two
Instagram (hashtag #BLWwithIslaBee)

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first pool day

Baby's first time at the pool

Isla took a dip in a pool for the very first time on Friday with my aunt and Anya at my grandparents’ country club. We realized while we were splashing around that this is very same pool where I took my first dip and where my mom took hers, too. I love that. Three generations in this very same place. Amazing. Not surprisingly, Isla loved every minute. She’s obsessed with bath time and gets excited any time she sees running water so I had a feeling she’d be a fish. She was kicking, splashing on a boogie board and flirting with a little boy who kept swimming by. It was pretty adorable. I have yet to drunk her though. Chris couldn’t be with us and I don’t like to do many firsts without him so he’s going to have to come with us next time! I think it’s only a matter of time before she starts dunking herself!

Baby's first time at the pool  Isla and Mama at the Pool

Baby's first time at the pool

Baby's first time at the pool

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ham and cheese

Isla making funny faces while eating avocado and sweet potatoes

You may have noticed there was no official baby-led weaning update this week. That’s because the last two weeks have been a bit slow. We did introduce a few new foods though and I have more in the mix for the weekend so I’ll be sure to update you next week. I will say that as we go along she’s getting better and better at handling her food. She’s grabbing and holding things with one hand, is starting to pinch at small chunks with her thumb and forefinger (and is actually able to pick them up sometimes!) and the gagging is very minimal as she gets more comfortable. Also, this face. This. Face. I can’t even handle it. She’s my ham and cheese.

Have a great weekend! xx

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iced caffè mocha

How to make homemade iced caffè mocha drink with a Bialetti Moka pot stovetop espresso machine

When I was commuting an hour to work every morning I looked forward to my Starbucks run. It was really the only thing that could get me through that dreaded drive. Of course, it was hard on the bank account when I had a steady paycheck and now that I’m home full-time I really can’t justify the daily expense. My need for morning caffeine, however, has not diminished. I’ve always been a loose tea lover, but I crave an iced caffè mocha during the hot summer months and I love a hot, frothy chai tea latte in winter. After reading a bunch of reviews on home espresso pots and spending several weeks perfecting my ingredient ratios, I finally have the perfect recipe for my beloved mocha, which is an espresso drink mixed with milk and chocolate (I don’t like the taste of straight coffee). We bought the Bialetti Moka Express stove top espresso maker for only $24, which is the equivalent of one week of drinks at Starbucks (!!!) so it was a no-brainer purchase. It doesn’t help with my inability to create the perfect chai tea at home, but I’m eager to have a go at a dirty chai recipe (that’s a chai latte with a shot of espresso) so stay tuned. Keep reading below for my thoughts on the Bialetti pot and the complete iced caffè mocha recipe …

How to make homemade iced caffè mocha drink with a Bialetti Moka pot stovetop espresso machine

When it came time to buy coffee beans for espresso, I had no clue what to get. I’ve never even made a pot of coffee. Come to think of it, we don’t own a coffee pot! So I went to my local coffee shop and asked for help. They sold me the same bag they use to make espresso drinks and ground the beans for me.

How to make homemade iced caffè mocha drink with a Bialetti Moka pot stovetop espresso machine

The Bialetti comes in different sizes depending on the servings you want. When purchasing your pot, think about how many servings you will need each time you make espresso because you must make the entire pot (you can’t use less water or coffee depending on how many servings you need). We bought a three-cup, which means each batch produces about three, two-ounce servings. I end up splitting it up so Chris and I each get a serving and there is none left over. (He drinks a regular hot latte). This would be my only complaint about this pot. If we have guests, they’re out of luck! On a daily basis though it’s the perfect size for us. It’s also a great size for travel.

How to make homemade iced caffè mocha drink with a Bialetti Moka pot stovetop espresso machine

A tip I learned when researching the Bialetti: Wash with soap and water before using for the first time and then wash with warm water only (no soap) after every use. Also, dump your very first batch.

How to make homemade iced caffè mocha drink with a Bialetti Moka pot stovetop espresso machine

This is a two-ounce shot glass, which I use to make sure I’m not giving myself too much caffeine, 1. because I’m still breastfeeding and 2. because I’m a wuss and will get the caffeine shakes!

How to make homemade iced caffè mocha drink with a Bialetti Moka pot stovetop espresso machine

One of the bonuses of making my own mocha is that I get to control how much chocolate to add. The Starbucks version is on sugar steroids and I found myself crashing midmorning. I don’t use nearly as much syrup as they do (I’ve watched them!) and I don’t experience that crash when I make it myself. Also, I tried a few different chocolates as I was perfecting my recipe. Hershey’s was pretty blah. Ghirardelli hot cocoa mix was sold in the stores, so I gave it a try, but the problem with the powder is that you can’t add more later. It doesn’t dissolve well once the ice and milk are added. The flavor was also just okay. More like chocolate milk than espresso. I’ve settled on Ghirardelli chocolate sauce (which I bought from Amazon) and it’s a winner. I only use about a tablespoon but you can adjust for your own tastes. Now it’s hard for me to drink the Starbucks version because I love my concoction so much more!

How to make homemade iced caffè mocha drink with a Bialetti Moka pot stovetop espresso machine

Iced Caffè Mocha Recipe

stove top espresso maker (for the purposes of this post, I’m using the Bialetti Moka Express)
ground coffee beans
2 tbsp Ghirardelli chocolate syrup
ice cubes
6 oz milk

fill Bialetti base with water up to safety valve
insert funnel and fill loosely with ground coffee
screw on top compartment
brew on low heat on the stove (make sure the fire doesn’t come up around the sides of the pot) until the espresso bubbles up into the top compartment. remove from stove immediately.
squirt chocolate into bottom of desired glass
pour 2 ounces of espresso into glass
mix chocolate and espresso
*add ice cubes
fill glass with approximately 6 ounces of milk

*I’ve read that it’s best to add the milk before the ice cubes so as not to “shock” the hot espresso, but I’ve found ice before milk tastes better. I can’t explain why though so feel free to play around with your measurements and the order in which you mix the ingredients.

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isla’s six-month essentials

Isla's 6-month essentials: Sophie the Giraffe teether; Svan Complete High Chair; Bright Starts Grab and Stack Blocks; NUK Soft Spout Learner Cup; Haba Rira Clutching Toy; Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack; BabyBjorn Soft Bib; Where's Ellie? Board BookWe try our best as new parents to be minimalists. We stick to books, wooden toys and other basics from which we think Isla will really benefit. At six months old she’s rolling every which way, grabs anything and everything, loves turning the pages during story-time, rocks back and forth on all fours as if she’s going to catapult into a crawl at any moment and is quickly learning to feed herself. She loves all things bright, books she can chew, toys that crinkle and the feel of wood on her gums. Feeding time has also become very important (follow our journey with baby-led weaning), but introducing solids is messy business. Having the right gear is essential. Here are a few things we wouldn’t want to do without around here (listed clockwise).

Bright Starts Grab and Stack Blocks. Two of these have bells inside and the other two make that crinkling noise babies go nuts over. They’re colorful, have fun animals, numbers and letters on them and they’re very lightweight so they are easy travel companions.
NUK Learner Cup. Isla grabbed hold of those handles the very first time we gave her this sippy cup. It’s durable (she throws it all over the place), easy to use/clean/carry and so far there’s only minimal spillage (but I think it’s coming from Isla’s mouth, not the cup).
Haba Rira Clutching Toy. This wooden rattle was recommended by Lynzy, of Sparkling Footsteps. I am partial to wooden toys in general and I love that this one is small enough for Isla’s tiny fists. She eats it all day long because, I imagine, it feels great on her sore gums.
Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Rock-a-Stack. I don’t know about you, but these were a staple when we were babies and it appears nothing has changed. Isla goes crazy for the rings and has become a pro at getting them off (and chewing them).
BabyBjorn Soft Bib. I bought a two-pack of these bibs and haven’t used anything else for feeding since they arrived. Baby-led weaning is a mess, but these bibs catch nearly everything she drops in front of her. She’s even started to realize and reach in there to grab her food! It’s pretty amazing. This bib is a mealtime necessity and huge clean-up saver for us.
Where’s Ellie? Board Book. This is the first book Isla really seems to understand. She searches and searches for Ellie (you can tell she’s concentrating very hard), turns the pages as quickly as possible when she doesn’t see Ellie (she tries to cheat and skip to the last page, too, because she’s figured it out) and cannot control her excitement at the end when we find that silly pachyderm. And then we start all over again. We also love Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, The Going to Bed Book and Hello Bugs (which I bought because of the bee on the cover not realizing she’d love it so much!).
Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether. Oh, Sophie. We don’t leave home without her. We started with the mini Sophie when Isla was a newborn because it was easier for her to grab but we’ve since graduated to full-size Sophie. I sort of feel like I’m giving my daughter a dog toy, but hey, anything that makes her this happy … I don’t care if it really is a dog toy!
Svan Complete High Chair. I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but we love this high chair. Baby-led weaning means mealtime with Isla can sometimes take a while so her high chair has to be comfortable and the right size for her to feed herself. This one is easy to clean, looks nice with all of our regular furniture and is the perfect size for both Isla and our home.

What are some of your infant essentials?

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