Planning your Baby’s Meals Ahead

I have been brought up eating homecooked food by my late grandmother throughout my growing years and even as a busy working part time mother and stay at home mom, I am committed to bring up Matilda the same way. I believe good nutrition starts from home and the heart. I have been cooking for her since she started weaning and I am always constantly ensuring she is eating well, trying with new ingredients. Fresh ones.

I came across this term ” Baby Weekly Meal Planner’ in my baby weaning reference book by Annabel Karmel. Basically, it is to draft out what your baby is going to have for breakfast, lunch, teatime and dinner for the week. It is simple, just draw out a table with 7 columns for 7 days of the week and 4 rows across the columns to indicate ” Breakfast/ Lunch/ Teatime/ Dinner”. Fill in with the recipe name within the boxes.

I dont usually plan one but when I predict that the coming week may be hectic and more unpredictable, I will plan one to ensure that my baby has enough food and that I am not over exhausted out from rushing to shop for groceries and to cook. It is also a bit more challenging to find time and energy to cook for 8months old Matilda as her gourmet repertoire expands and also for ourselves.

So, here’s my personal insights on why you would want to have a weekly meal planner.

1.) Saves time and costs on groceries

Have you ever been caught in situations where cooking is aborted because you forget to buy certain ingredients or simply run out of it? Meal planning helps you to see the overview for that week and you can get all the ingredients you need in one or two groceries shopping trips. And the best part is there might be some discounts when you buy more.

2.) Reduce throwing out expired ingredients

For that week, have recipes that contain a few common ingredients so that you are not just getting a particular vegetable just for that dish only. Because usually, some extras usually ended up turning bad or we used that ingredient just once and probably chuck it aside until we forgot about it. For example, I will make Braised Beef and Chicken Stew, so I know I will have carrots and sweet potatoes as the common ingredients. I will probably not make Spinach with Fish and Braised Beef together as that means I will have to get more different ingredients altogether.

3.) Makes meals storage manageable

Unless you really have more time on hand and cooks fresh daily, or have a big fridge and plenty of storage cups, you need to work out if there are enough storage cups or fridge space to go around. I ever got over ambitious and made 2 dishes in one session and forgotten that I had some meals in the storage cups in the freezer. I ended up using other food containers of all sorts and squeezed them into the freezer. You can also calculate the number of portions you will get from the recipes or something else you have worked out based on your child’s consumption.

4.) Extras for the dinner table

Dont be surprised that actually there are many baby food recipes that taste so good even without seasoning. Planning for meals for your baby may also mean you can cook extra and serve them on the dinner table for the entire family. For me, I cook extras for my dog and stopped buying dog canned food and save a huge chunk. My dog loves baby food too!

It takes some practice, patience and lots of love to do it for your child. The results is often fulfilling and remarkable. I like to share what I cooked on my Instagram. Follow me on Instagram @mamaandmatilda.

Fish with Spinach and Cheese

Fish with Spinach and Cheese

Fish with Spinach and Cheese

This is a recipe from Annabel Karmel’s ” The Healthy Baby Meal Planner”. Combining cheese sauce with fish and vegetables is a good way to hide some of these food if baby doesnt like them. The creamy cheese does a very good job of masking the bitter taste of spinach and is extremely yummy.

What I love about this dish is the use of some peppercorn and bay leaf which gives this dish its distinctive aroma. I substituted codfish with flounder fish because I like codfish for its less fishy smell, lesser bones and high in DHA content. This dish is full iron packed with spinach for young babies’ growth at this stage. I also like to add in baby pasta to add texture. Matilda, like me, loves pasta very much.

Fish with Spinach and Chese

Fish with Spinach and Chese

 

In the Name of Nuturing the Child

I am going to share something part and parcel of every couple’s life- an argument in the morning. We were in the kitchen together and my husband was carrying 8 month old Matty while I was preparing her milk. Matty gripped his shirt tightly and he teased her that she was going to crumple his shirt. So what was the big deal about it? I was most irked at how he said it to her. As an attempt to develop both Matty’s English and Mandarin properly in the long run, Daddy will be speaking mainly to her in Chinese while I will be speaking to her in English. Parenting or language experts will tell you that children learn languages more effectively this way. So Daddy spoke in Mandarin but for the word ” wrinkled”, he used a dialect word for it. I snapped at him harshly and asked him why must he use dialect for that word? So he defended by saying it will be good to let her pick up some of our dialect as well.

I have nothing against dialect and I am proud of my own roots as a Chinese and dialect group. It was just that I do not want her to be influenced and speak with Chinese or English that is mixed with dialect jargons. To be frank, it sounds crude and as a parent, it makes me shudder when I imagine if my daughter speaks like that next time.

After snapping at him, he said to me firmly in a controlled manner that I should not had lost my temper and bark at him right in front of the baby. What if she learns that from me and eventually disrespects him? I could have spoken to him about it privately.

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
― James Baldwin

I went silent and apologised meekly, then he went off for work. Those words hit me hard and I thought about everything that I intended the “best” for our daughter. Was that moment of teaching what is the ” best” for her?

He was right. It was not about how good my intention was for our daughter but how I talked to him. I had displayed rudeness, disrespect, harshness and impatience to how I responded to his actions. If I dont change my behaviour, I think it is soon that our daughter is going to pick it up from me and react to Daddy in the same way that Mummy does.

I can’t explain why, since the birth of our daughter, I have been snapping at him more often. Many a times, it was related to things he said or did pertaining to our daughter which seemed to me were not essential or beneficial. I think the phrase ” primal mother’s innate defensive mechanism” is definitely not a reason for me to react this way to him. It is time that I should start praying about this aspect and that God give me His grace to be gracious to my husband too.

Later in the noon, I text him and apologised again, assuring that we love him and will never want to disrespect him. He said it was fine, and when he got home, we spent the evening happily together with our daughter.

Weighing between what would seem to benefit my daughter’s linguistic development versus the virtue of respect, the latter is paramount and nothing will change this.

1st iherb purchase: Organic babyfood for Matty

iherb purchases, organic baby food

iherb purchases, organic baby food

iherb.com is an excellent platform for buying organic food stuffs with wide range of household products for the entire family. This is my first purchase after much sharing from my best friend so I decided to give it a shot. The shipping rate to Singapore is cheap, SGD$4 for registered shipping and delivered right to your doorstep. There are usually greater discounts if you buy in more quantities.

From the picture above, I have bought the ” Happy series” of Happybellies brown rice powder with DHA and Choline, Happyyogis yoghurt snack, Happypuffs snacks, and baby yoghurt.

These will definitely last Matty for some time or probably not, because Papa and Mama find baby snacks irresistibly good too.

Finding good Tweets on parenting

I used to think that Twitter was pretty irritating with a whole load of page cluttered with tiny words, hashtags, some strange URL codes, some advertisement graphics etc. Just recently, I decided to pick up on how to use Twitter after I realized how these short tweet messages can especially be helpful and even educational to me, as a mother. I dedicate my Twitter page to follow some parenting and mothering pages. I also select who I follow carefully because I hate clutter of non-related tweets on my page.

Currently, I am following 15 profiles and here are some of my personal favourites: #annabelkarmel,#parentsmagazine, #babycenter, #kidshealth.

Share with me what’s your favourite parenting tweeting page?