I shared at the end of last year that I was going to be incorporating more recipes that are good for the whole family including a weaning baby. Baby weaning dishes can pretty much be anything we eat minus the salt. The key to remember is less is more, the fewer ingredients in the recipe the easier it is to control what the baby eats. Our weaning journey with Morgan has been mostly baby led weaning, which means that we don’t puree her food and allow her to feed herself. But right now in these early stages of feeding she hasn’t quite mastered getting food to her mouth all of the time so I always make sure I feed her the first few bites and then let her play. It has been amazing to see how quickly her chewing ability has grown. Many people worry about babies choking on foods so they rely sole on pureed foods until they are older. But with careful thought to how the food is prepared and placed in front of them you will be amazed at what a baby can achieve in such a short amount of time. More often then not the early ‘choking’ that you see a baby do is actually a gag reflux. A babies gag reflux is triggered further forward from the air way then an adults in order to actually prevent a baby from choking. So when a six- or seven-month-old baby gags it doesn’t necessarily mean the food is too close to the airway or that the baby is choking. Once this reflux has been triggered several times the baby learns not to put so much food in their mouth and it also teaches them to not push too big of a chunk into the back of the throat. It can be hard for a parent to watch but it is actually an important learning stage in their life and if they have to learn it at some point I say the earlier the better. When Morgan first started trying to eat food almost every other bite would go to the back of her throat and cause her to start gagging and then she would throw the food up. But after only a few weeks of eating food she has learned not to allow the food to go that far back in her mouth when it is so big and even when she does gag now it isn’t as bad and she manages to dislodge the food without throwing up.
Even if you don’t feel that baby led weaning is right for you make sure that you carve out some time for the baby to play with some food while sitting in their highchair. It is amazing how much learning goes on during these play times. I have watched Morgan problem solve how to pick up the slippery banana and get it to her mouth without squishing it in her hand, it is a wonderful, messy activity for you both to enjoy together.
This recipe came from my desire to create a pasta sauce that Chris and I could enjoy with Morgan and also one that would be healthier then the typical meat pasta sauces. This lentil tomato sauce was so delicious and meaty it tasted like there actually was meat in it and all three of us really enjoyed it.
Lentil Tomato Sauce
190g (1 c.) dry brown lentils
500mL (2 c.) water
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
4oo (14.5 oz) of tinned tomatoes
handful of fresh basil
Bring lentils, water, thyme and basil to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the lentils are al dente. Drain and set aside.
Saute onion and garlic in a small amount of olive oil for 2-3 minutes, until the garlic is soft and just starting to brown.
Add the lentils, tomatoes and the fresh basil. Simmer on low heat with a lid for 30 minutes, making sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Serve over pasta.