With all the learning and new discoveries happening in the first year of your child’s life (for both you and baby), the best thing you can do is find the greatest time savers, parenting hacks and pro-tips to make things just a little easier on yourself. Mealtimes can be stressful as it is without having to worry about the dietary restrictions of an infant, so finding the best time and sanity savers for feeding baby was high on my priority list.
As someone who generally likes to cook and try new recipes as well as control all of the ingredients that my children are eating, I enjoy making my own baby food. With my first child I learned to steam or roast different ingredients and then pour them all into a small, low powered blender to grind them up into a medium suitable for my toothless infant. This worked for me and I began to enjoy coming up with new combinations and seeing what flavour profiles she took to. Four years and another child later, I still enjoy cooking but I find that I have become more of a short order cook and less of a gourmet chef. Balancing the dietary
demands preferences of my toddler along with the meals for both my husband and I and now a solid eating baby was becoming overwhelming and resulted in lots of dishes. And then I was introduced to the Beaba Babycook and mealtimes are forever changed.
One machine that both steams and purees food in the same container, this workhorse has been awarded a permanent spot on my countertop. With the ability to steam fruits, vegetables, meat or fish from raw to fully cooked in 15 minutes while locking in the nutrients and vitamins, my mealtimes have added variety but newfound simplicity. The Babycook model I have is equipped with two large capacity bowls so I am able to cook two completely different meals at one time and then puree them (if I so desire) to the consistency I need. For breakfast I am able to make myself a smoothie on one side while I steam fruits or veggies to mix infant cereal on the other side. I can make plain chicken for my toddler at dinner while I make a three veg puree for my son on the other side. And I am never cleaning more than 4 dishes to prepare it all.
After owning this machine for just a few weeks I have already made dozens of different meals- from simple steamed carrot puree to a three food group mashup, and surprisingly all have been a success. I have found myself getting more adventurous in the kitchen again to explore new tastes and combinations. In case you are looking to try something new, here is one of my favourites that I have made to date.
I heard of a famous NYC chef that would whip roasted bananas into his mashed potatoes to create a side dish that people raved about all over the country. I used this as inspiration for this simple recipe.
Roasted Banana and Sweet Potato Mash
3 bananas in the peel
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2″ cubes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place bananas on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a non stick backing mat. Cook bananas for 20-25 minutes, until skins turn brown and some of the sticky juices begin to leak out. Allow bananas to cool slightly.
While bananas are cooking in the oven, place chopped sweet potatoes in the Babycook steamer basket. Fill water reservoir to a level 3, close the lid and press the steam button to begin cooking. After 15 minutes or so, the timer will sound and the potatoes are ready. Use the Babycook spatula to tip the steamer basket over into the remaining cooking liquid and puree the potatoes until they are lump free. Peel the cooked bananas open and dump the mushy insides into the sweet potato puree. Stir with the spatula and then blend until both ingredients are smooth and combined. This makes around 6 servings so pour the remainder in an air tight container and store in the fridge, or use the Beaba Multiportions to freeze the leftovers.
Watch as baby delights in this sweet but nutritious treat.
My son loves this combination and I don’t mind sneaking in a few bites myself. The best part is that once it is made, I can reheat the leftovers in the Babycook on another night and not worry about dirtying another pot, inconsistent microwave heating or burning it on the stove. The MultiPortions make it easy to heat one serving at a time and it pops out easily from the silicone tray, meaning I don’t have to thaw it in advance.
The Babycook has certainly changed the way I make food for my children and has made mealtimes much easier and truthfully, a bit more exciting. Using the cooking guidelines in the included recipe book and instruction manual allows you to create your own combinations and when you are feeling less creative you can find a ton of recipes on the Beaba website and around the internet. As your child grows, you can continue to use this to prepare different stage foods and I am looking forward to trying those out in the near future. Finding a time saving gadget that is healthy, is not quickly outgrown and is easy to use is an all around win in my books!
We all make New Year’s resolutions and we all try really hard to keep them… but when you have a baby that makes it extra tough.
Here are the Top 10 New Year’s resolutions that people make and some suggestions on how Snuggle Bugz can help you keep them.
1. Keep Fit and Healthy: The number one New Year’s resolution that people make is to keep fit and stay healthy. If that’s on your list, Snuggle Bugz can set you up with a jogging stroller so that you can include baby while being active.
2. Get Organized: From your nursery to your playroom, Pehr storage pints can help you keep all your baby products and toys nice and organized. Or if it’s your car that needs some tidying up, Snuggle Bugz carries several types of backseat organizers for your bottles, toys and more!
3. Learn Something New: Want to learn something new this year? We’ve got one for you… how about making your own baby food? It’s a breeze with Beaba’s Babycook, a compact countertop appliance that functions as a steamer, blender, warmer and defroster to prepare fresh, healthy meals for baby.
4. Stop Procrastinating: Are you dreading the challenge of potty training your toddler? Not to worry, if that’s on your list of to-do’s this year, Snuggle Bugz has a lot of potty products to assist and our blog on “Potty Training Essentials” has some helpful tips!
5. Quality Family Time: Family time is special time especially when the little ones are young. Janod has some cute, simple toys that make play time with baby fun for you and them.
6. Read More: Is reading more on your list of things to do in the New Year? If so, why not read more to baby. Check out Thomas Allen’s new line of “Indestructibles!”, baby books that don’t rip/tear and can even be washed in the dishwasher or washing machine.
8. Spend Less, Save More: If your New Year’s resolution is to save money make sure to check out our Snuggle Deals page and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for information on upcoming sales and promotions.
9. Travel More: Do you want to travel more this year? Travel with baby is easy when you have the City Tour stroller. It is lightweight and it folds small enough to be carried in its backpack-style travel bag that comes with it.
10. Get more Sleep: New Year’s resolution or not, who doesn’t want more sleep! If you need some help getting your baby into a good sleep routine, check out Snuggle Bugz’ Blog series “Sleep Tight” by Alanna McGinn, founder and certified sleep consultant of GoodNightSleep Site. Like us on Facebook to receive notifications on when Free In-store Sleep Clinics are happening at local Snuggle Bugz stores near you.
Well…it is that time of the year already!
BACK TO SCHOOL and with that comes trying to pack healthy (and interesting) snacks and lunches.
I have now gotten a full year under my belt as not only did I pack lunches for the previous school year but I had a full summer of summer camps to pack for as well.
My daughter’s school, like many schools now, promotes “Garbage Free” lunches. So food has to be taken out of wrappers and packages and any uneaten food comes home. While it’s not always the easiest or most convenient to keep everything garbage free, it’s nice to see that the school is being environmentally conscience, not to mention I get to see what she doesn’t eat during the day.
With my soon to be 5-year-old daughter heading into SK this September, she does “help” pack her lunches even if it is only packing baby carrots into a small Colibri reusable snack bag. Although, trust me when I say she is not shy in giving her opinion on what she would like Mommy to prep and pack!
The Colibri reusable snack bags are a must-have and they are SUPER EASY to clean. Our personal favourite is the “Colour Your Own” bag – it helped to make getting ready for school that much more fun. I wish I knew about this when my daughter was starting daycare – it would have been great to see her toddler version too!
Alongside the Colibri reusable bags we also love using Skip Hop’s Zoo Lunch kit alongside bento boxes to pack our lunches in. She loves the cute butterfly pattern, and is able to open and close the containers without issue. Did I mention it doesn’t leak? Thank goodness for rubber seal locks, am I right?
My daughter loves finding special notes from Mommy and Daddy in her lunch box. Her Drink in a Box comes with a reusable label – Scribble On The Box– so we can surprise her everyday with a new note! This is also a great option for staying environmentally conscience and provides her with healthier beverages options for lunch. A household favourite – adding fresh fruit to her water!
We also send her with a Klean Kanteen Insulated Steel Bottle especially during the warmer months as it keeps her water cold all day.
Even though sometimes I find it quicker to prep lunches by myself, letting my daughter help in the lunch making/packing decisions, has been a a great way to teach her about healthy eating as well as getting her excited about what she is eating.
There are lots of books and online resources to give you inspiration.
My favourites include:
Best wishes to all the kids and their families for a healthy and happy school year and keeping those lunches fun and interesting!
When I was pregnant with my first child, I read all the books, asked for all the advice, and thought I was pretty well prepared for this motherhood thing. Famous last words.
I was going to have a natural birth without an epidural thankyouverymuch. Seven hours into labouring, I went with the epidural. Though it was a bit of a hit to my pride, I knew enough women who chose the epidural, and, did I mention that pain was excruciating? So in the end, I had no regrets and rarely thought it through again. In fact, my next two births would be happily medicated, but that’s another story.
The much more pervasive, and larger hit to my pride would come only a few weeks later, and wouldn’t fully subside until after my third child was weaned – breastfeeding. With the same gusto that I entered the delivery room set on a natural birth, I left the hospital waving my Breast Is Best flag. It wasn’t until a month into breastfeeding that I realized something wasn’t right.
Our daughter was still below birth weight at over a month old, I was nursing around the clock, and my breasts felt perpetually empty and soft. I ate the foods, took the baths, and drank the teas. I considered the doctor-recommended medication but was intimidated by the possible side-effects, and so instead I took to nursing on demand and pumping when my daughter would sleep longer than two hours. Pumping scarcely yielded 1-2 ounces and she would cry for more when my breasts were clearly empty. One night, about two months in, it all came to a head.
Our daughter had slept for five hours straight and had not fed in close to seven hours. I forgot to set my alarm to wake myself up to pump, so it was the longest I’d gone without nursing and she’d gone without eating. She was famished and furious, and my breasts had nothing to give. My husband, my baby, and I were all in tears as we frantically googled information and I fruitlessly willed my breasts to produce milk. Suddenly I remembered that we had a small tin of formula buried somewhere in the pile of things we were planning to take to the donation bin – a free sample sent to expecting mothers in our province. We raced to the kitchen to make our first ever formula bottle and in a few minutes we saw our daughter’s crying cease, her face relax, and her body nourished until she was full – perhaps for the first time.
I still continued to breastfeed for many months after that, but also supplemented with formula after feeds, and eventually full-time. I loved nursing my daughter and did it as long as it made sense for our family. But I also loved bottle feeding her, because it achieved what my low supply couldn’t, and at the end of the day, aren’t all mothers just trying their best to provide for their babies?
For our second child, I went into breastfeeding with the hope of nursing exclusively, but the knowledge that it might not work out, and I’d be no less of a mother if it didn’t. I’d like to say that it allowed me to feed my son without guilt or doubt, but I still struggled with feelings of not being enough. It was less intense, but those feelings were still there.
When our third child came along, I attempted nursing yet again but this time I saw any feed where I was able to produce milk as a gift, and had no assumptions. I enjoyed those feeds thoroughly, especially after discovering the nipple guard – where were those blessed inventions with my first two babies?! And I also savoured my many bottle feeding sessions with her. The first two taught me that the baby stage is so fleeting, and to enjoy each bit – even the parts you wish you could do differently. I wasted so much time regretting that I couldn’t nurse exclusively, instead of savouring the precious moments with my newborns snuggled up on my lap with a bottle.
If you are lucky enough and choose to breastfeed, enjoy every minute. There are a plethora of resources out there to help you if you’re struggling, and things I tried to no avail, may be just the ticket for you. But if you choose to, or must bottle feed, please enjoy every minute of that as well. Nourishing and nurturing our little ones is a high calling, and there’s no one way to do it well.
Emily is a Montreal-based writer and blogger, but most importantly, a mom of three littles (age five and under). She geeks out over cloth diapers, lattes, and will do just about anything to travel. You can find her on Instagram @emmorrice where she profusely overgrams pictures of her meals, kids and city.
Summer is here and nothing kicks off warm weather fun like a long weekend! Bathing suits are on, fireworks and cookouts are planned, and children (and adults) across the country are searching for a cool, refreshing treat that will result in sticky faces and satisfied tummies. We’ve found the perfect treat that is both easy to make and kid friendly!
Ice cream sandwiches are a great way to combine a cool blast with a crunchy treat. Sweet Pea Organic Cookies are a favourite among both young and old at our house and with their 100% whole grain organic ingredients, they are a great way to make a special treat a little healthier and are the perfect size to make a kid portion. Available in four different flavours, you can customize your ice cream sandwiches to build any combination of flavours you like, satisfying even the pickiest of palates.
A fun activity to do with kids, try making some this weekend (bonus points if you decorate them red and white for Canada Day.) My helper loved making these almost as much as she enjoyed eating them!
Here is how we made our Sweet Pea Ice Cream Sandwiches:
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone non stick mat like Silpat.
2. Line up bowls of your favourite ice cream toppings to decorate with.
3. Pick your favourite Sweet Pea Cookie flavours (we especially love the Strawberry Vanilla and Sweet Apple) and line an even amount of them with tops facing down on your baking sheet.
4. Using a 1 Tbsp Ice Cream Scoop, place a scoop on half of all the cookies. Using a scoop will help keep a consistent amount on each cookie and will also keep the ice cream contained. Work quickly because this can be melty business!
5. Once you have placed the ice cream on the first set of cookies, top each scoop with a plain cookie, pressing gently to spread/flatten the ice cream to cover the bottom cookie surface.
6. Place the entire tray in the freezer to firm up for at least an hour (the waiting is the hardest part!)
7. Once your sandwiches have firmed up, take them out of the freezer one by one to decorate. You can roll them in sprinkles, chocolate chips, nuts, fruit- just about anything you like to pair with your ice cream! Cover the surface of the ice cream sides and then place it back in the freezer while you continue to decorate the rest.
If you try out this recipe this weekend, leave us a comment or a picture and let us know how it turned out! As a special treat, all Sweet Pea Organic Cookies are on sale this weekend so grab them while you can! If you have don’t like ice cream
we can’t be friends the cookies are also delicious on their own! Cheers to the long weekend! Happy Canada Day Everyone!
Posts You Might Like
- Baby Carriers
- Behind the Bump
- Brand Spotlight
- Car Seat Safety
- Cloth Diapering
- Diaper Bags
- Double Strollers
- Get the Look
- Life With Baby
- Mom Talk
- Nursery Design by Nesting Story
- Nursery Styles
- Potty Training
- Product Feature
- Product Recalls
- Product Reviews
- Save vs Splurge
- Snuggle News
- Staff Spotlight
- The Mom Files
- Tough Subjects
- Winter Gear