Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Dairy free finger foods

Baby led weaning is very popular at the moment. The philosophy centres around babies weaning at their own pace, and having food from the family's plate. Not such a bad idea, right? It means less cooking for you as you can just siphon things off of your plate and on to baby's. 
Not T - just a stock photo from pixabay.com! 

I don't always find this practical however. When we're out to eat, I can't always trust that our food will be made to the same strict dietary requirements that I do at home, so I tend to bring food for T with me wherever we go. 

Some babies aren't very keen on feeding themselves, whilst others scream at the sight of a spoon. I mix and match spoon-feeding and finger foods for T, as I find that this is the right balance for us. 

If you are interested in baby-led weaning, then I can recommend this book as a good source of information:

BLW bible! 

As a parent of a child with CMA who is no longer breastfed (meaning I can eat dairy again - yay!), it's not always practical for T to share from our plate, as we may have used unsuitable ingredients. However, when weaning, it's important for your baby to get to grips with holding, chewing and experimenting with foods and textures themselves. 

It can be quite tiring going through the labels of supermarket packs of finger foods for dairy ingredients (even though food labelling has become much better lately).

Here are some simple dairy free finger foods for baby:

  • Cooked vegetables - carrot, courgette, sweet potato, green beans, sugar snap peas, mange tout, parsnip, squash, whole baby sweetcorn, asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower florets. 
  • Raw vegetables - cucumber, avocado, tomato slices, red pepper.  
  • Fresh fruit - firm favourites in our house are satsumas, nectarines, pears, mango and banana, but you could also try plums, strawberry, apple, apricot, melon, and papaya. (Remember to remove stones).
  • Breads - toast (white or wholemeal), pitta breads, bread sticks, chapatti. 
  • Oat or rice cakes - (check that the oat cakes are dairy free, many of the ones I've come across aren't) spread with mashed avocado, nut butters or hummus
  • Cold cooked pasta - fusili or penne can be easily gripped by small hands. 
  • Dried fruit - eg dried apple rings or apricots. Try to get non-sulphur dioxide preserved ones.
  • Cooked meats - thin strips of chicken or beef can be easily 'gummed' by baby, but remember that foods like these can pose a choking risk. 
  • Egg - slices of hard boiled egg, or strips of omelette. (Make sure the egg is thoroughly cooked). 

Keeping a stocked fruit bowl in our house

Always supervise your child eating. 

Make sure you check the ingredients for yourself to ensure they are dairy free.

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