I’ll never forget how scared I was this time one year ago: eight months pregnant, beginning of lockdown, wiping down groceries that my husband picked up in what I could only imagine was a post-apocalyptic grocery store free-for-all. (I hadn’t left the house in weeks and had no concept of the outside world…and I’ve watched “Contagion” too many times.)
When we realized we could just have our groceries DELIVERED, for a fee, I was skeptical. I didn’t love the idea of someone choosing my produce for me, and paying for it seemed a little insane. But after a few deliveries, I realized I was actually saving PILES of money, and time. We’ll get to that in a minute.
Hear me out…
For the first time, I actually saw what groceries cost. Instead of mindlessly dropping things in the cart and keeping a very rough tally of my grand total, building my cart online was eye-opening and a little surprising. I’d set a limit for myself and quickly realize that if I bought the usual “essentials,” I was always going over that number in my head.
I didn’t have the urge to buy those end-cap impulse items which are specifically placed front and center, and are usually more expensive than other brands. (think the “HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND BBQ WITH CHIPS, SALSA, VELVEETA AND S’MORES! that smacks you in the face after you get your toothpaste. Which leads me to number three…
Impulse buys cost more than the delivery fee and tip. You know what I didn’t plan on buying before going into the store? $75 steaks. A fancy cheese platter concept based on the $14 wedge of brie which I’ll shove in a drawer and forget about completely.
Since we are now a year in and I DON’T spend 40 minutes scrubbing down boxes of crackers on the front porch, I have a fairly stream-lined process. Delivery isn’t essential all the time, but I do plan my shopping list throughout the week, adding things as need.
Pro-tip: plan the list online, screenshot it, and then use that at the store.
Better yet, screenshot this image and save it for any time you need to restock your BLW essentials. These 12 items on their own could be meals in a pinch, and are great paired with any protein or vegetable you’re already cooking for yourself.
Consider this your permission to take shortcuts that could save you time and money…and if it means one less frazzled grocery run, it has already paid for itself.
I have a confession: I stocked up on piles of purees before I started learning about baby-led weaning. It freaked me out until I learned from the very best, the BabyLedWeanTeam, and I armed myself with all of the knowledge I’d need to feel confident.
Here are some of the biggest things to know before you start:
Gagging is GOOD, choking is not. Google “baby gagging videos” and watch a lot of them. If your baby is making sounds, they are learning to clear their airways. No sound=no breathing. Brush up on your baby CPR just in case.
On that note, never leave baby unattended while eating. Sit with them and watch them closely. Try to avoid reaching for them if they are gagging. It could cause them to inhale and then start choking.
Pay attention to sodium! Try to stay under 100mg per serving and don’t add any additional salt to the food you are serving. Aromatics are great: cinnamon, pepper, garlic powder, etc. Rinsing canned food such as beans helps remove an additional 30% of sodium.
This may be a no-brainer, but serve food at room temperature or cool.
If possible, put baby in a chair that has a footrest. If their feet dangle, they have little to no core stability. Read more about it here. We solved this problem with our Inglesina table chair by sliding a dining chair underneath it. Maya’s feet are flat so can focus her energy on swallowing safely.
So…where to start? These 10 foods are also some of my favorite BLW staples that I always have on hand.
Sweet Potato: Peel, slice into wedges about the size of your pinky, toss in olive oil and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
Avocado: These can be hard to pick up, so offer as wedges and smash a few up with a fork.
Chicken: Boneless skinless thighs are less of a choking hazard than chicken breasts. Put the thighs in a small saucepan and add water or low sodium chicken broth until they are just covered. Bring to a boil and then simmer until meal shreds easily with a fork, about 10 minutes (internal temp of 165 degrees.) Serve in strips.
Pineapple: Canned is just fine! I like Dole pineapple slices in 100% pineapple juice. Cut into strips and serve.
Yogurt: Look for full-fat, low sodium options. And be ready for a BIG mess!
Carrots: Peel and cut into matchsticks. Drizzle olive oil over the top and season with pepper and garlic or ginger. Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes, until very soft.
Oatmeal: For the first time introducing this, I pulverized the oats in a blender to make them a little smaller. In a small saucepan, combine 1c water, 1/2c oats, and 1/2t of cinnamon. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed. -Toppings to add to the boiling water after week 1: Diced apples, hemp hearts, chia seeds.
Cantaloupe: This one can also be hard to pick up. If baby is struggling, try rolling one end in flax seeds.
Cauliflower: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut one large head of cauliflower into florets. Leave a little bit of them the stem as a handle. Toss in olive oil and season with your favorite savory (low-to no sodium) spices: garlic powder, basil, turmeric, curry. Pick 1-2 flavors to start. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes until fork tender.
Applesauce: Look for no-sugar-added options. **not sugar-free.**