These easy, healthy recipes are baby- and kid-friendly and perfect for baby-led weaning. They can also all be made ahead and stored in the freezer for meal-prep convenience.
No matter how much I want to flex my recipe creativity muscle and make cool, irresistible adult food, it’s been hard to ignore the fact that there’s a HUGE need out there for more baby-friendly and baby-led weaning recipes. There seem to be a lot of other mamas out there looking for healthy recipe inspiration for their little ones and I want to help!
I’ve got quite a few of my own baby-led weaning recipes I’ve been working on perfecting for all of you mamas out there – which you’ll be seeing soon – but, in the meantime, I reached out to some of my other mama blogger friends for their favorite baby-friendly and baby-led weaning recipes.
A list of what we considered were the essential baby products for months 6-12. The perfect reference to start your baby registry or Christmas list!
I hope you’re ready for Part II of my roundup – what we consider to be the essential baby products for months 6-12!
I’m sure I accidentally left out something, but this list is comprised of the things I considered “must-haves” during those second six months of our little babe’s life, and now is the perfect time to make your purchases with so many great sales going on at the end of the week.
So, without further ado…
Items are listed clockwise from top left.
Raia is still getting comfortable using the walker part of this VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker, but she loves the little activity panel. We feel safe with her on this one since our house is all one level with absolutely no stairs, but do use caution if you live somewhere that is multilevel!
These bibs are seriously the only bibs you’ll need once your little one moves on to solids. I love that they cover so much of them, can be wiped dry but are also machine-washable. Plus, can we talk about how cute all the designs are?
This swim seat was the hit of the summer. We don’t have a pool and didn’t want to run up our water bill with a kiddie pool, so I found this simple seat that takes hardly any water but is still a blast for the babes, even if they’re not completely sitting upright on their own yet. I highly recommend it!
Hands down the best decision we ever made in purchasing baby products was this $25 Ikea Antilop highchair. It’s not too big and clunky and so easy to clean. Nothing fancier needed.
Long story short, these Ezpz Mini Mats are the only plates you’ll need for your little once they start eating solid food. They’re dishwasher and microwave safe and – extra bonus – quite difficult for the littles to toss on the ground!
We were lucky to borrow a couple of friends’ bouncers to try with Raia, and she loved this one! It was a great step up from the bouncer chair and rock-and-play once she got too big for those, and is great for starting to build up those leg muscles.
Once Raia started rolling over, we transitioned her to these armless sleep sacks which we still use to this day. They’re not too restricting but still make them feel like they’ve got a little extra comfort.
I know there is a lot of controversy on the safety of walkers like this Joovy one, but again, we live in a one-story home with absolutely zero stairs and lots of open space, so we felt safe getting this for Raia to run around in. She loves it! I liked the Joovy one in particular because it was much simpler and had a lot less stuff going on than many of the other walkers out there. We couldn’t be happier with this choice.
In the same vein as not wanting a walker with too much “stuff” going on, I also didn’t want a play mat that was loud and obnoxious looking. I had been eyeing the Little Nomad mats but, honestly, they were a bit out of our price range. I was so excited to find this Emma + Ollie one for practically half the price and we love it! I’ve actually been thinking about investing in another one soon as Raia’s toys continue to take over our living room.
This Play & Kick Car Seat Toy was a lifesaver for long car rides with the babe once she stopped sleeping most of the way. She loved kicking it to make music and playing with the little toys hanging down. I’m so sad that she’s outgrown it a bit now because it was endless entertainment!
This VTech activity cube is just the type of toy I love – one that will entertain the babe for many, many months! It has a lot of fun stuff for the younger babes, but will also continue to challenge them as they get older. Very multi-purpose if you ask me.
And that’s all I have for you today! Be sure to check in tomorrow because I’ll be sharing what we considered to be the essential baby books to get us through the first year.
Also, be sure to let me know if there are other products that you consider “baby essentials” in the comments below!
An easy-to-make muffin loaded with pumpkin puree and shredded carrots. Naturally sweetened with applesauce, these muffins are perfect for kids, babies and adults. A great on-the-go snack!
If you’re looking for a simple, healthier snack for fall, these Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are for you! In fact not just for you, but for your kids, babies, kids’ friends, neighbors, babysitters…Well, you get the idea. They’re sure to please even the pickiest eaters and, since they’re only sweetened with applesauce, you don’t have to worry when your kids keep on going back for more.
As I mentioned in this Healthy Carrot Cake Pancake Recipe post, we opted to do baby-led weaning with our little one and she has shown no sensitivities to eggs, other dairy, gluten, etc. If your little one HAS shown sensitivities to any of these, obviously use your best judgment. Again, mother always knows best!
Since these Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are SUPER easy, and since we’re in Texas busy getting ready for my sis-in-law’s wedding tomorrow, I’m going to keep things short and sweet today. I mean, if you know how to stir a spoon and you know how to operate an oven, you’re in pretty good shape.
These muffins also happen to freeze well, so if you have a minute to bake some up this weekend, you’ll have the perfect treat for your whole family for the next week (if you’re lucky.)
But even though mom and dad may be sticking to the same old breakfast every morning (and honestly, most often for convenience’s sake) I’ve been really focusing on mixing things up for the little one so she is introduced to a wide variety of flavors and nutrients. I originally made this Oat Milk Chia Pudding with Blueberry Orange Compote for her to enjoy, but after tasting it I couldn’t help scooping up a big bowl for myself!
As I mentioned in my Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes post, we’re following the baby-led weaning method for introducing Raia to food, and have already tested her on dairy, wheat and nuts/nut butters with no adverse reactions. However, this recipe doesn’t contain ANY of those potential allergens, so even if you aren’t doing BLW (or your child has shown some sort of adverse reaction to any of the above) this is the perfect healthy recipe to keep in your arsenal.
Did I mention it’s so delicious you’ll probably even want to make it if you DON’T have any kids?
As all chia puddings do, this recipe does need to be started a day or two in advance, but aside from that the preparation is sooo easy. If you’re any sort of meal prepper, this recipe is for you. You’ll want to get the chia pudding started at least one night before you want to eat it, but I found it got even better with a couple of days in the refrigerator to set up.
As far as the compote, I recommend making it the day before as well since I’m not so sure how a warm compote would taste on the chilled pudding (could be good, though!) You can also use this compote as a no-sugar-added way to make a delicious PB&J for your little ones. Because we all know that’s another go-to for all us busy moms!
I can promise you this – once you taste this Oat Milk Chia Pudding with Blueberry Orange Compote, you won’t want to stop making it. It’s tasty, nutritious and, once it’s prepped, takes no time at all to serve. It’s the perfect breakfast for these last few summer days and still a great option once school starts up again in a couple of weeks.
Combine the chia seeds, oat milk and vanilla extract or paste in a Mason jar with a lid. Shake to combine and place in refrigerator for at least 12 and up to 36 hours.
To make the compote, combine blueberries, water and orange zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cooking until blueberries break down and mixture is reduced to a jam-like texture. Let cool completely before serving with chia pudding.
To serve, scoop some chia pudding into a bowl and top with compote.
With whole grains and naturally sweetened, these Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes are the perfect make-ahead bite for you AND all the little ones in your life. Who doesn’t like carrot cake for breakfast?
*This post is the first in a series of recipes I’ll be doing that ascribe to the philosophy of baby-led weaning, which is the method we have chosen to introduce solids to our little one. We’ve already tested her on all the potential allergens included in the ingredients (eggs, wheat, etc.) and she shows no sensitivity. Please use your discretion to decide if these recipes will be right for your babe. Mother always knows best!
All right mamas, you’ve been waiting so patiently and it’s finally here: my first baby-friendly recipe post! If you’re following me on my @caligirlkids (formerly @caligirlmomma) account, then you’ll know that we’ve been doing baby-led weaning with our little one. If you’re not familiar with baby-led weaning, the basic gist of it is trading in purees, mashes – your typical baby food – for solids and whole foods, essentially whatever you’re eating. You’re meant to allow your kid to explore, feed themselves and have a sense of autonomy about what they do and do not eat, which will (hopefully) set them up to be a more adventurous eater in the future.
We started our little one on solids shortly before she turned 6 months old, and it has been so fun watching her explore, try new things, learn how to chew and swallow, etc. She’s eaten curry-roasted squash, salmon, omelets, so many things. In fact, we have yet to find something she absolutely refuses to eat.
In the few months we’ve been doing baby-led weaning, one of my favorite things to make Raia is some sort of baked good with a hidden veggie inside. She loves grabbing on to pancakes, muffins, etc. because they are fairly easy for her to grasp, and I love the fact that she is getting a serving of vegetables at the same time (and, let’s be honest, what kid doesn’t love carbs?)
The only thing I have NOT loved about the “hidden veggie” method is the fact that you usually have to roast or steam the vegetable before you blend up the batter and, quite honestly, I usually don’t have time for that! So when I had a bunch of leftover carrots sitting in the refrigerator, rather than turning on the oven or stove, I decided to grate them and then throw them into the batter.
Since babies are more sensitive to sodium than adults, I never add salt to Raia’s baked goods (or really anything I make her, for that matter.) Instead, I get creative with herbs and spices. For these Carrot Cake Pancakes, for example, I added the OG spices clove, nutmeg and cinnamon.
I’m also really cognizant of how much sugar goes into everything I bake her. Banana and unsweetened applesauce are always great ways to add a touch of sweetness without too much added sugar, but in this particular case I opted to use some unsweetened apple butter we had sitting in the refrigerator. Finally, eggs and just a couple of tablespoons of flour (whole wheat, oat or almond would all work) bind everything together.
I love how every ingredient of these Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes is just thrown into a blender and poured directly into the baking pan. Once baked, I often throw all of the goodies into the freezer and defrost as needed to cut down on food waste. It’s also great to have a stash of different things to choose from.
I’ve got a lot more baby-friendly recipes coming your way soon but, in the meantime, if you have any questions or special requests, shoot me an email or leave them in the comments below!