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Dec 29

Gadgets

One does not need a whole range of kitchen utensils to prepare baby food. However, two things will come in very handy, i.e. the slow-cooker and a hand-blender. These are multi-tasking kitchen gadgets which can be used for the whole family food preparation and cost less than RM100 each. One just needs to toss in the ingredients like rice or oats into the slow-cooker to make a porridge and add the rest of the ingredients. In the earlier stage, baby food needs to be blended into very smooth consistency and thus, the hand-blender will come in handy.

Time saving tips

* To save time on cooking rice or oats, I wash a batch of rice, dry them in the oven, blend the rice/oats to powdery, and keep them in airtight container. Cooking time is very much lessen.
* When Matthew was younger and only took small serving of food, I cook extra portions, freeze them in ice tray, store the frozen food cubes in plastic bag, and kept in airtight container. However, label with the date and avoid storing frozen cubes longer than 1 week. Fishes do not store well. To heat up the cubes, one just has to pop it in the microwave and reheat for 1 minute or steam it. (Caution: One ought to be careful when giving food heated in microwave because sometimes, there are ‘hot spots’ that can burn because of uneven heat distribution. Always stir the food well.)
* At times, I will cook for the family, dish out a small portion of food before I add in any salt or flavourings and blend the food for my baby.
* When I prepare soups made of vegetables and meat/bones stock, I will dish out some before adding salt and cook porridge with it.
* As baby food is not supposed to be flavoured with any salt or soy sauce, I use herbs and spices like garlic, onion, bayleaf, cinnamon powder, celery etc to enhance the flavour.
* One readily available ingredient is homemade ikan bilis powder. I will soak the ikan bilis for a long time until all the saltiness is removed, dry them in the oven till crispy and pound them into fine powder. A pinch added to porridge not only makes it tastier, it is full of calcium too.
* Babies love the taste of soft fruits like banana and papayas. All one need to do is just to scrape the fruit with a spoon and fed to the baby.

More discoveries

* Different babies react differently to the texture of foods. While other 9 months old babies are adapting to soft porridges with bits and pieces of vegetables and meats, Matthew dislike any lumps in his food.
* Some babies only like Malaysian/Chinese flavoured porridges while others like those with a more Westernised taste like corns, peas, cheese and pasta.
* Food for young babies must be in a runny consistency instead of thick gooey stuff which sticks to the palate.
* It takes patience and time to make the transition for my baby to get used to chewing his food. I offer him rice crackers, rice crispies and soft fruits to chew on. However, he still oftens gagged while eating rusks and other baby biscuits. Therefore, one has to be very careful and never leave a baby alone with any kind of food.

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