Now that Cullen is one, we are starting to wean and he is getting the bulk of his nutrition from food. When he first started eating solids, I found it really overwhelming and confusing. But with a little research and experimentation, meal times have become a lot of fun.
Sometimes a little too much fun…
Now that Cullen is eating three meals a day, plus snacks – I thought I’d give an update on how things look at the one year mark. Here’s how a typical day of eating, drinking, and nursing looks right now…
Cullen wakes up around 7am most mornings (this is a very new development). After he wakes up, I change his diaper and nurse him in his room, and then we head downstairs for breakfast.
I try to give him a good variety of food, and not give him the same thing too many days in a row. I always make sure to get him a balance of fruit, carbs, and fats for breakfast. Here are some typical foods I choose from each morning:
whole banana or pear, sliced into discs or wedges
piece of toast with almond butter or sunbutter (cut into strips)
Obviously he doesn’t get all of this every day. I usually give him three things. Here are some sample combos:
scrambled egg, toast with nutbutter, applesauce
coconut milk yogurt, banana pancakes, whole pear
When Casey packs up and gets ready for the day, he makes a full blender of smoothie for all of us to share. He takes a bottle to work, and leaves the rest for me and Cullen in the fridge. They are usually a blend of frozen berries, bananas, carrots, spinach, flax oil, and almond milk. If Cullen is having smoothie, we leave out things like protein powder and stevia that we typically add to our “adult” smoothies.
He generally eats a BIG breakfast. If he still seems hungry, I will keep feeding him. He’s going into his busiest, more energetic time of the day, so I know he needs lots of fuel.
Ahhhh the milk question . So many of you have asked what we ended up deciding on this! After much research and talking to our pediatrician, Casey and I decided we felt confident that we could meet Cullen’s nutritional needs without cow’s milk.
We are paying careful attention to the amount of fat he’s getting each day (as fat is the primary nutritional concern at this age). We’re opting to give him unsweetened hemp milk as an alternative.
I usually offer a sippy cup of hemp milk several times a day – usually with meals or snacks. On average, he probably has anywhere from 5-12 ounces a day, depending on his appetite. I don’t want to overly rely on milk, so I try to get a good amount of fat into his diet in other ways. He is also still breastfeeding twice a day (as of this week!).
The only drawback to the hemp milk so far? It’s expensive! It comes in the unrefrigerated boxes, so I’ve been stocking up whenever there is a sale. One thing is for sure – Cullen is definitely making his presence known in the grocery budget!
Edited to add: Thanks to all of your comments and questions! I KNEW there was more I wanted to say on this, so I’m popping back to answer a few questions about the milk. We chose hemp milk because it is the most nutritionally complete, and similar to cow’s milk, of the non-dairy milks. Yes, it totally makes us sound like hippies. We’re okay with it.
We aren’t making our own because the boxed milk is fortified with things like Vitamin D, calcium, and B12 – all things Cullen needs, particularly as a vegetarian. Can’t have too much of that good stuff! Ultimately, we hope to get most of his nutrition met through food, so we don’t have to rely heavily on any type of milk.
Lunch is usually the smallest meal of the day (for both of us!). Due to his nap schedule, the middle of the day is generally when we’re out and about. Whether it’s a playdate, mom’s group, or the one day a week Cullen plays at a friend’s house, I usually pack lunch on the go.
Lunch is often a half an avocado, along with something like roasted sweet potatoes or Field Roast veggie dog. Or sometimes I will make a sunbutter & jelly sandwich and cut it into cubes. He is often too busy playing to eat much for lunch! I have a few different sippy cups and packable plates that I take everywhere. (I’ll write a separate post about feeding/eating supplies soon!)
Cullen is not a big snacker. I know there are babies that snack all day long, but he seems to like more formal meals. We don’t usually do a morning snack unless we are at home (which is rare), so snacks are typically saved for the afternoon, after the nap and before dinner.
Here are some of Cullen’s favorite snacks:
grapes (sliced in half)
roasted carrot sticks with hummus
more fruit/veggie smoothie
apple or pear slices
sharing a whole apple with mom
Dinner is another big meal –for all of us! I usually survey the fridge and pantry around 5pm and start to think about what I’m going to feed Cullen that night. Most nights, we don’t do a family dinner and all eat at the same time, simply because Casey gets home during Cullen’s dinner time, and I can’t get our meal prepped and cooked while I’m home alone.
When I cook dinner for me and Casey, I usually cook in massive quantities. I always set a few portions aside for Cullen to have the next day, so I already have something cooked and ready to go. I also make a few big batches of things during the week – quinoa , lentils, applesauce, roasted veggies – so they are on hand for lunches and dinners.
Here are a few of Cullen’s favorite dinner combinations:
Roasted squash, green peas, and avocado cubes
Quinoa and lentils, roasted sweet potatoes, and cheesy kale
Whole roasted carrots, mixed frozen vegetables, and black beans
Tortilla with hummus, edamame, and veggie burger bites
Penne pasta, miso sauce, butter beans, and kiwi
Those are just a few samples. I usually plan his meals based on what he ate during other meals that day. If he had an avocado at lunch, I’ll find another good fat source for dinner. Or if he had toast for breakfast, I won’t give him a sandwich for lunch. I strive for balance, but I also try not to over-think it.
Some days he is hungry and easy going, and eats anything I put in front of him. Others, he waves his hands all over the high chair and tosses all his food onto the ground. But judging by his massive belly, I’m not too worried about him starving just yet.
Throughout the course of the day, he eats a LOT of food. I’m always amazed at how much he can pack into such a tiny body. But now that we’re down to only two nursing sessions each day, I try to offer as much as it seems he wants. If he’s not hungry, he won’t eat, so I don’t really worry about offering too much at this point.
It’s funny to think back now about when Cullen could only grasp food in his fist, and he’d struggle to open his hand wide enough to get anything in to his mouth. Most of his first foods were fruits, and meal times were much more about experimentation and new flavors than they were about nutrition or fuel.
These days, he can walk around the room while eating a whole apple (skinned). He shows distinct preferences to tastes and textures, and claps wildly when he wants more. For each meal, I sit on a stool across from him and either eat my own meal or just talk to him and help with his spoon. Meals are some of my favorite parts of our day.
I feel like there is a lot more on this topic that I wanted to say, but I don’t want to get too long winded. I’m planning to do a few more posts soon on meal prep, supplies, and bulk cooking for the week. I’d love to hear and tips or favorite foods from other parent in the comments too!
And finally, Cullen showing off his new favorite snack – stealing an apple from mom!