Now that Baby B is 11 months old (!) we are well and truly into the world of solid food. However, when we left on our big euro journey, that journey was just getting started. Back home I was excited to whip up little organic veggie delights in my nutribullet and freeze them in tiny containers. B being the little piggy-wig he is would wolf them down and I felt like this at least was a job well done.
For our long-haul plane ride I decided, in the interest of convenience, to buy some pouches of baby food and packed the ba-mix in our luggage with every intention of continuing the home-made baby food plan once we arrived in London. I suppose you can tell where I’m going with this…things did not exactly go according to plan.
First with the jet lag, feeding and sleeping was all over the place. B wasn’t crawling yet so I wasn’t using a high chair (we didn’t have one in our rented apartment). I was just feeding him on the floor. Things really went out the window when he did start to crawl and he was just too busy discovering things to eat any food at all. So here I was exhausted, jet-lagged and stressed because my baby wasn’t eating any food (and I mistakenly was still clinging to the belief that he’d sleep more if I could just shovel some food in). To add insult to injury, all this nice baby food that I was preparing including the organic quinoa flakes I’d brought from home, was just going straight into the bin.
First step was to buy a whole bunch more baby food. If he wasn’t going to eat it, I wasn’t going to make it from scratch and well what d’ya know? apparently the packet stuff is much more yummy than mummy’s mashed veggies.
Next step was to get ourselves a high chair. Our first thought was to get on the local classifieds and buy one second hand, which is what we usually do at home. On further consideration though that seemed like a waste as we only needed it for a few weeks and couldn’t take it with us. We looked into clip-on high chairs but realised that they don’t necessarily fit on all tables and given we were going to a few different places I couldn’t bear the thought of being without a high chair again. Hiring was also an option but I worked out that I could buy a brand new Ikea high chair and have it delivered to our accomodation for less than the price of hiring the exact same chair.
In the end our saviour was this great Airtushi (as seen in the main photo) booster seat as pictured above. We ordered one on amazon and it was delivered within a day or two. It is inflatable and packs down really small so it’s very portable. It fits on most standard dining chairs and wipes clean quite easily (VERY important!). We had been hoping to take it to restaurants but it’s pretty hard to inflate so we didn’t really do that. Luckily once we left paris we’ve had great luck with most places having a baby chair available.
Unfortunately this chair isn’t quite as sturdy as others and B is a wiggle worm when he’s eating, so he made a little tear in the spot where the front of the chair joins to the back. Luckily the chair is designed with two seperate inflatable sections so the bottom, back and sides were still firmly inflated and just the front was flat. Because of this the chair is still usable but this was our only complaint.
As for actual baby food, we ended up going with a lot more packet food than my pre-baby ideals about home made organic purees made by the light of the harvest moon de blah blah blah etc etc. Now that he’s bigger and I don’t have to worry as much about what I give him, I don’t know why I stressed at all.
We didn’t do purely purees or purely baby led weaning but I think both have merits and a mixture is practical. In paris I often ordered something soft like quiche and fed him that with a teaspoon and gave him some bread to chew on while I ate too. We also gave him fresh cooked and raw veggies to play with so that in between feeding him we could eat while he entertained himself. I also think that it’s important for babies to learn to feed themselves but we’ve got a long way to go there.
It was important to me that we all eat together as a family and I think this has paid off. This kind of eating makes for rather long meals but that has been really handy. B is now used to sitting in his high chair while we all eat together and playing with/eating his own tidbits from our plates in between being fed his own food. This is so great for going out to restaurants. In fact, a few weeks back the husband and I took his parents and B out to a Michelin starred restaurant for a fancy lunch and B was fine for the whole 2.5 hours we were there alternating between purees, veggies and his baby bickies. The staff were charmed by him and the chef even sent us home with a little baggie of their lovely french bread rolls because B had liked munching on them so much.
Now I still give him a jar of food if we are going out or if I what I’m cooking doesn’t lend itself to being mushed up. If it can be blended though, B just eats what we eat. For example, spag bol, or the other day I blended up baked salmon, sweet potato, beans and zucchini and he loved it. I’m glad though that I put aside any prejudices about bought baby food and just went for it. B gets plenty of fresh things from our plates, enjoys lots of different flavours and I give myself a break when I need it
Practically speaking though, my personal favourite store bought baby foods here in Europe are:
- Ella’s kitchen We found these pouches in London and also bought some in Sweden. They had great variety, organic ingredients and plenty of savoury options. This was one of my favourites and I felt very comfortable feeding it to B.
- Baby Bio We discovered this one in France. It is organic and has a lovely selection of different veggie and fruit purees.
- Bledina This brand is very common here in France and has a good variety of meat and meal purees including beef, chicken, duck, fish, veal, lamb the list goes on. B seemed to really enjoy these and they have plenty of varied options for different ages so the texture changes up as you go along.
All in all I find being able to throw a jar or pouch, spoon and pelican bib in the nappy bag gives us a lot of freedom. We can go out and not have to know whether we’ll be back in time for lunch because we can just do it on the go and because the food is sealed in a jar or pouch, if we don’t use it we can save it for next time and it doesn’t go to waste.
I hope this post is helpful. Please leave any feedback in the comments.
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