1 year old

I can’t believe Cal is a year old already; time does really fly with a baby. Each week brings massive development. He went from crawling to standing in a day; clinching for dear life onto the couch, but with the determination of a seasoned climber. He beamed proudly at me as he stood in the position for a minute or so until his little legs gave in and he went plop onto the floor.  It’s all fine when it’s a soft landing, but I have a near heart attack every time he has a knock to the head as he tries to clamber onto the coffee table or some other unsafe area.  We have tried our best to make the house child proof but the most unlikely of objects are now hazards.  I guess you have to just go with it, as other parents have told me, and accept that there will be a few bumps and bruises along the road to walking and then running. Aahhh it’s all too scary.

Thankfully he has been very healthy apart from a winter vomiting bug and teething snuffles.  I take his nutrition very seriously and try and get all his vitamins and minerals into him through his food. Vitamin D is one thing I am conscious about, he is not on his drops any more and we haven’t seen much sun lately, so I am trying to include plenty of vitamin D in his diet.

I start the day with porridge and fruit puree or sometimes scrambled eggs which Cal likes, and as eggs contain iron and vitamin D that ticks one box.  Lunch is something that I try and vary a lot.  I think it’s a good time of the day to try new foods as he is usually hungry after I bring him for a walk.  Cal loved vegetables from the first time he tasted them, sweet potatoes and carrots being his favourite, so it was easy when it was just puréed veg and fruit.  But I have to be honest when I introduced meat and fish he didn’t greet them with such glee.  He actually threw up the first time he tasted fish and we had a similar experience with meat. But a baby can resist a new taste up to 10 – 15 times before they accept it so you have to be persistent and even more importantly creative.  Some tastes are just too strong for babies initially so you have to disguise them in other food which they like.

I have come to the conclusion the good recipes are key.  One of the first meals I cooked him was the Tasty Mince Meat with Swede and Tomato purée from the First 1000 Days recipe book. He also loves cottage pie now. I disguised salmon in the fish pie and fish cakes recipes and he has taken to them too. I’m delighted he has taken to oily fish as it’s not everyone who likes it but I know it’s really important for  healthy brain development. I put him in his high chair and encourage him to eat finger foods like half cooked carrot sticks and little bits of rice cakes.  Of course he wants all the messy foods like yoghurt and insists on feeding himself with his spoon.  Although most of it ends up all over his face and clothes it is all part of learning and important in his development.  When he first started doing this I was a real neurotic mother wiping his face and clothes every second. But I now hold myself back and let him at it until he is finished. It’s the only way.

With both John and I working it’s difficult to sit down as a family every night at the table and have a meal, but we try and do it on the weekends especially to encourage Cal to have a good relationship with food from the beginning. The next stage for me is to get Cal to help out in food preparation. I will be sneaky though and let him hand me the non messy items like carrots and potatoes that he can’t get them all over his face.

Maura Derrane

With a busy filming schedule from Monday to Friday on the RTE Afternoon Show and a baby in the house, my life is jam-packed at the moment. I almost can’t believe how quickly Cal continues to grow every day and the First 1000 Days acts as great roadmap through his journey, offering accessible, workable nutritional tips, recipes and advice for parents to be and new parents. Through my blog, I’ll be sharing some personal stories from my First 1,000 Days journey, which I hope will inspire others to take a few minutes each day to plan what they are going to feed their little ones. I hope you all enjoy reading it!

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