*I have been sponsored by Similac to try Similac Follow On Milk/Growing Up Milk and write about it on my blog. All opinions are my own*

Now that Aria is fully weaned I still want to ensure that she is getting the best that she can, both when it comes to meals and drinks, which is why we decided to try Similac Growing Up Milk. Similac is a palm-oil free range of formula milks which provide key nutrients to support your child’s growth and development.

Review Similar Growing Up Milk - Formula aimed at ages 1-3 years - palm oil free blend

mother & baby bottle feeding before bed time

Aria has been quite poorly lately, she has had a bad run starting with tonsilitis, following by hand, foot & mouth, and when we thought she had finally recovered she managed to pick up a sickness bug. As a result she had been eating and drinking very little. We decided that this was a great time to introduce Similac Growing Up Milk as it contains omega 3 & 6, Vitamins A, C & D, calcium and iron. While she isn’t eating properly it is great to know that she is able to get all of this goodness from her milk. We haven’t been able to gauge a true reaction to the growing up milk just yet as Aria isn’t her usual happy self when it comes to anything passing her lips, but we have managed to successfully have small amounts of milk at bed time, which, considering how poorly she has been, I would say is a huge thumbs up.

As you can see in the video below Similac is super easy to prepare, you simply add three level scoops to 180ml of cooled boiled water and shake to dissolve.

The pack design is nice, a solid tin with an easily removable plastic lid. My only qualm is that you need to use a knife to scrap off any excess formula, whereas other brands have a little scraper in the inner corner of the packaging which allows you to prepare the formula one handed.

Would I recommend Similac Growing Up Milk? Yes I would! It is easy to prepare, it is suitable for vegetarians, Halal and Kosher diets and it helps to support growth, cognitive development, immune system function and bone development.

Important notice: Breastfeeding is best for babies and is recommended for as long as possible during infancy. Breastfeeding provides many benefits to both mother and baby. It is difficult to reverse the decision not to breastfeed. We recommend that you speak to your healthcare professional for advice on how to feed your baby.

This year, with a little bit of help from Organix, I decided to introduce the festive spirit into some of Aria’s meals. These festive meals are ideal for pretty much any age range, from babies and toddlers right through to children and young at heart adults!

Santa pancake using strawberries and cream

First up, I started with the Santa pancake, this isn’t very original as I have seen it doing the rounds all over the place, but I couldn’t resist making my own, it is so easy to re-create and looks fantastic. I made the pancakes using a standard mix, chopped strawberries for the hat and nose, used squirty cream for the beard, hat and eyes and finished by adding raisons to the eyes. This is very simple and looks fantastic.

man in the man festive food plate for baby led weaning
The man in the moon plate was inspired by Organix, this one contains carrots, cucumber, tomato Organix cheese stars*, cheddar cheese and a cheese triangle. my cheese moon crumbled a little which was a shame, to see how it is supposed to look and watch the ‘how to’ video click here.

christmas tree festive food plate for baby led weaning
Last but by no means least is the Christmas tree, again inspired by Organix. I used slightly different ingredients to those suggested as I decided to use what was already in my fridge. The ingredients that I used were Organix finger foods carrot sticks*, Organix cheese stars*, cucumber, Marks & Spencer rainbow carrots and cheddar cheese. Click here to watch the ‘how to’ video.

The main reason for me doing this was for a bit of festive fun, but this could be a great way to encourage fussy eaters to eat their veg. Organix regularly share tutorials for fun ways to present food. Follow them on facebook and twitter for updates.

Have you made, or will you be making, any festive themed dishes this year? If so, what?

Weaning is messy, especially when your baby decides that throwing food on the floor is an extremely funny thing to do. In your own home it is annoying, when at a friend or relatives home it can be embarrassing, especially if they are eating something like jam on toast. Thankfully there is a simple, and actually quite pretty, solution to keeping the floor clean in the form of The Messy Mat.

image looking down on baby eating with chair on the messy mat review header image
The Messy Mat is such a simple yet genius idea. The hard wearing oil cloth mat folds up nicely so is easily transportable, both the fabric and hems are wipeable, I tend to just wipe it over with a wet wipe once Aria has finished eating/throwing food. Measuring 90×120 centimetres it covers a larger area than Aria can throw meaning that it does catch every bit of food.
baby sat in bumbo eating jam on toast with floor protector
I absolutely love this mat, it came in handy on our recent cottage holiday as it meant that I didn’t have to worry about her making a mess of the beautiful wood flooring. I allowed her to make as much mess as she wanted and then just shook the mat above the bin and wiped over with a wet wipe. If wiping it over doesn’t do the trick it is suitable for occasional machine washing at 30 º C.
As well as being used under a baby’s chair during meal times The Messy Mat would make a great picnic blanket or floor protector during messy playtimes. 
floral vintage baby floor protector
The mat is also available in dusty rose, olive green and teal blue, all of which have a beautiful star print design. They can be purchased from messy-me.com along with a range of other ‘messy’ products.

We started Aria’s weaning journey a couple of weeks ago now, in this time I have picked up a few essential items that I will be sharing with you today. All weaning journeys are different so what is essential to us may not be essential to you, but there are similarities in every journey so hopefully you will pick up a tip or two if nothing else.

 

baby weaning essentials

IKEA antilop high chair with supporting cushion and tray

IKEA Antilop high chair with tray & supporting cushion

First things first, you may want to buy a highchair. I took to Twitter for highchair recommendations and was very pleased that this seemed to be the winner, why was I pleased? Because the whole thing came to just £19! There really is no need to splash out on an expensive high chair, this one does the job, it wipes clean easily and the supporting cushion is great for keeping teeny, tiny Aria in place.

oraganix baby rice baby puree and o biscuits

Organix Baby Food*

Baby rice is a must have, this is great for mixing in with fruit purees or simply mixing with milk. It is also handy to have some pre-made food in, even if you are planning on making everything yourself from scratch, these are so handy to have for the days when you haven’t had time or are rushing out somewhere and need some food to take with you. The Organix range is as good as home made and made with organic ingredients.
vanish stain remover

Stain Remover

This speaks for itself really, weaning is messy, especially when they are eating carrot and sweet potato.

mini blender for baby food from Aldi

Mini Blender

We have a big KitchenAid food processor, we could puree Aria’s food in there but there are so many different bits to wash it is a lot of hassle for a tiny bit of food. It really is ideal to have a mini blender especially for your baby’s food. We picked this one up very cheaply in the Aldi baby event.
baby puree in silicone ice cube trays

Silicone Ice Cube Trays

These are great for freezing your baby purees. Aria currently eats two ice cubes per meal, they easily pop out of these trays ready to be defrosted and eaten.

Totseat

Totseat*

The Totseat is great, it can be attached to practically any chair to convert it into a highchair. This is so handy to have for feeding when out and about visiting friends, or if you are going away.

 

Milton antibacterial surface wipes pack of 30

Antibacterial Surface Wipes*

These are great to give the highchair a quick wipe over when baby has finished creating their mess/eating.

 

Available at Boots, John Lewis, Mothercare, Ocado, Superdrug and Tesco as well as independent pharmacies and nursery retailers.

 

tum tum easy scoop dining set

Tum Tum Easy Scoop Dining Set*

These do just what it says on the tin! You can easily scoop all of the last bits of food out of these, ideal for runny purees. They are also heavy and gripped on the bottom making it very difficult for baby to grab and tip over. The design is bright and colourful making it super attractive to baby.

Available here.

vital baby suction bowl and warm-a-bowl

Vital Baby Suction Bowl & Warm-a-Bowl*

You can never have too many baby bowls! Again, these are bright and colourful making them attractive to baby. The suction bowl is amazing, I have actually tested how strong it is by lifting it up when it is in place on the highchair, it brings the highchair with it! *Please note, Aria wasn’t sitting in the highchair when I performed this test*

The warm-a-bowl is another great product, you fill the base with warm water and it keeps the food warm. Perfect for slow eating babies.

Available here.

Annabel Karmel's new complete baby & toddler meal planner book

Annabel Karmel’s Baby & Toddler Meal Planner

Obviously the type of weaning book that you want will depend on how you plan on weaning your baby, for example, there are other books available specifically for baby led weaning. We are absolutely loving the Annabel Karmel book, I am currently on week two of the meal planner and following it step by step. I had no idea where to begin with weaning so this book has fast become my bible.

pink tommee tippee plastic bib with upturned edge

Plastic Bib

When feeding Aria I tend to strip her down to her nappy and a bib. Instead of ruining her pretty bibs I bought this plastic one that catches the majority of the food and wipes down easily after use. The only downside to it is that Aria likes to chew on this instead of her food.

What are your weaning essentials? Did you/will you use any of these products?

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