Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cooking porridge for baby under 1 and how it works for a FTWM


Just when I have finally mastered the trick of cooking porridge and onto almost auto pilot mode, Emma decided a few weeks back that porridge isn't for her anymore. So, I now have to crack my head for more toddler meals.

I didn't share too much about how I prepare her meals as I'm really a noob in it. Fortunately, I got more confident in preparing Emma's porridge after months of practice. When we were on our trips, I brought along some cooking stuffs and cook using fresh ingredients. It seems difficult and troublesome to do it but it isn't that scary afterall.


For the record, Emma started brown rice cereal for lunch when she was 6 months old and tried a few vegetable purées in between. When she was 7 months, she progressed to having porridge for lunch. At 8 months old, she finally joined us at the table for dinner. We introduced some white rice when she was 13 months old but she was still mainly taking porridge for her 2 meals.

After 11 months of porridge, she obviously got sick of it. She started to reject porridge and asked for textured food when she was almost 18 months old. I guess she should be one of the few who takes porridge for so long and it's payback time! 

So, I'm penning down once again, before my memory fails me.

I have no recipe for you to take away in this post but I love to share how it works for me, and hopefully for you, as a full time working mum to prepare porridge for our babies.

Kitchen Equipment 

1. Mini rice cooker or electronic lunch box to cook the porridge. I prefer these over stoves as I don't need to watch the fire. 
2. Thermal flask to store porridge
3. Knife, peeler and chopping board
4. Small clear plastic bags to pack meat
5. Pots to cook stock and steam vegetables
6. Blender to prepare the frozen purées
7. Purées storage cube 


1. Rice grains
2. Frozen veg purées (7-12 months old) or fresh veg (12 months old onwards)
3. Pork/fish/white anchovies
4. Soup stocks

Preparation work

(I usually do these on weekends and if I didn't make it, I will have to work harder on one of the weekdays) 

1. Marketing - weekly or twice a week. Remember to get a shopping list! 
2. Meals plans - I cook simple so just mix and match to get a variety of porridge. 
3. Pack and freeze the meat/fish in small portions.
4. Steam, blend and freeze vegetables. I try to have at least 2-3 types of frozen purees. 

* Skip the blending and freeze the steamed chunks when baby is ready to bite. After I got more familiar with cooking and Emma could bite more, I skipped freezing and cut the ingredients in the morning. I believe the night before would work too, just store in a container and keep in the fridge!


(Varied based on working hours, distance from home and baby's waking time so adjust accordingly) 

 Purple carrot with pork porridge 

I didn't have the luxury of time to be back home early, so here's how I work things out when I was still pumping and at my old workplace a few months back.

Thaw frozen cubes and meat/fish in fridge the previous night.  

5.30 am - wash up and bath 
6am - wash rice, add water, prepare and throw in ingredients to cooker * Day starts at 6am when stopped pumping - cook before washing up/bath
6.10 am - milk pumping 
6.40 am - check the porridge
6.45 am - boil water and warm up milk
6.50 am - fill the thermal with boiled water to warm up the thermal
6:55 am - store the porridge in thermal flask 
7 am - milk feed
7.10 to 7.30 am - change diaper, pack bag, dress up for work
7.30 am - leave for work 

Travel and work 

7 to 7.10 pm - home, pour out porridge, heat up if necessarily and dinner is served! For green veg, I will heat up/cook it when I back and mix it with the porridge as it tends to brown after prolong heating. 
7.10 pm - feed while pumping and eat together
7.45 pm - light play and night routine. 
8.30-9 pm - bedtime
After 9/9.30pm - washing and light housework 

It would be best if I could be back home earlier so that I could cook fresh. However, it wasn't possible back then. 

These days I am happy as I get extra pockets of time before and after work since I'm working nearer home now. However, I face new challenge to cook toddler meals. More on the new routine when I share about preparing toddler meals.


1. Invest in good thermal flasks. 

2. To keep food warm for long hours (> 6 hours): Always heat up the thermal flask by filling up with boiled water and leave it for a few minutes before pouring out so that it could retain heat longer. 

3. Remember to fill up at least 75% of content (porridge or liquid/soup) so that there will be sufficient heat to circulate and keep the food warm. It won't be able to keep warm if it's just 10% filled as there isn't sufficient heat.

4. Cook and add in the greens before serving as they tend to turn brown and taste bitter after prolong heating. You can also heat up the porridge at the same time. 

5. On days when routine fails (read: overslept), pop by supermarket during lunch time to get avocado, boil an egg, steam the purees (eg. carrot with potato) or feed cereal.  

6. On weekends, cook a pot then split into 2 portions and store in 2 small thermal flasks. Add more ingredients (try new stuffs) before serving dinner so the lil one won't be sick of eating the same thing for lunch and dinner.  

7. Be prepared for a change of preference/appetite (Be warned: it could drag days!) 

8. Don't be too hard on yourself, just do your best and work around with what you can/have. Happy mummy. Happy baby!!

I'm thankful that Emma generally eats well and has been exposed to a variety of food in school. There are days when she rejected food and she makes me really worried and fluttered since she is of smaller size. However, I am learning not too take it too hard on myself, leave things to God and just do my best.

I didn't understand how things were for a working mum before. I have lots of doubts so I learnt from asking experienced mummies around and googling. I am no way an expert but I hope what I have learnt and gathered could help some mummies (or daddies) in some way or another. I believe there could be better ways around. I know every family has a different routine but I sure something could be worked out so that our babies get their yummy homecooked dinner!
Happy cooking! 


  1. Thank you mommy for sharing your routine

  2. Thank you mommy for sharing your routine

  3. Hi Mummy Ashlyn, thank you for your sharing. May i ask how did you print your baby photos that formed into a heart shape? So cute!

    1. I used a photo book printing software. It's a template. So sorry, can't rmb the software name.

  4. Hi mummy,

    May i know what you mean by pour boiled water in thermal flask? After you pour water then howyou pour the porridge in when there is water inside?