A few weeks ago, we started Charlie on solid food as a supplement to breast milk and I couldn't ask for it to be going any better. We're really hoping it helps him pack on some weight since he's still quite the peanut at only 12.5 lbs. He has another weight check on June 2nd, so hopefully solids have made a difference.
As with everything baby related, I did a lot of reading up on introducing solids, what, how much and when and as with everything baby related, found incredibly conflicting views on what babies *should* eat. I saw everything from starting cereal at 3 months to nothing until 6 months to give them whatever they want, whenever they want. Enough craziness to confuse the crap out of you. Because of Charlie's preemie-ness, we waited until 5 1/2 months to start and began with something simple - oatmeal. I decided to skip rice cereal all together because its pretty darn gross and has little to no nutritional value. Even as a practice food, oatmeal just had more oomph to it. Shortly after, we started him on sweet potatoes, which he loved. Every few days, we incorporated a new taste for him to try. At this point, he's up to sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, squash, bananas, apples, pears, and mango. His favorite is still the sweet potatoes with mango being a close second.
Once we established what he liked, I was pretty much done buying prepackaged baby food. C'mon...$1 for 4 ounces of food in a non-recyclable plastic tub? And that's the sale price! Instead we broke out our handy dandy baby food making supplies and made our own. Yes, apparently my iPod is a baby food making supply. As for a food processor, we have the Kid Co. baby food processor, but any food processor or really even a fork will do.
With $6 in veggies and fruits from Kroger and the farmer's market, I made 2 weeks worth of organic baby food. Can't beat it! At this stage of the game, the "recipe" for baby food is pretty simple. Steam/boil/bake veggies and fruits, then mash. As baby gets older though, there are some really great recipes to help them develop a non-picky palate. Of all the websites I found, I really loved Wholesome Baby Foods. Its no nonsense, nonjudgmental approach to feeding your kid was very appealing. If you haven't noticed, finding anything parenting related that is not judgmental is nearly impossible, so this was quite a find.
Once the fruits and veggies are cooked and mashed, I put the puree into ice cube trays to freeze.
We bought these ice cube trays by Oxo that are rounded on the bottom. No twisting and cracking needed - just poke one side of the cube and it pops out. Once the food cubes were set, I put them into zip top bags, labeled them, and put them in the freezer. Between the 150 oz. of breast milk and now frozen baby food, Charlie is quickly taking over our small freezer.
Each day, Charlie gets 1/4 cup of oatmeal and two fruit cubes for breakfast and two veggies cubes and two fruit cubes for dinner. We put the cubes into these little bowls the night before and put them in the fridge. Since they have a two wells and a good lid, they're perfect for defrosting and serving. So far its been a pretty smooth system. Since its best for breast milk to continue to be his main source of nutrition, we only feed him solids after breast feeding. Regardless of all the boobie juice, however, he still happily wolfs down whatever we give him.
Once the summer comes, I'm absolutely psyched to throw Charlie in the Beco and visit the local pick your own farms. Doesn't get anymore hippie than that. ;-)