My little man is now 10 months old and the whole solid food thing is still going amazingly well. If food is involved, this kid is game. It was a scary, scary process, but I realized (thanks to my sister) that the more I gave him to try and the less I jumped to save him from every little cough and gag, the more he would learn about food and the better he would do. He's a champ and still hasn't met a food he doesn't like.
Some tips I've picked up along the way:
- When making baby food cubes, keep them simple; don't freeze fruits and veggies in combo flavors. Instead, defrost various cubes together to create new flavors. Its just easier that way.
- Puffs, crunchies, and MumMums are your friend. They are portable, easy to eat, and keep a certain little person quiet while his parents eat.
- If you have carpet in your dining room like I do, get a cheap throw rug or carpet remnant for under the high chair. You're welcome in advance.
- After a meal, check your kid's mouth for rouge food pieces they may be cheek pocketing for later. I found a tiny piece of waffle in C's mouth like 30 minutes after breakfast one day.
- As time goes on, feel free to add spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or even pumpkin pie spice to food. It keeps things interesting.
- Everyone and their Mom (quite literally) has an opinion about when to introduce what. Take it with a grain of salt and listen to your pediatrician. The basic no no foods are peanut butter, honey, strawberries, egg whites, and milk. We successfully gave C strawberries and egg whites "early," but we have no family history of allergies and it wasn't a huge risk.
- Gerber Graduates Bunch of Bowls
- Munchkin Stay Put Suction Cup Bowls
- Playtex First Lil' Gripper Straw Sippy
- Tiny Diner placemat
- Food scissors
A few weeks ago, we started C on solid food as a supplement to breast milk and I couldn't ask for it to be going any better.
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 C'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.
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, C is quickly taking over our small freezer.
Each day, C 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 C in the Beco and visit the local pick your own farms. Doesn't get any more hippie than that. ;-)
Introducing New Foods
C's repertoire currently includes sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, squash, pears, apples, peaches, bananas, and mango. The general rule for introducing different flavors is waiting 3-4 days between new foods. This helps single out any allergic reaction the baby may have. Its especially important when introducing high allergen foods such as strawberries and eventually peanut butter.
Once a food is ok'ed, you can start getting creative by mixing flavors and adding spices like cinnamon. We've done apple banana and apple peach. If you need inspiration, just check out the jarred foods or use your imagination. Things like banana pear apple or mango peach sound delicious, don't they? They sound like summery drink cocktails, actually. Ha!