While I have a previous post about not getting too hung up on the anticipation of new milestones, I have to admit that solid foods was one phase I really looked forward to.
Maybe it was because I took a baby food making course with Belly Buttons and had been preparing a few tasty treats in advance? Or was it the realization that the monotony of making a bottle would finally be broken with some sort of entertainment such as bananas up the nose?
Either way, the idea of feeding my son new foods was just plain exciting. Now, nearly two weeks into the process, we have introduced sweet potato, peaches, eggs, bananas and carrots. No rice cereal or pablum* for this kid just yet, and for some reason, a real trend towards orange foods (merely a coincidence but maybe I should check the colour of his skin more closely).
There are “guidelines” on how to feed your baby, depending on the method you choose. Baby-led weaning is really about letting the baby determine what they want to eat by way of exploring the food offered and eating it when they are ready. It’s not the method I chose, but there are some people I know who have used it with success. I’ve used the old fashioned “mush” approach, blending steamed fruits and vegetables. I’ve gone local and organic where possible, and thanks to the course I took, I learned about the dirty dozen (12 fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide) and the clean 15. So if it wasn’t stressful enough to figure out what foods to blend and serve, now I have to worry how free of pesticides they really are.
Prepping the food is actually quite easy, and I have my sister to thank for that since she gave me a Beaba baby food processor for Christmas. It steams and then blends all in the same container, and for a kitchen appliance takes up very little space. I just fill ice cube trays full of whatever it is I’ve blended and freeze it for later. When the time comes to serve it, I just pop a cube or two in a glass bowl and heat over a steamer to warm it. You can also let the cubes defrost in the refrigerator overnight, and then warm them ever so slightly before serving.
Serving the food is good old fashioned fun. The squeals of delight combined with a face covered in the flavour of the day makes baby’s meal time a highlight of our daily routine. I use Munchkin soft-tip infant spoons which are sized right for baby’s mouth and their long handle lets me maneuver around flailing hands. Just don’t put the spoons in the dishwasher like I did or you’ll end up with some plastic art. We have a few different kid-friendly bowls that I transfer the warm food into, and one day I’m sure baby will be able to appreciate their designs and colours.
Waiting a couple of days in between foods helps determine if there are any adverse reactions like rashes or hives. A wise friend said to me not too long ago, “you do the math Cait, you can’t wait four days between introducing each new food,” and right she is, so two or three days for now and in a couple of months I’ll hopefully have covered off the list of recommended foods for the six to nine month period.
Introducing solid foods has indeed been a fun experience, and one that for the foreseeable future that will continue to make us all laugh and squeal with delight.
* New guidelines released last year by Health Canada indicate that starting with iron-rich foods such as meats, meat alternatives or iron-fortified cereal is preferred. You can read those recommendations here and also read an article from the Toronto Star here that highlights the changes.