Monday 26 September 2011

Ignorant Claudia

This week, in 4 days exactly, Alice will be 6 month old...half a year! And what comes, in theory, when your baby reaches that age? You introduce solid food. From what I understand, you start with baby cereals (mixed with breast milk...if possible) and slowly you add more variety to the menu.

As far as I'm concerned, as a kid, I was a picky eater. Maybe all kids go through the "I only want pasta" but, sadly, I find that some people never really leave that boring phase. I have nothing against the classic "meat+potato+vegetable" combo (I actually like it quite a lot...once in a while!) but food is an amazing universe full of possibilities: from homemade bread to wild blueberries, from chickpea dishes to seal stew (I lived up north for a summer), from raw cuisine to Kraft Dinner (do not judge me) is endless!

I hope to share with Alice my curiosity and love of food. Her culinary adventure starts this week and I could not be more happy! However, like most baby related topics, there a many theories on how to introduce food to a baby's diet and I must admit that I'm a bit confused! Do you have any advice for me? What was your kid's favorite puree? When did you start? What schedule did you use? How much food did you give at first (1tbs seems so little)?

On a "related" subject, I just want to point out that community centers are amazing resources for new mothers. Last week, with a friend, I went to a baby food workshop. For 2 hours, we peeled, cut, mixed, blended and divided in ice trays nine types of baby food. Alice has now more than 200 little cubes in our freezer...for the low price of 10$. Pretty awesome don't you think?

On the menu:
roasted pepper
banana & pineapple
turkey & vegetable
beef & vegetable

* * * * *
one claire day: It is truly an amazing book. I was not sure about the meal planner thing but it is actually pretty cool. I made a little Excel sheet and during the weekend I do the planning. It is my motivation to try new recipes. And I get all excited for, for example, fish night or is pretty funny. The daycare went very well. I'm happy that it was just 2 hours and I must admit that I was thinking about Alice all the freakin time.

j: As you ca see, I just wrote a post about baby food! I'm very excited but I'm also freaking out! It is such an important step. I think that I have to write the way to pronounce my blog's name would be fine ;)

barbara: Thank you so much!

lina: That your be lovely! When? Where? What? xox

little gray pixel: Thank you! Now I just need to buy spray varnish to finish it.

megan: Not silly at all! If it was just me, I think that I probably would have canceled my inscription to the workshop but since I was with a friend, well, she gave me a lot of mental support ;)


Clairsy said...

Hi Claudia! I don't have a wee bebe yet obviously (but soon!) but have been hearing a bit about baby-led-weaning which sounds really interesting. I don't think it involves puree tho - just a few bits and pieces of soft things you lay out in front of them and they choose what they'd like. There's plenty about it on the net. I thought it was scary at first coz of the choking hazard, but apparently it's not.
Anyway, maybe you could take a similar approach but with the puree - just let her take the lead and eat what she feels like. I'm pretty sure most of it will end up on her face the first time anyway : D
(Those coloured frozen blocks look really pretty!)

mjb said...

That sounds like a great menu to start with! We started Will with sweet potato instead of rice cereal because it seemed like it had more nutrients, and went to pears from there, alternating vegetables and fruits (because the theory is that if they only have fruits they'll never like veggies, but I don't know if that's true). There were certain foods Will didn't like for phases, but we kept trying them or mixing them with other foods. He's just now at 10 months starting to eat a little meat, but we tried earlier.

I was curious about baby led weaning and was afraid I had missed the opportunity because I didn't start that way, but at a certain point Will wouldn't eat unless he was feeding himself, and we started introducing more table foods each meal before his purees.

Trust your instincts on this too, and Alice will let you know what to do. She'll turn her head and not open her mouth when she's full, and will open wide when she wants more. Will pounds his high chair as his "sign language" for more, and yells if we get too engrossed in our eating and don't feed him fast enough. You'll do great!

lola said...

We've never pureed anything and we waited to introduce grains until two and with Gretta, not at all. They have all sat at the table with us and have just eaten what we eat if they are able and slowly get the hang of it. I did give soft boiled egg yolk and fermented cod liver oil a few times a week after their six month birthdays for iron and choline which are absolutely vital. A lot of books will tell you how important cereals and veggies and fruits are but babies need saturated fat, choline, natural iron (not vitamin fortified grains)fermented foods and omega three's from fish. The foods that generations of people have fed their babies. read his baby code info

anyway, I'll slowly back off my soap box now and say have fun.

Little Gray Pixel said...

We started off with pureed sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, bananas. I would say a tablespoon is about all Alice will take at first, while she's getting the hang of it. We fed Alexa in the morning for about three weeks. Then she seems hungrier for more, so now we feed her breakfast and dinner. In a few months we'll be adding lunch. The more advanced she gets, the more complex meals she enjoys. She'll eat small pieces of things off our plates now. I have to make sure to give her tiny bites, though, because she doesn't have any teeth yet. She's eaten eggs, chicken, rice, among other things. Just take it slow, and Alice will guide you. If she turns her head and doesn't open her mouth, she's either done or isn't ready to eat.

Oh, and one other thing: Alexa eats anything I give her. A few foods (peas) she made a face at, but I kept offering them to her and she got used to them. They say it takes several tries to get used to certain foods. Don't get discouraged if Alice doesn't like something the first time.

Hope that's helpful! Good luck, and have fun. :-)

taryn said...

Sounds like you are well prepared! I think Luke will start solids a bit early because he's a skinny guy so I have been avidly reading. I know lots of theory but I think Luke will probably be my guide. Have you looked at baby-led weaning at all? I've heard really great things but it's a bit scary (choking!) so we'll see. Maybe do a mix.

Also, have you seen those funny little mesh things (I have the Nuby Nibbler)? I was given one as a gift and it looks neat. Just throw in some solid food and they gum at it in the mesh so they don't get any big chunks.

So much stuff out there but I'm mostly excited for cute photo ops...

montague said...

Research baby led weaning. It was great with my daughter. And no pureeing!

emily said...

of course little bean isn't there yet but i've been really interested in the baby-led weaning (also mentioned by some other commenters). i love the idea of ramona really being able to explore food by picking up, feeling, tasting, smelling, and smearing all over her body. i also love the idea of her just eating whatever it is we eat as a family (much out of laziness!). as a mother who breast feeds this seems doable since what she doesn't get out her exploratory meal she'll get out of milk. i can imagine parents who are anxious to wean would want to introduce solids sooner and more intently (w purees and rice cereal and whatnot). and that sounds fine too!

Julie Alvarez said...

I recently heard a great talk from a pediatrician who says that really, baby don't need to have everything pureed. And I totally agree, that idea comes from the times when babies started eating solids at three months because breast milk was for the "poors"...
What we did (and was a huuuuge success because Zoe eats ANYTHING you offer her, I mean really anything and everything), is to never change a meal for another one if they don't seem to like them much or don't eat much. I cook something, I put it on the plate and we all eat. The most important thing for me was to let her eat as much or less as she wants. Always. Never ever force her to eat more . Just offer her variety of foods, and she will show you. But anyway, you don't need to worry, pediatricians often make a big deal our of baby food... I found out that if you don't put ANY pressure on food (not too much anxiety over how much, not too little excitement for flavors), babies and kids would eat almost anything that their parents eat.- It's magic.

190.arch said...

I followed some guidelines from a little talk we have once at our community center. They give me also a very simple but rich panflet where they described cereals, meats, fruits and vegetables you could add to your baby's daily menu according to her physical development. Your baby stomach at 6 months is ready to process solid food but not everything. The first puree started with cereals like tapioca, rice and corn, because they are gluten free and easy to digest. They must be mixed with vegetables broth thst can include potato, carrots, zucchini, celery and not salt. Once your baby started with this vegetables and cereals puree and she starts to eat it, it was mandatory to add some protein that contains iron. All babies have an iron reseve for their first 6 months, mamas milk doesn't contain iron, that's one of the reasons why it is highly recommended to start with food at 6 months.
We started with lunch, quantity was according to Emma's appetite. She loves food from the beginings : )
You must observe Alice a lot, to understand what tastes she prefers, what's the moment you csn add a jew ingredient, etc.
I live in Italy and I find italians love and enjoy good food since ever.
Don't discourage if Alice is not so enthusiastic the first times, this is all new for her, she only knows breast milk, the spoon is strange item. Before she starts with purees is a great idea if she can play with her spoon and empty bowl, this way she gets familiar with the "tools".
Remember that your breast milk has the taste of what you eat and it changes according to your daily diet and how your baby grows up.
Kisses to Alice and good look! : )

Hoola Tallulah said...

I spoon fed my first two babies with homemade purees, and self weaned my last two babie's. Self weaning is kinda messy, but SO much fun and it's much more interesting for baby to feel all those foods and textures, it also encourages their teeth to come through quicker (because they are chewing and stimulating the gums). By the time Boo was 15 months old she was using a spoon HERSELF like a true pro. Bear is 12 months now and not so great with a spoon, I think girls have better dexterity. There is a book about self weaning here..
Have fun!

ingrid said...

I started O on carrots and moved on to a few other veggie purees before adding some grains to his veggie purees. He just didn't like to eat grains plain (who could blame him!).

My German friend had told me that she was told you always start with carrots, then other veggies, then meat, and THEN grains. But every culture is different!

Anonymous said...

Whoa, everyone is so wise here! I will definitely be checking back at the six month mark. Just wanted to say I'm now taking a photography class and you're part of my inspiration. Your photos of Alice are so lovely! I aspire!

jamie said...

yep. we are on the BLW (baby led weaning) train. obv we haven't started yet, so i can't say how it is going, but Hs caregiver BLW'd her two kiddos so i have help on board!

Lina said...

Hi! This is what worked for us: I started with rice cereal, this can make her pop go hard so that's why my first fruit of choise was pear that it's by nature binding. I began feeding her the mid morning snack, the week later the mid afternoon snack, the lunch, then breakfast and finally dinner. I have each new food a few days to see if there was an allergic reaction to it, at first she might not like the consistency so try to give very liquid and then you start letting it be more consistent because you don't want to liquify her everything for the rest of your life. But starts slowly she will tell you what she likes what she dosen't it takes even 15 tryals to determine if see likes or not something, I do try to respect that. I wouldn't give her the red bell pepper until much latter but that's me. A good advice was never to try anything new on sunday night, jist in case you need a doctor for an allergic reaction! Good luck and have fun!

Kara said...

so exciting! You can also do mashed bananas and mashed avocados. My babe did not do well with brocolli or lentils at first because they can make for a lot of gas pains. And I was surpirsed that most babies don't even like peas. The whole process took longer than I'd have thought (a few months until she was really "eating"), as the other commenters mention - be patient.
But by a year she was loving hummus, quinoa, anything with cheese: quesadillas/avocado/sour cream. Her day care center goes with "real world food" to get the littles ones to develop a good palate - stir fried tempeh and veg, etc. And yes, i make the ocassional Kraft mac-n-cheese (tho i feel less guilty if I make her Annie's instead). by 15 months she eats what I eat. So fun to dine with her now!

Kim U said...

There's no need to start with rice cereal - you can really start with anything except for honey (not safe until they're a year). My son's first solid meal was pureed butternut squash, because it was fall and that was what we were eating. Just roasted it & then pureed it, easy peasy. Avocado is great as well, as are bananas (but watch out, they can cause a bit of constipation). We did a puree of mixes and I guess what's described as baby led weaning and it worked out well for us. The only real tip I have (besides not stressing out too much over it) is to make sure you know basic infant/child first aid, like what to do for an infant who is choking. We've never had to intervene (much) for choking, but it's been helpful to know what to do if it did happen - it let us be more adventurous.

The only bad thing about starting solids for an exclusively breastfed baby is the poop. It goes from not really smelling like anything too bad to being stinky like, well, poop.

Unknown said...

wow, I need to move to Canada. Here (in the US) you're doing something subversive if you make baby food. I loved that phase though. It was so great to pop out a cube and it was all ready. I loved the book Super Baby Food too, it has a lot of great information about making your own cereals. I don't know how other kids are, but mine is just starting to get picky (18 months), I'm sure it's a phase.

Janet said...

I can't decide what to do. Some days I think we'll start with rice cereal, some days I think veggie puree. I'm also really attracted to baby led weaning. I'm afraid of choking and the mess, though. I'm wondering if I can do some purees and then move on to baby led weaning after that...

Lin said...

I'd love to know how you prepared the canteloupe and the banana/pineapple ones! Did you add lemon juice? We'll be at solids stage again soon enough.

Daniela said...

Avocado!!!! :D Super-duper food! It also has the unsaturated fats that the baby needs to develope the brain! And no need to cook! Easy as it can be, just "scratch" the spoon on it and it will be soft and easy to eat. Good Luck!!

Anonymous said...

Salut Claudia :)
I'm totally ignorant about babies but... How can you mix your own milk to solid foods?! I'm definitely confused and my boyfriend is giving his best with nonsensical theories =_='
thank you for taking me to a higher level of woman awareness... :D

M said...

We always used whatever we were having for family dinner and mashed it up for our daughter.She had a lot of different vegetables and fruit and after a while meats. After a while we let her feed herself (which she loved). My experience is that it sometimes takes many tries before a taste is 'accepted' so don't get discouraged if Alice rejects something on the first (or sixth...) try. Also don't be scared and don't feel forced to make 'bland' food. My daughter loves garlic and strong-tasting food like parmegiano cheese. It is very dark where we live in winter so we also gave our daughter vitamin-d supplement or cod liver oil in because of lack of sunlight

dear olive said...

Hello, it is a fun thing starting your baby on solid food. I hope it's a lifetime of happy eating for your lovely Alice! (Who is so so cute.) I just came over here from one claire day and I'm now your newest follower. Kellie xx

Hoola Tallulah said...

Janet, babie's have a natural gag reflex, it's not very common for them to choke (despite all the stories we hear). I have BLW two babes and both coughed and spluttered up food from time to time, but neither ever had a serious choking incident - I think this is everyones primary concerns with BLW, and my child carer was also terrified about this when I started BLW my son, but she is a convert now and recommends BLW to all the other mama's, it is SO much easier :)

UK lass in US said...

I remember starting with the rice cereal, mixed with breastmilk - I figured that might be familiar. As for my success rate: my son ate anything we put in front of him as a baby. My daughter refused all solid food 'til she was 12 months old (more common than you would think).
Still, they both are willing to eat vegetables now, they both like olives even though their parents don't, if anything my daughter has the more adventurous tastes, and they are healthy. So, my experience is that you can not predict much from those early days...

one claire day said...

Introducing solids has been fun (albeit a very messy experience!). I offer Lalie a mix of finger foods and mashed lumpy foods that I feed her with a spoon. I am finding lately that she much prefers to hold and eat things herself... so anything like pieces of avocado, kiwi fruit, avocado on wholemeal toast, banana, and steamed vegetables such as broccoli florets and carrot sticks are great.

...she loves to eat anything of our plate - curious creature!

Those ice trays of colour look so gorgeous!