Making homemade baby food
Kristy emailed me and said,
I have so enjoyed your blog in so many different areas! My question is in regards to baby food. Do you feed your boys table food straight from your plate mashed up, or do you make "specific" babyfoods for them? If so, how do you store them and do you have any "babyfood recipes" you can pass on?
I'm also curious as to when you decided to start feeding babyfoods/table foods to your boys. The typical 4-6 months? Do you wait for their cues? What has been your experience in this area?
Hi, Kristy! Thanks for asking! I'm happy to share about our experience and what has worked for us. :) As with anything, I definitely recommend education, research, and taking into consideration the individual needs of your child.
First, since we believe breastfeeding is the best nourishment for infants (the pros of breastfeeding is a whole other post just in itself, so I won't go into detail now), we started both of our children with exclusive breastfeeding. I have gotten along perfectly fine with just the basics -- a couple books, a newborn, and some milk. ;) We haven't really used bottles or pacifiers simply because we have never had the need for them.
Since basically every health organization now recommends waiting at least 6 months before introducing solids, we knew we would wait at least that long. Also, since my husband has a number of allergies/intolerances, we decided it would be best to wait as long as possible for certain foods like cow's milk, peanuts, etc.
We did plan to watch for cues. Both of my babies started putting things into their mouths or reaching for things long before 6 months of age. Some people say that this is a sign of being ready for solid foods.
However, I don't automatically assume that a curious baby reaching for a plate of food means he's ready to eat it, any more than I would assume that a baby reaching for an electrical outlet is ready to be electrocuted. ;) Personally, I think babies are just plain curious, and they love to explore the world around them! :)
Another thing I take into consideration is my baby's disposition and weight gain. If my baby is napping, sleeping, and nursing well (mine always nursed 2-3 times a night when I was exclusively breastfeeding, since the milk digests so quickly!), and is gaining weight quickly (mine were always fast gainers), I see no reason to hurry on solids.
Breastmilk is the perfect baby food, and I wanted to take full advantage of its benefits! Organic, homemade, and free
My babies were 11 and 10 months old (respectively) when we first introduced solid foods to them. We started with cooked veggies (from our meal) and mashed them with a fork. Both of ours has at least 8 teeth by that point, anyway. And neither one really acted too thrilled with solid foods at first.
For the first month or two after starting solids, my babies would only eat a small amount (a couple spoonfuls) at each meal. I kept on nursing regularly (about 8 times in a 24-hour period) and eventually they decided to eat more solids and less breastmilk.
My oldest son (now almost 3) self-weaned at 16 months of age. My other son is now 14.5 months old, and still nurses 6-8 times plus eats some of our food at every meal.
I make nursing a priority, but also watch for my baby's needs. If my baby is thriving on just breastmilk, I see no reason to rush solids. They all wean eventually. ;)
When the baby is no longer satisfied with just breastmilk (i.e. is hungry and needs something "more" than before), then he gets to choose how much veggies, fruit, yogurt, etc. he eats at each meal. :)
So no, I really don't have any real baby food recipes. I have, in the past, cooked and then pureed foods like winter squash, pumpkin, and asparagus. I froze them in meal-sized portions, and thawed them for my baby to eat. I did this more so because I had extras of those foods to use (from the garden, or from other people) rather than for convenience.
What's been easiest for me is to just mash some of our veggies at each meal. That way it's fresh, I can eat whatever the baby doesn't want, and I don't have to remember to thaw it. It does kind of stink, having to eat broccoli or peas for a whole week while the baby is first being introduced to the new food, but we survived. ;)
I'm sure some of my readers have some great baby food tips! Do any of you want to share a tip or two for Kristy? :)