Tuesday, May 8, 2012

adventures in baby food

Who doesn't love a baby with a little avocado on his lip?

Jack will be 7 months old next week (waaaaah!) which means we've been playing around with real food for almost a month. I thought I'd share a little bit about that for all you curious minds out there.

First of all, we made the decision to wait on introducing solids until he was at least six months old. He is and always has been a great nurser and I know that he's getting exactly what he needs from that, so I've been in no hurry to change things up. My plan has been to continue nursing as much as I have been and anything in between will just be a bonus. Honestly, it's taken so much of the pressure off to take that attitude. When he gagged at me the first time we tried real food, I didn't freak out because I was thinking "food is just for fun." So there's that.

The first thing we tried was banana. And like I said, he made a major gag face. He was NOT interested. I waited a few days and tried avocado. Same reaction. For about a week, I'd try at least once a day with either bananas, applesauce or avocado and he just wasn't feeling it. I figured it would just take him a while to get used to the idea, but I wasn't going to rush it.

One evening while I was cooking dinner, I was carrying him around the kitchen because he was being Mr. Cranky Pants and he started reaching for the avocado I was preparing for a salad. I put a little on my finger to give him and he almost took my hand off trying to eat it. He ate half of an avocado out of my hand that night and we haven't turned back since. The kid loves to eat. He does a little happy dance after every bite and gets quite impatient while waiting for the next one. I actually love how excited he gets about eating. It reminds me of another boy I live with...

I kind of think it was the spoon that was giving him the heebies. He made the yucky face when I tried avocado with a spoon the next day, but when I gave it to him with my finger he didn't mind it at all. Slowly, he warmed up to the spoon and now I think he'd stick it down his throat if I let him. Anything to just GET THE FOOD IN FASTER.

Things on the menu:
  • Banana
  • Applesauce
  • Avocado
  • Sweet potato
  • Carrots
  • Oatmeal (ground into a powder and mixed with applesauce or banana)
Coming soon:
  • Zucchini
  • Green beans
  • Brown rice
  • Peaches
  • Blueberries
I tried to start with bland, easy-to-prepare foods, but other than that there's no real rhyme or reason to those lists. I'm just trying to pick things that a) don't pose any allergy threats and b) pack a punch as far as nutrition is concerned.

I've also been making my own baby food because it's cheap and easy. And I know exactly what's going into it. To give you an idea, I spent $15 at the grocery store on food and after an hour one afternoon, ended up with 75+ servings. That's $0.20/serving! I just steam it, blend it, pour it into ice cube trays and then store the frozen cubes in ziplock bags. Easy peasy.

Here are a few of our favorite food-related items (all of which you can find on Amazon, by the way):

1. Baby Mum-Mums. Ridiculous name, I know. They're rice rusks, which essentially turn to rice cereal when they get gnawed on. I think he likes them for teething and they're a good distraction when I'm trying to get his food ready and he's antsy. This is the only rice cereal he gets because that stuff will stop him up like whoa. But the amount he actually gets when nomming on those is so small, that I don't worry about it. Rudy gets more than Jack does just by hanging out under the high chair.

2. mOmma Developmental Drink Set. This was a gift from Andrew's great aunt and it's supposed to guide them along to drinking out of a cup. First it's a bottle, then it's a sippy cup with two handles, then it's a cup with one handle and a straw. He still hasn't gotten the memo that he has to lean his head back to get anything out, but he's good at holding it. For now, he just gets a little bit of water every time he eats. 

3. Joovy Nook high chair. Dude. The high chair decision was TOUGH. There are so many options and they can be really expensive. I finally decided that I just wanted something that was sturdy, would fold up easily and wasn't $300. I landed on this one and I love it. It folds up with the pull of a handle and is slim enough to slide behind a door. And it's easy to move around from room to room, so he likes to hang out there while I'm cooking dinner or in the sunroom while we're having coffee on the weekends.

4. Silicone ice cube trays. Great for freezing baby food - they just pop right out and are the perfect little 1oz servings. 

5. Waterproof bibs with pockets. No one ever said this wouldn't be messy and I appreciate the little pocket that catches everything, so I don't have to change his clothes after every meal. Although, Jack thinks that the bib produces food since so much ends up there. As soon as I put the bib on him he starts trying to eat the pocket. We're working on that.

6. Baby food maker. Andrew's parents found this on sale the weekend Jack was born and brought it to us. It's a Kalorik and so far, I'm really happy with it. It's great for fresh vegetables that need to be cut up before they're steamed, because it's also a food processor. But if I get bags of frozen vegetables (i.e. carrots) I just use the steamer insert on my big stock pot since it holds more and then I just puree it all in the blender. But for anything fresh, it saves dicing time by tossing it in the Kalorik.

There you have it, folks. Our (short) adventure in baby food. Now if you'll excuse me, the master himself has awakened and there's a bowl of bananas with his name on it.

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