Friday, July 6, 2007

Our Reasons for Homemade Baby Food

While I was pregnant, we decided to try to feed our infant homemade baby food. We believed that the nutritional aspects are great enough to warrant the additional effort involved. So when we went in for his 6 month appointment, I was really excited at the prospect of starting him on solids. Our pediatrician said that we should start feeding him pureed fruits and vegetables, and to make sure to get him to try various different ones like broccoli and brussels sprouts. I asked why starting babies on cereal was traditional, and he said it's primarily based on the notion that babies need more iron, but he's seen studies that refute that point. In his many years, he's found that starting babies on a diet of fruits and vegetables is much more successful, and we should introduce cereal later. As for allergies, he asked that we not feed him the usual suspects (e.g., honey, eggs, milk) as well as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and strawberries. Other than that, don't be too concerned about introducing foods slowly to watch for allergies. Often, pediatricians suggest introducing a new food every 4 days so that only one new food is in the babies system at any given time. Watch for allergic reactions and if none develop, continue on to try another food. Since our doctor redlined allergens to be concerned with, we were granted a carte blanche.


That week I started steaming and mashing food. He didn't like it. I tried a blender, a hand blender, and a food mill. We suspect he thought we were trying to poison him.

I don't know where he gets this paranoia from. *sigh*

I figured the texture was a bit chunky for him, so on a whim I tried a couple of store brands like organic Gerber, Homemade Baby, and Earth's Best. I also called the pediatrician's office to see if they could suggest anything, and they said that since he's already getting all of the nutrition he needs from breastmilk, just keep trying until he gets used to the texture. Finally, between some of my food and some of the store bought food, he started to eat. His favorite by far was Piwi, a combination of pears and kiwi. I continued with a bit of store bought food for a while longer until one day we compared the color of homemade peas to store bought peas. Then we remembered why we wanted to feed him homemade food.

We want him to eat fresh, organic food - If I make his food, I can regulate the ingredients and be sure of the state of the food before it's pureed. I want fresh, organic food for health and nutritional reasons, so I buy produce from our local farmers' market. If we know what he's eating and how it's prepared (e.g., steamed), we can be sure that he's getting more nutrition out of the food he eats. Besides, I'm convinced that the reason I couldn't get my food to the same texture as the food I bought is because they add other ingredients. That's enough of a reason for me to question the ingredients label. Again, I'm paranoid, and there's nothing anyone can do to change that.

His food should taste good - We like good food. if we don't eat processed foods, why should he? We watch cooking shows for fun. We've traveled to countries because we like the local food. In essence, we've been willing to spend more to get better quality ingredients, and nothing's changed. So now that we're feeding him, we want to give him food that we would eat. Sorry just don't do it for us.

We want him to broaden his palate by exposing him to many foods - Even if we didn't have a problem with store bought foods, the flavors available are few in number, and we really wanted to feed him a wide variety of foods. I was a picky eater until...well, until I met my husband. I liked food, but I was only comfortable in a safe zone. He helped me try more foods and flavors, and over time I've become a much more adventurous eater. However, I wish I'd been less apprehensive before because I missed out on a lot of culinary experiences and growth as a result. We don't want that to slow our little slugger down.

We want him to eat what he's given - We don't want a picky eater, and we'd like to nip it in the bud if we can. If we're willing to eat it, son, you're gonna have to eat it, too.

That's the gist of it, though I'm sure I missed a few other good reasons. In the end, we just want him to be happy, healthy, cooperative and well-rounded. If we can start teaching him these fundamentals in the form of food, we figure we're off to a good start.


ChiefFamilyOfficer said...

I'm completely with you and those are the same reasons I make all of Tyler's baby food too. I love the pear-kiwi combo and will have to try it out on Tyler. Thanks for the idea!

MetaMommy said...

Thanks for your comment, Cathy. The pear-kiwi combo is actually pretty good. I made my own version at home, and it worked out pretty well, too. I diced up 2 apples, 2 pears, and about 3 good sized kiwi (not the tiny ones). I cooked the apples and pears in a saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water (you can use apple juice or the like) until tender (10-15 minutes), though if the pear was ripe I would have added them later with the kiwi. Once tender, I put the kiwi in to cook for a couple of minutes. Then I blended the whole thing. You can seive it to remove the black seeds, though I didn't bother. Sooo good!!