Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How I Make Baby Food - Part 1

Keep in mind that anything I say in this, and any post for that matter, is a breakdown of our experiences. None of this is meant to be taken as gospel, nor should it in any way override your pediatrician's POV. These methods and recipes were successful for us, but you should always include your pediatrician in any dietary changes you make for you baby. After all, that's why s/he gets paid the big bucks ;-)

When I was pregnant, I started reading up on making baby food. I’ve already gone into why we decided to make our own baby food, so here’s a breakdown of how we coped. A friend gave us a copy of First Meals by Annabel Karmel from which I got a lot of good information. I also did a lot of reading online. I was looking for methods to preparing, storing, and serving foods. Additionally, I sought information on safe first foods, unsafe foods at various ages, introducing a variety of flavors, and so on. Essentially, any tips available on making the process go smoothly.

The funny thing is that the more I read, the more intimidated I got. So when we went to the pediatrician for my son’s 6 month appointment, I was both excited and worried. How much work is this going to take? If I freeze the food in cubes, how hot should I get the food before cooling it back down to feed him? And worst of all, am I going to make him sick?

Our pediatrician’s rules:
  • Pureed Foods - Start by feeding him pureed fruits and vegetables, and make sure to get him to try various different flavors like broccoli and brussels sprouts.
  • Cereals - Introduce iron-fortified cereals (rice cereal, oatmeal) after about 6 weeks of solids. His take on iron fortified baby cereal is that it was previously theorized that babies needed the additional iron, but he's seen studies that refute the point. He’s seen more successful diets start with fruits and vegetables.
  • Allergies - In addition to the usual suspects (e.g., honey, eggs, milk, nuts), avoid citrus fruits, tomatoes, wheat, and strawberries. Often, pediatricians suggest introducing a new food every 4 days so that only one new food is in the baby's system at any given time. In those 4 days, caregivers are to 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.

So, I went home and started on my recipes. Despite my best efforts, MetaBaby did NOT like what was going on. He knew what food was (breastmilk), and new “so-called” food was just wrong, wrong, wrong. He refused food daily, and I had to keep reminding myself that this stage of feeding wasn’t about nutrition as much as it was about getting him to appreciate food textures and the act of chewing. He would tolerate the flavors if we put a bit on a finger and allowed him to suck, but besides that, the first month was slow-going. I tried a few store-bought organic foods like organic Gerber, Homemade Baby, and Earth's Best, which went only slightly better because of the texture, or so I suspect. Eventually, he came around, and when he did, there was no stopping him. He loves food. I’ve read that a baby should eat an amount of food equal to the size of his fist, but our little foodie tends to whine for more if we do that. He seldom lets us know that he’s finished before the end of his meal. Even more seldom does he refuse food. Oh, it’s happened, but it’s rare. And I’m not insinuating that he’s really happy with food because I make most of it for him; I just think we’re really lucky. Well, regardless I’d think we’re really lucky :-D

More on resources, tools, foods, and recipes in How I Make Baby Food - Part 2


MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

Cool (for your boys and you). We did the homemade baby thing too. It's amazingly easy (and I'm no chef - so it really must be).

MetaMommy said...

LOL...I'm no chef, but I've slowly started to get less scared about food. So between that and practice, cooking's gotten easier and faster. But you learn from your mistakes, not your fail lots :-)
Thats what I do...see here