Baby’s First Foods ||
So many different milestones come (and go) so quickly but one of my favorites has been introducing solid (pureed) foods to River. The funny little faces and sounds he makes as he experiences new flavors, textures and smells makes me giddy. I pray that we are able to instill good eating habits in him from the very beginning that will continue as he gets older. At the 4 month check up the pediatrician recommended we could start him on rice cereal and progress at-will to other first foods recommended between 4-6 months old. As I started my research I quickly realized that many rice cereals have zero nutritional value and are considered a “filler.” While I knew the cereal wasn’t absolutely necessary we had started sleep training and as a breastfed baby he ate every 2-3 hours around the clock. I needed a break and sleep for my own sanity. I was ready to try anything at this point.
I couldn’t wrap my brain around giving him something that wasn’t even slightly nutritious but then came across the Earth’s Best Whole Grain Rice Cereal. I liked the thought of him at least getting a healthy complex carbohydrate option so I decided to give it a try. It’s traditionally recommended to add the cereal to a bottle but since I breastfeed I decided to feed it to him from a spoon then let him nurse before bed. What a delight it was watching him figure out how to eat from a spoon. I slowly introduced it to him over about 2 weeks and just followed his cues on when he had had enough or if he was even interested.
By his 5th “Month”day I felt like he was ready to try some other first foods. We have used different organic brands of canned baby foods but with all of the recalls lately it’s motivated me to really dive in to making it myself. As with any new endeavor there’s been a little trial and error but overall it’s actually very simple. So simple even I can do it!
With preparation and a little imagination you could help start healthy eating habits from the very beginning. Even though River is only 6 months old I try to include him in what I am doing by showing him the prep site, pointing to the foods while letting him touch and smell the foods in their natural state.
While you should always get your personal pediatrician’s recommendation on when/what to feed your child these are the recommendations we received that seem to be pretty standard.
First Foods (4-6 months)
First, try with these:
- Rice Cereal-however your doctor recommends serving
- Bananas- simply mash or puree
- Avocado- mash/puree
- Sweet Potato- steam/bake, peel and mash/puree
Start slowly introducing one new food every few days. At first the consistency needs to be as smooth as possible. Almost in a liquid state. It is recommended to use water, breastmilk/formula to help get a smoother result. Once you have introduced the new food and no allergy is present you can start mixing different combinations together. The combinations and possibilities are endless so have fun with it!!
Then try these:
- beans/peas- steam first then mash or puree
- carrots- peel and steam then mash or puree
- apples- peel, halve and core apple. steam on low heat until tender. mash or puree
Of course these are just a few beginner suggestions and again you should always go by your pediatricians recommendations but it’s a great (and simple) start to making your own baby food supply. There are also tons of food charts all over the world wide web if your pediatrician has not offered you a guide. But making your own is basically just peel, steam and mash/puree. While there are many appliance/baby food systems out there we just use our food processor attachment on our blender combo.
Since we had been slowly introducing new foods we would only puree enough for 1-2 feedings so freezing had not been necessary but now that we are progressing and moving through stages quickly, I decided to start fully prepping a few days worth of food at a time that involves freezing the baby food which I explain later.
Second Foods (6+months)
When River’s 6 month well-visit came around our Pediatrician recommended we could begin 2nd stage foods including meats. I thought most of the research I had done showed meats at stage 3 and 9+ months so I was a little shocked when she mentioned it.
Since I CRAVED Chic-Fil-A my entire pregnancy I decided to give chicken a shot as my first meat puree. Surely he would like it since it seemed to agree with him in utero, right? 🙂
I first chopped and boiled the chicken breast in water. I then drained and pureed. I realized the chicken really needed to be elevated for flavor so decided to wing it and combine:
- Sweet potato
Since I now know he loves chicken and doesn’t seem to have an aversion to it I will use the rest of the chicken to make a mango/chicken puree and maybe start introducing some natural seasonings such as sage, thyme, etc…
I will add those recipes and results as soon as I give them a shot!
Freezing and Storing Baby Food
Now that I have the hang of preparing our own food it’s time to start building a supply so we aren’t left in a pinch when he needs to be fed. I found recommendations all over the interwebs regarding this process and the consensus seems to be to freeze the puree in ice cube trays then transfer to a freezer safe ziploc baggie. Again, there are several systems sold for this as well but not absolutely necessary. To thaw just pull out servings for the next day and defrost in fridge over night!