This is what we had for dinner last night – eggs, potatoes, and freshly-peeled oranges (oh, and I drank a cup of grapefruit juice…I love the stuff) :
This is what our 9-month-old had for dinner last night (it’s the exact same thing that we ate…in teeny tiny bites that she fed to herself):
I view the current baby-feeding advice with a hefty dose of skepticism and a little bit of amusement. Why-oh-why, I wonder, do babies need to have rice cereal and then oat cereal and then pureed vegetables and then pureed fruits, in that order, only introducing 1 food at a time? Heavens to Betsy (I don’t know what that expression means exactly and I never say it in real life, but it seemed appropriate here)! That is too strict for my tastes (or my babies tastes, for that matter).
When it comes to baby food, here are the general “truths” that I adhere to:
- Breastfeeding is the optimal form of nutrition for my baby and has everything that my baby needs for the first 6+ months of life.
- When my baby begins to express interest in food by grabbing at foods and/or protesting vocally (yes, babies do “protest,” even before they can talk), I will begin mashing, pureeing, or cutting OUR FOOD into manageable bites.
- As soon as my baby is ready, allowing her to feed herself is the best and least frustrating way to proceed (although, NOT the least messy…I hate to break it to ya.). That said, I much prefer cleaning up a little extra mess to zooming smashed peas into my baby’s mouth bite-by-bite on a plastic spoon.
- Variety in a baby’s diet is healthy and good. All rice cereal and no enchiladas make for a very boring menu.
- The BEST foods for baby are the *same* foods that are best for the rest of the family: organic, fresh, “raw” foods – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.
There you have it. I generally don’t pay much attention to serving sizes and I very rarely buy any food from the baby aisle (too expensive, sort-of yucky, and not as healthy as what I typically prepare). When I do buy jarred baby food, I buy “plain” fruits or vegetables (pears, peaches, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.) because they are generally pretty tasty and very healthy – and our 3-year-old loves ’em too.
When my baby is just starting out and getting the hang of things, my favorite foods to offer are avocados and bananas because they are easy to mash and cooking isn’t necessary. From there, I begin offering little bits of whatever we are eating (pasta, pizza, breads, fruits, veggies, pancakes, whatever). I do hold off on the non-water drinks (juice, milk, etc.) and desserts though for at least the first year.
Actually, I take back the desserts part. I must admit that I gave my baby the teeniest tiniest taste of ice cream today. First-time mommies everywhere are gasping with horror! I was the same way. Not one teeny, tiny morsel of cake or ice cream touched my older daughter’s lips until her first birthday party. With our littlest, however, I figure – eh, a little sugar never hurt anyone (especially in the ittiest bittiest amount).
YOUR TURN: How do YOU introduce solids to your baby?