As we slowly approach the 6 month mark, I have been preparing myself to jump into the world of baby food. The choices and options are endless! Doing research on feeding your baby their first solids makes my head spin!
Now I don't claim to be any kind of health nut. But I am health conscious. When our pediatrician gave us the green light to start rice cereal at 4 months, it didn't settle right with me. Rice doesn't offer any better nutrition for my baby than my breast milk, or of some nutritious whole foods. I know iron is important for breastfed babies, but I am confident we can find iron rich vegetables and meat to support those needs. I am choosing not to incorporate grains into Reese's diet for several months. And when I do, it will most likely be steel cut organic oats like Mama's.
To buy or to make baby food, that is the question. I'm not a baby food snob, I promise. Well, I am, but I have found that there are a lot of great choices available for moms who don't have the time to slave over a stove and blender to prepare all of their baby's food. As a stay at home mom, I know I have the time to prepare her food, so that is the route I am choosing for baby food. I don't believe you need any special baby steamers or grinders. I am simply using a pot to steam, and a blender. Some 1 ounce cube trays for freezing and some ziploc bags.
With that said, my brand of choice would be Plum Organics or Earth's Best pouches among a few others. There are so many options. What it comes down to for me is simple, organic ingredients, and affordability. You can get a great deal on these on Amazon. I will be keeping a few pouches in the diaper bag for when we are on the go. And have you seen these Boon pouch spoons? Why can't I think of something like this and become a mom millionaire?
I strive to eat and prepare food that isn't processed. And I try to buy local and organic when I can. With that said, we have no organic grocery stores in our area. None. And for a small town surrounded by farms, none of them sell to the public. The nearest farmer's market is 40 minutes away. And the selection at the grocery store is limited a small corner of the produce section. So I have to make choices. I keep the dirty dozen list in mind and make them a priority when selecting organic produce.
But what food do you start with? Everyone has an opinion on this. I honestly believe in doing your own research and taking ideas and opinions as a grain of salt. Although bananas and avocado sounded delicious, I decided not to use these creamy fruits as first foods. Here is how I decided where to start.
I knew I wanted to start with vegetables. Fruit is sweet and I didn't want Reese to come to expect that taste all the time. I wanted to choose in-season vegetables that would be full of fiber and easy to digest. (Although avocados are my favorite, their creamy consistency can make babies mucousy).
With lots of delicious summer vegetables and fruits to choose from, I decided to start with sweet potato, carrots, squash, peas and green beans. We will explore some fruits this summer too. Pears, peaches, plums, and apples are a great place to start. I also don't see a problem letting her suck on a big piece of well done grass-fed steak. It's great iron after all. As always, it's recommended to wait 4-5 days before incorporating a new food into a baby's diet to rule out any allergies or reactions.
Reese's exclusively breastfed belly has a virgin gut, so we will be taking these new foods nice and slow. After all, the rule of thumb is, "Food before 1 is just for fun". I love breastfeeding and intend on breastmilk being her main source of nutrition until she closer to a year old. It's important for babies to stay hydrated when starting solids, so it's important to nurse before or after a feeding or offer babies an ounce or two of water from a sippy cup. (Infants should not be given much water, over hydrating can be very dangerous, there's plenty of water in breast milk anyway.)
This is a new and exciting adventure and I will be sharing how it's going over the next few weeks. Until then, we have already found one thing we know she loves... sucking on a cold watermelon rind for those sore teething gums. We literally had to pry it out of her hands!
Whoelsome Baby Food: great source of nutritional information on all veggies and fruits, tips on how to prepare and store them, charts and schedules for first foods
New Rules for Feeding Baby: great article on how trends have changed, encourages you to allow your baby to experiment with different tastes, textures, etc. Advice on how to raise unpicky eaters.
Baby Led Weaning: allowing baby to be in the driver's seat on their feeding, allowing them to feed themselves and make selections based on taste.