Sunday, September 6, 2009

In the Beginning...

The most common question people ask me (aside from "where did you get those fabulous shoes?" ha ha) is "How do you start feeding your baby?". So I thought I would begin at the beginning. Bai and I were in this great mom's group with kids from 0 to 1 year. I heard from moms with older kids what their struggles were with food. I decided that I wanted Bailey to eat with us; when we ate, what we ate. Since I was nursing Bailey and she wouldn't take a bottle, I naturally became in charge of feeding her solids. However, Mike did and still does most of the grocery shopping (it keeps me from buying too many bags of Oreos!) so I wouldn't always get to pick out her jarred food. I decided (it sounds crazy now, but sleep deprived moms make all sorts of loopy choices) that it would be easier just to make her food. At the time I didn't know what a butternut squash was, how to peel it or how to steam it - in fact, I didn't even have a steamer basket! But, I had a great mom-friend who was going to make her son's food as well - a partner in crime.

So at five months, I tried to give Bailey rice cereal. She wasn't interested. My mother-in-law was visiting and I didn't want her to think I was starving her granddaughter but Bailey would just let it fall out of her mouth. Grandma tried too, to no avail. So while I waited for Bailey to start eating, I would put her in her highchair whenever we were eating and let her play with her baby spoons and sippy cups; that way they weren't strange when it was time to use them. She finally started eating at 7 1/2 months! I would give her cereal once a day when she seemed bored but not tired, at about the same time and I would eat something with her. Rice cereal is very constipating so after a few days, when I knew she was handling it fine, I switched to a mix of grains. I like Earth's Best brand.

Once Bailey (and I did the same thing with Clare, but she started at 5 1/2 months) ate the cereal well and she seemed to be hungrier I started giving her cereal twice and then three times a day. But I didn't want her to get used to cereal for every meal because that is not what we eat. So then I washed, peeled, chopped, steamed and pureed apples, pears, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and zucchini. These are all great first foods because they are mild flavors and low allergenic triggers. I would introduce one every three or four days. I still gave her cereal as well. So that first month Bailey and Clare learned how to eat and were introduced to six foods. I mixed these all up with each other and cereal to give her new flavors. Babies thrive on routine but I constantly changed Bai's foods so that she never had the same thing at the same time. I wanted her routine to be to accept new foods and the only routine about it would be that she would get something to eat.

I still mix pureed fruits with morning oatmeal for the girls (and me! ). Our favorite is peach puree. I just wash, peel, and chop the peaches then puree them and freeze them in ice cube trays. Then I just throw a frozen peach cube into the steaming oatmeal. It cools and flavors the oatmeal for us - yum!

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