The Business of Eating
I cannot believe that my baby will be 6 months old next week. In some ways it seems like no time at all has passed, and in other ways it feels like forever.
About a month ago, I had him seated in a little chair and his father leaned over to talk to him. Instead of his usual grab for the face and pull of the hair - he lurched into the ice-cream my partner was holding next to him, and took a bite. A big one. Rather than being put off by the cold strange taste, he was more motivated than ever to grab whatever we were eating and shovel it into his mouth as quickly as possible. It was then that I decided I needed to start feeding him real food.
I dug out our supplies that I had stashed in the cupboard, from when we started feeding my daughter solids. Lots of very cute little sippy cups, spoons and bowls, most of which are VERY pink. This fascinated him. He played happily for half an hour trying to grab hold of the spoon while I made him something to eat.
As with my daughter; I started with rice cereal, then moved on to the fruit and vegetables.
Here are four very quick ideas for baby food for the first few weeks.
- Peel and core an apple, chop flesh off the core, and steam until just soft (don’t steam too much as it will damage the nutrients), then using either your kitchen whizz or a fork, you mash up the apple until it’s a smooth paste. If they’re anything like my baby boy, they’ll love it by itself, to make the rice cereal palatable, and on everything else just because.
- Using the same process as above, cut up 1 -2 pears to create a puree. This one is the most popular in our household. Only succeeded by a combination of both pear and apple.
- We add carrot next. Again using the same process, I steam the carrots, for quite a lot longer than the fruit, still only so they are just soft enough to whizz up using a stick mixer. You won’t be able to mash them into a smooth enough paste for your baby using a fort. At least not until they’re dealing with lumpy food.
At this stage you might feel like you hit a road block. I tried swede, zucchini and potato using the same method as above. My baby boy won’t eat zucchini or potato unless it’s mixed with a very generous serve of apple. And he won’t eat swede at all.
- So my final little tip is pumpkin. It’s sweet enough to be a fruit, but is still a veggie. And if you’re cutting up a big pile of it for a roast, it’s easy enough to put some on to steam, whizz up and put excess in your clean containers for the freezer.
I keep a stash of Rafferty’s Garden pouches for emergency and ease of use when I’m heading out with the little one, but for home I prefer to make my own.
My top suggestions for getting food into a little one’s belly (or at least a mouth to start with) are;
- Wait until baby is ready to eat. They may be watching dinner time intently, or trying to reach for food. They will also have lost or nearly lost their tongue reflex that makes them stick it out while being fed.
- Don’t decide that they don’t like the new food you present to them based on their first facial expression. My son (and daughter) take at least three tastes of something new to actually contemplate eating it.
- Only introduce one food at a time, and give it three days in case there’s a reaction.
- Put as big a bib on the baby as you can find, and don’t wear your best white outfit while feeding them.
Now I have to take my little lunch box for him, filled with freezer tubs of pear, apple, carrot, pumpkin… and a bit more pear.