Up until his 6 month birthday (just last week!), my young son had only nursed. He was gaining weight well and I wanted to follow the AAP guidelines to wait 6 months before offering him solids. From what I’ve read, there is no benefit to introducing solids early, but there could be potential drawbacks as a small baby does not have a fully developed system.
Goodness, time moves fast. It seems that as soon as we settle into a good rhythm, we’re preparing for the next phase! There’s nothing I dislike more than packing up away clothes that no longer fit, or buying the next size diaper.
For a health-and-budget conscious consumer, the grocery store is can be overwhelming at times; even more so when you’re looking for that perfect “first food.” There’s a lot of Greenwashing and confusing labels. For example, what’s the difference between low fat and reduced fat? Low fat means a product contains ≤ 30% of total calories per serving, while reduced fat means a product contains at least 25% less fat than the original version. (A reduced fat version is not necessarily low fat.) Is there a difference between cage-free and free-range? Sometimes. Are unscented and fragrance free the same? No.
Greenwashing: When a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact.
The list of confusing terminology goes on.
As a nursing mama, it’s incredible to look at your child and know that all that growing is due to something you made. I’m sure you nursing mothers (and supportive fathers) can agree, breast milk is free in a monetary sense – but it requires a lot of time and effort! In my opinion, starting to eat real food at the table is a little bittersweet… it’s the beginning of the end of that special relationship.
My rule for eating has always been: the closer my food is to its original form, the better it is for me and my family. This means shying away from ingredients I can’t pronounce – typically artificial colors, preservatives, fillers and other questionable chemicals. For my small baby, I’m extra diligent (some might say, neurotic) about what products are on his skin and now, what he eats. Luckily, it’s fun and inexpensive to make his baby food! I know exactly what he’s getting, and he gets to see his food is more than just mush in a jar. Following Dr. Green’s advice in Feeding Baby Green, and a bit of philosophy from Baby-Led Weaning, a let my baby experience his meal with all 5 senses. He gets to see the orange sweet potato, and feel the rough brown texture. He can smell it as I blend and taste its sweetness. He hears mommy explain what he’s about to eat, and learns the words that will one day help him describe what he’s looking for.
Here’s my recipe to make sweet potatoes for baby.
Sweet Potatoes for Baby
- Clean two sweet potatoes
- Stab with fork on all sides
- Microwave for 4 minutes, rotate and microwave another 2 minutes
- Cut sweet potatoes in half, and scoop out inside into
- If you’d like a thinner consistency, add a little breast milk (I added 1oz breastmilk)
- Use an immersion blender until you’ve reached your desired consistency*
- Scoop into glass baby food cubes
*With an immersion blender, you don’t need to buy a special baby food making machine. You can use this little gadget long after baby graduates from his high chair. I love using mine to make creamy soups by blending vegetables, instead of adding heavy cream as a thickener!
Baby Food Storage: This meal lasts for 3 days in the refrigerator, but freezes well. The two sweet potatoes shown made ~5 meals (10oz total), but you may have more or less depending on the size of your potatoes and the amount of liquid you add. I filled 4 green sprouts glass baby food cubes and a ramekin for later that same day. I stay away from plastic storage containers, and prefer to use glass. In addition, these are great for bringing salad dressing to work or storing homemade condiments. They’ll live long in your pantry and you won’t have to worry about toxins from plastic leaching into your freshly pureed baby food.
Baby Led Weaning: If you’re interested in ensuring your child only receives whole, real food but are not interested in baby food making – check out Baby-Led Weaning. The term “weaning” is British, and refers to the introduction of complementary food to formula or breast milk. We do a little bit of that as well, allowing our baby to pick up small bite-sized chunks of whatever we’re having that seems appropriate.