Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bringing on the baby food

Hey sis,

It's hard to believe your little one will be ready to eat soon! I'm glad you liked the book on making your own baby food that I brought down, but I know you had some questions too. I'll try to answer them the best I can:

What to make: The best advice I can give you is to follow the flavors your family eats. (Realizing that's a bit tricky with what your husband doesn't eat, we'll work around that.) If you like zucchini, blend it up. If you can't live without plums, give it a whirl! It's much easier to introduce flavors that are an extension of your regular palate. Kids in other cultures are introduced to spices and herbs at an extremely early age; it doesn't hurt to add spice to your baby's plates!

The best thing is with your growing seasons, you're fortunate that you'll be able to offer up fresh food for a long time.

On recipes: I'll admit with our first kid I followed that cookbook faithfully, mushing up mixtures according to prescribed guidelines. That's all well and good, but I'll be honest that by #2, you tend to roll with things a lot more! It's very easy to modify something you're already cooking into something more baby-friendly. (Oh we're having zucchini or carrots? Let's nuke it a little more to soften and mush it up. Having a complicated dish? Pick out one or two elements and prepare it for the baby.)

Fitting it in: And being a working mom, cooking that extra meal does take some extra effort. What I tended to do was make up a small batch of vegetables or fruit from whatever was in season, proportion it out in small containers (no fancy baby food tubs), freeze and use when needed.

The great thing is, unlike just a few years ago, you have more options for organic and natural baby food. Six years ago (is it that long?) you struggled to find anything. So even if you don't have time to make everything, or you don't want to cook up something, you may be able to find alternatives at the store.

Growing into it: As she gets older, she'll want more complicated flavors and more "people" like food. She may let you know just by grabbing and gumming. Before my kids were a year, they were knawing on roasted asparagus, sucking out the insides!

And about teething: Whatever you do, shy away from those store-bought biter biscuits. I looked at the nutritional information - and with the sugar and fat, they're virtually candy bars! Instead, it's easy to make your own. That simple step probably saved me the cost of that cookbook.

Good luck with making the baby food! And don't get discouraged. No matter what you prepare, something will eventually make her mouth! :-)

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