Baby's first food?
- Kevin Bacon
Our five month old baby girl is being weened off mother's milk and onto solids. The nurses at the local clinic told my wife to give the baby fruit and veg purees. We're both new to this and would like to know how exactly you prepare these things, eg does the fruit have to be cooked? Any links or help gratefuly recieved.
I'm sure the parents will pop in here soon with suggestions. But let me share one solution that a friend who is an incredible Italian cook found that made her life much easier. She used a food mill to puree a portion of whatever she and her husband were having for their own meal, both cooked or raw. The baby was more likely to eat it because it was the same that the parents were eating. Some things were prepared especially for baby to round out the diet, but being able to just mush up a portion of what was already being prepared for dinner was a big time saver. And, I'll tell you, baby ate well - braised rabbit with papardelle, butternut squash ravioli, beef in barolo, etc.
re: Melanie Wong
I couldn't agree more with Melanie Wong's response.
I did the same thing for my 3 boys (now teenagers) when they were babies.
It only makes sense to feed them what the rest of the family is eating. I think it gives them an appreciation for different foods that stays with them for a lifetime.
It amazes me when people assume that their children won't want "what the adults are having".
Of course, they still need (and love) the mashed up bananas, and sweet potatoes, etc. but please, before you open up that bland jar of baby food, puree a bit of that lamb & lentil stew.
Yes, I agree too; I did the same thing for my son, now five, who still eats the same things we eat. However, you can't do this until they're a little older. A five month old who's only had mother's milk has a delicate system. For instance, it's dangerous to give honey to a baby under one year old. I urge you to do a little reading about infant nutrition. Normally the first thing you give a baby is cereal--I used one from a health food store; you just mix in a little water. After that, you add foods one or two at a time. I do advocate, once you add other foods progressively, giving a baby strongly flavored and even somewhat spicy foods--I'm of the belief that this makes a good chowhound kid!
re: Leslie Brenner
Grandmother puts in her two cents worth - our first grand daughter is 10 months old, so we've just been through this.
Start with rice cereal mixed with some mother's milk. When that's actually swallowed and tolerated, gradually begin adding other things, each first mixed dilutely with the rice cereal/breast milk until baby gets used to the taste. Once you've gotten through fruits to vegetables to pureed meats (UGH!!!), then it's time to stop this nonsense and get on with eating. All this previous food can be made with a blender, no need for those little $.59 jars of goo.
Once the kid is crawling and has a tooth or two, it's move on to Cheerios, toast, and blenderized food from the table. We have three sons, good eaters all and, as it turns out, each the cook in his family. This was the way we fed them. Just be sure you don't give anything they can choke on. A big bib is the answer to the mess. That or a big dog that likes to lick.
I echo others comments about reading up on infant nutrition, as well as using a big bib...and one for Mama and Papa, too!
Another good source for knowledge about infant nutrition would likely be your local county health department. Most county health departments in our country have nutrition programs funded with federal, state and local dollars to insure kids get a healthy start in life.
On the homefront, before my daughter was born, I canned a LOT of cooked applesauce and pearsauce from the fruit trees in our yard. After she had adjusted to her baby cereal, I started swirling in a spoonful or two of the pear and applesauce.
One note on blending up "adult" food for baby. Your baby's digestive system is tender, and for your own sanity, as well as your baby's, remember to go easy (or avoid altogether) foods that cause gas or indigestion. My baby's digestive system was a replica of her papa's, so we didn't introduce her to the cabbage family, garlic, onions or cooked dried beans or peas for quite a while.
Enjoy baby...the years go by in a blink!
re: Olympia Jane
we have a 14 month old so have just tackled this issue ourselves - fruit and veggies were first along with the rice cereal (which tended to constipate our baby at first) - don't know where you live, but you can buy organic versions of all of these for not too much more $$$. We also cooked purees of things and blended them up with a hand blender. It is important to only try one new thing at a time, though, so if the baby has an allergic reaction you know what caused it. Our daughter is on to mostly finger foods now - dairy and carbs seem to be her favorites - yogurt, cheese, pasta, etc... though she likes fish too. Have fun - it can be sometimes frustrating and messy but it is fun and babies are a miracle.
When you say,"Our five month old baby girl is being weened off mother's milk and onto solids.", do you mean that solids are being added to a diet that up to now has been exclusively mother's milk, or that she is being weaned onto cow's milk or some other form of milk? I know that babies do fine on just breast milk for about the first six months and then begin to need additional nutrition. It's correct that the first "solid" food is generally cereal (often rice cereal because it's less allergenic). Pureed banana is often added early too and is good mixed in with the rice cereal. If your baby is still nursing, you can try her on just a few spoonsful of these after she has nursed. The point being that if she fills up on cereal and banana she won't want much milk and the milk supply will decrease accordingly. If she's being weaned from the breast, milk supply isn't an issue.
Mashed sweet potato moistened with water or breastmilk is very nutritious. White potato can be mixed with mashed carrots. Wait a few days before adding a new food so if something upsets her you'll be able to tell which food is the culprit. By the time she's 6 or so months old and is starting to put things into her mouth, you can give her cubed bits of soft food to feed herself. There's a lot of info out there for the feeding of babies. Go to the library and look around. A few good books should give you some guidelines about what to introduce when and how much. It's a grand adventure. Good luck. pat
What everyone else has said is sensible and accurate, but I add just one note. Blending or food-milling "adult" foods works great--my ten-month old son especially likes scallops with hot bean sauce--but at about the same time that he was ready to begin chowhounding, he also got seriously interested in feeding himself, and the blended stuff, though tasty, has to be fed to him with a spoon (which he grabs and rubs into his ears and hair). Interesting food that he can eat safely in small chunks has been harder to come up with, but he loves meatloaf, cubes of toast with peanut butter, bits of cooked fish, roasted pork, and just the other day pieces of tourtiere (the Quebecois pork pie).