Starting on Solids Figuring out Food
I breastfed my son for a couple weeks over a year. That to say, that year was full of challenges for the both of us and frankly, breastfeeding just wasn’t my boy’s thing. By 6 months old, Lake was more interested in our forks and plates than he was in my boobs by far. So, I got on google and bought some infant oatmeal and a really great book and off we went. I’ll tell you how all of that worked out for me and what I will do differently with baby #2.
First, I want to talk about the whole oatmeal/rice cereal phase. Honestly, I think it is completely unnecessary. If your child is truly ready to start experimenting with food, you will know. Lake would follow the fork with his eyes when we were eating and mimic our chewing. He was even working on his first tooth! And if they are ready, there is really no need to fill their bellies with foods that have little to no nutritional value.
So if you don’t start with cereal, what do you start with?
The answer isn’t the same for every baby, but I did a lot of the research and it lead me to a very surprising first food- meat!
At around this age, children begin to need more zinc and iron then are found in your breast milk. The best replacement for these minerals is actually red meat! I was really surprised to read this and was definitely nervous to try it. That is when I started doing research on a baby food how-to book that could guide me through this phase. That’s when I came across Real Baby Food by Jenna Helwig.
This book was awesome for a lot of things. Not only is it written by a super relatable mom, but it has really practical tools like a food introducing timeline chart and recipes for getting your kiddo used to different flavors. I decided that making your own baby food really wasn’t the hassle that it seemed like, and saved a lot of money too! I used ice cube trays to freeze the purees and kept them in ziplock bags for quick packing. I would say that on average, I took a total of 30 minutes a week making baby food and probably saved $30/week. Totally worth it!
By 8 months, my little guy was eating things like poached salmon with lemon and spinach and pineapple. To this day (he is 20 months currently) he is a totally adventurous eater. His favorite homemade meal is “Tika” or Chicken Tika Massala. He isn’t even two!
In conclusion, I think that there are a lot of misconceptions and fear mongering around babies and food, and this simply doesn’t have to be. Remember always that at the end of the day, you are mama and mama knows best! And just in case you want backup - a good book is always a good idea.
- Jennifer Akiyama