Cooking for Remy
Before having a baby, I knew I would be home for an indefinite amount of time. However, whether I would stay home or go back to work did not have an impact on my decision to feed Remy REAL food. I am not following any books or methods. Up until now, she is eight months today, I have followed instinct with occasional Google searches and questions to parents and close friends regarding introducing solids. I nursed Remy solely up until 6 months and then I introduced oatmeal cereal. I do use the Gerber brand oatmeal cereal, but have considered blending my own cereal from bulk produce. I completely disagree with the theory of those that believe babies sleep through the night if you feed them something other than breast milk (cereal, rice milk, formula). Remy has been sleeping through the night, off and on, since two months, and she never needed supplementation. So, after I introduced cereal, I started giving her tastes of food that we were eating. Her first taste of real food was fresh peaches this summer with her grandmother. Then, banana, yogurt, lentils, vegetables from soup and chili, and then I pulled out my baby bullet and started making simple purees. After her 6 month appointment, more like 6.5, my pediatrician recommended I add in proteins and said anything goes except cow milk, shell fish and a couple other items. I started blending in grilled chicken with squash and zucchini. I JUST introduced beef this past weekend, mixed with asparagus. I am not sure why, I guess because it is all new to me, but for some reason transitioning her from milk to solids is nerve racking! Is she getting enough iron? Does she need more fiber? How much should her portions be? Is this too chunky?
I wasn't as nervous about allergies and introducing new flavors as I was about quantities and varieties. So I had purchased this book from a consignment store before having Remy, $2.99, knowing I was going to be making her food. I referred to it the other night and was sort of embarrassed. I should be giving her barley and quinoa and this and that and more chunky foods for her little chubby fingers to practice picking up and...and..and... I needed to be doing more and probably upping my research in this area. Of course she is not starving, but her appetite is growing, she is growing, and it is such a huge responsibility to be sure they are eating properly and learning how to do so from this stage on for a healthy lifestyle for life. So I decided to follow one of the recipes this afternoon, Apricot and Coconut Milk Rice Pudding, during her nap. This is also the perfect transition from puree to super chunky. I gave it to her this evening for dessert and she LOVED it! Of course this was more of a dessert so she started with an egg yolk (this cookbook advises introducing egg yolks at 7-8 months), then her main course of acorn squash and chicken and then this rice pudding and finishing off with a slice of orange in her fresh food feeder.
Do you have any tips for introducing foods to baby? Any cookbooks or recipes you want to share?
I have not introduced Cheerios or dried baby snacks as I don't want to introduce or train her to SNACK. I may try a few Cheerios at breakfast to practice picking up food. I have not fed her a jar of baby food to this day although when we traveled to NYC I had to give her some guava from a jar and I did feed her rice pudding and pomegranate from Le Pain Quotidien. I chose not to bring her food with us to simplify things, but she was used to eating her cereal in the mornings and something in the evenings, so this was a mistake. Next time I will bring the frozen food with an ice pack and buy her cereal there. We were fine and made it through a couple days but it would not have been too much trouble to bring frozen food.
So this is what I did when she took her afternoon nap yesterday. She woke up halfway through and I juggled mixing with feeding her lentils. She is a happy little sioux chef! The recipe made quite a bit so one container is in the freezer for later. That's the other benefit of making your own baby food- super cost effective!!! And...YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IS IN IT!!!!