Thursday, June 18, 2009

Something I've learned about feeding babies...

My daughter, long before I actually gave her non-booby food at 6 months, was interested in our plates, tried to steal a meal from our hands, watched us eat with an open mouth. She was very ready for food at 6 months of age and so I did the typical thing, I went to the baby section of the grocery store. I picked out a variety of little glass and plastic jars, there were a wide selection of things that sounded pretty good, and healthy. And indeed, I'm sure processed baby food has come a long way. It doesn't have a lot of preservatives and is tested for safety. But man... why are those "first foods" so watered down and runny? I could feed it to babes with a straw. And have you ever actually tasted them? Bland city. Some of them don't even taste like the actual product. Potato, cheese and broccoli puree? I kid you not, my dog (who gladly eats garbage) literally would not eat it.

And so I started to make my own baby food and I mixed nothing with water and pureed it. I spent a day steaming, cooking and mashing. Some things needed to be blended because of the "stringy" factor (like carrots), but I never needed to water it down. I think this was due to the fact that I waited until she was actually ready to eat. It didn't need to be the consistency of soup because she was able to manipulate soft foods with her tongue, sit on her own and swallow without gagging.

My son, who will be 9 months old in a few days, is really just getting into foods. He was not at all interested in eating at the 6 month mark and I feel that he wasn't ready physically for such a skill. I trusted that my breastmilk will provide him with everything he needs until such a time that he was ready to embark on soft solids. And waiting has been very rewarding! He has gone straight to feeding himself a lot of foods. He picks up pieces of cooked green beans and peas, he will gladly dip his fingers in yogurt and suck it off his hand, he holds rice crackers very well and can pick up cereal... I often don't need to sit there with a little spoon and mechanifcally plug food into his mouth that he spits right back out. It feels like we are enjoying meal time more. He's feeling independent and mom can eat her meal while it's actually hot! All because I didn't fret over 3 squares a day for my 4-6 month old, and just waited for him to start on his own.

I felt like feeding a baby solids would be a chore, but it's actually a lot of fun. :)

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