Recently, I have felt a little out of my depth when it comes to feeding Ayo. He’s now tasted a good number of single foods like egg yolk, sweet potatoes, beets, avocado, plums, grapes, parsnips, pears and yoghurt. We’ve also tried mixed foods: carrots & peas, banana & applesauce and so on. While it has been fun to watch him discover a new world through those foods, I’m already running short on ideas. I feel like I am grabbing random things out of the fridge at mealtimes instead of actually thinking through what composes a weekly healthy diet for our baby’s brain, body and immune system development. Also, I want for Ayo to enjoy simple and real foods, avoiding jars and boxes where possible but I don’t feel like handing him an apple is getting the added nutrients he needs. I purée foods for him and also let him feed himself slices of food but I really have no understanding of what he is taking in each day and what he needs in addition to the protein-packed breast milk.
At this stage in the game, I have questions like:
– Can I really introduce yoghurt from cows if cow’s milk is ‘off limits’ until age one?
– Besides the 30-35 oz he is getting in five liquid feedings, how many extra calories does Ayo need?
– When do you go from two meals of solids to three and from three to three and a snack time?
– How much should he be eating at each sitting?
– How much water is too much? Too little?
Sis, my baby food trail-blazer, is the best model I know on the subject hands down. When it comes to feeding her daughter, she puts a lot of thought into fixing her a creative whole diet of non-kiddie foods. As a result, my 2.5 years old niece is a great eater and is overall really healthy. No ketchup with chicken nuggets on the side for her, she has been known to scarf down fish, request “olives and mushrooms please” and eats whatever is served at people’s homes. Good eating habits start at home, folks! Understandably, I was pretty excited when sis lent me this comprehensive “Super Baby Food” book by Ruth Yaron. Sure enough, it has turned out to be a fantastic resource for making food from 4+ months, right into the toddler years. I feel as if I have been enlightened. Besides a few of the overly careful precautions about food storage or disclaimers about how things like a cloth bib string could be a choking hazard (duh!), I absolutely love this book.
There are more than 350 nutritious recipes for all ages, tips on how to incorporate nutritious foods like kale, okra, dried liver or brewers yeast into baby’s diet and detailed information about how to prepare cereals and porridge from grains like millet, brown rice or barley. The book (think Better Homes and Gardens cookbook) explains why whole grains or full fat foods are important for baby or why cucumber seems to irritate digestion early on. It is not a surprise that it is more time-consuming to prepare your own food, but Ruth teaches you how to maximize shopping, cooking and storage. Thanks to this book, I know exactly what baby is eating and which foods are important at each stage. As with most things, I am assuming that I will get faster at preparing his food in time. You can use the book as a reference for protein, calorie count and fat needs (‘fat’ here being a good word). You can use it to find ideas on the benefits and drawbacks of certain foods. You can use it to understand serving sizes and what you can freeze or which foods are best to travel with. You can use it to help you know how to reintroduce a food that baby didn’t like the first time. It even teaches you how best to shop at a natural grocers’ or make baby essentials like wipes.
Ayo is seven months old as of today, so this morning we’re going to try out some of Ruth’s 7 month recommendations. We’re also going to test out reversing our feeding order: solids followed by liquids. As I write, I am in the middle of preparing Ayo’s breakfast: Ruth Yaron’s homemade “super brown rice porridge” with bananas and b-milk. I just tasted some of the 172 calories on his plate and it’s truly delicious!
So, three cheers for good colon health and.. bon appétit, bébé! 😉
What are some of your favorite food resources for growing babies and children? Has anyone heard of “The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet“? I just ordered that one out from the library out of curiosity. And because I love sensationalized titles. 😉