Wednesday, June 13, 2012
At Molly's 4 month appointment, her doctor gave me a pamphlet on introducing solid food to Molly. I was a bit unprepared for that discussion and stuttered that we would be waiting until 6 months to introduce food as recommended by WHO. I also said something about not giving her rice cereal. My doctor stammered back, but the cereal is fortified!
I went home and began stocking up on ALL the books about feeding babies. I also started reading all the parenting blogs and pretty much just became obsessed with babies and food. And I began polling every parent I knew on how they introduced solid food to their kids.
Shaping Molly's appetite for good, healthy, fresh food is so very important to me. I want her to crave carrots and fresh fruit over processed, fast food. What this means is that while I tend to cook lots of good, fresh food at home, I have had to curb my unhealthy food desires. It is not fair for me to tell Molly that she shouldn't have McDonald's as I'm driving through and ordering fries. Of course, moderation is a-ok and I know that she will have some of these foods at times, but I'd like those times to be few and far between.
After doing all sorts of research and driving my husband crazy with my findings, I decided to offer Molly some solid food. I did start with rice cereal, mainly because it is boring and tends not to be allergenic. This was one of my many hypocritical moments as a parent. Sometimes I say that I'm going to do something as a parent and then I'm faced with reality where I change my mind. I'm still on the fence about rice cereal as a first food.
I also decided to offer Molly food before her six-month birthday because it was getting hard to keep her from it. She was constantly stealing food off my plate and putting it in her mouth. Her first food was brie cheese from my salad. It wasn't necessarily my choice as a first food but it was a strong indication to me that Molly was ready for it. On the day of solid food introduction, we were excited! We put Molly in her high chair, strapped on the bib and put the very liquid-y rice cereal on a spoon. I aimed the spoon toward Molly's mouth and she opened it, ready for the food! I was not expecting that at all. Molly has shown a fine appreciation for food. She practically sings with joy when I feed her while trying to stuff all the food in her mouth.
We've quickly moved on from rice cereal to avocados, squash, applesauce and more. In fact, avocado is served at all of Molly's meals. It is unacceptable to her for avocado not to be served to her. It is her most favorite of all favorite foods. I've been doing a mixture of Baby Led Weaning and purees. Molly likes food so much that I'm nervous offering her food that is potentially a choking hazard so I like to give her foods that are easily mashable.
I have also been making a majority of Molly's food. It's so simple and fast that I'm happy to do so. It also aligns with my goal of introducing healthy, fresh food to Molly. I usually steam or bake a vegetable or fruit for Molly while making dinner for Scott and I. I then let the food cool while we eat dinner. After cleaning up from supper, I whirl the food through the food processor and place it into ice cube trays for freezing. I can quickly whip up about 10-12 serving sizes by making Molly's food this way. I've built up a good little food
stash for Molly along the way. It makes my daily prep of food so much easier and faster. I usually pull out Molly's food from the freezer the night before to allow it to defrost in the fridge. If I don't do that, I put it in the microwave for about 35 seconds and then provide plenty of time for the food to cool.
I've been giving Molly solid food for about six weeks now and while I only introduce one new food at a time, I've been a little more loose about waiting 3-5 days between introducing new items. There are no known food allergies in our family and she hasn't shown any reactions to any of the foods I've introduced so I feel ok with plan. Molly gets between one and two solid food meals a day in addition to her milk. It is important at this stage that their milk intake does not dip and I've been careful to ensure that Molly is still nursing as much as possible and getting formula as needed.
Molly does take in a lot of solid food at her meals but she loves it so much and is still drinking the right amount of milk so I'm not worried. I also offer milk before her solid meals. Molly's average solid meal consists of 4-6 T of oatmeal with 1 T applesauce/blueberries, 4 T of avocado and 4 T of another type of vegetable (i.e. squash, peas, carrots). I've been following this chart as a guideline as how much food to give Molly. I let her take the lead with the food. I spoon feed her a few bites of a new food and then she usually grabs the spoon and goes from there.
4-5 large apples
1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
1. Peel and core apples
2. Steam apples until easily pieced with a fork and slightly mushy.
3. Place in a food processor with cinnamon and process until smooth.
4. Place puree in ice cube trays and freeze overnight. This will provide you with 1-ounce servings which are the perfect serving size for a baby 6-12 months old.