January 25, 2011

Baby eats, part II

I've been wanting to get around to this post for a while now and sorry for the delay. I have been busy with all kinds of things...a teething baby (who got her first two front teeth for Xmas this year as evidenced in the pic below), finishing some much-needed freelance work, and a wedding to plan. That last one is quite the time drain but I am sure it will be worth it!

The photo at the top of the post is of one of my favorite shower gifts. It came from a friend who also happens to be a French teacher (thanks Lisa!) I love the little drawings and French words so June can learn to speak another language while she eats. :-) If she ever gets around to using plates or utensils. I hadn't thought about the baby-led weaning kind of feeding before I had the baby, so of course I just wanted the French dish set because it was cute. The way it works around here is I put the food in front of her on her high chair tray, strap a bib on her (I do that first) and let her go to town. A plate would only get in the way.

So here is a typical meal for her, placed on the cute dish for the photo.

She usually goes for the broccoli first, picking up by the stem (smart girl) and sucking the floret like a lollipop, then the sweet potato, then the carrot. All are steamed so they are soft enough for her (softer than I would eat my veggies, so no crunch is left in them). The size, as I said in my previous post, is important so she has something to grab onto. If food is cut to bite-size, ironically, that's too small for her because she won't be able to get to it once she wraps her hand around it.

If she acts like she wants more, I give her more, but that is usually enough for one sitting in the afternoon or around dinner time. I try not to plan it or have a schedule with her eating times just yet. We just do it when it seems like she's in a good mood and would enjoy it and also when she's in between nursings. If she is too hungry and I let her try to eat solids, she may get frustrated. That is what I'm trying to avoid.

Other good first foods to try are steamed (or lightly boiled) green beans, baby corn, cauliflower florets, potato, pumpkin and zucchini. We've been mainly going with the above three because that is what I have on hand (the sweet potatoes are still left over from our Fall-Winter CSA).

In the mornings I give her some banana, left whole, and just about a quarter of one banana. She loves it. Then, if I have it, I give her homemade brown rice cereal because I know it is nutritious (unlike the processed commercial variety) and is a good source of fiber. I cook the rice ahead of time, then add equal parts cooked rice and water and process or blend it until it is the consistency of cream of wheat or grits.

To make this a more efficient process, I make about two cups of rice cereal at a time, then portion it into an ice cube tray, freeze it, then remove the frozen cubes and put them into a freezer bag to be taken out one at a time right before I need them. I just put one into a little bowl, add a teaspoon of water and microwave it for 10-15 seconds until it is soft. This is the one thing I am spoon feeding her, but she usually grabs the spoon right out of my hand and feeds herself so it's not too much trouble and she seems to enjoy it. I could, however, just give her well-cooked brown rice because it's sticky enough for her to smash together and pick up and there's no spoon involved.

frozen brown rice cereal cubes

I just picked up these little BPA-free plastic bowls at essex (my new favorite store) for $4.99 and they will be perfect for heating up or storing, or even taking small amounts of food on the go.

What else? Oh, the cup-- for water only for now. I'm sure there are many variations of the 'sippy cup', but I got this one (BPA free)at Target. The brand is Nuk and it's called a learner's cup. She holds it herself and has to suck to get any water out and tilt her head back. It's pretty cute to watch her and see how proud she is after she's successfully taken a drink from her cup.

And, last but not least, we have a good high chair that makes her sit up straight and has a very large tray with a removable plastic cover for easy clean-up. I love ours because it looks less like a plastic kid's high chair and more like a piece of furniture. It is by Graaco. It is important for the baby to feel independent while feeding herself and if you have to hold her in your lap to do it, not only is it potentially unsafe, it is no fun for you or her. **On this note, before starting to feed solids to a baby, make sure she is old enough physically and developmentally. She should be able to sit up on her own and reach out to grab things and take them to her mouth. Whether she has any teeth yet or not is irrelevant. This is usually about 6 months for an at term baby.

And, most of all, have fun with this! June will attest to the fact that meal time at our house is all about the fun. The months pass by so quickly, and I guess it won't always be the case that watching my child eat is something I really enjoy doing.

june looking like an old pro

a happy baby


  1. I made all kinds of food for Casey. Once he was interested in more complex foods, I started making chicken risotto, cauliflower with tomatoes and cheese, etc. It was a fun time of life.

  2. Have you tried fresh-flaked oats? You don't have to add water and there's even ways to bake them so they can be cut in squares and picked up by baby. check out the rice idea also. I agree that the more baby is in control of feeding herself, the more she will enjoy exploring foods and variety and the eating experience will continue to be a part of the relationship experience, not a substitue for it!!

  3. @Vivienne - I am sure you did! I love the risotto and can't wait to give it to June! I bet your boys are great eaters.
    @ladyjfk, no I have not tried oats, but that sounds like a great idea. Do you have a suggestion for baking them or a recipe? Thanks for reading!