Monday, July 21, 2008

Adventures of baby food

Now that the little guy is 6 months my cooking skills have been stretched in a new directions...purees!

As a Dietitian we recommend that babies be exclusively breast feed for 6 months before starting solid foods. This helps to ensure that the baby is ready for the food to enter its tiny systems; which therefore should cause less problems. So where do you start on the 6 month bday??

When starting solids always make sure the babe is in a good mood. This makes meal time more pleasurable. Start a new food after the baby has had breast milk or formula. You want solids to compliment the
breast milk or formula, not replace it. Start the new foods one at a time and in small amounts. Remember babies stomachs are small so 1tsp is good for the first couple of times then increase gradually to 3-4 tsp going up to 3-5 Tbsp (each feeding) by 7 months.

The first foods to introduce are iron rich foods such as single grain baby cereal with iron (rice, barley and oatmeal) and meat and alternatives. For great recipes on how to make your own cereal check out this link. The foods in the meat and alternatives group include meat, fish, poultry, cooked egg yolks as well-cooked legumes and tofu.

The reason we recommend meat so soon now is because the iron from meat sources is better absorbed than iron from non-meat sources. Processed meats such as ham, bacon, salami, bologna or sausages are not good choices because they are high in salt.

Once the baby is enjoying iron rich foods (about a week) a variety of vegetables and fruit, especially the dark green and orange ones, can be offered. You want to introduce a new food for 3-5 days before introducing another one just to make sure that there are no allergies.
  • Examples of vegetables to try first are squash, peas, sweet potato, green or yellow beans and carrots. Once you have tried these you can add spinach, turnip or beets.

  • Examples of fruit babies like are ripe bananas, unsweetened applesauce, pears, and peaches (canned fruit in it’s own juice is ok).

All baby food can be made easily at home. All you need is a few items.

Pot (for boiling)
Blender/food processor
Ice cube trays (3 for $1.00 at dollar store)
freezer bags (dollar store)

I love the color of the peas, its so bright. All I did was boil frozen vegetable (peas and green beans) for about 3-5 minutes then blended them with a little bit of the cooking water. To put the mixture into ice cube trays I use a Tablespoon (Tbsp) so I know that each cube is 1 Tbsp. Once the cubes are frozen I pop them out and place them into a freezer bag. Because I have a lot of baby food made I have purchased a plastic container from dollar store, which I stored in the freezer, to keep all the baggies of frozen baby food in. It helps keep the freezer organized and helps when daddy or a sitter is making supper for babe.

These are the carrots and sweet potato. I did make pureed chicken which was a little bit harder and doesn't have a smooth consistency (or appealing look) like the other foods. So what I do is take 1 cube of the chicken and heat it up with 1 cube of sweet potato. He really likes that combination.

The fruits (banana, peaches, pears, and mango) are really easy to do as you only have to mash them with a fork. He loves having apple sauce mixed with cereal and mashed banana with cereal.

Now I have found it is cheaper to make my own baby food. The work involved is really nothing. It may take me a total of 20 minutes to make enough baby food for 2-3 weeks and that includes boiling the food and clean up. Baby food usually goes for 0.60-0.90 cents for one bottle and it last maybe two feedings (the bottles I looked at had 125 ml which would be about 8 Tbsp).

For vegetables I picked up 1kg bags for $1.99 each. The amount of frozen vegetables in these bags will last 2-4 months. The fruit that we offer the babe is usually from the fruit bowl off the kitchen table. I did make applesauce for him using a bag of apples I found on the clearance rack at the local grocery. The meat is where the money increases a little bit but its still not as much as the bottled food. Plus I purchased the ground chicken on clearance as well.

One thing that I love and would recommend to all moms of little ones is this mesh feeder. What you do is place foods into it, snap it shut and then let the little ones enjoy different kinds of foods without the fear of chocking.

I have been using this since about 4 months (when the teeth started being painful) giving the babe frozen breast milk cubes to help with the pain. He really loved it so now with solids I give him banana, melons, mango and his favorite frozen blueberries.

Each babe is different but here is a chart to help you with the progression of textures for babies.

Food Texture

Age to begin

Pureed or semi-liquid food

6-7 months

Mashed food

7-8 months

Finger foods

8-9 months

Minced or ground food, finely chopped

8-9 months

Diced table food

10-12 months

Here are a list of great combos to offer the babes.

Avocado and applesauce
Apple, peach and banana
green beans, peas, squash, carrot (garden veg combo)
squash and sweet potato
peas and carrots
potato and green beans
squash and peas
squash and zucchini

A great site that I love to use is wholesome baby foods you can check it out for lots of recipes and combos for your little one.


Kristi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristi said...

ove this! I make my own too, as you know, and find it not only easier, more budget friendly, but healthier too as I know he is getting fresh organic foods.

My question though is about using frozen foods to cook and puree? I've been under the notion that it is not recommended to use them as many of the nutrients are lost in the processing and freezing.
Have I been misled?

Also, how do you clean your mesh net? (toothbrush?) I find mine gets SO gross! bleh!

The Kristiansens said...

Hi there. I found your blog on the Menu plan monday site. I read in Super Baby Food and another place that you shouldn't give spinach to babies under 1 b/c of the nitrates. I didn't hear that with my first, but now I am hearing about with my second. (who is the same age as yours'--6 1/2 months) Any ideas?
I make our baby food, too except for the occasional time when I don't want to bring lots of frozen cubes with me.
Avocado, sweet potato, banana is our favorite combo--i think that I could eat that!!

Micah and Katie said...

It is best to offer fresh produce if possible. But if the vegetable is not in season offering frozen ones are OK as long as you use little cooking water and do not boil the vegetables. I usually heat them up for a couple of minutes until just before they start to boil. Then I process them.

As for cleaning the mesh feeder I just soak it in hot soapy water to get the foods soft then I wash it with my hands. One thing that I have stopped doing is I don't put hard to clean foods in it like banana!

For Spinach I haven't really heard too much about it. I will try to find out more for you so I don't give you wrong information.

ashley said...

ok.. so i am going to the store today to start my emmy on food. I also want to make the same things for us... well ofcourse not pureed, hehe! like the sweet pot. and carrots. she seems to always want what we have so it makes a lot of sense.
do you have suggestions or yum meals for everyone?

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