Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Baby Food Advice *UPDATED*

I think that adding solid foods has been a lot of fun, but it's also been very difficult to find books that really explain anything beyond introducing the foods one at a time to test for allergies.

Starting solid foods
Caroline started eating really watery rice cereal (1 tablespoon dry cereal to around 1/3 cup water) for dinner at 5 months. We worked our way up to 3 tablespoons dry cereal to 1/3 cup water over the next two weeks. Then I started adding a few baby spoonfuls of baby food and worked up to a half of a 1st foods tub. I added breakfast at 6 months and lunch at 7 months. By 7 1/2 months, she was getting 3 tablespoons of dry cereal mixed with an entire 1st foods tub of baby food with enough water to make the desired consistancy for each meal.

Don't freak out, but carrots may turn their stool orange.

I started letting Caroline have the Gerber Graduates puffs at 7 1/2 months. She wasn't crawling yet - which is what the package says - but I broke them in half and she was occupied playing with 4 or 5 while I got her dinner ready.

Gerber.com has sample menus that helped me figure out what to do regarding the amount to feed Caroline - although I think they have a special interest in getting you to feed larger quantities. Check out: http://www.gerber.com/fpmenu?phase=21&menuid=menu1.

Babies like sweet things so it is good to start with sweeter veggies like sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash. Then move to things like peas. I added a little apple juice to the peas to get Caroline to eat them.

Alternatives to buying baby food
I found out on a website that says you can feed babies regular applesauce as long as the jar says "natural" and the only ingredients listed are apples, water, and ascorbic acid/vitamin C or citric acid.

Website for making baby foods:

I have tried making baby food and it is kind of fun. It's not so much the money or that I think it's healthier. I just like cooking for the people I love. For the record though - it is way cheaper....

Real life price comparisons:
1st food tubs cost around 0.80 for a two pack and are 2.5 oz (or about 3 tblsp).
3 yams at $1.60 made 17 1st food tubs.
2 acorn squash at $4.50 made 12 1st food tubs.
46 oz natual applesauce at $2.00 would be 18 1st food tubs.

I started making babyfood when Caroline was 7 1/2 months old and she ate it until one year. I like getting the tubs of babyfood instead of the jars since I know the tubs will stack up when they are empty and I'm saving them to make babyfood. There is also an ice cube method, but I didn't do it that way.

I never strained any of Caroline's baby food. I just blended it really well. You need to use a blender instead of a food processor for peas and green beans. It really does make a difference with the skins.

I used some fresh produce, but also used canned. Just look for canned food that only has the produce and water (or juice) as the ingredients or say "no salt" or "light" or "no sugar" (but make sure it doesn't have splenda instead).

I always mixed dry cereal with the baby food. We'd have a fruit tub for breakfast, and then a veggie tub for lunch and dinner. I rotated the colors of fruits and veggies so she'd get a balanced menu for the whole day (ie. a green veggie for one meal and a yellow/orange veggie for the other meal). I guess that's pretty Type-A personality.

Check out my post http://worldofwelch.blogspot.com/2007/09/baby-food-machine.html.

Post baby food

I was probably a bit slow in finishing the baby food and as I write this (15 mos) I can't remember the entire transition. I'm a creature of habit, so if I seem behind in any of my timing, that it why.

I know that I first added diced canned (in juice, not syrup) peaches and pears to her menu with the baby food. Then diced canned (no salt added) veggies - peas, carrots, green beans, and when I had time cooked, diced winter squash (which was a pain to peal).

I also added shredded cheddar cheese and small curd cottage cheese. Cheeses can be eaten before one year b/c the process of making the cheese breaks down the problem protien. Make sure the cheese says "natural" (ie. velveta doesn't count as cheese).

Caroline didn't get meat regularly until 14 - 15 mos old and then it was still once a day. Mainly b/c it made her bottom really red so I worked it in really slowly.

I introduced crackers at 13 months. Graham, goldfish, ritz, saltines. Several come in whole wheat varieties and someone told me about roasted vegetable Ritz (so you feel like they have some nutrituional value).

So here is an example diet that I'm using at 15 mos (not that I have any nutrition background, so it could be all wrong). She eats it on these plastic, salad size plates and it is totally covered, so that's the serving size.

Breakfast: Diced fruit and dry cheerios

Morning snack: Crackers

Lunch: Macarroni/Spagettios, cottage cheese, fruit, veggie (which she'll leave on her plate), crackers

Afternoon snack: Crackers

Dinner: Shredded cheddar cheese, fruit, veggie, meat, crackers


irene said...

hey! i'm glad you're enjoying making the baby food. we didn't enjoy the process so much but we enjoyed the variety they were able to eat. I recommed the Super Baby Food book. I loaned mine out so I can't tell you the author but it's big and purple and give loads more info and insight about choosing veggies and fruits and fun recipes, etc....Did I tell you all this before? I remember reading in that book that you should wait to introduce carrots, babies cannot digest them properly quite yet...may be why the orange poo. I did always think that was weird though b/c carrots is one of the first things you can buy in a jar. Anyway, the book will list which foods to introduce at which months and why.

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

found the site for the book:

also, we used ice cube trays to make the food, once the food is frozen just pop it out into freezer bags & label. in case you run out of tubs.

Margaret said...

Someone asked me about storage safety for frozen babyfood...

According to: http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/FreezePage.htm, you can refrigerate homemade babyfood for 2-3 days or freeze for 3 - 6 months.

I usually had a month supply frozen and I'd move what I needed for the next day to thaw in the fridge the night before.