As with all things baby, the information, the schools of thought, the opinions shoved down your throat, the modern conveniences – can all overwhelm a parent. With non-prefab, healthy food being our top priority when merging into food-land with the WSL, I read, researched and read some more. Then I stopped. I mean really. Granted some folks may not know the first thing about nutrition, so checking out Health Canada’s website to follow some basic guidelines and tips may be very helpful. Since I’m a ‘foodie’, and have spent years learning about cuisine and nutrition – the road was much easier. I knew that fresh pureed and small bits of whole food vs. jarred mush were the way to go for us and our little guy. I’ve learned that many jarred foods contain all sorts of other crapola that a babe does not need and also depreciates the nutritional content of the food. There are some amazing organic fresh baby foods out there – for the cost of a small arm and leg.
I’d also like to express that the choices we make in our home are ones that we make to coincide with our values, our interests, our beliefs, etc. I try not to prescribe to there ever being any one way of doing things. Or that one way is better than another. I just keep on keepin’ on, the way I do. I share this sort of stuff on my blog because many of my friends and readers share the same values/interests – birds of a feather…yadda yadda. That’s my spiel on how it irks me that being a parent means you have entered into the ultimate judgmental sphere of society. And that I try to stay out of that ring. Nor do I deem to be a professional nutritionist, nauturopath or doctor.
At 5 mo’s we introduced the WSL to solids-ish. You know the kind. Pablum. Rice cereal. Grey mush. At least that’s what I has remembered it as being from my babysitting and nannying years. But then my mom came for a visit and gave me a box of My Organic Baby rice cereal. So of course we tasted it. Not bad. We also tried Healthy Time Organic rice cereal. Yuck. Glutenous, wallpaper-like paste. The WSL did not like it either. So we had him eating that for about a week, once a day for the first couple days, then a couple times a day and the we started introducing other pureed foods, one at a time. O yea, and small amounts of chilled sterilized water in his bottle (hard boil for a good 6-8 min), a couple of times a day. After a couple of weeks I started adding in mashed up banana in his cereals. His next favourite thing to eat, which was quick and easy for me (no-pre steaming before the mash), was mango and avocado. Together. Yep. And it’s yum. Daddy taste-bud approved.
It is important to introduce one food at a time every couple of days so as to make sure your wee one is not allergic to what you have given them and if so, you know what food has caused that reaction! Once you have run a good gamut – it’s party time. Ah, but I am ahead of myself. Luckily for us, the WSL loved food from the first spoonful.
This website is AHmazing for tips, charts, recipies and all that jazz. I found it useful when introducing new foods…I would just type it in their search bar to see what they had to say about it. For example – we were having asparagus one night when the wee man was about 6 mo.’s and I wanted to check out what the experts had to say. The site is very easy to navigate and I found my answer pronto.
In the beginning stages (6 mo.’s – 8 mo.’s), the WSL was gobbling up all sorts of: steamed and pureed zucchini, squash, peas, sweet taters, avocado, blueberries, apples, pears, bananas, mango, chicken, brown rice & oats, quinoa and cous-cous. As well as an organic baby mum mum here and there
I found this neat thinga-mah-bobber and the WSL loved it too. A great way to give baby whole foods w/o the worry of choking. Great for teething as well, just pop it in the fridge for some cooling action. I personally don’t put teethers in the freezer, as I think it’s too intense on the gums. Speaking of teether, this was/is our favourite.
At about 8 mo.’s I started making combo dishes and introducing the gassier causing veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, etc. Not afraid to add in herbs and spice either (obviously less than I would for us and also obviously omitting anything super spicy, peppery or hot.) Bland, over processed, pureed baby food seems to be a western way of feeding our little one’s, babes in other countries outside of Canada and the US are feeding their little one’s much more flavorful creations. And they do just fine. I think that feeding your wee one bland food promotes an underdeveloped taste for herb/spice and will only eat the bland pre-fab stuff as toddlers.
To date, the WSL is now 11 months, (holleeeeee….!!!! B-day planning soon. WHOA. 1 year has passed so fast. Aw, my little guy. We just started sleep training last night. Tough stuff.) Anyhew, I digress. Back to the food. He is gobbling up/savouring (complete with lots of MmmmMmm, Nom Nom Nom sounds) all sorts of delightful dishes. We also mash up a bit (for easier digestion) half of his food to spoon feed and let him eat small pieces he takes himself. He loves feeding himself. These are some staples/frequent appearances on the WSL’s menu. I’m sure you can figure out between breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you are looking for neat organized lists, I am so not that girl. But I can totally share recipies. We’re getting away from pureeing his steamed veggies and fruits aside from the applesauce and smoothies.
- Coconut curried chickpeas or chicken with veg and brown rice
- Spaghetti Bolognese (beef, elk or bison – at this point he’s had them all! With spelt pasta (loooves slurping the noodles)
- Stews (same assortment of meat as above). Stewed veggies are REALLY lovely for ‘baby led weaning’ > fancy term for baby feeding themselves small amounts of whole foods.
- Smoothies (everything from berries, bananas, spinach, avocado, mango, plain yogurt, kale – you name it I add in the green stuff with the sweet stuff and we all enjoy it immensely while getting just about as raw fresh and healthy as one can get.
- Homemade applesauce with quinoa or cous-cous
- Oatmeal with apples and cinnamon
- Yogurt with blueberries. This kid can’t get enough of those!
- Fish (so far he’s had wild trout, white fish and salmon)
- Roasted chicken and veggies
- Spelt toast and almond or peanut-butter. NOT the Kraft, full of icing sugar kind. This kind.
- cheese and hummus with toast or pita
- Spinach and lentil soup (with brown rice or cous-cous)
- Banana bread here and there (baked with agave nectar over sugar: 1/2 what the recipe calls for, with more banana, spelt flour and 1/2 the butter)
- Scrambled eggs with cheese and basil (or plain, or other green leafy stuff)-
- Tons of banana, avocado, strawberries, mango, cantaloupe, most other fruit you could imagine as well as a plethora of veggies.
Basically I combine all sorts of these things for quick stuff while also making special dishes – to make sure he has a healthy variety, try to make meal-time fun and something that we do together. Not always easy as we were late diners, especially since we are so busy and I love to cook from scratch. Back in the day our dinner-time was 9 or 10pm. So dinner-time has been a challenge.
No, I did not purchase a food mill or fancy blender. I used a hand-held to blend most everything in a big bowl (I would make large batches and freeze). It’s even easier now, as he eats what we eat, for the most part. Although I still make the applesauce in large batches and freeze. You may note we have given the WSL higher allergen foods such as strawberries, eggs and peanut butter. Our pediatrician said it’s all good, as as you can read here – the research and recommendations are constantly changing. So I just keep it simple, keep it safe (on it’s own) when introducing high allergen stuffs. Mainly, keep it fun, fill it with love and deelish!