When I had to start feeding my child REAL food, it made me want to crawl in a hole and cry. I didn’t know where to start.
I knew where NOT to start though: the baby food isle in the grocery store.
I’ll leave it at that and spare you my overly opinionated soap box rant.
So where did that leave me?
With a basket full of produce. And a dumb look on my face wondering what to do with it.
I did some research. Asked some friends. Did some experimenting.
And I’m happy to report, it appears as if I can keep a human being alive, and even thriving! She seems to be getting plenty of food. Occasionally she gets it in her mouth too.
I did this post for new moms. For experienced, seasoned moms. For anyone trying to feed a kid those ‘first foods.’ Because when I was starting feeding my daughter solids I NEEDED simple suggestions. A little nudge here and there on ideas of WHAT foods to make. And then, how to make them. I hope you find this helpful.
Before I get into the actual ‘food’ part of this post, here’s my encouragement to you:
Stay calm. Be patient. Cut YOURSELF some slack!
One day they love avocado, and then for the next 6 months just the sight of it induces chills and an immediate gag reflex. One meal they might INHALE an entire banana, and then the next day they squish it in their hands and then rub it in their hair as if it’s the newest beauty product. But they don’t get it anywhere near their mouth. Just keep trying. They won’t starve themselves, that’s what I always reminded myself.
For instance, this morning I gave my kid toast with butter. She touched it, flipped it over, inspected it. And handed it back to me. She started clapping because she was so proud of herself for getting that terrible, tainted, disgusting BUTTER laden piece of poison off of her tray. Awesome. She hates toast and butter, today. Then she pointed at the blended, with my GREEN smoothie in it, and started bouncing in her seat. I gave her some, and she moaned. What the heck. She hates BUTTER. I might cry. But, she apparently loves kale and raspberry smoothies. Oh, and chopped up dates. Ya, she scarfed those things like I gave her a pile of M&M’s. What can ya do??
You’re not alone. All moms, all families struggle to figure out what to feed their kids. Well, that’s a lie. I can guarantee it’s in your child’s DNA to love goldfish crackers, cheerios and the little puff things. So if you feed your child a diet of PURELY those things, you’ll have no struggle (I assume anyway). But if you have any inclination to feed your child REAL food, you’ll struggle sometimes.
They’re humans, like you and me. They have taste preferences too. And that’s ok. My child hates peas. She will throw them over her shoulder, and then I try not to laugh because it’s really quite funny to watch. She just HATES them! So I’m over it. She does love spinach and pears though (not together). So she eats an entire pear a day and we put spinach in her eggs, oatmeal, anything and everything! I just roll with it instead of fighting it.
Ok, onto the food.
These are the foods I started with for Waverly. There are different ways to prepare a lot of these foods, but I’m going to talk about how I did it.
My most useful tool has been my Vitamix Blender. No, you do not need a Vitamix. You can use any blender, food processor, or even a magic bullet or baby magic bullet. Just use whatever you already have.
Foods and Cooking Methods:
Sweet Potatos: wrap each one in tin foil and bake at 400 degrees for about an hour. Unwrap, cut a slice in the sweet potato and scoop out the flesh (it will break away from the skin really easily). Mash the flesh in a bowl with a fork. That’s it. If you want a thinner puree, put the flesh in a blended with milk (cows, goats, soy or breast milk) and add as much milk is needed to achieve the desired ‘thinness.’
Butternut Squash/Pumpkin: slice in half horizontally, scoop out seeds. Place flesh side down on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 1 hour. Until you can push on the skin with a fork and it is tender. Scoop out the flesh and puree in a blender or food processor (magic bullet or baby bullet might work too). Add milk to thin it out to your desired consistency.
Broccoli/Cauliflower/Carrots/Zucchini/Spinach: cut into smallish pieces and steam until tender. Puree, adding extra water or milk to achieve desired consistency.
Frozen Peas: Frozen peas are the only vegetable (that I’m aware of) that can be thawed, steamed, pureed, then re-frozen. It’s that easy!
Oatmeal/Quinoa/Brown Rice: make according to the instructions on the container or bag. Puree using milk to thin it out. These are great ‘bases’ to start with and add vegetables and fruit to.
banana/avocado: simple removed the skin and mash the banana or avocado. You can add milk to make it thinner, but it isn’t necessary for a very ripe banana or avocado.
Apple/Pear: Place fruit in a large pot and cover with water (not TOO much water, just enough to cover the fruit). Put the lid on, and the heat on high. Turn the heat to low/medium when it comes to a roaring boils. Cook until fruit is soft. Drain water and puree the fruit. Season with cinnamon if you want.
Peaches/Plums/Nectarines: Place fruit (with skin) in a pot of boiling water (make sure they are completely submerged). Blanch for 40 seconds (this means to let them boil for 40 seconds). If fruit is under-ripe, blanch them for up to an entire minute. Transfer blanched fruit to the bowl of ice water using a slotted spoon. Let them cool for about 1 minute int he ice bath. Drain the fruit and pat dry with a dishcloth. With a knife, score the top of the fruit in an ‘x’ shape. Peel the skin off, starting with the ‘x’ you cut, using your fingers or a paring knife. Discard the skin. Remove pit from fruit. Puree fruit (or freeze it whole or in slices for smoothies!).
Freezing and Storing:
All of the foods I listed above can be pureed then frozen.
Scoop your pureed food into ice cube trays. Allow it to cool to room temperature (either before or after you put it in the trays). Cover the trays with plastic wrap and freeze them. Once they’re completely frozen, remove plastic wrap, pop the cubes out of the ice cube tray.
Store each ‘flavor’ in separate baggies labeled with the type of food and the date you froze them.
Keep the food in the back of the freezer (where it’s the coldest). Food stored on the door of the freezer can spoil quicker.
*The last thing you want is to feed your new babies sensitive digestive system spoiled food!
Grab little cubes of whatever flavor combination you want. Heat and serve! You can heat in the microwave (be careful, some foods warm up really quickly!) or on the stove. Just make sure the food is cool enough before you feed them so you don’t burn the babies mouth.
One of Waverly’s favorite combination is spinach and oatmeal or banana and oatmeal. Have fun experimenting with all the flavor combinations!