Thursday, May 20, 2010

What To Feed The Baby?

Here are some things I feed my beginning eaters. Use your own discretion regarding your child's readiness for certain foods. Different kids are aready for different stuff at different times.
-Egg yolk; to make it easy just fry an egg without breaking the yolk. Cook all the way through. Cool and peel out the disk shaped yolk and give it to baby as a finger food. It's like a little egg yolk cookie and separating the white from the yolk AFTER it's cooked is alot easier and more thorough. These were a favorite with both of my babies from about 7 months on.
-Toast with fruit babyfood spread on it instead of jelly. Jelly is so high in sugar and a nice babyfood fruit puree tastes just as delicious to your baby. I cut the toast in strips, usually about 5 strips per slice, to make it more baby-friendly. Make sure baby can chew well enough to eat toast before trying this out.
-Popcorn; you should NOT give your baby popcorn in it's freshly-popped glory, or if you do not fully understand my explanation here. The popcorn seed explodes it's fluffy white insides out, but the outer hull of the seed is still attached to the side of the popcorn. The hull can get stuck in anyone's throat, adults included, and cause them to choke. IF you ever feed a baby popcorn, you should REMOVE the hull, and anything that looks like it's related to the hull, and ONLY feed the soft fluffy white part to your baby. So if you're watching TV and baby is mooching your popcorn, don't let her stick her hand in the bowl and have at it. Take a kernel and bite off everything but the fluffy white part. The fluffy white part will melt in baby's mouth just exactly like one of those Gerber puffs will so follow the safety instruction for the Gerber puffs when feeding your baby the "modified" popcorn: Only feed to a baby who can sit without assistance, is seated, supervised, can pick small objects up with two fingers, and can chew cheerios and Gerber puffs with no problems. Again, feed your baby popcorn AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION. Some babies might be ready for it and some might not be ready until they are 2 or 3. You know your baby so use your noggin. ;)
-Shredded meat. My babies ate finely shredded chicken as soon as they were old enough to pinch food and get it to their mouths. I shredded it hair-fine and then spread it around their plate so they couldn't pick up very much at a time.
-Peas. I buy the frozen kind and then when I want to feed baby some peas I use a little juice strainer to scoop out a good amount. I then run hot water over the strainer full of peas for a minute until the peas are thawed through. When they were first learning to eat before there were many teeth to speak of, I would pinch each pea to break the skin so it would moosh when they bit down instead of sliding down the throat whole. As they got proficient at eating I stopped pinching peas and just dumped the strainer out on their highchair tray and let them have at it.
-Bananas. It's tricky for a little tot to hand onto something as slippery as a little cut piece of banana. And if you give them a whole peeled banana they've squeezed the bottom end into slime long before they ever eat down that far. So I devised a trick for bananas. Cut the banana in half. Take one half, and cut the peel away about an inch down so that there are no floppy peel parts hanging out but the banana is peeled for exactly one inch but has the peel on the rest of it. Now, providing your baby doesn't approach bananas like corn on the cob, they will theoretically be able to hold onto the banana and eat that top 1 inch that is peeled. When they've eaten that inch down you can take it and cut off the peel for another inch down. You'll have to supervise them of course so you can peel further before they start gnawing on the banana peel. ;) Leaving the peel on all but the one inch end protects the banana from being squeezed into oblivion by a tiny tot that doesn't know their own strength yet. ;)

-Cheese. My babies loved cheese so much that if I diced it up they would put too many pieces in their mouth and not chew what they had until their mouth was so full of cheese they could not chew or swallow. So I would just cut a slice slab of cheese off the block that was about 1/3" thick, and then cut that slab into 1/3" sticks. My babies did so much better with those because I gave them one at a time and they would have it in their hand so they were not fascinated by repeatedly grabbing and stuffing tiny dices into their mouths, they were instead fascinated with passing the cheese from hand to hand and examining it from all angles - meanwhile they were chewing the bite they had and not realizing it. Sneaky. Plus it taught them how to take a bite off something in a world where all baby food items are mooshy or finely chopped. ;)

A typical menu for my under 1 year babies was,
YoBaby Yogurt & Organic Banana
Baby oatmeal with Peach Babyfood mixed in
Peas & Egg Yolks
Veggie Babyfood and Cheese

Puffs or whatever other Gerber baby snack I had a serious coupon for, Cheerios, Peas, Toast, Rice Rusks, Fruit, Cheese, and/or YoBaby.

Some variation of what we were having for dinner. I would usually take out some meat and noodles and veggies for the baby before I put whatever sauce or seasoning into the meal for the rest of us. When they were teeny I used babyfood or ground up our meal (minus sauce/spices) in the Magic Bullet, but they love to feed themselves once they can pinch things up so after that I just let them as much as possible.
One thing I learned was that babies don't really mind the repetition, it's us grown ups that do. I have fed my kids a banana or YoBaby for (and later as a side dish to) breakfast almost every day since they were born and they gobbled up their banana this morning like it was ice cream, not like it was something they are tired of. I think there are things they don't like, and they might tolerate them for a while before staging a revolt, but I also think that strategic repetition can get babies who hate a food to like it eventually. Of course that theory did NOT work for my kids with baby cereal. No kidding I tried and tried and you'd have thought I was trying to poison them the way they acted. I could get Chicklet to eat ONLY the oatmeal kind and ONLY if it was mixed with a heavy dose of peach puree, but that only lasted so long before she refused to eat even that. Bug wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole no matter what. But then he pretty much didn't like food at all until... well hey come to think of it he's still not overly fond of food. It's a good day when he finishes one whole meal over the course of the day. He'd rather play with it, which I won't tolerate (another post altogether!) so it's lucky for him I offer lots of snack opportunities if he's only gonna eat 5 bites each time before I have to remove the leftovers to save them from floordom. He's probably healthier than the rest of us with his 5 bites every 2 hours. I read somewhere that grazing is the healthier way to eat...
But I digress... what I was getting at was that we have to be careful not to accidentally make our kids picky by stressing out about giving them more variety lest they get sick of something. I know it's hard, and we get bored seeing the same thing go in their mouth all the time, but really eating alot of a few healthy things is not going to make your kids picky or not picky. But if they see you worrying that they'll reject something because it's the 7th morning in a row that you've fed them some flavor or another of YoBaby, they'll start to pick up on that and think they're supposed to reject it. And if they eat all fruit one day, all protein the next, all starch and dairy the next, and all veggies the 4th day, well then that really is fine. They covered their bases just fine over those 4 days. No big deal.
And another thing I've been thinking on is a mistake I made with Chicklet. I would encourage her to finish her jar of babyfood if she had only 2 bites left and was acting full. I should have just let her stop when she acted full and tossed the 2 bites. Really. She's doing much better at listening to her own fullness cues now than she was 6 months ago, I'm pleased to say. ;) Although tonight we had corn on the cob for dinner and I think ALL of us, Bug included (little mister 5-bites ate almost a whole cob! Yes a whole one! Himself!), got a little carried away just because it was sooooo delicious! So moral of the story, if they're acting full it's best to just throw those last 2 bites away or save them for next time. Better to learn earlier than later how to stop when you're full.

This post is linked up to my Thursday Question! Please go HERE to see the original question and add YOUR post or read others' thoughts on this subject!

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