Archive for the ‘Baby Food’ Category

Working Variety into a Baby’s Diet

Banana Again??

Banana Again??

Now that Frances is down to nursing three times a day, the amount of solid food she can consume at one sitting is quite impressive. I don’t know how her stomach can hold so much food!

I’ve been worrying, as only a mother can, about the variety in her diet. Since she’ll eat just about anything, I’ve been pureeing every vegetable I can think of into a thick paste with some sort of meat. I keep a fish version, a lamb version and a chicken version in the freezer and alternate which one she eats each day.

Although she is not picky in general, she is particular about what she eats at which time of day. For example, her afternoon meal has to be fruit, and she won’t eat savory food at dinner. So I can’t feed her a vegetable-meat puree at any other meal but lunch. She has a strong preference for oatmeal at dinner, to which I add pumpkin or squash, yogurt and a little fruit all pureed together.

She’s been eating probably two dozen bananas a month, and after a couple months of this I’m thinking it’s time to switch things up. The problem is, it is so cheap and easy! I buy a bunch, and by the time we run out, it’s time to go grocery shopping again any way. It takes less effort to mush a banana than anything else I’ve found (with avocados close behind, which is the one food she will not eat).

How do you mix things up? It’s hard to get out of the habit of making a big batch of oatmeal, since I know she likes it. Maybe it’s time to switch to another grain? Maybe buckwheat or quinoa or farro? Maybe all three at once? Do I add in lentils or legumes? It seems like making my own baby food is a slippery slope since there is an endless combination of ingredients to use. It can drive a mom crazy!

How do you keep your sanity while providing a variety of fruits and vegetables? How do you decide what “super-foods” to include versus “convenience foods”?

Product Review: Baby Food Pouches

On our recent travels, we found ourselves out of fresh food but still on an air plane. Luckily I had packed a backup meal for Frances: a Peter Rabbit Organics Puree. The 4 oz. serving was a little small for Franci’s appetite, but it was so easy to just squeeze it into her mouth and not worry about spoons or bowls or ice packs.

There are several choices out there for organic food pouches, like Happy Tot, Happy Baby, and Earth’s Best to name a few. Some, like Earth’s Best, have added minerals. Others, like Happy Baby, have ascorbic acid. I chose Peter Rabbit because the only “preservative” used is lemon juice.

I know there are lots more choices out there, but since we’ve hardly have an occasion to use one until now I’m still new to the different options. Franci can no longer be satiated with just breast milk, so it’s good to have a backup plan.

Do you have a favorite baby food pouch? Are there any that you just don’t like?

Stockpiling Update: Year End Review

My freezer four months later






Happy New Year everyone! It’s time for me to take stock of the deep freeze and see how we did. We didn’t manage to eat all the freezer food, but we came pretty close.  Like most yearly goals, all we needed was another few days!

Here’s the run down: The door used to be full of side dishes and lunches, and now it’s full of breastmilk, so I don’t really count that. The middle shelf has quite a bit of baby food at the moment, but the way Franci eats it will be gone quickly.

The bottom shelf used to be full of meat, but now it contains butter, nuts and nut flour, and chocolate. Basically, things that don’t have to be refrigerated but since a full freezer is an energy efficient freezer, I might as well store them there. [While technically I am stockpiling baking ingredients, I can't bring myself to count them as such since I can't go out and buy them at a moments notice (being specialty items).]

The one question I get most often is whether or not we got sick of the meals. I chose some pretty good recipes that our family considers comfort food, like Lasagne and Chicken Pot Pie. So the answer is No, with one exception. I’m sick of roasts! I think the shelf would be empty if not for the roasts. I’m not a fan of pot roast, and it seems like any related cut tastes the same to me once you slow cook it with carrots, potatoes and onions. And it is surprisingly hard to come up with recipes that don’t end up tasting the same! I tried one Asian version, and it was a failure. So if anyone has a recipe for slow cooked beef that might be less traditional, please share!

I may have failed my goal of finishing the freezer meals by the end of the year, but I feel pretty good about the progress. I hope I’ll be able to declare victory by the end of the month!

On Becoming Baby Wise II: Parenting Your Pre-Toddler Five to Fifteen Months

On Becoming Baby Wise II: Parenting Your Pre-Toddler Five to Fifteen Months

On Becoming Baby Wise II: Parenting Your Pre-Toddler Five to Fifteen Months by Gary Ezzo

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

As much as I liked the first book, On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep this one fell short for me. It really shouldn’t be its own book, and I almost feel like the used price I paid (a couple of bucks, shipped) was a rip-off. Why not just append it to the first book, since it’s really more of a pamphlet, any way?

Despite the typos, overtly christian themes, and repeated tips, there were a few nuggets between the covers of On Becoming Baby Wise II: Parenting Your Pre-Toddler Five to Fifteen Months. “Begin as you mean to go” is Ezzo’s big tip, meaning that you should start correcting “wrong behavior” the minute it starts instead of waiting until the child is older. Even if your infant can’t understand why she can’t throw her bowl off the table, she shouldn’t be allowed to do so.

The reason I picked up the book to begin with is because Frances has taken up the habit of yelling loudly during dinner time. If I’m not feeding her fast enough, we’re treated to a very long and loud vocalization. We’re going to take the advice from the book and not feed her another bite until she’s quiet. And if she doesn’t comply, we’ll remove her from the situation and try again later. It’s worth a shot!

Since I’ve been getting into baby sign language, I was especially sensitive to Ezzo’s suggestion that you only introduce one sign at a time. Other material I’ve read says to use as many signs as you can. I mean, research shows you shouldn’t limit the number of spoken words said to your infant, so why limit the number of signs?

I also don’t necessarily agree with the suggestions for introducing solids. Ezzo is still in the “cereals first” camp, while we think it’s best to start with vegetables, fruit and meat. We already combine different vegetables together, and often feed Frances whatever we’re having for dinner, like Indian food or spicy Mexican. Also, I feed Frances solid food first and follow up with breast milk. I figure she might not even notice when we wean if she’s used to filling up on solids first.

Basically, I’d skip this book. I’ve heard On Becoming Toddlerwise is worth picking up, which I’ll do at some point.

View all my reviews

Stockpiling Update 3




I’m afraid to admit that the deep freeze became even more full this month. Well, I don’t feel too bad about it since September is when the growing season in Nevada reaches its peak. Now that there have been a couple of nights where it threatened to freeze, the harvests are in and I’ve managed to stash away some goods from my parents’ garden.

The main reason the freezer is fuller than it was last month is because I pulled out the Babycook my sister-in-law passed down to us. I know that the Babycook is small so you’re encouraged to make food fresh every day, but the garden produce is getting older by the minute so I’ve been making a full batch of puree every day and then freezing the leftovers.

Then I remembered what our pediatrician said about infants not getting enough iron, and I decided that Frances needed some red meat in her diet. I read somewhere that lamb purees up better than beef, so I made a batch of lamb for her. She doesn’t eat much at a sitting, so into the deep freeze it went.

Once I’ve preserved the rest of the fresh produce, maybe we’ll make more progress on decreasing the stockpiles. Then again, a smart squirrel stashes away nuts for the winter!

  • Filed under: Baby Food
  • Product Review: Mesh Feeder

    Now that Frances is in full-on teething mode, she’s been using her Munchkin Fresh Food Feeders every day. I slip in a combination of frozen banana, mango and peach and she obsessively sucks at it until her face is cold and red and her fingers are frozen themselves. If it’s close to nap time, I add a cube of frozen chamomile tea to the mix to encourage sleep.

    I’m very grateful that mesh feeders exist, but I have a few complaints about the Munchkin variety. For one, they can be hard to open. I had to use pliers once to get the darn thing open. My biggest grievance is that they are incredibly difficult to clean. Banana in particular doesn’t even come out with scrubbing. Even a toothbrush isn’t that great a cleaning tool, and sometimes I have to scrape it inside out with my fingernail. Where the mesh meets the plastic is an especially tricky spot. And you better clean it immediately after use or you’ll be tempted to just throw it in the trash!

    Still, I wouldn’t give up our mesh feeders, because they are such a great distraction. I do wonder about some of the other brands out there. Has anyone tried the Kidsme Food Feeder ? It’s silicon instead of mesh, which seems much easier to clean. Is it worth the much higher price?

    My daughter has had four cavities in her four short years of life. How is this possible? I can’t say we’re religious flossers, but the rest of our dental routine is pretty admirable. Regular brushing? Yep. Fluoride tablets? Absolutely. Hard candies? Not allowed.

    According to our dentist, my daughter’s tooth decay could have been caused by extended breastfeeding. She pointed out that once solids are introduced, bacteria in the mouth can change and breast milk can actually cause cavities.
    extended breastfeeding and cavities
    After doing a bit of my own research though, I have to disagree. Repeated studies have shown that breast milk has proteins and antibacterial qualities that prevent tooth decay. My older son was also breastfed until well over two years old and has never had a cavity to this day.

    So what has caused my daughter’s cavities? The dentist also mentioned that sharing utensils can cause babies to get some of the strep mutans (a bacteria that causes tooth decay) that we have in our adult mouths. I have to say that we’re probably guilty of sharing ice cream an ice cream spoon now and then. Still, our punishment is FOUR cavities! That seems rather harsh!

    Have you had any issues with extended breastfeeding and cavities? Have you received any encouragement or warnings from your dentist?

    Infant Sippy Cups

    We’re still figuring out how this whole solid food thing is going to happen.  We’re leaning towards baby led weaning, since that seems to mean that we don’t cook separate food for her.  My parents rave about the food mill they used when I was little, but I can’t seem to find one that’s any good.  For now, I think I’m just going to smash everything up with a fork.

    We have our spoons at the ready, since that was the one thing Franci’s dad registered for when we had a baby shower.  I don’t think we’re going to buy any plastic plates or bowls at this point, which we might regret.  Our kitchen floor is linoleum so everything seems to bounce off it instead of break.

    I would like to find a good sippy cup, however.  Frances doesn’t care too much about her bottle, so I think we might as well move right to sippy cups so I can serve her soups a la French Kids Eat Everything.

    What’s your favorite sippy cup?  I’m ready to go buy one, but I want some recommendations first!

    Baby’s First Food

    Audrey's first bite

    Audrey’s first bite

    Frances turns five months this week so we’ve been thinking a lot about her first food.  After reading an article about Diabetes Tied to Timing of Baby’s First Solid Food, it got me thinking about introducing food before six months. It’s hard to know what’s best when there’s so much “research” out there!

    We finally came up with a compromise: she gets her first food when she can sit in her highchair without slumping to either side. She’s pretty close to this milestone, so it shouldn’t be too much longer.

    There are so many first foods to choose from, but I think we’ve settled on avocado. I still haven’t worked out all the details, but I want to make sure and present each new food in all the different ways possible (fresh, cooked, mashed, chopped, mixed with breastmilk, etc.).

    I was talking with Rebecca and it turns out that avocado was Audrey’s first food too.  Maybe we can re-create this photo of her!

    When did you first offer solid food and which food was it?

    With all the hype surrounding the health benefits of chia seeds, including here on the Green Baby Guide (check out this recipe for peanut butter chia seed balls), it got me wondering if babies could get in on the trend. It turns out, they can. Chia seeds are not known to contain allergens or other ingredients harmful to youngsters.
    gluten free gourmand chia seed
    Photo from The Gluten-free Gourmand

    If you’re interested in concocting some chia seed baby food of your own, check out these Chia Seed Baby Food Purees over at Hello Bee. If you haven’t discovered Hello Bee already, check it out! She has a lot of great baby food ideas and great food photography, too. (She makes a spoonful of pureed pees look like a work of art.)

    Second on the Google search results for baby food using chia seeds was this article: Can I Give My Baby Chia Seeds? In this article, the conclusion is that babies can get the benefits of chia seeds when the mother eats them herself and then imparts the nutrition to her baby through her breast milk. The article claims that most of the time, “you don’t need to give your baby any supplements like this.” I found this advice a bit odd, as I wouldn’t consider chia seeds a “supplement” so much as a food in its own right. For someone like me, who was always thinking up ways to boost my daughter’s baby food (see my ancient article Fattening Baby, Naturally), chia seeds could have made a valuable addition to her diet.

    What do you think? Have you introduced chia seeds to your baby’s diet? Would you?

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