Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hip + Urban Mom: Cooking For Baby

Our son is eating most foods on his own now, which brings with it a whole new set of challenges. What do I feed him and how do I cook it?

This is the time to decide if you are going to feed your baby store bought baby food or homemade food. If you opt for homemade food all the time, or even for just some of the time like I did, there are a couple of things to know.

First off, if you never thought you needed a food processor or if your blender only gets used for margaritas, then this is the time for some change. Obviously the lack of teeth my little man had meant that all food I made at home needed to be blended well. I am lucky enough to have a great hand blender that will whip through any food in no time flat. I started with cooked apples. This was best done by baking the apple to make sure that it was still nice and sweet with no extra sugar required. 
I also found that a lot of advice that I was given about feeding a baby was colour coded. This is just a rule of thumb to help out new parents, but really, all you need is common sense. Start out with orange and yellow foods first. This means the sweet potatoes, carrots and things of the like that are smooth and easy to digest. 

Then you move on to more difficult foods when your baby is starting to get teeth with foods like strained pees and creamed corn. Once our son mastered those foods and had plenty of teeth we moved on to sharing our food with him.  

The thing to remember when a baby is first learning to eat, is that it is a very messy process! Bibs are a huge necessity and ones with pockets that catch all the food that falls is an added bonus. We gave our son food that was easy to eat with his hands and to get him started on learning to feed himself. We would make homemade chicken fingers and pasta or potatoes. Anything that is big enough to grab but small enough to chew easily.

Photo Credit - Hungry Baby
Avoiding sauces, especially tomato is probably a good thing. Not only will sauce make the food slippery and harder to pick up, but it really isn’t fun cleaning tomato sauce off your beige carpet. When you start getting your child to use a spoon it is easier if you have food that is a little stickier. This allowed him to be able to scoop it better, it also meant that it was more likely to make it into his mouth.

I have also started to cook everything in much smaller pieces instead of trying to cut everything up in tiny pieces for him. I now make stir-fry’s with tiny pieces of veggies and meat with rice. Cooking with smaller pieces makes it much harder to pick out any of the veggies he doesn’t like as much. Stir fry’s are also a great food for little ones because they are able to have a well rounded meal. Soups are another way to make sure that my son is getting many of his food groups. But the liquid proves to be very messy. So soups that are a little thicker or blended, like potato leek, are great options.

It’s just a matter of playing around with your own meals, tweaking them slightly to find a way to let your baby feed themselves. Our son now sits and has dinner at the table with mom and dad and feels all grown up. 

--- Lisa Wlodarski

How did you get your baby to eat solid foods? Any good tricks that worked?

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