Live, from the kitchen, because that’s how I roll. *grin*
Project: Homemade Baby Food continues to be a success. I have added a few tools, gotten more efficient with my preparation, and found ways to work smarter in the kitchen. Cooking days continue to be an all day epic journey, but I feel more accomplished at the end of the day and I’m learning how to balance it better with face-to-face Samuel time (which makes him happy).
Here’s what our cooking days currently look like:
- Plan out food options
- Go to grocery store and see what is available
- Pick out a reasonable number of fruits and vegetables to cook that day
- Come home, break a sundry of cooking tools, including the crock pot, baking pans, and steamer pot
- Commence peeling, coring, stoning, pitting, and chopping
- Puree cooked foods
- Dish out into ice cube trays, or pack into squeeze bags, or premix meals
- Wash dishes and collapse
Today was especially successful as Samuel opted to take a 2 hour nap during steps 4, 5, and 6. I also did particularly large batches today, so Samuel got uber fresh goodness for dinner (tonight’s dinner was brought to you by the letter A: Avocado, Acorn Squash, Apricot).
So how has the menu changed, and what have I learned in the past month? Well, Samuel is 8 months old now and his menu has expanded a lot. I’ve also learned more about foods that are supposed to be no-nos, and foods that surprisingly ok to introduce now. For instance, I didn’t realize that strawberries shouldn’t be introduced before the first year because they run a high risk of causing an allergic reaction. And conversely, I can start feeding Samuel eggs and yogurt this month. Good thing there are excellent resources out there to help me navigate this food thing, otherwise I’d be lost!
I think the biggest change to our menu is the way I’m now combining foods. I pay more attention to balancing out different nutrients, and making a colorful plate (thank you Mom for instilling this good piece of advice!). We are still pretty much limited to just fruits and vegetables, so I don’t worry too much about food groups yet, but I try to give him two veggies to every fruit, and in the morning he gets cereal grains–usually a mixture of barley, oats, or millet.
We are also experimenting with finger foods. By we, I really mean me, because Samuel seems to be diabolically opposed to holding any finger foods. Oh, it’s perfectly fine to smear his hands in his plate and then suck on his fingers! But offer him a banana spear or a squash stick and he makes the most unpleasant face, shoves it away, and–if I persist–screams bloody murder at me. *sigh* Eventually he’ll decide he wants to try it, yes? For now, I’m settling for offering it to him and letting him bite out chunks from the foods. At least that way he is experiencing foods that are less processed and gets to practice chewing. And, he does help me get those foods to his mouth. He just has no interest in handling the food all by himself, silly boy!
Our next big milestone will be the addition of proteins. I plan to start with beans, legumes, eggs, and dairy. Meat will come later. I know Samuel can have it at nine months, but I know from personal experience that meats can be hard on the digestive system. I figure that other sources of protein will be easier to digest as we introduce these new, complex amino acids.
It’s been fun, this food journey we’re on. And I plan to keep it exciting for both Samuel and me–I am planning some field trips with other moms to local dairies, orchards, and berry farms to pick out own and get baby out on the farm. It will be his first introduction to where foods come from. I know he’s too young to understand it at all, but they will be fun trips none-the-less, and we’ll get great, local foods foods!