And just like that, it’s time to once again introduce a human baby to the wonderful world that is food.
I’ve done it before, of course. But a first time mama asked me yesterday how to go about introducing solids and I was a bit perplexed because I actually don’t remember. So time to pull out the resources and refresh my memory.
First things first, like I reiterated when introducing food to the Pixie, as a parent you must, you must, you absolutely must go with what feels right for you. If you’re dead set on giving your baby rice cereal as their first food because that is what feels comfortable for you, then go for it. However if you think that perhaps there may be more to life than rice cereal, please do read on.
Also, to update, Pixie has been a great eater. In my original food post I wondered if Birdie was a fluke, but Pixie has followed suit. Yes, at age three, there are some days that she simply will not eat. She doesn’t like green vegetables. She eats about three breakfasts each morning (not joking) and then slows down as the day progresses and eats like a sparrow at dinner time. Normal stuff. But overall I’d have to say she is maybe even a better eater than Bird was. Go figure.
Anyway. Here are some ideas/books/resources/schools of thought that have worked for me when introducing food (and beyond). This is where I will begin again, the third time around with Peach.
:: Learn about food. Whenever I lose my cooking mojo, particularly when it comes to kid food, the first book I consult is always Wholefood for Children* by Jude Blereau. I love her. Sometimes her recipes contain some ingredients which you may not automatically have on hand so if you’re not into winging it (like me) then you might want to plan your cooking out a little when using this book. This is definitely where I will be starting this time around. For older kids and families I really like It’s All Good* by Gwenyth Paltrow and Julia Turshen. It has great meal planners and a whole section on fun kid food. For you it might be another book or resource. Have a look around* and find what sits right with you, don’t just take the advertiser’s claims of “super food!” and run with it. Do some research of your own.
:: Avocado, bone broths and veggies is where it’s at for us. We’ll be skipping the rice cereal and heading straight for these delicious and wholesome alternatives as Peach’s first foods. Avocado mixed with breastmilk, it’s a baby’s dream, I’m sure of it. I’ll have to do some follow up reading but I’m sure sweet potato was also one of the front runners last time. Here is a little more information if you’re wondering why we would go down this route.
:: Be lead by your baby. Every time I’ve had a baby the recommended age to introduce food has changed. The ‘”rules” are constantly changing. So (within reason) go with what your baby is telling you. Watch them as they begin to stare at the food on your plate and follow it to your mouth. Watch them as they practice chomping and biting on things. Take note as they become interested in food. The signs are there, I promise.
:: No sugar. I slipped up a little on this with poor old Pix. She did have some sugar before she turned two, but it was very limited. Third time lucky: I’ll be sticking to my guns and doing my upmost to decline the sweet poison until Peach is two years old.
:: Natural, whole, actual, real, food. Basic, real food. Every day. Ignore the marketing telling you otherwise. Make real food attractive for kids and involve them in the process. The time you spend now will pay off later when your kid is munching broccoli next to their friend who will only eat refined cheese sticks out of a plastic wrapper. Since Birdie started kinder I have been using these bento boxes* (for kinder/outings) and these plates (for home) for both the older girls and they LOVE them. Kids go crazy for divided food… here is some inspiration.
:: Baby lead + mushed up = mix it up! There is so much advice out there it can be overwhelming. There is no need to stick to one method. I like to try lots of different things, your baby might too. Sometimes if you’re going out it might be easier for you to share some of your meal with your baby (amazing how long a crust of bread can keep them entertained). Other times you might mix some breastmilk through yoghurt or avocado or mashed veggies and feed it to you baby with a spoon. See what works. Each day will be different. Here is some more general advice.
:: They must try it. This one is a tip for toddlers and up, not babies. We don’t force our kids to eat everything on their plates, but they must at the very least try everything. We often hear “I don’t like [insert random food here]” when they have never had it before. The rule is they must taste everything on their plates before they are allowed to say they don’t like something… unfortunately for them they will probably still have to keep trying it in subsequent meals if it is an important food!
:: Following on from that, don’t believe them when they say they don’t like it! One taste often isn’t enough. Birdie never wanted to eat lentil dahl but now she devours it by the bowlful. Taste buds grow and develop too.
:: Take it slowly and relax. The child will eat, eventually.
I could go on and on about this topic, but you really just have to get out there and try it yourself to see what works. In a few weeks time that is exactly what I will be doing. Happy eating!
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