Baby Food 101: I've got the tools. Now what?

There are a lot of opinions of what to give your baby first, especially if he's younger than 6 months. I trust my doctor, and paired with my momma instincts, I started both of my kiddos on solids at 4 months old. My kids were READY. What does that look like?

I think I like it! May I have another?
Both kiddos were supported sitters, and watched me eat jealously. They would drool, put their hands in their mouths, reach for my spoon, etc. AND, there was never that messy (other than the above), food all over the face/body/floors/walls type thing going on. If you gave a child of mine food, it would end up in their bellies, no doubt about it. If your baby isn't doing some of these things, talk to your pediatrician. She and you know whats best for your baby.

How do I start?

It's best to start giving solids earlier in the day. That way if baby's tummy gets upset, you won't be up all night dealing with the consequences. I started Mr. C with a small bit in the morning. Because he's a beast in the eating department, I quickly moved to another meal as "dinner," then added the third meal in the middle of the day. 

Typically you want to keep at least 3 days between new foods. That way, if there's something that upsets his belly, or has some sort of reaction to it, you will know who the culprit is.

Which foods do I go for?

There's some debate of whether or not to start with cereals. For Mr. C, he just needed bulk. He was eating 40 ounces of formula per day by the time he was 4 months old, and I thought rice cereal would help fill his belly a bit. I was right. It's fine to start with other foods, though. Here are some good starters:

* Avocado
* Squash
* Peas
* Green Beans
* Pears
* Prunes
* Carrots
* Sweet Potato
* Apples

The best part of making food at home for your baby is buying all the beautiful produce! Because I'm saving money, I don't mind spending a few more pennies on organic food from Whole Foods...

Which one's first?

As you can imagine, there's more debate here on the order in which you introduce things. Some say do green veggies first because you don't want baby to get used to the sweeter veg and fruits. Eh. I don't know. Depends on the kid. We still give Miss E her veggies first (when she's the most hungry) so she'll eat them, followed by her protein, then carbs/fruits. I plan on doing the same with Mr. C. Right now, all he cares is that there is food on a spoon, going into his belly.

First up?

Butternut Squash and Sweet Potatoes!

They're just easy to throw in the oven together. Scrub the potatoes and poke some holes in them to let steam escape. Cut the butternut squash in half (acorn squash is also a fun alternative, though it's a bit harder to cut through), scoop out the seeds, put face down in a cooking dish, and cover about 1/3 of the way up with water.

Might as well do double duty. Putting them in the oven at the same time
allows for less time cooking, and your house will smell oh-so-delicious!

Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. You'll know they're done when you can poke through the potatoes easily with a fork, and the squash will start to brown and get a little bubbly. I've done this with the convection oven on, and without. Either will do, but I get better results on the squash without it.

Can you smell it from here? So good.
Let them cool, then scrape each veg into the container in which you'll be blending. I like to add the water from the pan I cook the squash in to help it into a smoother consistency. You can also add breastmilk, formula or water to get the desired consistency.

The sweet potatoes are a bit more starchy, so they definitely need more liquid.

Ta da!

You've done it! Blend till the desired consistency is achieved, then store in the containers of your choice. Here's what my freezer looks like right now:

Nice and tidy. Kind of.
The medium sized squash yielded about 26 ounces, and the 3 potatoes gave me about 30 ounces (due to more added liquid). For less than $10, that's almost 20 meals for Mr. C! Had we gone the organic food-in-a-pouch route, that would have costed us almost $30. My kind of savings. And for the time commitment? It took about an hour of actual work, plus the cooking time (in which I played with the kiddos). Totally worth it.

I know this was a bit long-winded, but hopefully it helped you out! Next time on my Baby Food 101 series, I'll be covering some more veggies (including my thoughts on green beans), and then on to fruits!

Until next time,

Mrs. Kuda

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