Babyfood Diaries: Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

Big news, fellow foodies: a certain little lady is starting her gustatory journeys!  Peanut is now six months old (four months adjusted) and her pediatrician has given us the go-ahead to start introducing solid foods.  Even though we’ve known for awhile that we’d be beginning the solid food journey around now, it still snuck up on me.  The decision to start now is based on a few things: Peanut’s age is the primary factor (our pediatrician starts most kids at 4 months, but our little preemie is starting at 6 months/4 months adjusted), but the doctor also took into account our report that Peanut has been staring at our food lately.  She watches me cook and watches all three of us eat with a “you’re holding out on me” expression on her face.  Yep, she’s interested all right.  Interested, and developmentally ready, so we’re charging forward.

Now comes the part that many of you are going to say is crazy: I’ve decided to make all of her food from scratch.

Oh you are, are you?  And with what free time do you plan to do this?

I know, I know, it sounds nuts.  I don’t have a lot of spare time on my hands, it’s true, and do I really want to spend it making baby food?  Well… yes, I do.  I have a lot of reasons for wanting to make Peanut’s food from scratch, not least of which is my desire to fill her little tummy with healthy, fresh options without preservatives.  I think her food will taste better if it’s freshly prepared from ingredients chosen by her picky mama, and she’ll learn to eat fresh, whole foods from day one.  It’s also cheaper (those little jars add up, especially if you buy organic – I want Peanut to eat all organic at least for the first couple of years of her life, and it will cost me a lot less if I DIY) and better for the environment, because I’ll be able to reuse her jars and buy produce without packaging.

There’s another part of my reasoning which is, admittedly, a little bit selfish.  You see, I had to let go of a lot of things when Peanut was born two months early.  A full pregnancy, for one.  The experience of being oh-so-pregnant, which I know isn’t the most pleasant, but I didn’t have it, so.  A baby shower – mine was cancelled; I spent the day in the NICU instead.  Taking the baby home from the hospital immediately – I got to spend the next seven weeks commuting to the NICU instead, coming home to a house that seemed so empty every night.  Cloth diapering – it was something I really wanted to do, but it just seemed too overwhelming with everything else we had going on when Peanut came home from the hospital.  And there was other stuff too – like the way I have had to feed Peanut in her early days; it hasn’t been what I expected, and that’s all that I’m going to say about that.  The last of my pregnancy “expectations” was that I would make Peanut’s food from scratch and… I just don’t want to let go of this too.  I want one thing to go as planned.

So when we got the green light to start Peanut on solids, I was psyched.  I immediately started researching the best foods to start babies on – I knew I wanted to do a vegetable, not rice cereal, which doesn’t have any added nutrition for her (the only benefit is iron, but she gets plenty of that from formula), and I decided to go with sweet potato.  I looked at dedicated baby food makers like the Beaba Babycook and decided to use what I already have in my kitchen (a pot, a food processer, and a Vitamix) and see how that goes, and I stocked up on OXO Tot puree cubes and silicone spoons, plus two cookbooks that should take Peanut into her toddler years.

I’m so excited for this step!  I hope that my making Peanut’s purees (we’re also going to dabble in a bit of baby-led weaning, at the pediatrician’s advice, but I’m planning to wait to start that until she’s bigger) will set her up for a lifetime of enjoying fresh, healthy foods.  Next week – sweet potatoes, a recipe, and some hilarious photos.

Let the wild rumpus start!

4 thoughts on “Babyfood Diaries: Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

  1. Jaclyn,

    I completely understand not wanting to give up on making your own baby food. Like you, so many of my plans for caring for my little ones were changed due to unforeseen challenges. I wish you luck with feeding your little girl! My boys initially didn’t like my homemade baby food. It was never smooth enough compared to the store-bought varieties. The one puree that I made and they loved was avocado and banana, which is funny because they didn’t like avocados or bananas separately. Now that they are bigger, I freeze if in popsicle molds. This freezer pop mold from Munchkin is great.

    My boys will eat a tray a day. They love my fruit, spinach and yogurt pops. I also highly recommend baby-led weaning. We did a combo of purees and whole foods from 6 months on. (I didn’t want to skip purees completely.) My sister-in-law, who has a baby the same age as my twins, thought I was crazy to let my 6 month olds gnaw on whole steamed green beans, but eating whole foods expanded their palates so much and really helped with their motor skills. Oh and I appreciated your NICU post. You are such a strong mama! Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks for the tips, Jayne! We will definitely be doing baby-led weaning as well (I’m very interested, and our pediatrician is a big proponent) but I want to wait until Peanut has a little bit better sitting ability. Right now she still kind of slumps over, so we’re working on learning to sit like a big girl and I think when she can do that, she’ll be ready to improve her fine motor skills by eating whole foods. But I’m certainly planning to do that! She seems to like my sweet potato puree – I made it in my VitaMix and it was smooooooooth as silk. So we’ll keep at it with purees until she’s not quite as floppy, and then start introducing whole foods too. I’d love to hear more about your experience! And thanks for the recommendation on the freeze pops – I’ll definitely get the mold!

      Thank you as well for your kind comment on my NICU post. It’s not an easy memory as I know you know all too well. But if even one person feels less alone as a result, then I’m glad I wrote it. We’re all just trying to do our best for the lil ones, right?! 🙂

  2. Jaclyn, I love the review for A Long, Long, Time Ago and Essentially True. I am going to get it based on your review. I love the blog. Where do you get the time? I’m going to show Grandma when she comes over. She’ll read the book too!
    Love, Aunt Maria
    P.S. Kiss the baby for me. I can’t wait to meet her!

    • Aunt Maria, I think you’ll really enjoy the book – so glad that you’re getting a copy! It’s a lovely story. Peanut can’t wait to meet all of you!

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