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!