I’m keeping an updated list of the foods that Reeve has eaten and how to prepare them, here.
Cooking for our babies is so much fun and kind of scary, navigating our way through picky tastebuds, allergies and messy faces. We’ve been through it once and are about to embark on this hair-pulling, picture-taking, steaming adventure again. Here’s our story.
The first time around
I was so excited to feed our older daughter, Easton. I researched and read about dishes and spoons and bibs and…on and on and on. Quickly, I realized that there are so many schools of thought: purees, baby-led weaning, rice cereal or not, one food at a time, jumping right in, feeding at 4 months, 6 months.
Purees all the way
Ultimately, I opted for purees, skipping the rice and oat cereals and starting with vegetables. We waited until she was 6 months old and until we received the go-ahead from the doctor. But there was one thing I hadn’t thought about: when to feed her. As in, what time. We both worked, so the evening seemed like the obvious choice. But he cautioned us: feed her new foods in the morning, when you can keep an eye on her and when you have all day to deal with an issue.
It made sense, but I was crushed. How many mornings did I have with her? This meant that following the three day rule (between new foods), she would have one new food a week. I wanted to feed her ragus and chilis and to see how she handled kimchi – this new information was not easy for me to handle. But, my best and worst trait? I’m a rule follower through and through. When it comes to my babies? Always.
Embracing the avocado
So, on Christmas Day, when she was 6 1/2 months old, we sat her down. We got the phone ready and gave her a spoonful of avocado. She looked at us like we were crazy. We were crushed. This was a baby who my sister referred to as eyes and thighs – subsisting only on breastmilk up until this point, she was chunky and never turned a drop of milk away. We knew she would love to eat. But she didn’t. She rolled the avocado around in her mouth, she spit it out, she closed her mouth. She screamed and then she cried. It had been 7 minutes and we were definitely disappointed.
But, we carried on, with three more days of avocado (each day she was angrier and my husband, Larry, was convinced that we ruined avocado for her, for life), and then with four days of butternut squash, which went a bit better. As we added vegetables, she continued to get the hang of it and it became more fun. As we went on, I sprinkled in spices – cinnamon, cardamom, paprika, garam masala, cumin, and added fruits, then grains and a bit of protein.
Initially, I thought that I would be overwhelmed by the process (cooking, storing, thawing, navigating potential allergies), but I loved it. I loved roasting a squash, pureeing half for her and saving the cubes for us. I loved when she got excited for cheese sprinkled over her food and at 11 months, when my mom called and asked why she was crying and I had to say, um, she finished all the risotto. Each day off, I added an extra food. It felt like forever until she had eaten onions and garlic, then olive oil and butter, the foundation to so many meals, but ultimately, we got there.
She’s three and loves to eat, and help. Here’s what I can say: I’m really lucky. Yes, I hope that it helped that she saw all her food made in front of her, that we introduced a lot of veggies and spices from the beginning and that every food is always presented to her as a normal-not-a-big-deal item. But, the bottom line is, she was open and willing.
Here we go again
Now, we’ve just started to feed our younger daughter, Reeve. We began with avocado – she was ambivalent about the food at best, obsessed with her bib and annoyed with the whole thing. My fingers are crossed that like her sister, the start will be rocky and then, she’ll love to eat whatever we put in front of her. But, I don’t know. This baby, who is another eyes and thighs, has also only had breastmilk, but she’s more finicky. She has been physically pushing a bottle away since she was two months old and often gets angry while eating and just stops. I’m worried that she’s going to stare at us angrily when we put a tomato on her tray or give her a piece of fish.
But, hopefully, as this goes along, I’ll have good news for you and ultimately, I can tell you that she is guacamole a fiend, just like her sister. You can follow us along here for a list of foods that we’ve tried, how they’ve been prepared and how they went over.
Oh, and one more thing
I am so, so not a doctor. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m just a mom, figuring out what works for my kids.