Friday, 28 October 2016

our little boy is becoming a gourmet

so, we've started solids. that's what this post is about, as well as a general 'hi there, how are you? haven't spoken in a while...'

our little bean began solids just two days before he turned 6 months old. and he was ready for it, he'd been staring at my food for a couple of weeks and watching me eat, figuring it all out. and so when the moment came, he knew exactly where the spoon should go (both hands took it and shoveled the food straight in) and he also knew how to drink from a cup (granted his diddy little hands can't hold the cup properly yet).

he's been breastfed from the start, even with his first 3 weeks in neonatal. and praise God we've actually never really had much of a problem since then - i actually think having to express milk for him at that time gave me a pretty good supply, that have seen us easily through growth spurts and has led him to be a pretty contented little baby.

when we did start, because there's no allergies at all on either side of the family, we just went full in for eating new things every meal. little tasters whilst we were all sat at the family table. a little chew on some strawberries, some mashed banana, a nibble of potato, etc. this was all pretty easy because we were all on holiday and it was a nice easy way for him to start experiencing food.

from these early explorations, he started wanting a bit more and so i started to make some homemade purees. all made with organic food from the local market (i realise i am very blessed to live where i have access to such beautiful produce) and adding spices and herbs where it would make it taste better.

we've steered clear of salt, sugar and dairy so far, and don't plan on introducing those until he's weaned (and we're letting him guide us on when that will be).

you could say that the purees we've had have been "unusual". some of his favourites have been: roasted yellow tomatoes and mixed herbs, baked squash with nutmeg, oat porridge with apples and cinnamon, roasted figs, roasted fennel with rice, blackberry with apple and buckwheat  (it's messy, see below), coconut milk custard, baked aubergine with roast garlic and pearl barley, red lentil ratatouille, pumpkin hummus.

i find he enjoys them hot or cold, and he loves when there is a lot of flavour (his mama eats garlic and cinnamon on a daily basis, so it's no wonder these flavours are his favourites).

in terms of stuff for eating we've got:
- the Ikea Antilop highchair, the cheap one that everyone has, and it's brilliant. we also have the seat cushion/insert, which i would recommend as you purchase it, so it's more comfortable for those first few months.
- a 6 pack of little glass storage pots - we got the Wean Green starter kit, but there are lots of similar ones - clip tops are great, and totally worth their money, we've never stopped using them (US / UK)
- a handful of WeeSprout reusable food pouches for going out with (US /UK) - pretty much for fruit puree, sometimes with yogurt and sometimes for the freezer for long days out in the toddler years
- 5 different coverall bibs - the Pop-In ones are my favourite (US similar/ UK), as well as a few little bibs
- 2 bamboo spoons, and one with a silicone end (US / UK)
- a hand stick blender, i find this does a better job than a food processor for getting something really smooth - we've had the same one since we got married, it's much better than any little blender with lots of parts, it's so easy to clean (US similar/ UK)
- an 8oz KeepCup to learn how to sip a bit with larger denser meals (US / UK)

- i bought some silicone freezer trays, but never used them - because i didn't do much baby food meal prep in advance.
- i love the Stasher silicone bags, so you can take little sandwiches or pieces of fruit with you out for the day (US / UK)

after the first 4-6 weeks of trying new purees and adjusting to most types of foods, we've started introducing finger foods. also that's partly to do with him teething at the moment and not really wanting to eat much extra food, and it having been a challenge to get him to eat anything from a spoon.

so, his favourite finger foods so far are as follows:
- sucking the inside of a fig whilst mummy holds it, the same with persimmon
- carrot sticks
- cucumber sticks
- bread and rice cakes in any shape
- fried apple pieces
- strips of chicken

so, yes, this is sort of more towards the baby-led weaning style. which he's sort of done even with a spoon because he's always controlled how much he's eaten, and will make it very clear when he's finished. i'm hoping that once we're past the first 4 teeth he'll find it easier to eat again and he'll settle back into more of a routine, but for now, he eats a little bit at about 11-11:30am, and then a little bit more at about 4:30-5pm (usually 30mins-1hr after breastfeeding). he might eat something again at 7pm, depending on what his sleep has been like and how much he's eaten the rest of the day. he seems to have days when he eats heaps and then days when he doesn't eat more than a spoonful of porridge (those are the days where i make him his favourite custard, because then if he won't eat that then he's just not hungry - plus i can eat it which is an added bonus).

any questions, please don't hesitate to ask - it's a tricky business and can be really confusing, becaause everyone has a different 'way' of doing it and so different expectations and perceptions of what you should do. i've found that because each baby is different, and because they're always growing that it's important to not worry about how much they're eating of solid foods or how often. they'll tell you if they're hungry.

all the best,
alissa x