Posts Tagged ‘solids’

Easy Homemade Purees

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

homemade baby foodIf you haven’t tried, making your own baby food purees is super easy and surprisingly quick. You don’t need to buy any special equipment, assuming you have a typically stocked kitchen. It’s a nutritious and inexpensive way to start your child on solids.

The easiest choices are banana and avocado, as all you need to do is mash up a bit of fresh fruit. Make sure they are ripe, and scoop out some avocado or slice of a chunk of banana into a bowl. Mash it smooth with a fork and voila, dinner is served (or breakfast or lunch or whatever).

Other fruits and vegetables require cooking before mashing. Generally speaking, steaming is my favorite option as it retains a lot of nutrients, and also keeps the texture moist and easy to puree. Veggies like squash, carrots, potatoes, and softer fruits like peaches can all be mashed with a fork by hand, if you don’t have a food processor or blender.

For more fibrous foods, like green beans, spinach, or apples, it’s best to use a food processor or blender after steaming. When blending, you will need a blending liquid. Expressed breast milk or formula are good options (if you exclusively breastfeed but don’t have a freezer stash, this can be a good way to use up the sample formula cans that formula companies send). If your child fights constipation, you can use a little bit of prune juice as the liquid.

Meat can be a little tougher to process. Again, steaming is a good way to go (baking works too though). Rough chop and put in your processor along with with your chosen liquid. Keep in mind, when processing, that a smoother texture is usually better tolerated, so check the texture and when in doubt, blend a little longer.

Feel free to make a batch at a time; you can freeze the purees in ice cube trays and store in ziploc bags in the freezer once frozen. I used to thaw out what I needed for the next day by putting frozen cubes in old glass baby food jars and then into the fridge the night before. You can also purchase jars specially designed for homemade baby food.

Meaghan Howard is a stay-at-home mom to three boys (and desperately hoping that they don’t burn the house down someday). She and her family are enjoying living an ex-pat life overseas.

HELP! My Baby Doesn’t Care about Food!

Monday, August 17th, 2015

When mastitis strikesBy the time my oldest son reached five or six months old, he was a giant. He was crazy long and his cheeks and arms and legs were so chubby, I could barely keep up with him (he was exclusively breastfed at the time). I was very interested in him starting to get some of his calories from solid foods by then. Unfortunately, he was not.

Some babies start watching everybody eat right away, and seem to have a keen interest in trying out the same foods. My youngest son was like that. He definitely fit pretty perfectly into the baby led weaning (BLW) camp.

But my older son was a totally different story. To be honest, he is still (at age six) still nervous about new situations, and I think that’s why he wasn’t interested in solids. He was used to breastmilk, he liked breastmilk, so why try anything new? It wasn’t broke, so he wasn’t fixing it. My husband the engineer is kind of the same way; I wonder where he gets it?

By eight months, I was barely able to spoon feed more than a couple servings of baby food to him, no matter if it was store bought or homemade. Forget BLW, he was totally not interested. It seemed to be affecting his sleep. He took a long time to be able to sleep 6 to 8 hours in a row, because I think he was hungry. My friends with babies the same age all talked about the huge variety of foods their kids were eating by then, which made me concerned (especially as a first-time mom).

If you’re in the same boat, there’s no need to despair like I did. It’s definitely worth asking about at your next pediatrician visit. There are some children that do require feeding therapy, and your doctor should be able to decide if your child would benefit from further testing. It could be just teething pain as well keeping your baby from wanting to dig in.

Continue to offer your baby a variety of foods. Eventually even the most stubborn kids, as long as there’s no underlying medical issue, will eventually discover how fun and tasty eating is. Baby Mum Mum crackers were the turning point for my son. A friend recommended the surfboard-shaped rice crackers, and he loved them. Once he discovered one food he loved, he slowly started eating other things, too.

Keep in mind, that kids, like adults, are all different. Some children are voracious eaters from the start, and some kids will always be light eaters. And if your baby is a reluctant solids eater, well, there’s one bright side: if you’re breastfeeding, being the source of almost 100 percent of an older, larger baby’s caloric intake can often mean losing the last of your baby weight.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two little boys, ages 4 and 6. She’s currently enjoying the expat life in Japan.

Blue Poop and Other Surprises

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Blue poop and other surprisesLet’s talk poop.

When babies start solids—either whenever your mom starts bugging you to, or around 8 to 10 months if you’re starting baby led weaning—get ready for a fun surprise.

If you’ve been breastfeeding up until now, you have been enjoying fairly odorless diapers. Not always pleasant, but it’s nothing compared to what’s coming. Because after baby starts solids, you’re in for a real treat!

When baby starts solids, you’ll discover that poop comes in every color of the rainbow. And many different textures. This can be really alarming if you’re not expecting it, however. Many colors and textures are totally normal depending on what baby has eaten.

Here are a few discoveries I have made over the years.

Foods with more fiber than I ever thought possible: Carrots, corn, peas, tomato skins, raisins, bananas. These foods may appear in original form in your baby’s poop. Super fun if you are cloth diapering. I found tomato skins the most alarming, since they may look like blood at first glance. Carrots, corn, peas, raisins, and other bite-sized foods may appear unchanged. Bananas leave weird, black  strings. As your baby’s digestive system gets used to solids, the diapers won’t look as much like last night’s dinner plate.

Foods that make everything change color: Berries, carrots, spinach. The first time my kids discovered blueberries, they gorged themselves. My kids love every kind of berry. Blueberries won’t stain your cloth diapers, but they will create a hue of poop that will cause you to pause and take stock of all the blue crayons in the house. This is normal. Foods with a lot of pigment will turn your baby’s poop that color. The good news is that weird-colored poop is almost never an indication of a digestive problem; it’s just gross.

Also super fun: Hair. If you, your spouse, or other children have long hair, you’ll likely find yourself pulling a single, long hair out of baby’s butt at least once during a diaper change. I don’t know why or how any of my kids ate my hair, but it’s happened with all three around the crawling/mouthing stage. All you can do to prevent this is to sweep or vacuum frequently in areas where baby is crawling, or wear a ponytail/bun/topknot when you are in these areas. A single hair here and there won’t be a problem, but keep baby away from large amounts, such as after a home haircut or if you have pets with thick fur that shed.

Poop should generally be the consistency of hummus. It’s not always possible to ID a poop problem in a diapered baby since the specimen has often been jumped on, sat on and fallen on by the time you get to it. Poop should be soft, whatever color it is, and not watery or mucousy. Hard pellets are a sign of constipation. Diarrhea is always a sign of problems, but can usually be treated with breastfeeding as long as there are no other symptoms, like fever or vomiting, and it doesn’t last more than a day or so.

If the changes in your baby’s diaper alarm you, or if you want to be sure that any changes are food-related, keep a food diary as you feed baby that you can refer to after any alarming diapers. As always, consult your doctor or naturopath if you notice anything consistent that worries you or if baby is in pain or uncomfortable.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mom of three. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City.



Healthy Baby Snacks on the Go

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

Healthy snacks on the goOnce your child enters the world of solid foods, snack time is markedly different than when he just a quick nursing session or bottle. When you’re on the road, whether it’s a quick trip to the park or a summer road trip, snacks can mean the difference between an enjoyable experience or one that makes you wince thinking about it even years later.

It’s pretty easy to pack nutritious snacks for your toddler; it just takes a little planning. You can take almost anything on the go if you have an insulated bag and an ice pack. For quick trips, a small bag is easy to tuck away in a diaper bag, and for longer trips you can bring a small cooler or larger insulated bag. Reusable ice packs are inexpensive, eco friendly, and won’t leak like ice will.

If your child is chewing, cut up fruits and vegetables make great snacks on the go. Reusable containers will keep softer foods from getting smashed. If you don’t have time for this (or your child isn’t chewing yet), you can purchase squeeze tubes of applesauce or other pureed fruits and vegetables. You can even make them yourself with reusable squeeze containers and bring along smoothies or yogurt. Bananas are like nature’s version of a convenience store snack–they’re totally grab-and-go.

If you want a diaper bag staple that’s shelf stable, dried fruit is often a hit with babies and toddlers. If your child doesn’t have teeth yet, this may be one to save for later. Also, you will want to watch the volume; too much and it could cause, um, gastrointestinal issues.

Great portable protein sources include string cheese, yogurt (particularly in the squeeze tubes I mentioned before), and hard-boiled eggs (watch the yolks–my sons delighted in grinding them into floors if I turned my back on them for a second).

For a quick carbohydrate snack on the go, consider making up a few onigiri, or rice balls. This video shows how to throw them together and different ideas to mix into the rice, but you can make them with just plain rice too.

Finally, if you’re planning a long outing where you are taking a cooler, consider freezing some of the beverages you plan on bringing. The frozen water or bottles will do double duty as ice packs and also as an ice-cold beverage to drink as they thaw, which is always amazing on a scorching summer day.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two little boys, ages 3 and 6. She’s currently enjoying the expat life in Japan.

Fun and Functional Baby Feeding Products

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Fun and Functional Baby Feeding ProductsWhen your baby starts eating solids, there is a whole new world of products available to you as a mom. I wasn’t aware that my daughter would need her own plates, forks, cups, and spoons. Since my daughter and now son have started eating solids and table food, my pantry has become a land of sippy cups, mismatched plate sets, and random bowls. Here are some fun baby feeding products to make you feel like a cool mom and make your little one a happy camper.

EzPz Happy Mat

If your child is like my son, they are very interested in throwing everything. As soon as Levi sits down in his highchair, the toys, cup, snacks, etc., go flying. The EzPz Happy Mat placemats suction directly to your table. Little hands will not be able to pick this up, knock it off, or tip it over. The placemat has three divided sections on top of the original mat for your baby’s food. How cool is that! It’s like a plate and placemat in one. It comes in fun colors like coral, grey, lime, and blue, and wipes clean easily. Easy peasy!

Puj PhillUp Cups

Sippy cups and drinking cups in my house don’t last long. We have a variety and I can never find the right cup, the right lid, or choose one that my 2-year-old approves of. Puj PhillUp cups come in bright colors that little ones will love, and hang easily on small nubs on your kitchen wall or refrigerator. These cups would be better for a toddler, but they are a fun thing to invest in and work with as your child grows.

Oogaa Plates and Silverware

Oogaa plates come in fun colors and are made of easy-to-clean silicone. Silicone will not promote the growth of bacteria and is odorless and tasteless. The plates are divided into three sections so little ones can keep their food separate. The spoons are in the shape of an airplane or train with long handles that will make feeding easy for mom and dad. These products are dishwasher safe and microwave safe, making them easy and functional.

Aiden+Anais Burpy Bibs

Aiden+Anais Burpy Bibs are amazing. I just got one for Levi, and I’m in love. They are a burp cloth and also a bib. They are large enough that they cover the front and back of baby, so no worries about spills or drool. The bibs dry easily and are made of soft bamboo. The prints on the bibs are sweet, peaceful, and delicate.

These are some of my favorite feeding products right now. I can’t wait to get some of them for my son Levi and try them out! What baby products have you had success with, momma?

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana where she lives, writes, and spoon feeds her 8-month-old.