Hermione's Adventures with Food
A few friends with babies have asked me how I introduced Hermione to solid food. At almost ten months old (eek) she has now been enjoying some real food for almost four months… so sorry I did not post about this sooner!
From birth to six months old Hermione was exclusively breast fed. Save the first four weeks of her life in which I had an incredibly hard and emotionally painful time teaching her to nurse ( I will write more on that another time) she has never had a bottle. I work from home and have had the luxury of being able to always be around to nurse her. Yes, it means I have to schedule my life accordingly and can never be away for more than three hours, but for us it has been beyond worth it. She is now so busy crawling and trying to walk that I truly cherish our quiet nursing moments.
When Hermione turned six months old I began to slowly introduce her to the world of solids. I am a firm believer that breast milk should be a baby's main source of nutrition for the first year. Breast milk has all of the calories, fat, and protein a baby needs in the crucial first year of life. I plan to nurse well past her first birthday and will not stop until she wants to. We both love nursing and as long as it is working for us I do not have any plans to wean Hermione. Knowing that she gets all of her nutrition from milk a lot of pressure was taken off her introduction to solids. I did not have to worry how many ounces of food she was eating per day. I could simply stand back and let her experiment with tastes and textures. From the beginning food and eating has been pleasurable for her. She has never been forced to eat. I truly hope that the way I introduced her to solids helped set the foundation for a healthy relationship with food for the rest of her life.
I never spoon fed Hermione purees. I wanted her to be in control of what she ate and how much from the beginning. Instead of spooning her mush I let her start by gnawing on sticks of roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, beets and other soft root vegetables. Here is my little peanut at six months old enjoying a roasted carrot stick:
I also gave her wedges of avocado and pieces of banana to try. These are great foods for a baby and require no prep time at all for mom!
When she seemed ready and her motor skills seemed up to the task I began to let her experiment with feeding herself from a spoon. I designated a small tea spoon to be her's-the perfect size for both her hands and mouth. I started by making her extra thick green smoothies, kale pesto and butternut squash puree. Although it can be very messy business Hermione loves feeding herself from a spoon! I find naked mealtime is the easiest and cutest for a baby! When she is done I quickly rinse her off in the kitchen sink and she is good to go!
At almost ten months old Hermione now eats breakfast, lunch and dinner. She also enjoys snacking on raw apple slices from time to time. She has recently learned the pleasure of dropping her food from her highchair but that is another story all together! Again, since she is still nursing I am not worried about how much food is actually getting into her belly. She is learning how to eat and that is what matters. She eats a wide variety of food from avocados to figs, pesto to squash.
A few important notes about babies and solid food
- Babies should never be given any added sugar or salt
- Make sure all food is in a shape and size that does not present a choking hazard. Fry like shapes are great for vegetables.
- Babies should always eat while sitting upright to eliminate the risk of choking. Do not let you baby eat while on their belly, reclined or laying down.
- If you babies seems to be gagging do not place your fingers in their mouth to retrieve the food. This will only worsen the chance of choking, instead let them gag and work the food out themselves. Worst case they will throw up a little but they will not choke.
- Do not introduce nuts and seeds until you have spoken to your doctor.
Check back tomorrow for Hermione's favorite green smoothie recipe!