Monday, 13 May 2013

DIY Solids- works for us!

As I wrote about here, we began introducing solids to LJ.

A lot of people would say he is too young, but I diverge. We waited until we knew he’d passed his 3-4 month growth spurt and returned to normal patterns of eating and sleeping.
{Because of teething he has not returned to sleeping through the night, but I’m a veteran here (LoL) and am well aware solids are not going to necessarily make him sleep through.}

What I do realize though, is that he is more settled in the evenings and mornings.
He is receiving cereal each morning with his milk, and seems content longer afterwards and the same is true with his veggie in the evenings before bath.
He eats his solids, then has a wonderful bath, and drinks his milk afterwards.

It is a routine that has worked for us with both boys so far.

The biggest part about introducing baby foods is how time consuming it can be.
There is a huge market for pre-made baby foods these days and I completely understand parents utilizing this. However, for me it was neither an option I could use nor one I particularly wanted to use.

Pre-made baby foods such as Purity are quite expensive here! On average, if I was to feed LJ exclusively from these jars of food I could spend an upwards of R1000 per month. That is half the cost of a car per month for us! It is a ridiculous amount of money. Our meat for an entire month costs less than that! Get the picture.

Secondly, it isn’t that enjoyable. Although some of the foods taste wonderful, for the most part, texture and taste varies very little. The children get used to this and struggle switching to the real deal when you want them to take solids.

So, it meant that I was making homemade foods. At first this seemed scary, but it turned out to be quite a lot of fun! Thanks to this website I got some great ideas and learnt all about making and storing the food.

So here are my 8 tips for making homemade baby foods:

1)    Prep in advance.  Learn what foods can be frozen and what can’t. Once a food is introduced to your child, prep it and freeze it if possible. Please read here about freezing baby foods. Pick a day (I typically use a Sunday when cooking dinner) and prep enough food for a week. It isn’t as much as you think. Babies don’t eat cups at a time! They eat tablespoons. A great idea when beginning is to freeze the purees and combinations into ice cube trays. An ice block section is usually about 2 tbl. Then you can take out as many as needed as the child grows! A few tbl of a couple of veggies and the same with fruit is usually enough in the beginning to get through a week!
2)    Label. Label everything you freeze. When frozen, butternut, carrot, and gem squash start to look the same! Whether you use stickers, different colored containers, or a permanent marker…LABEL it.
3)    Print the sheets. These du-dads here. They are an awesome way to track what your baby is eating. You can hang them on your fridge so you never have to look for it. Once your child is eating about 10 foods or so, it gets a little confusing!
4)    Plan for the uncooked foods. Items like bananas and potatoes tend to go brown if prepped in advance. Plan for these foods to be given when you’re home or if your child is in crèche, when the teacher says they can handle it. Although you’re paying for child care, introducing solids is the parents’ responsibility.
5)    Involve your child care provider. Yes, it is your responsibility to decide what and when, but if your child is with a child care provider, make sure they are aware of what is going on. They need to know when you’ve introduced a new food and what to watch out for allergy wise. If your child is allergic, tell them immediately. Discuss with them when you want to introduce a new food that you cannot prep in advance, i.e. banana. Make sure they will mash it up for you at feeding time! (I highly doubt they’ll have a problem with it!)
6)    Supplement if necessary. Just like breastfeeding, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. With Lil Mister, he was in a big crèche as a baby with about 20 other littles his age. They couldn’t always prep foods that I couldn’t. For that reason, I kept a few jars on hand that stayed within my price range. When I wanted, I sent one of those instead. He still got the variety of the homemade foods but got a well rounded diet too.
7)    Do research. Although the website I’ve given is great. You might want more. Maybe your child is allergic and you need more advice. Do research. The old people do know some things…don’t get me wrong! But when in doubt, find it out!
8)    Have fun. The best part about introducing solids is that it is supposed to be a fun time! Are you going to ruin your child forever if you introduce apple before sweet potato? NO! So quit stressing so much! Is your little going to be poisoned because you didn’t sterilize EVERY SINGLE thing you used? (As long as you aren’t pouring bleach or other chemicals over it…) NO! Relax! Try a new combination. Record your child’s reactions. Laugh, giggle…make those ridiculous stupid faces to get him to open his mouth! Experiment and go crazy.

Remember how much fun food can be! If you make it fun, your child will have fun and therefore will enjoy this process too!!

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Shana Danae..

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