Sunday, September 8, 2013

Feeding Miss Abigail

Before we were ever pregnant, I knew that when the time came for our baby to have something other than breast milk to eat, I wanted to make my own baby food. We're not super crunchy people- we don't eat all organic or always SUPER healthy. And I don't necessary see anything wrong with buying baby food...I just knew that I wanted to try making purées at home in an effort to save money and feed our baby healthy, real food. So, when we were pregnant we registered for a Baby Bullet, which friends generously gave us as a shower gift. I researched making homemade baby food for quite some time, and when Abby was around 5 months I started getting serious about figuring out how and what we were going to feed her. At first, we talked about not doing cereal at all. But as she got closer and closer to 6 months old, I started doubting that choice (I'm not even sure why!) and we gave Abby some oatmeal baby cereal mixed with breast milk as her very first food. She loved it! From there, I made several different purées - sweet potato, carrot, pear, apple, summer squash, and pea. The freezer was stocked! For a week or two Abby seemed to be ok with eating purées, although she never seemed to really enjoy it and often completely refused. I was at a loss! One night at dinner, I just decided to give her some of our food, and I put some steamed cauliflower and green beans on her tray. She immediately grabbed the food and started eating! I was kind of shocked to be honest. She LOVED feeding herself, and even without teeth she chewed away on the cauliflower and ended up eating quite a bit. After that, Dave and I talked and decided that maybe a Baby Led Weaning approach would be a better fit. At first, she had a hard time getting small foods to her mouth, and we mostly gave her large, soft pieces of food that she could get a good grip on. On a whim, I picked up some puffs (something I thought we would never give her!) in order to see if it would help her pincer grasp develop more. Of course, she loves puffs! Even better, eating those and Cheerios has really helped her self-feeding abilities. Pretty quickly, we started giving Abby more and more table food. Now, at nearly 8 months, Abby eats almost all the fruits, vegetables, and grains that we do. The list of foods she has tried (and liked!) is quite long, and includes things like asparagus, whole eggs, quinoa, melon, chicken, ground turkey and beef, broccoli, beans, avocado, pasta, cheese, etc. The list goes on and on! Breakfast is usually either scrambled egg with toast, or fruit and Cheerios, or something similar. Lunch these days is something like broccoli with pasta and shredded cheese, and for dinner Abby usually just gets a little of whatever we are having, as long as it's not too spicy. The Baby Led Weaning approach is definitely not the route I thought that we would take when introducing Abigail to food, but so far it's been working out great! It's easy for us, and more importantly, she loves food and gets excited about meals. Of course, breast milk is still her main source of nutrition, and she still nurses around seven or so times a day. I'm hopeful that Abby will continue to like food and will grow up with an adventurous appetite like her parents! 

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