I remember the day we took Tera home from the hospital. The nurses INSISTED I ride in a wheelchair, and I balanced Tera in her car seat on my lap while the nurse wheeled me out to the car, where Theo was waiting. We got Tera in the car, then Theo climbed in and then I climbed in (in the backseat, of course!). The nurse waved and we drove off.
And it hit me. We are in charge of this little life. We are the responsible ones. We are parents. AAHHHHHHHHHH. TURN AROUND! BACK TO THE NURSES! BACK TO THE DOCTOR! I’M NOT READY FOR THIS!
Haha. Thank goodness for Grandma and Grandpa at home!
Starting to feed Tera “real” food gives me that same feeling of panic. WAIT! I don’t know what I’m doing! Who trusted me to take car of a whole life? Who thought this was a good idea? How many possible things could go wrong? Where do I start? When do I start? What do I do? Is formula from the devil? Is rice cereal from the devil? Is pureed, jarred baby food from the devil? Is making my own food from the devil? Is baby led weaning from the devil? Surely SOMETHING has to be right…and if I ask any advice, I get one million and one answers.
So I decided to dip my toe into researching and maybe starting to *think* about starting Tera on solid foods. What I found was that different babies are ready for food at different times. Some telltale signs that they are ready for food is if:
- they can sit up on their own
- They can bring an object to their mouth consistently, and do it OFTEN
- They are absolutely fascinated with anything that Mommy or Daddy are eating
- They are six months old
Check. Check. Check. Check. Check.
Alright…must be time to start feeding her foods!
So at the library I browsed through some books, and I found this one:
I checked it out after only flipping through one or two pages, thinking it would at least provide some good information.
Guys, I’m sold. It is SO helpful. It starts out with a chapter explaining all of a child’s nutritional needs…and then it lays out a very helpful “menu” to feed to your baby. Of course, it doesn’t just give a menu, it also includes recipes for each of the recommended foods. And it explains WHY you start with certain things…then goes from there.
But the best part of this book? It’s not all this-is-what-you-should-do-it’s-my-way-or-the-highway. In fact, it says, “if you want to do it this way: here is how. But if you want to do it that way: here is how.” It’s so refreshing in a day and age when everything seems to be RIGHT or WRONG!
See? Stage 1, 2 and 3 OR baby led weaning:
Now, you may be asking in your head “HOW are there more than one ways to feed a baby??? Don’t you just spoon the gunk into their mouth, snap pictures of carrot on their head, and then marvel at the contents of the diapers?”
Yes, there is more than one “way” to feed a baby. The “traditional”, or typical, way is through purees, starting them on super runny, moving to a little bit more lumpy, onto very lumpy and then finally to soft foods that they have to chew, and then onto adult foods….all over the course of a few months. There are benefits to this- namely that you as a parent are in charge of what they eat, and you can track how much (half a jar, etc.). It’s also less messy, in that you hold the spoon and deposit the food directly into their mouth. The child first learns to swallow, then later they learn to chew.
Then there is baby led weaning. The term “weaning” threw me off, because to me that implied no more milk. ‘Weaning’ in this case means adding complimentary foods. Baby led weaning is simply letting your child feed themselves from the beginning- and you skip over the mush stage. There are also benefits to this- your child learns to feed themselves, they have a much greater variety of foods, and supporters of this method say that children are much less picky as they grow older. The downside is that it is incredibly messy and you often have no clue how much food your child actually ate (it looks like the whole meal is all over them or on the floor). The number one concern with this method is the child choking. But the cool thing about this method is that the child actually learns to GAG, not choke. And having a gag reflex is super important. With baby led weaning, the child usually learns to chew first, and then swallow.
So, armed with this information, I decided to do a mix of both. The book that I mentioned above is super helpful with this, telling me what I could skip if I prefer to do baby led weaning.
What I decided to do is to make more work for myself. Haha. I decided that I would make purees of all different kinds, and we would feed those to Tera by spoon. Then, after we feel that she has actually swallowed some of the food, we would give her the same food in non-pureed form (at the same meal), for her to explore and chew on.
Steaming (with the ghetto steamer that Theo made for me):
Freezing in ice cube trays, then putting the little cubes into ziploc bags:
I haven’t made all the food yet, but I started the other day with apples, pears and spinach. I already have squash and carrots on hand from our garden this past summer.
Today I decided to start day 1.
Let us take a moment to remember this: My body. My body ALONE has fed and sustained Tera Evelynne for almost 6 months. For 177 days, I have fed Tera from my own body. WOW. That’s at LEAST 5 feedings a day for 177 days. And this not including all the time she spent in utero, feeding, living and growing from my body.
And then today she had her first bites. Of squash.
She LOVED it.
Theo fed her a couple of bites, and then we let her play with the spoon, the bowl and some leftover squash. She had so much fun with it. I’m sorry for the overload of pictures, but then again…Grandma’s not sorry, so I’m going to post them all anyways.
Getting her outfit on: (or rather, off)
She did all the typical things…made faces, gagged some, spit out at least 85%, then wanted more…
Then she sneezed and got snot and squash everywhere… Hey, real life! Also…sorry…blurry iPhone pictures.
After a few spoonfuls from Daddy, we let her take over to “feed” herself. She held the spoon, played with the mush, tried to get some of it in her mouth and absolutely loved every minute of it!
And there you have it! Tera’s first experience with “food”. It was SO MUCH FUN!
P.S. I know that my second child will probably have ONE picture of their first bites, and then all the children after that will probably have none. Haha. The life of the oldest!