My Baby Eats Breadsticks

10 Jan

There are a billion things to worry about as a new mother. Is the baby sleeping ok? Is she on the right routine? Should she be sleeping more? Less? Is the baby warm enough, cold enough, full enough?

Thankfully there’s one thing that is very difficult to mess up and provides your baby with a ton of new toys, all from your refrigerator.

When Brielle was four months old, she started showing an interest in food. This is not that surprising, considering her parents are avid foodies. We love to eat, and eat well. Sushi, fresh fish, hearty Italian stews, roasted chicken. My kitchen is full to brimming with cookware and recipe books. My two favorite appliances are my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and my Creuset Dutch oven (Yes, I just name dropped two super expensive cookwares. Tell me yours in the comments!)

All that to say one of the things I most looked forward to was introducing my daughter to food.

But like everything else pre-birth, I had done my research. I’m a researcher—I should have been a librarian, but that’s another story. I read books on when it was best to introduce solids and articles about what babies should and should not eat. I quickly ran into a problem.

Apparently, this was the one area of motherhood where you could do little wrong. There were a few hard rules—No honey (botulism), no choking hazards, try to be healthy and offer variety. Other than that though, it was a free for all. You could offer fry shaped stuff for her to mush into her hair, you could spoon purees into your baby as if he were a featherless chick. You could do both, or neither.

I’ve found through talking with other moms and witnessing for myself that every baby comes at ‘adult’ food a different way. Brielle stuffed stewed potatoes in her mouth and though I watched her like a hawk, only gagged a little and went in for more. Jack loved the Plum Organics (woops more name dropping!) food pouches, and happily fed himself with careful sips of purreed peas. Sagan will only eat bread and lemons. None of these is the wrong way to do food with a baby. So long as the majority of their nutrition is coming from breast or bottle, everything else is fair game.

There was a fascinating study done on babies where they allowed the children to choose their own diets for one week. The babies were offered a smorgasbord of food, cut into manageable pieces and throughout the week each child chose what they would eat. Some babies at fruit all day, others favored eggs and cheese. Some chose a daily variety. At the end of the week, it was shown that even those who had stuck to one or two foods a day had managed a balanced diet. The babies would eat grapes all one day and eggs the next, but in the end it all balanced out to a healthy variety.

Clearly, their bodies were telling them what they needed. All that we need to do is offer good choices and a wide variety of foods for them to choose from.

What do we eat?

  • Cooked sticks/slices/chunks of carrot, broccoli, sweet potato, potato, butternut squash, apple asparagus, ‘baby corn’, etc
  • Raw slices/chunks of banana, avocado, peaches, pears, melon, cucumber, oranges (acidic)
  • Cooked rice
  • Citrus fruits, strawberries and kiwi fruit
  • Cooked pasta, with or without sauce
  • Cubes or fingers of bread/toast (watch out for this sticking to the roof of the mouth if they cram a lot in, do a finger sweep a few times during the meal or if baby is having issues)
  • Breadsticks (check for salt content, and watch for cheek hiding)
  • Cheese – cut into sticks or grated
  • Pieces of cooked fish or meat (after 8 months)
  • Yogurt/fromage frais (check for sugar content) (greek yogurt is best)
  • Low sugar/salt breakfast cereal/oatmeal/coconut milk
  • Chopped hard boiled egg
  • Anything else your baby will eat safely!

Solids can be a lot of fun—basically you are letting your baby have a whole range of edible toys at meal time. This also means some mess, but that’s all part and parcel to the mothering gig. Enjoy!

Brielle enjoys her peaches and pancakes: IMAG0370

Slow-cooker pears and apples are also a big time favorite!

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