Wednesday, January 9, 2013
I've been thinking a lot lately about Juliet's eating habits now that she is really into solids so I'd thought I'd do a post on what has worked for us.
Juliet started on solids when she was just about 6 months. A lot of sources and research will say that 6 months is an ideal time to begin solids but some say as early as 4 months. In fact, my pediatrician said 4 months is a good time to start rice cereal. I thought about it a lot around the time Juliet was 4 months, but she just didn't seem ready. I decided to wait until the time felt right.
Around 5 and a half months Juliet started being really curious about everything we ate. She would watch us move our hands to our mouth and sometimes reach out and try to grab food. She was sitting with assistance comfortably (on the bumbo) and seemed ready. So we had Juliet's first feeding when she was just a week or so shy of 6 months.
Though many sources will say that you don't have to start with the traditional rice cereal first, that is what felt the most comfortable for me. When you mix the cereal with breast milk (or formula) for baby's first feeding, it is a very thin consistently (so it was really not too different from breast milk that she was used to). Erik and I basically wanted to get her used to the spoon, a bib, sitting in her chair (which at the time was the Bumbo). She immediately loved the rice cereal. We gave it to her for a few more days and then started incorporating veggie and fruit purees. She loved it all, except avocado. She still doesn't like avocado much. We also started giving Juliet oatmeal cereal and she still loves having that for breakfast.
Now that Juliet is almost 11 months, she is eating like a regular person! She feeds herself awesome with her hands, and she eats almost everything we eat, and she is learning to feed herself with a spoon (it's messy and Erik always cringes when purees go flying onto the floor). The amount she eats at times astonishes me. I used to have the philosophy "anything before the age of one is just for fun" when it came to solids, but around 10 months Juliet showed me that she wanted to eat, and she is hungry for solids. She still gets the same amount of breast milk she has always gotten (around 24 ounces at day, give or take) but she also gets 3 full meals of solids plus snacks. On weekends, even if she breast feeds as often as she wants, she still wants plenty of solids.
Above are products we have loved during this process:
1. Dr. Sears Nibble Tray. This is a new addition to our eating regimen. I can't wait to start creating bento box lunches for Juliet and being creative with food for her. This nibble tray is awesome. It has a bunch of compartments and it looks pretty when it's packed with fruits/veggies/grains/snacks, etc. Juliet isn't old enough to eat off it yet, it would end up on the floor. But I pack her lunches in it sometimes and it is great for packing for daycare. You can basically just dump the contents on a highchair and let the baby go to town.
2. Tommee Tippee Food Pots with Lids. I am a big fan of the Tommee Tippee brand because when Juliet was going through an awful bottle strike (right when I went back to work), Tommee Tippee bottles worked best. We've used them since she was 13 weeks. These little food cups are perfect for individual servings of purees and are great to pack fruit, veggies or puffs in.
3. Tommee Tippee spoons. I love these spoons because they are small enough for little baby mouths and also change color if food is too warm. Juliet has always enjoyed using these spoons.
4. Graco DuoDiner High Chair. We were lucky that Erik's mom purchased Juliet's high chair. These things are not cheap! I didn't do a ton of research on high chairs but went to Target and took a look around. I liked that this was on wheels, seemed really comfortable, the fabric could easily be removed for washing, and also converts to a booster when your baby is older. Juliet always enjoyed being in her high chair and the wheels are a must. I also love the two part tray because if you don't wash the top one and need to feed, you can always use the bottom half. We got a brown and red style with a cute giraffe.
5. Ice cube trays. I make the majority of Juliet's purees and freeze them in ice cube trays. I cover them with saran wrap while they freeze and then store them in freezer, gallon-size bags. One serving was 2 ice cubes when Juliet was younger, now she can easily eat 3-4.
6. Earth's Best baby food. While I make the majority of Juliet's food, sometimes it's easiest to reach into the pantry and grab a jar of food. It's organic and Juliet likes it. She's tried almost every kind and you can find it on sale often at Babies R Us.
7. Cuisinart Mini Food Processor. This food processor is awesome. I've had it for years and it is the perfect size for pureeing veggies and fruits. I don't think the baby bullets or special baby food makers are necessary when a mini food processor does the trick just fine.
8. Happy Baby Organic Puffs. These are fun snacks, they dissolve easily and are good practice for little fingers. When it comes to snacks I prefer giving Juliet fruit but every once in a while she has Puffs and she loves them.
9. Tommee Tippee Sippee Cup. These cups are great, easy for Juliet to drink out of (she still needs a bit of help from mom and dad to tilt the cup when she's sitting in her high chair). They are relatively spill proof so even if she's playing around the sucking the bottom of the cup (which she does often), the contents don't spill out.
Juliet's favorite foods are blueberries, raspberries, peas, toast with hummus, shredded pork, chicken, spaghetti, squash, yogurt and eggs. She is such a good eater and we try to always make mealtime positive and fun. I've really enjoyed the feeding/solids experience with Juliet. I can't wait to see what's in store for when she's a toddler (eek, only a month and a week away!!!).