Baby Steps - Baby Food Days

or hey, I am alive and well, how about you?

My cooking these past few months is, well, uninspired.  But I have been doing more experimentation than I thought when I reflect on it now.  It is very challenging to find the time to explore the world of food int he way that I used to when I have a very mobile baby/toddler cruising around.  What I have realized is that while my cooking did not come to a complete halt, it did in fact dwindle, but it never came to a complete stop.  I have spent several months focusing my culinary energy on that darling little benevolent dictator of mine.  We have had a lot of fun exploring the world of foods with this bundle of ever energetic joy and I am here to share a few tips with you as I begin a mini series of posts on my dearest daughter's journey through food.

Here is some of what I have learned:

1. There is no one true way.  I was a bit afraid of baby led weaning but I did not want to feed my child overly processed foods.  So we did homemade purees, modified BLW, and baby cereals (primarily oatmeal, made with breastmilk).  I am happy that we did all of this, I believe the combination made the process easier on all of us.  It gave us healthy foods for our little one, the independence of finger foods, and the convenience of baby cereals combined with the nutrition of extra breastmilk.

2. Do not give up on new foods.  Everyone says it, and to be honest I was fed up with hearing it for a few months there, but it is completely true.  There are days when our sweet child will down over a half a cup of green beans in a single setting, and others where she will turn her nose up at it the second it hits the plate.  There is no way to predict which way it will go.  Just keep trying new foods, give them to them over and over again, and keep back-up options on hand.  It saves a lot of stress to have a container of cooked peas and one of homemade applesauce in the fridge for just such an occasion.

3. Be inspired by your child.  For us the exploration of food along with our little one has brought us back to the table together for dinners.  We decided early on that we wanted to establish the table as the place to eat and made a point of sitting down together every night for dinner starting around 6 months old.  This has become an important part of our evenings.  We share food, events of our days, and just enjoy each other.  Our daughter doesn't get toys at the table.  Instead she gets options for food and drink.  If she starts playing with her peas and feeding them to the dog (whose stomach has been taking a hit as a result lately), we switch to potatoes, if she gobbles that up we move back to the peas or move on to bread.  We spend the time chatting about our days as well as hers.  We engage her as well as each other.  We had been in a rut and meals were themselves inspired but the experience of consuming them was not.  I feel like this level of eating has added a lot of enrichment to our lives.

It has been the start of a new phase in our lives and it has been a whirlwind.  The next few posts will highlight how we progressed from nursing to transitional foods to toddler foods as our child has grown.  I hope you enjoy this divergence from my standard posts.

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