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Monday, March 03, 2014

Motherhood Mondays: Baby food...an epiphany!

When our first child, Toby, was little, we didn't know what to feed him. We didn't love baby-food jars, but we felt exhausted and overwhelmed by the idea of pureeing everything...so we basically just fed him 1,000 spoonfuls of store-bought hummus. Poor guy!

But with our second child, Anton, we're taking a different approach, and I feel so liberated! In her book Real Food for Mother and Baby, which I recently reread, Nina Planck talks about feeding her baby tons of foods—meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, fruits and vegetables—right from the start. She gave him grated Parmesan mixed with olive oil. She stirred salsa into eggs. She added cinnamon to mashed banana. She gave him dark chocolate. She let him gnaw on lamb chops and chicken bones. She even gave him raw ground beef with olive oil and salt, and her favorite baby food was salmon roe! ("It's fun, like a bright orange pea," she wrote. "Your baby can pick it up, piece by sticky piece. When she bites down, it goes pop!")

We aren't nearly as ambitious—raw beef kind of freaks me out, and salmon roe is not cheap!—but I found her book very freeing. After seeing the laundry list of foods she was serving her son, I felt emboldened to give Anton at least some basic foods to try.

So, here's what eight-month-old Anton loves these days: dried mango slices (he ADORES these), apple slices, bananas, strawberries, pear, orange wedges, avocado, peas, green pepper slices, broccoli with garlic and lemon (he sucked on spears at a restaurant and was in heaven), soft chunks of cheddar cheese, yogurt, brown rice, hummus, pieces of grilled salmon, crusty bread to chew on, and long pieces of steak to suck on. He even liked sucking on half a lemon the other day! (Confession: I originally gave it to him just to see his pucker face:)

Also, when Toby was little, I really worried about choking. I remember hanging out at my friend Leigh's house, when she handed Toby a crust of bread. I watched him put one end into his mouth to chew on and almost had a heart attack. I tried to be cool—but lasted only two seconds before yanking it out of his mouth. "He might choke!" I told Leigh. But she reassured me by pointing out that babies have incredibly strong gag reflexes. And since then I've read more: "They may occasionally gag a bit or cough and splutter," the infant-feeding expert Gill Rapley, who co-authored The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook, told the Guardian, "but that’s actually a baby’s way of triggering the anti-choking reflex, and it happens with purées too. The real risk comes if parents try to hurry...and put chunks of food in a baby’s mouth for him." Does this ring true to you guys? Sometimes I still get a little nervous, but I've been trying to trust in Anton's little system!
I'd love to hear: Which foods do or did you serve your baby? Anything they especially loved? I'd love to learn a few more delicious combinations—like adding butter, cheese or spices. What was your overall approach to starting solids? Did you ever try a baby-food maker? Thank you so much!! xoxo

P.S. French kids eat everything, and toddlers in the kitchen.

(Photo of Anton in his highchair, and illustration by Julia Rothman for Cup of Jo. Thanks, Julia!)

153 comments:

Preeti Khicha said...

My baby loves dry figs!

Kate said...

We LOVED LOVED LOVED doing Baby Led Weaning. My in-laws and parents always freaked out about it, but they never even came close to having a choking issue. The very first food we gave the boys was roasted carrots that they could put in their little hands and gnaw on. I couldn't recommend this method highly enough!

Mrs. M said...

Baby Led Weaning is SO freeing! My babe is a week older than Anton, and I can't tell you how much she loves trying food from our plate. It was nerve-wracking at first, learning to trust her gag reflex. She takes such big bites, oy! But she's has gotten so good about eating; it's her favorite part of the day. And I love the fact that we are creating an adventurous eater.

abigail said...

YUP! we are doing the same with our second too! less purees and more baby led. It makes feeding everyone soooo much easier than having to be a short order cook.

Both our 3.5 year old and our 11 month old LOVE everything and this is why- by feeding them everything from the beginning. You aren't dulling their taste buds, etc.

Haley D said...

My little one will be here any day now, so I don't have first hand experience yet, but wanted to share that my friend got the ok from her pediatrician and began seasoning her daughter's food so that it was palatable to her when she tried it.

They add nutmeg, ginger, seasoned salts, whatever makes the food not so bland and now little P has more of a tolerance for strong flavors that they hope will set her up to be open to new foods that are not the usual carbs/cheese combination that people give little kids.

Check out the book Hungry Monkey, for a similar story. It's very short, and written by a dad who is also a food writer for the NYT and other publications.

TheJepsens said...

Uh, I love the "feed babies (nearly) everything approach. We fed our oldest (now 3 years old) mostly baby food from jars, bananas and avocado, and he is not quite the picky eater. With our daughter (11 mos) we have fed her everything she reached for, which means that by age 4 mos she happily ate potatoes, carrots and broccoli, and now she eats whatever we eat, including all kinds of vegetables, spicy thai and indian foods, that my son would never touch.

We are vegetarian, so she only eats meat when she is visiting others, and by now she doesn't really like it anymore, which I guess brings me back to my point, that kids will eat (and continue eating) what you feed them early in life. :-)

PS. I am new to your blog and I LOVE it :)

Barbara Smith said...

I love Nina Planck's books! Any diet that puts cheese and high-quality real foods at the top of the list is my kind of diet :) I did baby-led weaning with both of my girls, focusing on proteins and fats, adding smoothies in for special treats. My toddler currently ask for sriracha on her foods--scrambled eggs, pork chops, whatever-- just like mommy and daddy, and it cracks me up!

Anton is such a cutie!!

auste said...

Oh yes, I love this approach. To be honest, I can't believe people DON'T feed their children everything and anything. We essentially started with some pureed fruits and veggies, but she always seemed more interested in what was on our plates - so that's what she gets! She loves farro or couscous with sauteed veggies (chopped in small bite sized pieces) and can down an entire filet of fish on her own. AND her absolute favorite thing in the world - fresh pressed green juice. She goes NUTS for it. So even on days when all she eats is french fries and chicken nuggets(we have those occasionally) I can get some kale and other good stuff in her that way!

Cydney Helsdown said...

i've felt like such a bad mum not knowing what to give my nearly one year old, he lived off jars for ages much to my dismay.. funnily enough i was scrolling pinterest for an hour this morning on toddler food and found so much inspiration, now i have so many ideas and no excuse. let's hope i get it right with my second child haha :)

Jovana M said...

I'm from Europe. My mom fed me Lamb, chicken and even liver as soon as I showed interest in solid food. Babies are given the same food the rest of the family eats, granted the baby's food may be more diced, etc. Don't worry about it so much. He wants to eat the same food you are eating :)

Amanda Villaveces said...

I was in a huge moms group with my first baby and that's where I learned to loosen up a bit and give him a few more options rather than just the jar food. I think it really helped that our group consisted of moms from all over the world with their own approaches to feeding. I remember hearing one mom say she put curry spice on her son's food and initially thinking "that's crazy!" Then I realized no problem that's awesome!

Jovana M said...

I'm from Europe. My mom fed me Lamb, chicken and even liver as soon as I showed interest in solid food. Babies are given the same food the rest of the family eats, granted the baby's food may be more diced, etc. Don't worry about it so much. He wants to eat the same food you are eating :)

Yankee in England said...

We have done BLW with both our kids Joss 4 and Jasper 9 months and I love it. Joss we didn't spoon feed anything let her just get on with it with Jasper and preschool runs and another sibling to consider I do find myself spoon feeding some just to hurry the process along in the morning but when time allows we just let him get on with it. As far as what we feed him pretty much anything we are having as long as it is low in salt and sugar. We do make sure things that are major known allergens like any nut butters fish and shellfish we introduce at lunch or breakfast (so you will notice a reaction well before bed time).

It is so freeing and no nasty baby food jars, even the high end organic ones freak me out.

Anna Bazhaw-Hyscher said...

My son's first foods were baby food, as ordered by the doctor. My daughter's, however, was a whole raw carrot to gnaw on. Somewhere, I must have gone sideways, because the boy eats everything, and the girl eats... rice. Or not. She gets what she gets, I'm no short order cook.

Meadow said...

Oh yeah.. I definitely plan on feeding my future child everything. It's a very North American concept that babies get separate meals. My little nephew was eating pasta at restaurants with the adults when he was less than a year old! At first I was amazed and then I realized my sister in law is very smart (or just European I guess!).

Lindsey Cox said...

I always fed our baby's what we were eating, keep it easy one meal for everyone!

Ana M* said...

Gosh my child is 8 months today and he just ate his first baby biscuit and I almost passed out (I've a phobia of choking). He ate and didn't have a problem... So I think I'm not listening to my mom and begin to feed him real food.

AJM said...

I'm a huge fan of Baby-Led Weaning! I am so glad my sister recommended it after I struggled for a couple of weeks with spoon-feeding a very disinterested baby. As soon as Milo got to hold the food himself, he was much more engaged and would try anything and everything! I trusted his gag reflex and his sense of his appetite. I would definitely do it again if we have another baby. AND, I will look into Nina's book. Her previous book, "Real Food" was an eye-opener for me!

Sam said...

Yes! We are doing finger foods straight from the get-go too! My little lovey is 6.5 months and she already loves all different flavors... although if there is anything green on her plate she will go for that first! Broccoli, asparagus tips, avocado, cucumbers, etc! She also loves sucking on chunks of turkey or chicken, seasoned just the same as mom&dad are eating! I feel like it is very freeing and less stressful to feed her this way! (Or rather, let her feed herself!!)

Ana M* said...

BTW, I don't know how is it there in USA, but here in Spain we have massive restrictions when introducing food on the baby's diet. I can give him fish till he's one, for example, neither peas, chickpeas, peaches... Is it the same there?

Elizabeth Ayoub said...

I love this! I read the Bringing Up Bebe, too, and realized that it is totally American of us to feed babies special food that's just for them. I think keeping safety in mind, it's great to introduce little ones to a wide variety of foods early on. Way to go, mama!

anniegirl said...

I feel the same way about baby food! We never used it with any of our kids, just gave them small bits of whatever we were having.

However, babies plus crusty bread gives me a heart attack. I nearly died as a baby from choking on a giant piece of crusty bread. This was the days before the Heimlich maneuver was a well known thing. Very luckily for me my dad inadvertently gave me the Heimlich by laying me across his lap and pounding my back. His knee happened to be under my diaphragm and out popped the bread. My mom tells me I was already blue by that point.

While I have no memory of it, I swear I have a body memory of it and am very fearful of choking and don't allow anything chokey near my babies. I think your caution is well-warranted!

Nerissa said...

Funny, my husband just made the same declaration at lunch today. We made purees for our 3 yr old as baby--using the Babylove book by Cheff Geoff and Norah O'Donnell. BUT, who has the time for that?

Also, I am a lot more confident with my 6 month old and she watches us (esp her sister) and is great at eating. Just today I fed my 6 month a bit a sweet potato fingerling seasoned with top notch olive oil and smoked paprika. Yesterday I gave her bits of chicken fricasse & polenta from my lunch plate.

Chrissy Treat said...

My cousin just didn't know any better and was feeding her little one almost any of these whole foods before some think its the right time... she even had her baby using grown-up utensils!

Letícia said...

Hi Joanna!

I'm from Brazil and here kids eat everything their parents eat.

Obsviously no one tries to feed steak to a newborn but around 6 months old babies are introduced to tea, fruit juices, fruit puree (such as apple os mashed bananas) ans gradually they are introduced to new foods like soups, creams, vegetables all meat tipes and so on. When kids are about 1 and a half years old they are already sitting at the table and enjoying a meal with their parents.

Now I'm not a mother but I have been an Au Pair in NY for 2 years and I could see and feel the difference on how kids are both educated and fed in the US.

I personally, think it is only natural to feed your child with whatever it is you eat. In my experience as an Au Pair I sa that kids here in Brazil as not picky at all when it comes to food. The same can't be said about american kids in general...

Love your blog!!

Leticia

Melissa Tedesco said...

I have done a little of everything. At first, we steamed and pureed everything. Then, I used baby food in jars, and now I give him whatever we have. Veggies have been somewhat tricky, though. But I found he will eat anything if I stir fry it. So I make stir fry about once a week with whatever veggies/protein we have, and my son eats everything that I throw in there--cabbage, mushrooms, broccoli, shrimp... everything. My (super simple) recipe is below.

http://alsothatsit.blogspot.com/2014/01/my-new-go-to-meal.html

Lana said...

I'm currently pregnant with baby #2, and I'm hoping to be a little less neurotic with this child! I was a mess with #1, and worried about EVERYTHING, (including robbers stealing her from her crib at night!)
I'm hoping I'll be cooler about food, too. I was constantly worried about choking and GMO's and eating non-organic. It was EXHAUSTING! My daughter's favorite first foods were avocado, steamed broccoli, chopped eggs, and bread cubes dunked in olive oil!

Joanna Goddard said...

auste, green juice! that is such a good idea!

Joanna Goddard said...

ana, yes, there are tons of restrictions—no fish until a year, no strawberries or oranges, etc...but that's just the pediatricians' recommendation overall for maximum safety (in terms of allergies, etc). so lots of people do it differently. totally up to each parent/child/family! xo

Madison Ellingson said...

I started Baby Led Weaning with my first and love it! She is 7 months old right now and bake most things at 400 degrees for about 30-40 to get them soft. Before I bake them I put them on a baking sheet with some olive oil and then sprinkle away... cumin on carrots, oregano on sweet potatoes, basil on butternut squash, rosemary on broccoli! She loves it and doesn't like it when I feed her.
The other day I spread hummas on a tortilla and she really liked that! I wrote a whole blog post on ideas and what I do here.. http://spencerandmads.blogspot.com/2014/02/baby-led-weaning.html

Gabriella H said...

Hi Joanna,

Bravo for trying out BLW despite being so anxious about it. I think it's only natural to be worried, when what we are taught goes against what might work instead/aswell.

I did want to ask one completely different thing, though. Why did you remove the blogroll that you had on the right side of your blog for such a long time? I wanted to go to one of your recommendations, but cannot find it anymore. Any specific reason or just because? Can I find the blogroll anywhere else?

xx

Jennifer Anderson-Ehrlich said...

Baby led weaning, all the way! The only thing I restricted was honey until one. Our 18 month old has developed opinions about what she likes, but only one meal for the entire family. She will eat anything from steak to sushi on most days!

Amy P said...

With my first (close in age to Toby), I made her tons of purees. I started with the baby cereal but quickly moved away from that in favour of 'real' food - oatmeal that I made, fruit purees that I made added, and then added meat etc as the guidelines suggested.

My son is 11 months and we were much more relaxed with him. We did spoonfeed him yogurt and oatmeal (while some people are really anti-spoonfeeding, I didn't want to deal with the mess of letting a six month old attempt to feed himself yogurt!) and I add in some of my own purees to each (he needs prunes or he gets backed up like crazy).

But we gave him a lot more solids right off the bat. To be honest I went a little too crazy with the solids at six months thanks to reading the same Real Food book you did and the Baby Led Weaning website - he spent a lot of time gagging. He has always had a strong gag reflex, though.

Now he shovels in the food we give him and prefers to feed himself chunks than have us spoonfeed him, although I'm still spooning the yogurt and oatmeal etc at least once a day :) What can I say - plain yogurt is great for you! Especially the 6% milk fat kind ;)

joke said...

I use the babycook cooker-blender to prepare meals and use it more with my 14 month old son now that I did with our girl. I kind of have to since he has a lot of food allergies and baby food often has an ingredient he isn't supposed to have. All fruit combo's have apple juice and even some vegetable meals have apple juice in them! And tomato is also in a lot of them. I do try to vary as much as possible. He eats loads of vegetables like celeriac, egg plant, cauliflower, peas, spinach... Meats like chicken, turkey, steak, lamb... Potatoes, rice and corn pasta (he's allergic to wheat). He eats yoghurt made from goats milk (allergic to cow's milk AND soy). Everything is prepared fresh and especially for him, the little prince ;-) He loves chewing on things and gets food all over his face and hair, but he looooooves food.

Amy P said...

PS - we had the same reaction. It was so freeing to not be blending chicken with peppers and corn etc to make a separate meal for the baby! Although we did really like that one ourselves...ha :)

Laura said...

We were lucky enough to have an anything and everything goes paediatrician with our first (now 20 months old). Everything! Eggs, Peanuts, Meat.

I think the first thing he ever tasted was daal. He has gotten a little pickier now but he loves lasagna, stew, quiche... I've even given him a spoon of peanut butter to lick/gnaw on. Sometimes you just have to get the calories in. A co-worker told me they gave their kid peanut butter for the first time while sitting in the car- ready to rush to the hospital. I have to admit that never even occurred to me.

andwontonmakesthree said...

My son loved sweet potatoes when he was just starting out. I'd make "fries" by slicing up a sweet potato and tossing it with olive oil and sprinkling with cinnamon and nutmeg and then roasting. He also loved steamed green beans tossed with olive oil and whatever seasoning I sprinkled on them.

katie said...

We just started my 6-month old on solids, sort of doing baby-led weaning. His first food other than nibbles of what we were eating was sweet potatoes baked in a fry shape, soft enough that they kind of melted in his mouth, and he loves that. He was having some digestive issues so we are doing some purées and some whole foods right now, and just taking it as it comes! I love that (hopefully) Peter will eventually just eat what we eat and enjoy lots of different foods!

lkiddbarry said...

I was so terrified when I started going the baby led weaning route - my 9.5 mo old takes such HUGE bites! but she loves to feed herself - and it's made mealtimes a fun activity for her (which is great since I work from home and can get some good work done with her in the high chair next to me). now one of my favorite activities is discovering new fun foods that she likes to eat!

Shannon said...

It's so hard not to worry about choking! I struggle with it but watching our little one eat things on her own really freaks my husband out. But I read somewhere that we need to let our kids do things that scare us so I put this in that category.

Our daughter is almost a year old now and we've done a mix of things food-wise. I wanted to do baby-led weaning as it sounded great, but I wanted her to also have a mix of food and tastes and found that I had more options if I included some purees in her diet. Meat, carbs, some veggies and fruit she'll happily feed herself but other things (spinach for example) is easier for her to eat if I make it into a little pureed soup and feed it to her. And i want her to be able to have spinach! So it feels like a good balance for us. And over the last few months she's been eating more and more foods herself and we're doing less and less purees.

tk said...

With my first baby, I went the baby food way, but for my next 2, I always fed the baby what we were eating. I just minced up with a large chef knife if I was worried about choking. A huge time/ money saver, and the kids got used to the meals that we like to eat :)

Jam-packed Life said...

We did Baby Led Weaning, and it was fabulous! I loved not having to take the extra step of pureeing. It was great to introduce our child to all kinds of different foods from the very beginning. At 21 months, he eats with a spoon and a fork. He's a very adventures eater: loves Jamaican Jerk chicken, goat curry, all sorts of fruit & veggies, and eats kale chips like they are the most delectable thing on earth.

Danielle said...

This is such a timely post for me! Ophelia is 8 months and I also recently discovered the concept that baby food is just food!, not a foreign growth serum with very specific temperatures, consistencies and ingredients. Liberated is the world! Plus, breakfast for dinner is a favorite in our house so now that the four of us can enjoy eggs on Tuesday night together I feel like we're a REAL family :)

It also relieves a lot of pressure to keep up with baby food trends, and just eat. xo

des said...

here here, we have do the same with both our daughters. our eldest is the most adventurous eater out of all the kids we know. i also add a bit of tahini and maple syrup to our greek yogurt to change things up a bit and favorite in our house is coconut black rice pudding!

and i wanted to share my favorite cookbook with you, i try give it to all new moms i know cause i love it so much!
http://www.amazon.com/Feeding-Whole-Family-Recipes-Children/dp/157061525X

Unknown said...

Does Anton have any teeth? Does he suck/gnaw on the food until it's gone?? My 8 month old doesn't have any teeth yet and I'm wondering if I should wait to start more "real" food. We got burned with little bites of scrambled eggs at 7 months... a piece got stuck in her throat, she couldn't clear it, and we ended up in the ER! They kept us overnight b/c her entire throat was red and swollen from her attempts to clear the piece of stuck egg! I really love your approach with the baby led weaning but I'm feeling a little nervous. I would love some advice about how to cautiously restart....

Peaquah said...

Yes to baby-led weaning! We did this with our now two-year-old daughter and now she will eat anything.
One particularly good thing we learned early on was that cold cucumber sticks are excellent for teething—she would scrape the "meat" off the cucumber but her jaw/teeth weren't strong enough to bite the skin in half. She sucked on these almost every day for months.

Molly @ The Nesting Game said...

We had a little freak out with BLW at 6 months---he got pretty bad gas from broccoli and it scared me so! Now that he's almost 9 months, I'm slowly letting him try some "real" food again. He has no teeth, though, so still a little nervous! But we do bananas, avocado, tomato, cucumber... I'm going to try to get back at it soon!

Erik and Jane Petersons said...

I read Real Food for Mother and Baby too and like you, felt so liberated and free. I have two daughters and with our second, I've been much more relaxed and have given her so many different things way earlier than my first. (I remember freaking out with my first daughter when someone gave her honey nut cheerios before she was one - eeps, honey before she's one!! heehee) It goes along with relaxing more with the second kid - it just feels less scary and more natural the second time around. :)

Ramsey said...

Real food for real babies, I'm all for it! But raw meat??? Never ever ever!!!!!!! E. coli O157H7. Look it up. Devastating for young kids. Def not worth the risk.
Re the worries about choking: use common sense. If it looks like something that could slip down a young child's airway and occlude it, then either chop it up or don't give it. As for food allergies, the thinking on that is shifting. There is some good evidence that introducing foods like peanut butter (the food we seem to fear the most) early on may be better than postponing, as has been recommended for years. Time will tell.
To Anton I say" bon appetit!

Anna said...

My son is 9 months old and he feeds himself. Mostly fruits and vegetables -- I've been a little cautious but your post inspires me to try giving him some things we haven't yet. He loves to eat, especially avocado, blueberries, peas. It is really fun to watch him learn to pick things up and get them in his mouth (and everywhere else).

Jen R. said...

First of all, anyone that is giving her baby raw meat should be evaluated by child services and a psychiatrist. Adults have died from e-coli bacteria in undercooked meat---what do you think it would do to a baby? That is horribly bothersome. When it comes to what you feed your infant, the most important things is to feed a balanced diet with a good amount of fruits, veggies, protein and fats (fat helps brain development). Other than that, the only thing you need to be concerned about is allergies, choking hazards (you need to know baby CPR especially if you're going to be liberal with your foods), and if they're under 1 year old, they need to have either breastmilk or formula with DHA in it (again, also good for brain development). As this raw-meat feeder is clearly a nut job, I'd come up with ideas and ask a pediatrician if they're healthy options. You need to understand the baby's growth needs and digestive system on a cellular level to know this. For example, many people don't know that you shouldn't give honey to a young infant. They don't have the enzymes to digest it and it can cause botulism. Research the nutritional needs of a newborn and be careful when it comes to solid food and their ability to break it down with their gums! Seeing a baby choke is a horrific experience.

Mersey said...

My mom apparently used to just put everything that they were eating for dinner into the food processor and mix/mash it all up. It sounds really gross!

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Ceresnicka na torte said...

Try this book: Wholefood for children - Jude Blereau. I love this book

Feltik said...

My son (Anton too) is 9 months and he loves avocado with banana, sweet potato, salmon and he's crazy about fruit and vegetables juices too, even some crazy combos...he cries when I take the glass away from him!
Have to get better at baby led weaning though, so thanks for this encouraging post

Laura said...

My son's first foods were homemade minestrone soup and guacamole. I made some purees, but it was reassuring to know that he wouldn't go hungry if we went somewhere, because he could essentially eat what we were eating. If I was at a loss at a restaurant, I would always order him some meat on the bone (like rack of lamb, or chicken) because when he was old enough, he would just hold it in his hand and knaw on it for a while.

margaux said...

we are big baby led weaning fans in our house. took us all a while to deal with the gagging, but it worked so well for our daughter, now 23 months and a great, adventurous (most days) eater. our families thought we were nuts, but whatevs. it's not like the cavemen had purees and special baby food steamers. her first actual food was a hunk of havarti cheese. i don't think she actually got much, but she enjoyed gnawing on it.

margaux said...

also, when you start looking for appropriately-sized utensils and clear plastic cups (with no annoying cartoon endorsements), try muji. they have perfectly-sized stainless steel forks, spoons and knives (meant for tea service, i think). surprisingly, my daughter really mastered the fork first - easier to keep the food on it than the spoon, i guess.

Kayla Leitzke said...

Eep, the raw ground beef thing really weirds me out. I'm a registered dietitian and am really not sure why someone would recommend that. Besides the risk of E. coli (especially in a little one without an adult's immune system!), does any adult really eat raw meat intentionally on a regular basis? It's important to get kids comfortable with regular, "adult" foods, which is why this seems even weirder to me.

Roopika Malhotra said...

He is so adorable! When my kids were first starting to eat, we introduced them to lentil soups, since they're protein-rich and easy to digest. Plus, we would flavor them with some Indian spices like gram masala and cumin to help them get used to eating spicier foods (both now love Indian food, so I think it worked!). Yogurt raitas were also a favorite, especially dipped in soft breads like naan.

Megan F said...

Love this topic. Our little guy just turned 9 months and, even though he hasn't cut any teeth yet, he "chews" well and will eat anything. I've made some purees for him (changing consistency as he's gotten older), but we do proteins, fruits, veggies, but no sugar, dairy or soy (he's intolerant to the last two). I still worry about choking, so avoid really dense foods unless I've steamed them a bit. He loves everything from sweet potato pieces, to turkey burger and any kind of fruit. I hope he's always this flexible with food!

Mina said...

I remember hearing and reading about Baby Led Weaning with our first child. We talked about it and my husband asked me what the point was, and I couldn't really answer him. I was pretty anxious about choking so we pretty much stuck to purés. I made a million different kinds of baby food (Lisa Barnes - best baby cookbook ever) so Alec eats pretty much everything, but he is still (at 3 years old) funny about consistencies. He doesn't chew well and he pretty much just inhales food that he likes.

With our second child, we took a much more relaxed approach. He had some purés but he also did a ton of self-feeding and I was much braver about letting him eat all sorts of chunkier foods. Neither of our kids eat a ton, but they both eat all sorts of foods, including some pretty advanced flavors - we don't dumb it down for them. With Baby #3 I am going to go all in on BLW!

Anton is so cute!

www.minipiccolini.com

Nat said...

I am a huge fan of the Wholesome Baby Food website and book. I am going to try and be a bit more adventurous with my little guy and share a bread crust with him tonight!

Micaila Wow! said...

We did Baby Led Weaning with our daughter right from the start. Best decision ever! Her first food was ribeye steak, which at six month she just gummed and sucked the juices from with pure delight and eyes as wide as saucers. The memory always makes my husband and I laugh. Paisley still loves steak, and at three, she is such a "good eater".

lili nfolks said...

baby lili is one year old now and wants to eat alone, with her spoon, and no more soup... yogurts (she loves them) and food by pieces of course... I had a babycook for my first baby, but this time I turned it more simple, and did not use one. I cooked her vegetables simply and she eats like us now, more or less...

Daniela said...

I am not a parent, but I am a nanny for two twelve month olds and the parents are okay with me exposing them to new foods. The little girl is pretty picky so her mom (and sometimes me) makes pureed baby food for her - she loves pear and carrot. She also is starting to like veggie burgers and biscuits, more solid foods. The little boy is not as picky, and he usually tries what I am eating. He loves cheddar cheese, sweet potato, avocado, and pasta. A few months ago, he choked on a piece of rice cake and ever since then I have been really nervous about them choking, even though they are older babies! I am starting to feel more comfortable with them eating on their own and taking big bites and stuff though.

rebatkins said...

We did baby led weaning and I can't imagine doing it any other way! Our 2 year old eats really adventurous things and eats whatever we eat for dinner. She eats sushi, chimichurry pork, cider chicken, just about everything! And it makes your life so much easier when you go out or travel. No packing separate food!

The Reeds said...

Eeeek! What a good post. I forget that Anton and Sophie are the same age. She is our number two also but I'm still nervous about choking.. But this may have just been the push I needed....

Deep breath.

:)

Maddie said...

We did baby led weaning as well and it worked great. Our daughter pretty much eats everything now as a toddler...even durian the other day! In Australia, where we live, the council recommends giving all potential allergen foods before six months just as an FYI so we tick off peanuts, shell fish, eggs etc at about five months. I would recommend giving spicy food early as well.

Aura van Beek said...

In The Netherlands, they feed the baby all sorts of stuff. And being a foreigner, I am always hesitant to give my daughter (almost 8 months old) something that is not specified in my various baby cook books. Just last week, my Dutch mother in law told me she gave cheese spread and pate on brown bread and my daughter loved it. If I tell my mother in Virginia about this, she will definitely freak out ;)

www.olijolie.com

Sadie said...

Love this post! I feed my son (who is a month older than Anton) whatever we're eating. In my childbirth class & newborn care class, they kept telling us, "Gagging is NOT choking!" and you know? They were totally right! My son's first food, at five months, was a whole apple that he grabbed right out of my hand and gnawed on with his two bottom teeth. He basically shaved it into applesauce! It gave me courage and now he really does just have whatever we have. He does sometimes gag, and it does make me nervous, but I listen to make sure he's still breathing and of course, I know how to do the Heimlich if necessary.

Letting him self-feed is incredibly messy, but the wonderful thing is that he is so content to sit in his high chair and eat. He doesn't yell to me for more bites, or get angry at me for trying to get him to take a spoonful of something before he's ready. He sees food as something he does for himself and we have very pleasant, hands-off mealtimes together.

Yesterday, in addition to his balanced lunch and dinner, he scammed a tortilla chip and a giant chunk of pickle from me!

Pallavi said...

My daughter loved eating rice and lentils ( i just wish she would eat the same as a toddler! )

I cooked the lentils completely along with a veggie like carrots, beans etc . Added some mild spices like cumin and coriander .

Mixed this with rice and fed it to her. So many different textures and tastes plus you can vary the veggies and the lentils you use too.

Just be sure to use lentils that completely cook and break down .

Sadie said...

Oh, and you should definitely try letting him drink out of an open cup (Google it! It's a Montessori thing). It's amazing how competent these little guys can be. My son gets water everywhere but it makes him SO happy. Only problem is, he now rejects sippy cups, because obviously, he's far too grown up. Ha ha.

Unknown said...

My daughter is almost the exact same age as Anton (just 2 weeks older I believe)and we are doing a mixture of purees and finger foods (the term "baby-led weaning" makes me cringe). She has successfully eaten a veggie burger, for example, but likes purees as well.

Jovana Đaković said...

ha, my son also loves to suck on lemon halves! (ever since he was 7 months old)

i used to worry about my son choking too, especially since now at 19 months he still only has 6 teeth, so i've always felt like certain foods have to be pureed for him or he won't be able to deal with them. i discovered early that choking is actually rare, cause my son's been spitting out whatever he can't chew since the very beginning. however, this morning he almost threw a tantrum cause he saw us eating raisins - which he'd never even actually seen before, though he's eaten them pureed - and we indulged him. i thought he wouldn't be able to deal with them, but he did, and at the next meal my husband gave him popcorn (isn't that like a really dangerous food for babies?) and to my huge surprise his six teeth proved more than enough.

next time i have a baby i'm trying baby-led weaning for sure.

Katie said...

Black beans are an awesome first food! And raspberries halved! This is my second baby and I am having a much easier time feeding her - forget about "baby food"!

Geneviève said...

The baby I nanny is 14 months old and she loves seaweed, grapes, pasta, swiss cheese, hard boiled eggs and avocado, quinoa among many others. She still has some pureed foods as well such as sweet potato, applesauce, carrots and spinach.

NotesFromAbroad said...

I don't know about giving babies anything from your plate but it is great for the parents .
My new grandbaby is eating baby oatmeal with mashed sweet potatoes .. fresh . Not from a jar.
He is still nursing .
There are many things that are not a good idea to feed very young babies so I do hope everyone is talking to the pediatrician first.
Bland is not bland to a baby .. they don't know the difference.
One of the reasons why bland baby food is what you begin with is to avoid allergies .

C.C. said...

You should also read Hungry Monkey by Matthew Amster-Bruton. It's a great book about feeding little ones all sorts of foods. Quick, entertaining and a fun read!

Cheree Moore said...

We did baby led weaning and my two year old eats great now. Plus we skipped baby food and purees completely so it was much easier on me and our wallets. Also, our kid eats what we eat, it's always been like that.

If you are worried about choking, ask your pediatrician how to do the Heimlich on your child. Ours showed us how and both my husband and I used it a couple of times when we thought our son was possibly choking. Good luck!

Melanie Price said...

We pureed a lot of my daughters food and put them in ice cube trays to freeze...then ziplock baggies. Yes, a ton of work but I would devote a few hours every weekend and after awhile it became very easy.

We froze a ton of squash, sweet potato, apples, pears, peas, carrots. I would occassionaly add basil, cilantro and oregano to freeze with the veggies or add butter, cinnamon and other herbs once warmed up, for flavor.

Around 6 months I would just give her what we were eating. Avocado and bananas were huge but we would also give her bread, tortillas, hummus, jellies, chicken, red meat, soups, beans (smashed a bit), lamb, bell peppers, eggs, etc...pretty much what we ate, she ate.

Anton is SO adorable. She squishy cheeks are edible!!

Becs said...

Cottage cheese is my 11 month old's new favourite finger food. I just make a little pile on his tray and he scarfs it down while I get the rest of his lunch ready.

We started with baby cereal and purees, but then we quickly launched into all kinds of tasty stuff: lasagna, shepherd's pie, curry, chili.... Twice, in desperation, I opened a jar of baby food someone had given me, and both Baby K and I both found it pretty bland and gross.

Heather said...

Baby led weaning! It's totally the way to go. They have a cook book if you are feeling lost! http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Led-Weaning-Cookbook-Recipes-Foods--ebook/dp/B00BSGE330/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393881011&sr=8-1&keywords=baby+led+weaning+cook+book

My three year old and one year old are amazing eaters!

Kristy Naylor said...

My bub loves falafel! Baby led weaning has worked so well for us.

Wendy said...

We did home-made purees for our first two boys, but now with our third, who's a few weeks younger than Anton, we're incorporating the BLW approach. He surprises me everyday. Many days the mess is hard for me, but when I see what and how he's eating, I feel encouraged.

Erin said...

I love this, but it kinda makes me crazy. I gave my son everything from the beginning in an effort to instill good food habits, and now at 2 he largely refuses to eat everything but mac n cheese. And he's tiny (5% weight) to boot. I'll give Baby Led another go with my daughter and we'll see how it goes. Here's hoping for better luck this time.

Wendy said...

We did home-made purees for our first two boys, but now with our third, who's a few weeks younger than Anton, we're incorporating the BLW approach. He surprises me everyday. Many days the mess is hard for me, but when I see what and how he's eating, I feel encouraged.

Design Scouting said...

Love this post!!! Very freeing and inspiring!

Jen and Steve said...

What perfect timing for this post. I have an 8 month old daughter I'm starting on chunks of solids and have been so scared of her choking. This is not only reassuring but liberating to think I can just go full force into this and have the experience be much more enjoyable for both of us. Thanks!!

World B Free said...

Jo, I am exactly the same! we cooked and pureed everything for our 3 year old when he was a baby, but with our 7 month old, I'm giving her everything raw to gnaw on, apple, pumpkin, zucchini, carrot, basically whatever is in the fridge! she was event sucking on some freshly picked kale the other day. its very exciting to feed her such raw healthy food. hopefully she'll be open to more foods when she's older than our older son is.

6c4e336a-8e07-11e3-84fb-000bcdcb471e said...

salmon roe? wow. hi, privilege!

suzy said...

with an italian background it was pretty natural for us to feed our little one pretty much everything from a young age. meats (small quantities only) fish (mercury free varieties) all fruit & veg, beans, rice, pasta....anything really. like us kids tend to go off certain foods at certain periods, just try something else until their ready.

TanyaT said...

So, did you skip puréed food all together? My baby is now 5 months old and I am starting to read up on what foods to start her with. Thank you.

peachmelbatoast said...

Love this post! I think it's so funny that somehow American moms got the idea we have to start with cereal which is not a food humans would have ever eaten way back in the day. Of course you need to adjust food for babies little mouths and early palates, but there's NO SUCH THING AS KID FOOD. There's also been a lot of interesting research about how squeezy pouches prevent children from developing important mouth muscles.

madiebaby said...

Jo, you're a mind-reader! What a great post at the right time- my son is just 7 months and so far we've started with mashed up avocados, bananas and fruit/veggie purees. I'm really tempted to just give him "real" food but am not sure about the details- and am (like everyone) terrified of him choking. And I'm a Pediatric RN, so you'd think I'd be bold, but it's just the opposite! I'm all-too-familiar with their little airways and all the things that can get stuck in them.

So specifically- do you peel apple and pear slices? Aren't black beans exactly the shape and size of his airway? (So would you smash them first?) If I were to give him chunks of banana, wouldn't they also be the shape and size of his airway? I'm going to have to do a little more research... :)

Leia said...

A little off topic but I was wondering Joanna did you ever share Anton's birth story? I'm currently expecting my second child and would of loved to have known what you thought of the birth process plus that crazy first month or so the second time around....

KKat79 said...

We did Baby Led Weaning with all of our kids - ages 5.5, 2.5, and plan to with our baby (she's 3 weeks). They are all fabulous eaters and the BLW was so easy and intuitive. They were egging to go out for sushi the other night:) And the tobiko (flying fish roe) are their favorites - like eating crunchy salty glitter!

callie said...

Oh YAY! I'm so happy to hear you talk about this!!! We have used the baby-led approach with our now (as of yesterday) 1 year old and it has worked wonders for us and for her. She is so unbelievably keen to try any new food, her palate is already more sophisticated than mine! Our sweet girl is EXTREMELY energetic and meal times are literally the only time of the day that she stops and slows down. My husband and I take advantage and have a drink or a cup of tea while she's eating. It is so freeing because we present her with a group of options on her tray and off she goes. It's so interesting to see what she chooses first and what strategy she uses to eat it. Her teeth are barely out but she's got the hang of it because she's never choked. She nearly hyperventilates if we are eating something "new" and she doesn't have any to try. I get the strangest looks (especially in public) sometimes, but it's so simple, easy, freeing, and FUN for her I can't imagine why everyone doesn't do it! Have so much fun with it!

domonique matthews said...

I have 3 kids. Each one had less baby food than the first. With my oldest, I thought jarred baby food was gross! so i pureed all of it myself. he barely even touched regularly food and for many years basically only ate fruit, yogurt and peanut butter. my 2nd had less pureed food and more real food and has a wider variety of foods she'll eat and try. My 3rd, nver had baby food! She has only had whatever we eat from the beginning. Her first food was pizza crust. She has the best variety of likes and is much more interested and curious about trying new foods than the others. I say, skip the baby food all together!!

Carrie said...

We tried BLW at 7 months after our son begged and begged for our food. We were terrified but after a while of getting used to a bit of gagging (and a little vomiting), we knew it was the right choice for us. He eats what we eat. And while I feel like he has definitely gotten a lot pickier recently, we are not a hot dog/chicken nugget household and I take comfort in that.

Loren said...

Gosh! Timely. Thank you for getting this ball rolling, I will try these ideas!

My almost 8 month old is such a fussy eater. Two bites of anything and four if she is keen. I am trying to be more baby led but she seems so hungry and so frustrated but won't eat much at all. I know I know, she is getting her nutrition from breast milk, but I would just love for her to eat more. She is baby number two. Baby number one LOVED to eat, purees and everything that came after.

Samantha said...

This post is very appropriate for me today because I just gave my 5.5 month old his first taste of sweet potato! He loved it, ate the entire little bowl (only about 1.5 tablespoons). I plan to do a mix of purees and baby led weaning. I am super excited to expand his tastes. I made a whole bunch of homemade purees to start out with, but soon I will move onto finger foods. So far he has only had oatmeal and sweet potatoes. both a hit!

J. Didot said...

Has anyone hit the toddler phase with a kid that simply won't do baby led weaning? We are on mainly purees, oatmeal, and PBJ. He will eat no meat, no eggs, no solid veggies or fruit, no pasta or noodles. Quinoa, beans, couscous elicit immediate vomiting (not just spitting up/out). It's great to hear this is working so well for so many of you, but am I the only one on here experiencing this?

Ed said...

Mama and I have a passion for dining. We had both worked extensively in the F&B industry and before we had our baby (8mo now), we decided that we wanted our daughter to grow up to be a dining partner. My wife mentioned BLW and I thought it sounded crazy. We tried it out and here we are, 8 months in and we have a wonderful dining companion who, just like us, wants to try everything on the menu (and she does!).

Andrea Hellmann said...

Check out the web site Wholesome Baby Food. She has some great recipes and combos that add a little spice to the kids' food. My son LOVED the broccoli nuggets!

Molly said...

Hi Joanna! We've done baby led weaning with all three of our munchkins, and it's the best! In addition to some of the foods you mentioned, our kiddos really like frozen blueberries (especially great when teething!). The organic, wild frozen blueberries from Trader Joe's are nice and small. Another frozen food that's great for teething and is a hit with our babies ~ I peel and slice a sweet potato into french fry sticks, steam them, and then freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet. I then pop the sticks in a Ziploc and keep them in the freezer. I'll grab one at a time out of the freezer for my baby love to gnaw on in their highchair while I cook dinner. I don't thaw them, so they're perfect for soothing sore gums, and because they were steamed, they mush up easily while the baby sucks or bites on it :) So glad you're enjoying this stage xoxo

Callie Wolfe said...

My little girl was 2.5 months premature, so it was super important to me to only put food in her little body that I knew exactly where it came from. I considered BLW but her pediatrician didn't feel comfortable with it. I started out by baking/steaming/boiling veggies/fruits, pureeing them in our food processor, freezing them in ice cube trays and then storing in freezer bags. Then I'd pop them in the microwave and add herbs, spices, cheese, and/or grains. After a month or two, I started making recipes for US that she could eat too and then I'd just coarsely purée them. It has been SO easy! I work, so I just planned ahead and worked fast during her weekend naps. Now she's doing soft finger foods (fruits, veggies, cheese, beans, etc) and partially mashed up servings of our meals and it has been even easier. I've done lots of spices since the beginning and she has loved everything. Hope that's helpful! PS: don't buy a baby food making system (too much peeling and chopping)-- if you can cook, you can make food for your baby. :)

julie said...

My husband and I have a child who is now 16 months old. We are both the youngest in our families and had very little experience with babies before having our own. At a friend's suggestion, I had read Nina Plank's book while I was pregnant, thought it was fantastic, and decided to implement baby led weaning (minus the raw meat and milk) when the time came.

From almost the very beginning, my son had severe eczema (which the pediatrician initially denied and said it was only dry skin from the winter, even though I was SLATHERING my baby with lotion 5-6 times a day) and really watery bowel movements. I discussed his skin and bowel movements at every appointment, including the appointment when we talked about introducing solids and baby led weaning. This doctor said, except for honey, I could feed our little guy whatever I wanted.

Loooong story short, three doctors later (along with three trips to the ER and one EpiPen injection all before he turned one year old), my son was (and still is) allergic to eggs, nuts, and dairy. There is so little known about what causes allergies but there are warning signs (eczema for one) that your little one may be susceptible. Baby led weaning was just about the worst possible method of feeding him we could have chosen: as he was eating off of our plates, he was introduced to multiple foods at a time, and anything packaged (even things he is not allergic to), could have been contaminated by other food stuffs. For all we know, we may have caused some of his allergies because of the way we introduced him to solids.

The most frustrating part is that the eczema and bowel troubles were clear warning signs of food allergy susceptibilities (just google eczema and egg allergies) and none of the doctors had the slightest clue. (For the record, all of these doctors were well seasoned and practicing in a major urban area. This was not their first rodeo.)

I just wanted to put this out there in case I can save anyone else from going through the same thing.

(FYI: There are no major allergies on either side of our families and I did not avoid any of the foods our son is allergic to while pregnant. We had a natural vaginal birth and breastfed until six and a half months before introducing solids.)

Bex Jenkins said...

I loved watching our little one chomping on real food from about six months. He's nine months now and he can feed himself all sorts. It's messy but much easier food prep-wise. A good British resource is the River Cafe baby and toddler cook book. Lots of ideas for baby-led weaning foods. And try to relax about the choking. Their gag reflex is incredible. Ted seems to know what he can and can't swallow. He chomps down on orange segments and ejects the skin and pith. Very funny.

sookiestackhouse said...

I read Nina Planck's book while pregnant, and loved the idea of real foods for baby -- nothing processed, lots of variety, etc. But I was very turned off by her blithe disregard for doctors' advice and, especially, by her offhand (and utterly irresponsible) advice to her readers to question vaccinations. As much as I appreciated her attitude to food, she is no expert on nutrition or medical science. Advising moms to try giving their baby steak or sweet potato spears is one thing; suggesting they ignore a doctor's instructions about iron supplements for an iron-deficient baby, or about vaccines, is quite another.

Chika Gujarathi said...

My daughter Asha is now almost one and I have not once bought jarred baby foods. She eats everything we eat which includes indian curries, risotto, poultry, lentil, cheeses, eggs, kale, sautéed vegetables, fruits, etc. She loves even strong favors like cumin and garlic. We just make sure the food is soft and cubed to the right size (she doesn't have teeth yet). And I make sure she doesn't eat processed foods. It is definitely a piece of mind to not have to cook separately.

Sarah said...

With my son, I started out "following the rules" and was quickly disappointed by how gross and tasteless everything was. Why should he like eating cereal that tastes like cardboard? I stumbled upon the River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook and our world opened up. I now give the book to all my new mom friends -- it was, as you say, freeing to feel like I could feed him normal food and a huge variety. He's almost two now and we still cook from the book all the time as it's full of great easy family recipes in addition to solid baby advice. Only caveat, it's a British book so you need a food scale for the measurements (which seriously isn't a big deal).

The Magic Mealist said...

I couldn't help but laugh when you wrote about giving Toby a bunch of hummus. I still do that with my son, Shepherd ( he's 13 months). However, he also eats salmon, stew, roasted beets, smoked Gouda, and raw slices of green bell pepper, etc. I don't know if I'll ever calm down about my choking paranoia, but reading French kids eat everything definitely inspired more epicurean bravery in our house.

Isa said...

I went with the 'I'm lazy' school of feeding my two; which was basically whatever I made for myself and my husband. When I had my first we were living in Beijing and access to western jar-food was hard to find, and with my second (and currently) we are in Nairobi with the same problem. So, it was easiest just to give them mini-portions of whatever we were eating.

Now, at 2 and 4, they eat everything. I never worry about going out with them because I know I can stop anywhere and they will eat whatever we put in front of them.

My pediatrician in Canada was always supportive of this, and she even said that now they are telling new mamas to START with meat as many breastfed babies are turning out to be deficient in iron.

It always comes down to doing what you are comfortable with, though.

Hannah purdon said...

We started baby led weaning at 6 months, nearly 11 months now and he eats everything we eat including chops (with supervision of course). Favourites of my son are, quiche we add heaps of vegies and kale and he loves it! We also give him, mini vegie muffins for lunches.

LAURA said...

Johana, congratulations for your blog! I really love it.
I don't agree with most of the comments raised here. First of all, a baby should't eat salt or sugar, so seasoned food is not appropriate for babies.
Secondly, do you think that eating one or two bites of food is enough for a baby meal? obviously, not. A baby under 1 year old hardly eats more than a few bites of solid food. I think that, using the common sense, it's ok to offer the baby solid foods at an early age but you have to keep feeding him purees and milk for a well-balanced nutrition.
Kind regards from Spain!

courtney said...

I'm laughing about the spoonfuls of hummus - that's pretty much my boys, right there! My second is a bit more adventurous, but, I didn't do anything different with him than my first. They both loved salsa early on though!

La Victorienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
La Victorienne said...

Love that all those kids get a chance to eat a bit of everthing.

In Europe childern get first pureed food but then eat mostly what their parents are eating.

Raw meat is not recommended for infants. But as a child, we had "Filet Américain" (raw beef) about ones a week. The funny thing about it is the name of the dish as Americans would probably not eat it.


moseyblog said...

I have a choking phobia (even with myself!) so I haven't been able to give our 8 month old anything but purees which he is refusing every time. I'm actually starting to worry/wonder if I need to try solid solids with him. :)

Mollie Devine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Jean said...

Wow! Thank you for sharing. I read this yesterday and it gave me a sense of freedom over an area that I had been having anxiety about. We just started solids a couple weeks ago and EVERYONE and their mother has an opinion. I didn't feel right giving him rice cereal. We eat very few grains in our house so why would I give my baby a mostly grain based diet? This morning I mixed cinnamon in with his mashed banana and I think I'll add curry to his sweet potatoes at lunch. I want my son to try all sorts of foods and like a wife variety of things. This was just super freeing. Thank you!

collette said...

I guess I would add, I think you can't serve babies eggs or honey until age 1, so talk to the ped for a list of foods. Also, please, everyone, take a baby CPR and Heimlich class. I took mine through the American Red Cross and it was cheap (under $50), one evening session, and came in handy when my baby choked on a piece of cantaloupe at 14 months old. As far as what we did - we did fruits and veggies in the blender for baby food and froze them in ice cube trays. Perfect for travel.

Debby said...

we did all the homemade purees with our first and baby led weaning with our second and to this day our second is a way more adventurous eater and the first is pretty picky and i really feel being introduced to all those different flavours and textures as a baby made him a better eater!

Hankaskakanka said...

I am a big fan of BLW! That's how my son was introduced to "real food". He has never ever choked, because he knew how to deal with chewing and swallowing. He is 3 years old now and hardly ever fusses over a plate. He will try everything, so all the horror stories about children who eat nothing but french fries or bananas are a science fiction to me :) Good luck!!

Roseann Bath said...

Sweet potato with goat cheese. mmmm.

nina | itsazooatthezoo.blogspot.com said...

With the second one, it's so much easier to relax! It's true! With my first we were driving ourselves crazy blending and mixing and buying jars, it was awful. With number 2, we kept it simple, started with a few basics in the beginning (avocado, bananas, etc.) and then just started taking whatever we were eating and blending it with an immersion blender. I did that for every meal. When we went out, I would either have a frozen cube of food that thawed by the time we got to a restaurant or I would pre-chew his food. Yes, I did an Alicia Silverstone and pre-chewed and gave it to him on his own spoon. It totally works, it's easy, and it's mess free. Some people stared, but, really, who cares, I want to feed the baby whatever we're eating. And, that includes, Thai food, Indian food (which is great cause it's already well blended!), mexican, chinese, absolutely everything.

To every parent out there, stop making special meals for your kids. You're making your life harder and your child a more difficult eater. Also, all meals should be eaten at the table, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Make it a ritual. It's so important and makes a long lasting difference.

nina | itsazooatthezoo.blogspot.com said...

One more thing, my almost 5 year old eats EVERYTHING and I think it's because he never got a choice. They children eat what we eat or they don't eat at all. Luckily, we've never had to send them to bed hungry! They always choose to eat!

dakotabee said...

LOL you gave him a lemon to see him pucker. Thats so funny :)
Happy Tuesday!
Dakota

http://dakotabee.wordpress.com/

Cathy said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting about this! My 8 month old has wanted to eat off mama's and dada's plate since he was 5-months-old but I've struggled with how much to introduce him to (especially worth Grandma pushing puree's). Great to see what is working for other moms and dads out there Thanks for the comments!!!

Long Haired Child Living in the Strawberry Fields said...

Look at those hands!!

Esther said...

We did baby-led from the start. Our daughter has never choked and is very adventurous with food. Recently, when filling out the form for daycare under 'what does your child like to eat?' I had to write, 'Everything!!!' She is an eating machine. Trust your baby :)

EKmama said...

Good for you being more adventurous! I also live in the US and my now 21 month old eats everything! I did make her purées, but they were not nearly as smooth as store-bought and she was definitely eating steamed veggie pieces and soft fruits by Anton's age. Some tasty combinations she liked were acorn squash and apple pieces (either roasted or steamed) seasoned with cinnamon and cloves. Butternut squash and broccoli together. Our pediatrician gave us the ok for everything at 10mo and I did steamed walnuts crushed in applesauce to get all those good fats! Also, once you introduce eggs they're a great vehicle for mixing in spinach, peppers, goat cheese etc. I think if that's what they're used to they will continue to eat well.

Also, remember it can take up to 10 tries to decide they don't like something. Broccoli, for example, half the time she won't touch it but I continue to offer a few pieces when we're eating it and sometimes she will eat it all! I feel like a lot of parents give up after a few times especially with certain vegetable that get a bad rep :-)

We waited until age one for eggs (had an allergy scare) but otherwise she ate fruits, nuts and fish by the time she was one without a problem. Its so nice not having to take special food for her when going out or to friends' houses like many of our friends with toddlers do!

Good luck mama, you're doing a fabulous job!

HMC said...

We have a little foodie on our hands. At 14m I can count on one hand the things she won't eat. It's incredible and we feel very lucky. We almost skipped purées because it was a lot of work and the canned jars scared me. She started sucking on fruits and gnawing veggies around 6m and at her 9m appt her British Pediatrician said all foods were fair game. I would and still give her a piece of toast for breakfast or a whole banana to keep her busy while I prepare for the day each morning :) the gagging is frightening at first as they learn!

Kristina said...

I am so much more laid back with my son, my second child, it's almost ridiculous. Couple that with the fact that he is extremely interested in food (he is only 6 months but is already eating three meals a day because he will literally yell at me if I don't feed him when I'm eating myself) and I will pretty much give him anything (holding off on citrus, allergenic foods, etc). Our ped is not as conservative as so many others and I'm grateful for that. They're not made of glass! Honestly, I don't find pureeing or mashing up food that time consuming. And my older daughter who was fed "traditional" baby food is a very good eater who will try anything at 4 years old. So I really think it's more about temperament than anything else.

barbara said...

My little daughter is 7 months and I let her eat whatever I eat. I chew or whisk it first. Of course I've completely changed our way to eat: I try to follow the food pyramid so less meat and more cereals and legumes. I buy only local stuff, cooked with no butter and few salt. It's healthy for the whole family and it's the easiest way to feed your baby!

Mrs. Fun said...

My kids didn't eat solids until they were 9 months old. We stared with yogurt, real oatmeal, mashed up avocado, sweet potatoes and bananas. moved on to finger foods after that. They ate what we ate.
Never read a book on it however, just did what I felt was right.

Polly J said...

At about 11 months old our 2nd started eating whatever the rest of the family was eating. No short order cooks here!

Also - as an FYI, our daughter loved lemons and ate them all the time until our pediatric dentist told us that the acid can be very bad for baby tooth enamel. We didn't take them completely out of the mix but certainly moderate intake now.
xo

Maureen said...

My husband is our family cook and does almost everything in the crock pot which makes things the perfect consistency for our 14 month old daughter. Plus we don't have to make different meals for her and us. He makes one or two meals a week and our whole family is good! Love the crock pot! You can cut up and freeze "Crock put fixins" as my husband calls them (onion, celery, potatoes, bell pepper, garlic) and add them to whatever you want to make (chicken, beef, pork, spaghetti sauce, soup). :D Plus in the summer when you don't want to heat up the kitchen with the oven, CP is convenient.

Kathryn said...

My little guy loves baked apples. So simple and he devours buckets of them at a time! After peeling, coring, and slicing them, I coat them with nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and sometimes ginger then bake/roast them at 400-425 until they are soft but not mushy. The natural sugars come out when baked and mix with the spices to make an apple-pie like snack without adding any extra sugar. I even eat them with my oatmeal! Thanks for sharing - I love your blog!

Katrina said...

We did baby led weaning as well and have absolutely loved it - my daughter eats EVERYTHING! frozen organic blueberries were our go-to snack food early on as they were tiny (we bought the wild ones at trader joes) and cold, plus super duper healthy. We also did tons of avocado and poached eggs. Now she's really into fruit and cheese - blue cheese, brie, anything! She is open to so many flavors and it's such a change from many of the jar-fed babies I nannied as a teen.

General Gingersnap said...

Things have changed a lot in the last 3 years in the American medical community. We have had the same pediatrician the whole time for both my first son, who is 3,and my second, who turned 6 months old yesterday. Yesterday at our 6 month appointment the doctor said to give him anything but honey. Wow, anything, all of a sudden. . . This goes right along with what you are saying, Joanna! This is going to be fun. . .

plch said...

my 13 months old loves... radishes! and tangerines and polenta (baked polenta expecially) and many other things his older brother (1 month younger than your Toby) never ever tried.
For his food I'm taking inspiration from this great book: http://www.cavolettodibruxelles.it/2013/06/piccoli-gourmet-crescono ... I know: blog and book are written in Italian, but the author is Belgian an she lives now in NY! I would love to see you two writing together... why not?

Steph said...

Fresh Start, by Tyler Florence has been our guide to making baby food at home. I love that everything is family friendly and can be used as a side dish for any age as well as for baby. Super healthy and easy ideas!

Roz Mignogna said...

I'm SO glad you mentioned Nina's book! I'm a traditional foodie (and traditional family foods blogger over at www dot realfoodfamily dot com). :) My kids are nursed for up to 2 years (or more I guess, but my first 2 ended just after their 2nd birthdays…we'll see how my #3 on the way does). At 5-6 months I add fermented cod liver oil/high vitamin butter oil blend, slightly cooked egg yolks from organic, pasture-raised hens, mashed bananas, and grated raw grassed liver. Sounds CRAZY, but I can assure you (as a Nutritional Therapist) this is the best…not rice cereal! We add more as the months go by, but mainly just make whatever we are eating for dinner into small baby-appropriate bites. I've never stressed out about baby foods- making them, buying homemade baby food supplies, or anything like that. It is very liberating!!!

Morgan said...

Somehow I posted my first comment on the wrong post :P.

We have used BLW with both of our daughters (our youngest is Anton's age) and it is THE BEST THING EVER. Our oldest daughter has an appetite for everything because from day 1 of eating (about 6 months old) she happily shared in spiced, ethnic and just about everything served at the dinner table. We never dummied down food or pureed for her (bland sounds so boring). Some of her first foods were large chunks of (cooked ;)) meat that she would hold with one hand and gnaw on until juiced had been sucked dry. Or roasted veggies that were long and thin so she could grip them.

At three she enjoys fish, mussels, salad, brussel sprouts, beets, everything.

Hope you expand on your BLW adventures! It's messy - but it's awesome.

(PS wrote a post on our experience with it here: http://www.pepperdesignblog.com/2011/08/08/going-green-baby-led-weaning/)

Rebekah R said...

Baby Led Weaning all the way! We feed her a few things with a spoon-- yogurt, applesauce-- but the rest she does herself. She only dislikes strawberries and avocadoes. Spicy, savory, weird textures, whatever, she'll eat just about anything!

Katalin Kakasi- Zsurka said...

Thank you, Joanna, for posting this. My 8months old girl refuses to eat with a spoon (or baby fork), and also hates all kind of purée. I already read a lot about BLW, and it's sooo refreshing to read, how other mommies do.
I really LOVE Your blog, thanks for lovely posts!
Greetings from Hungary ;-)

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Brianne said...

Hi Joanna! Sooo, I read this post a while back and thought 'a ha!' hummus, a perfect baby food that never dawned on me. (My son was 8.5 months old and loved feeding himself chunks of sweet potato, shredded meat, etc.) Gave him a few spoonfuls at dinner that night and we landed in the ER because it turns out he's severely allergic to sesame AND chickpeas, among nuts and other things. (Just got our allergy test results.) Yikes! I never thought I'd be one of those allergy-phobe moms, but it seems like hummus might not be the best choice for all babies. Just wanted to let you know! I never would have guessed.

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RG said...

I am starting thus now. Reading the book and fed my kiddo egg at dinner and he devoured it. I'm still scared though! Just can't think too hard, just like Nina says. :)

FranciscoMissy Cruz said...

Awesome call on the mangos! We live in Ecuador and my American brain had to wrap around all of the beautiful fruit I could serve our now one year old!

Cheers!

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