Sunday, April 26, 2009

Food, Glorious Food

This riveting post is about food. You wouldn't think I would find eating (one of my favorite hobbies after sleeping), complicated in any way, but when it comes to my baby, I make it harder than it has to be. It's gotten a lot easier, but for a while, I wasn't sure what to feed Penny, or where to begin. Why? I was on autopilot with the breast milk for 6 months, and then gradually trotted out the pureed stuff. But the next step was tricky. What can older babies eat? They can pretty much eat anything? Really? I don't know why I couldn't get my head around it. I think part of it was my fear of her choking on something. Meanwhile, Penny was getting tired of the mushy stuff out of the jars, and I was worrying about doing something wrong.

A couple of months ago, I asked my friend April what she was feeding her little guy, and she really inspired me. She gave me some good ideas, and since then, Penny has added a variety of things to her diet. She prefers to feed herself as much as possible, as long as it is something she can pick up. She likes to hold her own spoon, and put it in her bowl, but other than that, nothing makes it into her mouth unless she picks it up with her fingers. We've made some attempts to put food on a plate, but at this point, the plate is a toy, along with the cup and the spoon.

Favorite Finger Foods:
Bread (plain, toasted, melba, pita, pancake, etc...)
Eggs (Hardboiled, especially the whites)

Has Been Known to Try:
Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans

Not a Fan of (Yet):
Black Beans

The beets received mixed reviews.

I pretty much let her try whatever we are eating, except dairy. This has also made me more conscious of what WE are eating at home. How many veggies do we eat a week? Do we eat the same things all the time? I want to be a good example and I'm a little worried about the volumes of carbs Penny enjoys - crackers and bread are at the top of the list. I try to stick with wheat bread, and I buy Annie's crackers because they don't have hydrogenated oils. But my family loves carbs, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I can ply Penny with bread any place, any time. She also likes fruit better than vegetables and LOVES soy yogurt. I'm still too scared to try regular yogurt until after our checkup next month.

Penny's love of new foods has put the kibosh on my milk, which was bound to happen. When we started with the solids at 6 months, I was a little jealous of food, if that makes any sense (it might not though, because it sounds Cuckoo Bananas). In some ways, I was proud to have nourished her myself and now I had to share the honor with some runny, bland cereal. But at the same time, I was relieved to have some of the stress lifted: Instead of worrying constantly about how much milk she was getting, I could relax a little, knowing that she would at least be consuming some additional calories.

It is fun and rewarding to feed her and to watch her try new things. A couple of weeks ago, we went to a Japanese Steakhouse to celebrate Uncle David's birthday, and Britt gave her some of his noodles. She loved them! And she looked like a baby bird eating off his chopsticks. And the noodles looked like worms, tee hee.

I'm glad my approach-avoidance with food has diminished. I still bust out the pureed stuff to round out her diet, but she only puts up with it if I have something else on her tray to play with while I shovel in the pureed spinach.

Britt and Penny, having a Post Dinner Jam-Session.

OK moms and dads, what are some other food ideas? What do your kids like? I'm always interested in building Penny's repertoire.


Sheree, J, + j said...

My best tip is the straw. Jackson will happily suck almost anything up through one. It's like our kitchen is a mini Jamba Juice.

Foods to add to the menu--hummus and pesto (make some without cheese if you're worried)

Amber/Dia said...

You know I am always your dairy avoidance go to person right? I will share a bit of food advice that was given to me (since I'm not going to be using it for a while) make sure you introduce her to spices and herbs now so she isn't just all about bland food. Don't have any personal experience, so I'll be interested to hear how it goes.

w. wilson said...

avocado! And, soon, berries.

Momcat said...

yeah. Our grandkids liked avocados right from the get go.
All babies seem to like jello. It doesn't have much nourishment- a little protein and a lot of sugar - unless you use the sugar free kind, which then has only about 10 calories. The gelatin is supposed to helpo blood clotting; and, let's face it, the cow isn't using those hooves anymore. But that may be an old wive's tale thing.

We always ground up table food in those small jars that fit on the blender. That way, the kid gets the same flavors and seasonings that evryone at the table is eating. Favorite was spaghetti -you grind up the meat sauce and the noodles and a few green peas for good measure. Yum yum! (idea gained from "the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.")

Some kids are intrigued by textures- like to swish them around in their mouth and enjoy how they feel. Some recoil at it. JW liked coleslaw. Figure that one out.

Custard is good. You can make it with rice milk.