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First Bites {Real Food for Babies}

March 2nd, 2011 · 5 Comments

Here’s a little known fact: this blog’s original name was “Puree Gourmet.” That’s right, way back in the primitive days of food blogging (spring of 2007, to be precise), blogs that focused on feeding families were hard to find. The only site I was aware of at the time for baby food help was Wholesome Baby Food. (Which is still one of the most comprehensive resources out there, in my opinion.) Needless to say the baby food focus didn’t really pan out — the puree phase comes and goes so quickly that by the time I had a few spare moments to blog, the boy was well on his way to toddler foods. That’s not to say early foods aren’t important — there’s a window of opportunity around the 6-month mark where babies are naturally curious. I believe it’s important to introduce as fresh and varied tastes as possible before baby is old enough to talk back — er, assert her independence. Some foods my son loved at first he hasn’t touched in ages (avocado), while others are still favorites (bananas & tofu). You’ll never know what your child will grow to love if you don’t offer it, right?

foodie bebe eats squash

The foodie bebe began her own adventures with solid foods at the start of the year (at 6 months). There is so much more information out there now; new books, new guidelines, and a brand new campaign to encourage parents to skip white rice baby cereal (launched by the esteemed Dr. Greene.)WhiteOut: Let every child’s first grain be a whole grain I was highly skeptical of baby cereal with my son, but he did have a little before moving on to sweet potatoes. I eventually cooked real oatmeal, barley and brown rice and pureed them with fruits and vegetables for a more wholesome meal. With the new baby, we skipped the plain rice cereal and started on squash. After a couple vegetables and fruits, I started offering a little organic brown rice cereal mixed with fruits — often applesauce or bananas — so that she gets the iron from the cereal. I still believe that it’s better to feed babies and older children alike iron-rich foods, rather than iron-fortified cereals.

What are iron-rich foods suitable for baby? Starting out, there’s sweet potatoes, spinach, prunes and beets. I actually bought an organic baby food that was spinach, apples and rutabaga — not a combination I would’ve thought of on my own, but the baby loved it. As you move into proteins, egg yolks, salmon, shellfish and of course red meat are the best sources of iron, as are whole grains. The baby’s first animal-protein was (wild Alaskan) salmon — mashed with butternut squash. Vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron, so pair fruits like mango, papaya, kiwi and strawberries with iron-containing foods.

foodie bebe's first foods

So far, the foodie bebe has worked her way through all the “starter” foods, with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables: squash, sweet potatoes, avocado, banana, apples, pears, apricot, prunes, cauliflower, spinach, peas, green beans, blueberries, mango, carrots, parsnips, beets, yogurt, salmon, beef, turkey and tofu. We’re just starting on little bitty finger foods, and I’m working on introducing more variety into her purees. Stay tuned for some of our favorite “stage two” baby food recipes.

Any one have questions about feeding babies? What were your little ones’ first foods?

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Please consult with your pediatrician before beginning solids.*

Tags: baby food

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nancy // Mar 2, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Ugh, I should have realized that rice cereal in a box was white rice, even if it was organic! I think my kids were more into oatmeal, though.

    I once tried to puree artichokes. (Clearly, I had time on my hands…and perhaps a bit sleep-deprived!) My mother-in-law was there and we had a very hearty shared laugh at that hare-brained failure!
    Nancy´s last blog post post ..Hyperbolic crochet coral reef

  • 2 Jill // Mar 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I’m glad you mentioned salmon. I would have never thought to give it to my first son so early, but No. 2 first tried it at 8 months and loved it! He also really digs black bean soup.
    Jill´s last blog post post ..MN Cheese Mozza Mia’s Mozzarella Bar

  • 3 Dr. Brian Bodnar // Mar 3, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you for what you are doing with this blog. It is so critical that our children eat the ‘food that grows in the ground’ not the ‘food found in rectangular boxes’. Lifetime eating habits and taste preferences are imprinted at a very young age.

  • 4 alyce w // Mar 11, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    indeed the White Out movement is a great step. i hope more moms can convince their friends. i was also lucky enough to come across “baby led weaning” before my daughter was ready for solids so that i had time to read up and learn more. its about a lot more than breastfeeding weaning, it involves the idea of giving baby whole foods from the start, not purees. it means watching to make sure your baby is really ready for solids. for some kids this is 6 months, but for some it may be 9 months. at 6 months my daughter was manipulating bananas and pears all by herself. we grew her menu as her skills allowed and now at almost 11 months there isnt much she hasnt eaten in it whole food form (aside from nuts, honey, and other obvious no nos). we of course give the food to her in finger food, baby appropriate sizes, but she has been able to eat and learn about so many food types at such a young age, she has dealt with lots of textures, flavors, etc. and we hope to broaden her food relationship as the years go on. tonight she ate a heap of shredded chicken, a mound of black and pinto beans, some avocado slices, some kamut puffs, some blueberries, and some blackberry applesauce. its such a great thing to know that she is on a positive food path.

    and i look forward to reading your blog and getting more child-friendly meal/snack ideas.
    alyce w´s last blog post post ..Dexter diaries 14 – Armagedd-ten

  • 5 foodietots
    Twitter: foodietots
    // Mar 17, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    @ Nancy ~ I don’t know if it’s always been the case, but when my son had rice cereal the organic brands were actually brown rice. Too funny about the artichokes!

    @Jill ~ Good for N2! E loved her first black beans, just like her big brother. Guess I should try black bean soup one of these days.

    @Dr. Brian ~ Thanks for the encouragement!

    @Alyce ~ Alyce, thanks for visiting! Sounds like your little one is doing great. I’ve tried to give the baby more off our own plates this time around, too — little bitty pieces of steak, chicken, smashed beans, etc. Experiencing the different textures of foods is important, too.