Moving onto solids is a milestone that I secretly dread. There’s definitely many nice elements when feeding your baby real food, such as finding out what they like and having the satisfaction of seeing them enjoy new tastes. But it’s more work. That’s the part I dread. Suddenly you need to shop for food then peel, chop and puree it. And don’t get me wrong, I really like making my own baby food. I find it stangely satisfying completely pulverising things. But it’s another thing that has to be done in a day already crowded with tasks. Before long you adjust though, and can’t remember what life was like before the bubs needed three square meals a day.
Because of the babies consistent reflux, in the early days, our health nurse suggested starting solids at four months, which is now accepted practise. Our paeditrician said that was OK, but had suggested that I start trying solids at around 5 months if it didn’t work. I did give it a try then, but they really weren’t interested in the slightest. Even a month later they weren’t all that keen. So, they didn’t start eating solids properly until they were six months old. It took several weeks before they were really enthusiastic about eating the food even after that. I don’t know whether it was the premmie factor because J Boy and T-Star loved eating and got right into the rhythm at 5 months and 6 months respectively. (Oh, and the reflux still took about two months to settle down after they started eating anyway. It got better around 8 months. But they still spit up fairly regularly even now.)
|Missy and Joey’s first taste of solids. We began with rice cereal. 4 months old.
|First taste wasn’t entirely successful! They found it difficult swallowing in the beginning.
But the biggest challenge I find at the start is working the feeds into the day and making a new schedule. With both T-Star and the triplets it took me about two months to get into the three meals a day groove. To begin with, they were fed when I remembered or wasn’t too busy. One meal a day at first. If I remembered or had the time. I think some people freak out about feeding religiously once they start, but the babies are pretty cruisey at the start, and still more than happy with milk only days. Gradually we got into the routine of one meal a day, and then we started a second meal. By then they had got the hang of it also, so they would remind me that they wanted solids. Suddenly milk was no longer enough. Which is also a pretty sad moment, especially when you breastfeed. It didn’t take long before 2 meals a day increased to 3 meals a day. At that point in time, forgetting was no longer an option.
|Two babies being fed by Mummy while Chook supervises. Almost 7 months old.
At the start I would often feed one or two babies at a time. They just needed the extra time sometimes to eat, but once they were finished, they wanted the next bit instantly, and would have a melt down when you were feeding someone else. It was often less painful and quicker to feed them separately, one after each other. At the moment we will normally have one huge bowl of food, one spoon and shovel it into the mouths as quickly as possible. There often is lots of crying, but they are old enough to deal with it now. Kind of.
|It can be rough waiting for food. There’s often a lot of wailing that is heard from the triplets around dinnertime!
I prefer to make our own food. Unlike the rest of the family, the babies are pretty much vegetarian. It’s just easier to puree vegetables and not muck around with meat. As they grow older I will probably reserve some from our meal and puree it through, but at the moment, they are happy, so we’ll keep it that way. I’m also unashamed about purees. I know there’s a defense for leaving lumps in the food, but it’s so much quicker to whizz it through the food processor or get out the stick blender. (Mine is cheap though and doesn’t do a good job. Must invest in a better one…) I find it tedious chopping bits into teeney tiny pieces to include in the puree.
I let the babies get used to ‘lumps’ and texture by giving them finger food. I normally start this once they are eating confidently. The babies favourite at the moment are Hot Kid Baby Mum-Mum Vegetable Flavor Rice Rusks, 24-Count (Pack of 6). They absolutely devour these rice crackers, which amuses me because they look like cuttle fish. It’s like feeding a flock of budgies! You should try them out if you have babies. They are really great as a healthy snack before dinner (baby equivalent to a cheese platter) while you are still getting dinner ready and they are grizzling.
Other finger foods that are popular at the moment include milk arrowroot biscuits, steamed carrot (I’ve steamed carrot sticks, but they prefer to eat a small whole carrot peeled and steamed. It’s easier for their hands to grasp.) and cooled down chunky potato chips. I really need to keep expanding their repertoire, life is a bit busy at the moment, so I just need to remember. Has anyone got some other good finger food tips for us? I think the next thing we’ll try is grated apple.
When I first started making baby food for J Boy, I constantly referred to Annabel Karmel’s New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner. It was one of the best baby shower gifts I was given by a friend. (Thanks Elizabeth!) Since then I’ve referred to other Karmel books such as: SuperFoods: For Babies and Childrenand Lunch Boxes and Snacks: Over 120 healthy recipes from delicious sandwiches and salads to hot soups and sweet treats Seriously, for a cook who likes using recipes like me, these books are inspirational. My Mum laughs at me for using a recipe to do a puree, but I would have never thought to mix pumpkin and pear together or orange juice and sweet potato and the babies love it. There’s also great recipes for when they are growing up a little more (but still babies) such as a mild chicken curry or an excellent fish pie. It was my boys favourite, soft, tasty, easy to digest, and The Accountant and I thought it was a pretty delicious family recipe also.
(Disclaimer: I don’t use a recipe every time I make baby food. Sometimes I make up my own flavour combos and sometimes it’s just a case of chucking in every or whatever vegie there is in the fridge.)
At first we were using the boys old highchair and bumbos to feed the babies in. I had wanted to buy the highchairs that you strap to an ordinary chair, but I couldn’t find the type I wanted here in Australia, so we ended up going with the Accountant’s preference and choosing two steelcraft highchairs.
|One of the first times they were all in a highchair each.
We were very lucky because their grandparents bought these for the babies. (Thanks Grandma, Grandad and Nanny B!) In the end, I’m really happy that we did this. The highchairs have wheels, so it’s so easy to wheel the babies around the room so we can feed wherever it’s convenient or slide them so they are in the best position. Also wonderful if you just want to put a baby in a chair and wheel it somewhere where they can watch the household happenings when they are tired and grizzly.
|Aunty Julienne feeding the triplets mashed potato and sweet potato last night. (9 months old)
Today I’m linking up with “For Moms By Moms” (It’s really hard for me to write Mum with an o! )
Disclosure: The links above to Amazon are products I have recommended because of their excellence, however if you do order them through Amazon I will receive a commission. Seriously though, if you don’t buy them from Amazon, you should totally look into getting them from somewhere else!