When it comes to eating and our relationship with food, we all start with a blank slate. We have no preconceived notions what foods should taste like, how we'll feel after eating, whether we'll be allergic to something or not. We develop our tastes and our relationship with food based on what we're exposed to. And for babies, it's us parents who create the first tastes of our food journey.
As a parent who is conscious about how I nourish myself, I am just as conscious how I nourish my son who recently turned 11 months. But just because I'm conscious doesn't mean that this food journey with him is easy. In a post a couple of months ago I shared that I stopped eating dairy, wheat, and eggs to see whether my son's eczema would fade away. Gratefully it did, and I am back to eating these foods, though in smaller and less frequent amounts than I did before and his skin continues to be baby soft.
At about 6 months I began feeding him "safe" solid food - meaning foods he is least likely to be allergic to like vegetables and fruits. We started with the easy foods that mush really well - bananas, avocados, finely grated apples and pears, and all kinds of squashes. We've also given him smoothies with blueberries, a little spirulina, chard, and parsley. Now that he's a little older and his teeth have started to come in, I've been really wanting to give him more variety and add in some greens which are full of vitamins and minerals.
This past week we tried to give him purreed spinach (added some olive oil and umeboshi plum vinegar to taste), but he wouldn't have it. He did try a bite, but didn't want anymore. So we mixed it with some potato and he ate it all! Happiness! The joy you feel as a parent when your kids eats his dinner... my goodness!
Now I have to say that I felt a bit defeated when he didn't like the spinach, but if I've learned anything thus far as a parent is that I have to keep trying. Sometimes I shift my strategy, in this case mixing it with something else that I know he'll like, can yield the desired outcome. So what's the secret? Simply, perseverance. Don't feel defeated. And if you do, acknowledge that it's okay to feel that way. Know that the next meal or tomorrow will be different - it ALWAYS is. If you wholeheartedly believe in the power of food as the key to a healthy life, stay the course, be creative. You'll succeed, I know it.
We need to trust our instincts as parents. While our babies have a mind of their own, and developing their own likes and dislikes, we can still steer them in the right direction. We also need to stay humble. The next day when I tried to have give him the same meal, he wasn't as enthusiastic. So I went back to the drawing board.
Here are some wonderful foods to start with when you decide it's time to start feeding you little one solids. Most of the veggies you can steam and mash up with a fork or for bigger batches that you can freeze in silicone ice trays a food processor does the trick. Rafa is obsessed with avocados and there's nothing more beautiful than seeing green all over his sweet little face.
- ripe avocado
- ripe banana
- squashes - butternut, acorn, kabocha are a few good ones
- green peas
- yams and sweet potatoes
What kinds of solids have you introduced to your little one? How does he/she like them? Share in the comments below.