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What Does My Baby Eat?

Introducing solid food to the little one was something I hadn’t really thought of until everyone started asking me over and over and over if I was “allowed to give her rice cereal yet?” When we [Mike and I] were kids it was pretty standard to start babies on the iron-fortified mush pretty early on.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t eager to move onto the next milestone. As a new mom I was pretty excited to see how Ella would respond to a new food once she had good head control and her tongue-thrust reflex was no longer pushing everything out of her mouth. That’s not all there is to it, however. Our parents may have been told to put rice cereal into a bottle when we were 6 weeks old–but the truth is babies digestive systems are not mature enough to handle anything other than breast milk or formula until they are around 5 or 6 months old.

It was a personal decision to skip rice cereal all together. There are many different stances on this. Some argue that since rice is a processed food, with added iron fortification, that it is not great for a babies fragile digestive systems. I agreed with this, and  after Ella’s pediatrician also discussed and warned me about how rice can cause constipation or other digestive distress in infants, my mind was made up. He also explained to me that in the beginning my breast milk was still 90+% of Ella’s nutrition; any solids were really to practice the motor skill of chewing. I actually experimented with some avocado at 5 months, which Ella loved, from day one, but then decided to wait until she was 6 1/2 months old to really dive into the whole solid food thing.

I highly recommend the book “Raising Healthy Happy Babies” by Kim Corrigan. She explains what is needed nutrition-wise from before conception until your child becomes a toddler! There are lots of yummy recipes also! Her website, Your Green Baby was a great resource for me as far as the schedule of foods I introduced to Ella.

[disclaimer:I have no affiliation with YGB or this book, it was just very helpful to me and I wanted to share it with my readers like I have been with friends who are becoming moms IRL!]

I’ve been making all of Ella’s purees at home– thanks to my steamer basket and Vitamix!

Breast milk [or formula for non-BF moms] are still always first. Meaning, I nurse Ella or she gets a bottle before she gets any solid food. Around 6 1/2 months I started her on home made purees. Avocado’s and bananas were first, then I made my way down the list of fruits and veggies [no grains] one food at a time, waiting a couple of days between to make sure all was well. We started with one solid food feeding per day. Ella would nurse around 7:30am and then get a solid around 9am. Around 7 1/2 months I introduced an evening feeding around when we ate dinner [1–1 1/2 hours after she nursed]; and a few weeks ago we started on giving her solids at lunch as well.

letting babies play with there food is great for their development…even if most of it ends up on the floor :/

Ella is a baby, and her stomach is still very small. She eats often, and when she has solid food I let her guide me. She knows when she is full, there is not forcing her to finish. I tried doing the whole baby-led weaning thing early on– but honestly Ella JUST got her first two teeth a few weeks ago. She enjoyed gumming banana slices, but wasn’t getting the hang of feeding herself [meaning she was flinging and throwing food everywhere but her mouth]. Lately I have been eating with her and it’s been working out as far as her taking bites. I will talk more about this in the next part. Right now she is doing a mix of solid non-pureed food [2x a day] and purees [1x a day], but I am still concerned about the nutrition in the food. Since I skipped rice, and, even though it was never brought up at her doctor, I have read about iron being of concern in babies 6 months and up. With that said, I am trying to make sure gets plenty of food with iron and vitamin C so it gets absorbed. More on that soon.

While Ella has had many fruits and veggies, I wanted to share with you a list of her favorite things to eat from the beginning. The list is growing, and I have been lucky that she hasn’t been picky thus far [knock on wood!]

Ella’s Favorite Foods:

single purees:

All produce I used is organic. I always used filtered water to blend the purees. Anything that was not in season I would buy frozen USDA organic, like berries and I keep frozen organic peas because they are convenient and she likes them on her gum!

  • Bananas (mashed)
  • Avocado (in food processor)
  • Sweet Potatoes (steamed and pureed w/ filtered water)
  • Peas (frozen organic rinsed, boiled quickly and pureed w/ water)
  • Raspberries (frozen organic rinsed and pureed with water)
  • Blueberries (^same as above)
  • Blackberries (^same as above)
  • Pears (fresh peeled and pureed, if they are hard I will steam a few minutes)
  • Roasted Beet Puree (roasted with skins on at 425 degrees until soft then peeled and pureed with water)

favorite combo purees:

  • Banana & Avocado puree [1/4 avocado and 1/2 banana in food processor, serve immediately]
  • Sweet Potato & Broccoli [steamed and pureed w/ filtered water]
  • Peas & Spinach [same as above]
  • Apple & Raisin & Cinnamon
  • Beets & Pear [roasted beets same as single puree then added skinned pear that was steamed until slightly soft]
  • Parsnips & Pears

recent additions [after 9 months]:

  • egg yolk [mixed with breast milk and cooked scrambled]
  • quinoa [will share my method in the next part]

things we’re avoiding:

  • dairy
  • wheat [gluten]-until after her first birthday

I have been giving her a probiotic supplement and vitamin D drops. Probiotics have such amazing benefits not only for adults but for babies too! From reflux to diarrhea to colic, allergies and even helping their immune system which comes in handy during cold an flu season. Or when you start introducing the little ones to germ infested areas [like Ella at all the indoor play areas where she puts EVERYTHING in her mouth and I want to vomit].

Ella’s digestive system has been amazing since starting her on solids. I’m not sure if the probiotics and avoiding processed foods the first few months have anything to do with it but she has had no issues whatsoever. She also seems to have a pretty strong immune system [knock on wood]. It could just be dumb luck, but her pipes are all working great and she’s a very happy baby, when her teeth are not bothering her—but that’s another story!

Tips of the day:

1. Babies tend to love the taste of avocado [one of the world most perfect baby foods!] but hate the texture. In my experience and with talking to other moms the avocado has to be perfectly ripe and pureed. Add a little banana and baby is in heaven. Freeze the banana and blend with avocado and you have some delicious “ice cream” that feels good on their gums! That little knob on the top of the skin is like a “push-button” press on it when shopping for avocado’s and when it’s soft and kind of presses back it’s perfectly ripe. It works for me every time! Not brown, not hard {I tried giving Ella an avocado that wasn’t ripe enough once and she gagged to where it all came up, blech.}

2. Leftover puree [that doesn’t fit in the freezer trays] makes for good veggie burger topping when you add a little seasoning! I particularly like the sweet pea puree and the sweet potato & broccoli.

I also recommend:

The Diva Dish’s Baby Food 101

interesting topic to debate:

Could the conventional wisdom on children and allergies be wrong?

 

What were/are some of your baby’s favorite foods?

Baby-less? Do you know what your first or favorite food as a baby was?

What are your thoughts about food allergies on the rise and introducing solids to babies?

Have a great night! Sending you all some <3 for the Hallmark holiday that is Valentine’s Day –just in case we don’t talk.

xo

 

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47 Comments

  • Reply Heidi

    My youngest is going to be 5 this summer, so it’s been a while since I’ve fed a baby. He does have horrible food allergies that surfaced when I started introducing solids around 6 months. I wish I knew what I know now about nutrition when I was younger and started having children. You are doing an amazing job!

    February 14, 2012 at 12:33 am
    • Reply laury

      I’m so sorry to hear that! I don’t know much about them, and there is so much information–how they are saying now it’s the opposite– you shouldn’t wait to introduce foods. I think a lot has to do with genetics too? I’m just playing it safe and hoping for the best!

      February 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm
  • Reply Shanna like Banana

    This is all so fascinating to me. I commend you for still breastfeeding at 9+ months and also for makimg you own baby food. I want to do as much of that as possible but know that I will likely supplement with store bought.

    Food allergies are increasing so rapidly. I have to question if we are devolving since these allergies seem to becoming more present with the increased dietary restrictions. Really interesting topic. I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this!

    February 14, 2012 at 1:39 am
    • Reply laury

      The BFing gets SO much easier. You are in the toughest time of it now! By 4 months I was producing like a champ and by 6 months it was just like second nature. There was one or two times in the very beginning I gave her “Ella’s organic kitchen baby food”–the ingredients are awesome, it’s organic, so I recommend that if you don’t have time to make it. Honestly though, making it is SO much cheaper, so easy, you just freeze a batch and whip out a cube and heat it when you’re ready to feed! A fraction of the cost of store bought, and it’s fresh and tastier 🙂

      February 14, 2012 at 5:33 pm
  • Reply Ari@The DiVa Dish

    I absolutely love this!! Avocado has been the absolute favorite food of my daughter and it’s got so many amazing benefits! With my next baby I am totally skipping the fortified rice cereals because I realize how much my daughter was NOT ready for it!
    Great advice, and I think you are such a great mama!!

    February 14, 2012 at 2:37 am
    • Reply laury

      Thank you….you’re an amazing Mama too! your little girl is so gorgeous and healthy and gets so much good home made food!!! I can’t wait to share green drinks like you do with Boo!!!

      February 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm
  • Reply Natasha

    Laury – you are amazing – and Ella is the picture of love. Happy Valentines Day to you and your Hubby! Thank you for offering to those who are without children – mine is not by choice sadly, however, we’ll see what the future brings with possibly adopting.
    Soooo – my fondest memories of eating were of mushing around Daal(vegetarian lentil dish I’m sure you know!) and Rice – my Mum is East Indian (from Bombay – can’t bring myself to say the “M” word) and Scottish. Still to this day – I eat my Indian food with my hands…it tastes sooooooo much better – and there is something so viseral/primal/comforting about it…you should try eating with your hands along with BB-Ella! I can whip you off my family recipe if you’d like…LOVE your realness L – 🙂 – Natasha

    February 14, 2012 at 9:54 am
    • Reply laury

      Hi Natasha! Thank you so much or the sweetest comment! Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours <3

      I loved hearing your fondest childhood memories. I LOVE lentil daal…I have had wraps [at restaurants] but I'm sure it's nothing compared to your family recipe. That is something I would be so excited to share with Ella! If you don't mind I'd to so grateful for that recipe: lauryraiken@gmail.com
      I promise we will eat it with our hands!
      Thanks again, your comment made my day!

      February 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm
  • Reply Kim

    Love the pics of your little one playing with her food…so much fun!!! Thanks so much for including links to my site and a mention of my book in this post, such a lovely surprise this morning.

    Hope the food adventures continue to be filled with lots of fun. Have a great day!!!

    February 14, 2012 at 10:24 am
    • Reply laury

      Thank YOU, Kim for all of the wonderful information you have shared! I love your book and all the recipe ideas! I love what you do and hope to spread the word here in the states to new moms! Have a great day!

      February 14, 2012 at 5:38 pm
  • Reply thehealthyapron

    LOVE all your tips and advice. In my last job, everything I did was tell mom’s how to feed their babies. Most never listened. Cereal in the bottle is STILL so common and just plain aggravating! I never recommend solids until after 6 months and even after that, like you said, the food is really just helping to develop crucial motor skills. I have heard some CRAZY things and it’s refreshing to read about a mom doing it right! I will be just like you and I can’t wait to get that book! Sounds excellent! Happy v-day1

    February 14, 2012 at 11:48 am
    • Reply laury

      Thanks, Erin! Yes, we should chat soon! I love that book, I reference it all the time! Happy Valentine’s day!

      February 14, 2012 at 5:39 pm
  • Reply maria@healthydiaries

    I love Ella’s little set up, especially the socks. 🙂 I don’t know much about feeding babies, and was formula and rice fed as a baby. You seem to be do an awesome job at keeping Ella healthy and satisfied. I know I will be looking back at this post, one day down the road. Thanks 🙂

    February 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm
    • Reply laury

      the socks are the best. She usually has one of and one on so we just mis-matched them one day to see if I could throw her off 😉

      February 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm
  • Reply Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    I love all the little precautions for the chair and floor that you implement! Will keep in mind! =P

    February 14, 2012 at 12:26 pm
  • Reply Lisa@Healthy Diaries

    Ok, I love the photo of Ella with beets all over her face! Too cute!!
    This post is great Laury, and Ella is so lucky to have a mamma that cares so much about what she does and doesn’t eat.

    You’re doing a great job! I’m definitely going to order the book and look forward to learning even more!!

    February 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm
    • Reply laury

      Me too! She’s so funny with her beet heard!

      Thanks, Lisa! I know you will be an amazing mom too!!!!!!!!!!!

      February 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm
  • Reply Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather

    Great post! I’m so glad to hear another mama (I will be one in may!) skipped te fortified rice cereal. Real food is where it’s at, just like as adults we don’t need special cereals, neither do babies.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm
    • Reply laury

      Yey! Right around Ella’s birthday–yeye for May babies! Congrats!!!

      February 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm
  • Reply Morgan

    She is SO cute with her face all covered in her food! haha! I love her! You are doing SO amazing taking such good care of her! I was extremely laid back with my kids while they were breastfeeding. I looked at food as a tasting and motor skill practice thing (like you siad also) over being nutritionally essential. It is so fun though to see their faces when they taste new foods! I breastfed my youngest (little Ezzie) until he was 2 and I have to admit, it did get to a phase probably around 15 months or so where I felt like being done, but after a few months I felt like we entered a new zone and it was easy breezy the rest of the way. I KNOW most people view that as being so long in our world today, but being that my kids don’t drink milk, It made it extremely easy for me to not have to worry about what to “sub breastmilk” with. ALong with breastfeeding my kids LOVED avocadoes, smashed bananas, and other fruits and the basic veggie purees. Also, once my kids could drink through straws, they loved sharing green smoothies with me! 😀 You are just such a good Mommy! She is going to absolutely thrive! BTW, I FINALLY got a new desktop computer! I LOVE it, its so much nicer than the old computer that gave me so many problems, and I have been without a computer completely for a month at least now, and only accesing from my ANdroid, so it is so nice and easy to read blogs and everything now! Yay! Love ya!!

    February 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm
    • Reply laury

      My MO MO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      She’s back!

      I’ve missed you–hopefully that means in the midst of being a super mom of 3 gorgeous kiddos with one on the way you will have a new house of veggies recipe soon???

      You’re awesome. I love it and can not wait to share green smoothies with me girl!!!

      I keep meaning to tell you I am thinking a ladybug theme (maybe?) for Ella’s b-day party and was going to try some play on your ladybug pizzas. Not sure if the kids there will like black olives but I am racking my brain thanks to your inspiration!!!

      Hope you’re feeling well! Love you! We need to catch up soon!!!!!!!!

      February 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm
      • Reply Morgan

        Oh, ladybug theme is so cute! I don’t know if its just my kids ornot but they LOVE olives! They are one of Ezras favorite things. He puts them on all of his fingers and will eat a have can at once. ha ha! I’m excited to see what you do for the party!

        February 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm
  • Reply Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers

    Thanks for the post! That’s so interesting. I’m not ready for kids yet, but I’m starting to soak up info here and there. 🙂

    February 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm
    • Reply laury

      thanks, Tiff!

      February 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm
  • Reply the delicate place

    you are such a good mom! i totally agree to not introduce dairy. it just causes inflammation anyway! fave food as a kid was prob something with blueberry or pear. i was bottle fed, then given cheerios and then purees out of jars lol.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm
    • Reply laury

      me too! Ha! It’s all good…but honestly making the food is so much cheaper!

      February 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm
  • Reply Lisa

    Ella is gonna be a super kid! So much nutrition going into that little body…you know that makes me happy just to think about it!
    When Matthew was a baby, I was not in charge of his nighttime food by the time he was eating, and I know his dad gave him rice cereal in his bottle…but every time he was in my care (which was everyday and most weekends), he was eating avocado and many of the same things Ella is eating.
    I feel like the allergies issue probably has a lot to do with our standard status quo food supply….and most likely with what the mom ate all through pregnancy as well.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm
    • Reply laury

      Thanks, Lisa! I am glad I have your seal of approval–that means a lot! I love all your nutrition advice and I know you could talk feeding babies for hours 🙂

      I hear that it can definitely have something to do with pregnancy too. You should read the book “Origins” if you haven’t already. Very sciency-nutrition, all about how we are affected as adults and through our lives by what our moms ate while pregnant. Not in a judgmental “you screwed up your kids and gave them prostate cancer at 50” way. I think you would like it. I enjoyed it but it started to get too scienc-y for me when my brain started to go when I was pregnant!

      February 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm
  • Reply Brittany (healthy slice of life)

    Loved reading this! Hailey will be 5 months tomorrow and is still exclusively on breast milk. I am thinking about skipping formula, too and instead plan to start solids around 6 months when I feel she is ready. I’m halfway through baby led weaning and it makes a lot of sense to me, so I think I may try going that route and see why happens.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm
    • Reply laury

      Happy 5 months, Hailey!

      BLW is great. I liked doing purees too…Ella actually was spoon feeding herself avocado the first time I gave it to her! I fed her or a bit, but now focusing on her doing it. She picks it right up, it’s amazing!

      February 14, 2012 at 6:26 pm
  • Reply Laura

    I love love this post. We just added to new foster babies to our family (I have 2 older girls already) and one is a week old and the other will be 1 tomorrow. I forgot all about feeding babies, so as I was looking around I saw you posted about Ella. Perfect timing. My new 1 yr old has never had food (super case of neglect) and has only had bottles so we are just now introducing foods to him. I’ll use your baby tips with him! Thanks!

    February 14, 2012 at 6:57 pm
    • Reply laury

      Laura, you are so amazing. I have such deep admiration for you! Best of luck taking care of the little angels! <3

      February 14, 2012 at 9:33 pm
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    February 14, 2012 at 7:32 pm
  • Reply Shan

    Love your baby posts Laury… in my opinion, keep them coming! I too am making all my daughter’s baby food and you can imagine my horror today when I went down to our deep freeze and found that it had broken down! All her purees were almost completely thawed out :(. I am not sure if it is safe to refreeze cooked vegetables that have thawed and any research I have gathered seems inconclusive. Some friends have suggested reheating it to kill bacteria and then refreezing, but I am not sure if I am willing to risk that on my little bean’s tiny little tummy. So she will just have to stuff her face with delicious organic fruits and veggies over the next few days and mommy and daddy will be eating soups and sauces loaded with nutrients!

    February 14, 2012 at 11:34 pm
    • Reply laury

      Thank you, Shan! I definitely love writing them! Still trying to figure out how to just make a separate page for these posts so I can do more!

      I think you’re doing the right thing. Arg that sucks though! I am weird about re-heated frozen stuff. I think I read somewhere when I was learnign about making baby food that you shouldn’t do that. That and don’t store food that the baby’s saliva touched.So I always start her with small portions separate and use a clean spoon to scoop onto the plate or bowel to feed her.

      And yes, those sauces are tasty! I always use the extra on veggie burgers for added flavor and nutrition!

      February 16, 2012 at 1:00 am
  • Reply Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction

    Interesting post! Do you feed her any canned baby foods, such as Gerber mashed banana’s? Or do you make everything that you feed her? Just wondering 🙂

    February 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm
    • Reply laury

      Yes I make everything 🙂

      No sense in buying jarred mashed bananas with preservative for $1.29 when I can buy organic bananas at .69 a pound and mash them myself!

      February 16, 2012 at 1:01 am
  • Reply Jessica@Fruit and Veggie Tales

    Love it! Healthy little lady you have! We introduced solids at 6 months with my daughter but waited until a year for my son, it was so hard to breastfeed on demand and exclusively for that long but it was really worth it! Mostly, I did it to repair his gut (found out that myself and my kids have Celiac Disease shortly after he was born, also have allergies to dairy and eggs but we also don’t believe dairy was meant for us.) Anyhow, they are both really heatlhy now and I was able to skip the whole puree thing which was awesome!

    February 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm
    • Reply laury

      Hy Jessica, great to hear fro you!

      Wow, a whole year until solids! I can imagine how tough that is! My life got SO much easier once I introduced solids to Ella. I didn’t even know how hard BF was those first few months until I look back on them. I said I wasn’t having issues, but really I was! It’s HARD! I’m glad I stuck with it though and still going on with it. SO much easier now. I don’t know if it would be had I not introduced solids though!

      Glad your babies are healthy now. I am so sorry to hear about all the allergies. That must be so tough! They have a wonderful mom though who is a great advocate for their health!

      February 16, 2012 at 1:06 am
  • Reply Jennifer (The Gourmetour)

    Is it weird that I do not have a baby nor am I anywhere near trying to become pregnant, but I read every word of this post? I guess my passion for nutrition is real because I was really into it. I think I’m becoming really passionate about childhood nutrition actually, because it is so vital to setting up a healthy life. Great job Laury! Ella is one lucky babygirl!

    February 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm
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  • Reply Christy

    What is your take on vitamins with fluoride supplements…my pediatrician wants me to start giving my 8 month old this and I am hesitant. I am still BF however have had to start adding formula to the breast milk due to my milk production slowing down…talk about fustrating. Your blog was introduced to me by my sister and I am really enjoying it!

    thanks

    February 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm
    • Reply laury

      Hi Christy! Welcome! And thank you!

      As a new mom I’ve looked in to this and debated myself! After some research and speaking with other moms I’ve decided against giving Ella a supplement with fluoride.

      From everything I’ve read it doesn’t seem necessary unless you live in a area without any in the water. On that same note, there are many article claiming that there’s really no evidence it prevents tooth decay. There are many different takes so you have to look at all of the information and decide what’s best for your baby!

      I hope that was helpful!

      Best of luck!

      February 29, 2012 at 10:45 pm
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