Tag Archives: making baby food

Starting Solids

Going through this for the first time, I had no idea when or how to start solids with my son.  I had heard that formula was sufficient in terms of nutrition for the first year of life, but that solids should be introduced within that time period to begin familiarizing the child.  I was told to start at 4 months, then I was told to start at 6 months.  I was told to start with rice cereral, then I was told to start with veggies.  I was told to make my own baby food, then I was told to buy organic pre-made food.

So confusing!  (Like everything associated with new parenthood, I am learning).

So I spent some time reading about it and discussing it with seasoned mothers, and here is what I came up with for our situation.

  • When to Start.  My son had some gastrointestinal issues early on, so I definitely wanted to wait as long as was reasonable to start him on solids.  I figured that waiting would help ensure that his digestive system was built up solidly.  Plus, I remember reading somewhere that formula-fed babies who start solids before 4 or 4.5 months have a greater risk of childhood obesity.  The medical community recommends starting your baby on solids between 4 and 6 months, or when “signs of readiness” are shown.  For us, 6 months seemed reasonable and when our son seemed ready – as he had begun watching us intently as we ate, and mimicking our chewing movements.
  • Store-Purchased vs. Home-Made.  To make or not make our own baby food?  I never imagined I would be the type of person to make ANY type of food, let alone baby food.  Yet, the more packaged baby foods I looked at, the fewer options I felt I had.  I wanted organic (which, by the way, all packaged baby foods are required to be), and I wanted a variety of single ingredient vegetable solids to start him off with.  I found many single ingredient fruit options, or dual vegetable options, but not the single vegetable solids I was looking for.  Also, I wanted the ingredients to be limited to simply water and the vegetable itself – no additions.  Finally, I needed to find food with BPA-free packaging.  As simple as these requirements seem, I couldn’t find much that met them!  Ultimately I found Sprout Baby Food, which met all my requirements.  The only problem was, my local Whole Foods markets only stock two types of single ingredient Stage 1 vegetables, sweet potatoes and squash.  So I stocked up on those as back-up as it dawned on me that if I wanted more control, I was going to have to make the food myself.
  • Making Baby Food.  Anyone who knows me knows that I CANNOT cook, so simplicity was the name of the game for me here.  I was looking for a baby food processor that was BPA-free and that would be E-A-S-Y.  Finally, I stumbled upon the Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker.  I’ve listed out all the details of this great device under my #1 purchase for 3-6 month olds in another post, but suffice it to say that it is truly a 1-step process (as in load the veggies, press a button, and in 15-25 minutes you have a beautiful homemade puree).  I can’t recommend it enough.
  • What’s the deal with Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3?  This really stressed me out.  What do they mean?  What if I should, heaven forbid, accidentally feed my son a Stage 2 food before he’s completed Stage 1?  At what age should he be eating Stage 3 instead of Stage 2?  Fortunately for me, it sounds a lot more regimented than it truly is.  The bottom line is that Stage 1 and Stage 2 foods are typically single ingredient foods that are the least likely to cause an allergic reaction.  Stage 3 foods begin introducing a combination of ingredients, and textures begin moving away from the Stage 1 and 2 purees.  There are no rules or exact order that you must follow, just general guidelines that you should consider.   That’s it.  WebMD offers a good general food chart that you may want to refer to.  As my son is still in Stage 1, the following is the order in which I have so far introduced new foods to him:

Avocado – loved it
Green Beans – loved it
Green Squash – loved it
Yellow Squash – was ambivalent
Peas – hated it
Carrots – loved it
Asparagus – hated it

  • Why not rice cereal first?  I know, I know, I heard from everyone that rice cereal was the “right” starting point.  But, I didn’t feel like there was much nutritional value, so I decided to go straight to veggies.  That said, I would like to introduce him to baby oatmeal.
  • What are the Color & Day Rules?  So the Color Rule, as I’ve heard it called, simply refers to keeping your baby on a certain color of vegetables or fruits before starting another one (e.g. you may begin with GREEN veggies, and then move to ORANGE ones after that).  I think it’s more to keep track of what your child has tried; I know that I haven’t really followed any color rules to date, although I have coincidentally started him with quite a few greens.  As far as the Day Rule goes, you should give your baby one type of food a day for 3-4 days to ensure there is no allergic reaction before moving on to the next.  This will allow you to monitor your child and also to identify the culprit should some sort of allergic reaction occur.
  • Making the Introduction.  Make sure you have everything ready: BPA-free food container, BPA-free baby spoon, waterproof bib, a sponge, and plenty of paper towels (and of course a high chair).  I like to begin feeding time with a bit of formula (or you can do breastmilk); I feed him enough so that he is somewhat satiated but still wanting more.  Then I give him the puree.  I let him tell me by his reaction whether or not he likes it, and he also lets me know when he’s had enough.  Then aftewards, I typically “top him off” with the rest of his bottle.  This routine works well for us, and now he starts getting excited as soon as he’s sitting in his high chair (also reviewed as part of a previous post – #3 on the list).

So far, so good.  I am excited to begin him on oatmeal, chicken and turkey (both are suitable for Stage 1), and legumes.  He is excited about all of it and his squeals prove it – as he splatters pureed green beans all over himself, his chair, and Mommy and Daddy.

Top 10 Favorite Baby Products (3-6 Months)

Now that my little one has hit the 6-month mark, I have a whole new list of favorite baby products from the 3 to 6 month time period.

  • Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker:  I’ve just started my son on solids, and this device has worked miracles.  Allow me to explain.  I never set out to make my own baby food – but after checking out all the options on the market, I simply decided that I wasn’t overly thrilled with any of them.  So then I had to overcome my next challenge: I CAN’T COOK.  (Seriously.  Throwing a frozen pizza into the oven presents me with a myriad of challenges).  So if I was going to go the make-it-myself route, it had better be E-A-S-Y.  I checked out the Baby Bullet and other like devices, but the big issue for me was the number of steps everything took.  First I would have to chop the veggies.  Then I would have to steam the veggies (either the old fashioned away or by purchasing a separate steaming device).  Then I would have to puree the veggies using the Baby Bullet or like device.  Then clean-up.  Call me lazy, but that’s just too many steps for me.  Enter Baby Brezza.  This device handles the steaming and the pureeing ALL IN ONE.  So now I can buy organic fruits and veggies from Whole Foods, chop them (or for time-pressed folks like myself, buy them pre-chopped), dump them into the Baby Brezza, press a couple of buttons, and VOILA: 15-25 minutes later I have a BPA-free canister of fresh homemade baby food.  Miracle accomplished.
  • Fisher Price Luv U Zoo Jumperoo:  My baby absolutely loves this contraption.  His face lights up whenever we carry him over to it, and he can happily bounce and turn and bounce some more for up to a good hour (even crying when being taken out).  We actually got it for him a couple of months ago.  At that point, he was too short to touch the floor (we used a stack of three books), but he still loved it.  Mommy and Daddy weren’t quite as enamored, however, because he hadn’t yet figured out how to bounce himself – so guess who was stuck sitting there bouncing him.  Fun for a while, yes, but not practical if you’re setting him into the seat to get a quick chore or two done – especially since any attempt to stop bouncing him would result in wails.  But now – we love it.  He can self-entertain and we can get a few dishes washed or pieces of laundry folded.  And he loves the toy attachments; he reaches for the hanging toys and spins the rattles.  I especially like that while HE is mobile, the toy is NOT.  So once he’s set into it, he’s not going anywhere until we take him out.
  • Fisher Price Space Saver High Chair:  My house has begun to resemble a Chuck E. Cheese with all the toys, bouncers, playpens, and swings laying around.  The last thing I needed (or wanted) was another huge apparatus in the living/dining area.  I was so happy to hear about this space saving high chair through a friend’s recommendation.  It snaps to any chair with a skid-resistant bottom and back strap, has a 5-point harness, a dishwasher-safe table, and a table that is latch-able and releasable with one hand (while the baby is in the other).  And my son gets to sit at the table with us while we all eat.  An added bonus – it’s cheaper than most standalone high chairs (and more portable should that need arise).  For us it was a no-brainer.  We love it and so does our messy eater.
  • Munchkin Shampoo Rinser:  What’s that saying – It’s the simple things?  While this is a simple thing that helps oh-so-much.  It’s a soft/flexible shampoo rinser, just as its name indicates.  WHY do you need this?  Because it is so soft that it will mold to your baby’s head – which means that you can tilt your baby’s head back, press this towards the top of his forehead (where it will bend and give), and then rinse his hair without getting any water in his eyes.  I like that it’s big, holds a lot of water, and has a one-piece design.  Nice added convenience for bath time.
  • The Mommy Hook:  Now why didn’t I think of this?  My nanny actually told me about it.  It’s simply a hook that you can quickly hang on the handlebar of your stroller to carry diaper bags, grocery bags, purses, etc.  So handy!  If considering, you may want to check out Home Depot first – I hear they have hooks that are the same idea and design, but for almost a third of the cost.  Either way, a great and useful idea.
  • HALO Sleepsack:  Once we stopped swaddling our baby, we started looking for alternatives to help him stay warm at night without keeping loose sheets or blankets in the crib (a big no-no for SIDS).  Now we love HALO Sleepsacks.  We zip them up right over his long-sleeved onesie (or PJs, depending on temperature) and he is good to go for the night.  They do a good job of keeping him warm but not overheating him (also a concern for SIDS).  We have both the cotton and microfleece versions and alternate depending on season.  They are roomy and the sizes are big enough that you won’t be using one size bracket up within a few weeks.
  • BOB Ironman Running Stroller:  Prior to purchasing this stroller, we had been gifted a Jeep All-Terrain Stroller.  The Jeep stroller is great for its own purposes, but we incorrectly and dangerously assumed it was a running stroller.  Although we did notice that the front wheel swiveled, and that sometimes the stroller seemed unbalanced when jogging up or down hills, we didn’t have anything to compare it to so thought this was normal.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, in our case), one day the front wheel exploded when filling it with too much air.  That prompted us to search for a replacement wheel, which prompted us to review the Jeep website, where we were horrified to learn that this particular stroller is NOT meant for jogging and should never be used for that purpose.  We immediately went on the search for a stroller that IS meant for jogging, and came across the BOB Ironman.  By no means the cheapest jogging stroller, for us, it appeared the best.  It offers a fixed front wheel (which we learned was far superior in safety to a swiveling wheel when running), easy-to-operate hand and foot brakes, a safety strap, and a surprisingly smooth ride.  There is even a small basket where our little dog rides during our runs (spoiled, I know).  Our baby is still in his infant car seat, so we also purchased the Infant Car Seat Adaptor which provides a reassuringly secure fit (unlike our other stroller which relies on a strap and a balance on the tray).  Finally, my husband also purchased the Handlebar Console which is a negligible convenience for carrying bottled water and zipping up your keys and wallet.  All in all, a pretty pricey package, but well worth it if you’re an avid runner (as this stroller is rated up to 70 pounds).  One of our best purchases that we utilize almost daily.
  • Aveeno Baby Lotion:  After trying almost all different baby lotion brands packaged in cute pink and blue bottles, I could never seem to get rid of the red bumpy rash my son would always get.  I knew I had to moisturize, but I was pretty certain that the moisturizers themselves were causing his rash.  My pediatrician’s wife recommended I try Aveeno Baby.  WOW.  Within a day of using it, his rash completely and permanently cleared up.  It’s rich and creamy with a pleasant scent, but not the harsh perfumy scent of the other baby lotion brands.  I will be sticking with this one.
  • All Free & Clear Laundry Detergent:  After getting caught up in the hype of Dreft baby detergent (which granted, is an excellent detergent), I couldn’t justify the premium cost on an ongoing basis.  So I decided to test out a few other brands.  BY FAR, the best I have found for my baby’s sensitive skin is All Free & Clear detergent.  And at almost half the cost of Dreft, I can feel good knowing that I’m saving a bit of dinero.
  • Wee Wee Puppy Pads:  Puppy pads as a favorite baby product??  Hear me out.  When giving birth, I noticed that the labor and delivery bed was covered in puppy pee pads.  Think absorption.  I now stock these at home for the baby as well (it’s convenient that I also have a small dog who uses the same pads – so they actually share the supply).  Anyway, I lay them over the changing tables, on the counter for before/after sink baths, stock them in diaper bags, basically anywhere where the baby may be laying “unprotected” (aka undiapered) for any period of time.  They’re cheap and they work!  Many a furniture top has been protected from a baby fountain or blowout.

So there you have it.  My latest batch of favorite baby products.  What are yours for the 3-6 month timeframe?