A few weeks ago, we got to feed our daughter her very first taste of solid food. I stood behind my husband, camera at the ready to capture the priceless moment. And the moment was…well. …The horrified expression on her face was definitely priceless.
I’d been waiting for that very moment since before she was born. It’s something of an occupational hazard that I spend more than my fair share of time thinking about food. When I was pregnant and trying to eat healthfully despite intense, continuous cravings for nachos piled high with guacamole, I habitually asked myself, “Would I feed this to my child?” because I was—at least by proxy. (Apparently, I was willing to feed my child nachos a lot more frequently than I would have expected.)
I spent the first summer of her life chopping, steaming and pureeing, even though she was months away from her first taste of solid foods. We subscribed to a CSA this summer and when I was having trouble keeping up with the bushels of produce coming through my kitchen every week, I started tossing it into the food processor and then into ice cube trays, churning out gem-toned building blocks of nutrition in every color of the rainbow: red and golden beets, pale creamy turnips, bright green zucchini and yellow summer squash, orange and purple carrots and deep scarlet plums. And it turns out, having a baby in the spring is perfect when it comes to introducing solid foods; apples, pears, sweet potatoes, carrots and squash are all perfect for a tiny baby’s developing tummy and palate.
Of course, her very first food was (organic, non-GMO) rice cereal. From the store. But since then she’s embraced homemade apple and pear sauce, mashed avocados and creamy baked sweet potatoes. Each time I offer the very first spoonful of a new food, I get a little thrill. My tiny little foodie is getting to experience the very best I can offer her. A new friend, who met me right after my daughter was born this spring, assumed my column and blog name—Formation of a Foodie—were in reference to my little girl, that I was writing about turning her into a foodie.
The column came long before the baby did, but my own focus as a foodie has definitely widened to include this tiny person I’m suddenly responsible for raising. My opinions about the state of our food system, my predilection for local and organic foods, my conviction to vote with my dollars and my fork have all bled into the way I’m feeding my child.
But let’s be honest. We both know the most ridiculous thing a parent can do is set hopes too high her child will be one thing or another. My goal is not to clone myself, nor to raise a toddler who will only eat truffles and caviar. All I want is what every parent wants: to give my little bundle of hopes and dreams the very best start I possibly can.
Right now, I’m savoring the fact that, at the moment at least, giving her a good start on a healthy life is as easy as the next spoonful of local, organic pureed carrots.
Tips from WholesomeBabyFood.com
1. Always consult your pediatrician prior to beginning any new food for your infant.
2. Consult a solid food chart for information regarding what foods to introduce to baby and when.
3. Follow the four-day wait rule when introducing a new food to baby—offer your baby the same new food for four days to test for allergies to that food. Introduce only one food at a time to watch for reactions and determine if baby likes it.
4. Use very clean hands, clean cooking utensils, preparation surfaces, pots/pans etc. when making and preparing homemade baby food.
5. Keep trying! All babies have different taste and texture preferences. If your baby doesn’t like a food, try again in a few weeks with a different preparation of that food.