Friday, November 17, 2006

Question of the Week: Baby food

This is for all you moms out there! I am curious about a couple things: First, at what age did you start feeding your baby or babies solid food? And second, did you use store-bought baby food, make your own, or do a combination of both things? This is not meant to be a debate about what ages/foods are "better," but I am just curious! :)

Here are my answers: With Sam, I started him on solids at exactly 6 months. His first food was rice cereal; from there we moved on to other vegetables and fruits. I mostly used store-bought baby food, although I did do some more non-traditional things, such as canned pumpkin, frozen squash (after it was cooked, I mean!:)), and unsweetened applesauce in the big jars, which saved some money.

With Julia, I think I will do things a little differently. She is still exclusively breast-fed at 6 1/2 months, and I am planning to still hold off a little longer on starting solids. I've read that many babies don't really need "real" food till they are a year old. I doubt I will wait that long, but I figure since she is obviously thriving on mommy's milk, there is no need to hurry with the solids. I've also read in recent months that cereals may not be the best first food for their digestion. I'll have to do some more research into that, though, to find out for sure. I'm hoping to make more of my own baby food for her, from fresh or frozen veggies and fruits, as well as probably still use the unsweetened applesauce, squash, and pumpkin like I did with Sam. I'm hoping to avoid buying so much at the store--but I will likely still buy the baby prunes to aid with digestion, as I found they were really helpful to Sam. I would really like to make a lot of homemade baby food ahead of time and freeze it in small portions for her.

I will be interested to hear what worked for others!! :)


Anonymous said...

YOu can still give her Rice Cearl to help her sleep threw the nigth. and really if you think about it not only is making your baby food better for her it is alot cheeper cause you can not freez the stuff form the store it goes bad fast.

Mrs.T said...

The age I started feeding solids was different with each child. I started with rice cereal, then other cereals, then moved on to fruits, veggies, and finally meat. With my first one I used all store-bought food. I had no idea one could do otherwise. By the second one, there were more resources available to parents and I had read the book "Feed Me! I'm Yours" which gives great ideas for making your own baby food. So from then on I mostly either used things like plain unsweetened applsauce, plain frozen squash,yogurt, or blended or ground-up regular food. I never did get into freezing it in "plops" as that book suggests... just out of laziness, I guess. I did try the rice cereal with my second at a fairly young age because people told me it would help her sleep through the night or maybe help with her colic. It didn't seem to make a lot of difference that I could see. In time, I found that all of my kids preferred the flavor of the oatmeal cereal to that of the rice. But I can't remember at what age one is supposed to be able to try other cereals. My "baby" is almost 28 and I've been out of the loop for a long time!

Michael & Jennifer said...

I'm trying to decide what to do about solids with my little one - how many feedings per day is Julia doing, and is she on a schedule or do you demand feed? if you'd rather not answer here, i'd love your answers in email! I would love to wait at lesat until 6 mos for solids, but worry about him getting enough...

Anonymous said...

Well, I must agree with Mrs.t each one of mine have been a little different. Because of cost I've always made their baby food. My first two... well, I was still very much on that "learning curve", (you are doing much better than I did Carrie) with the last three, I think I'm starting to figure some things out. My third and fifth didn't start solids until ten-eleven months and their was no convincing the third one other wise (it was pretty funny). The fourth one was about seven or eight months old. With waiting to start solids I didn't have to make baby food for very long. For example with our fifth one it was only about one month when she started wanting regular food that she could eat herself. When first introducing them to solids all of them had troubles with constipation. For a time they needed prunes or prune juice blended right into the fruit. Vegetables are hard to digest because young ones often lack the enzymes to digest them (I had to do a lot of reading, but finally found that piece of information.)

In short, don't worry about delaying solids. Little ones will let you know when they are ready and by waiting it is actually easier. Hope you find what works for you.


Carrie said...

Thanks so much to everyone for the comments so far! It has been fun to read them all. :)

Anonymous--you're right that homemade is definitely cheaper! I believe it's a bit healthier, also.

Mrs T--I got a lot of my good ideas from you! :) And I also got the "Feed Me, I'm Yours" book--hoping to use it a bit more this time around!

Jenny--I'm guessing that Julia nurses about 6-8 times a day, or maybe more; I've never kept track really. I've always fed her on demand, as I'm not a big fan of scheduling . . . I've known or read of too many moms whose milk supply dwindled and they had to end up supplementing or totally switching to formula. I'm sure this is not true for everyone, but since I like to nurse for at least a year, and preferably more like 18+ months (Sam went 21 mos.), I'd rather demand feed. But everyone's different, and I know that many parents swear by scheduling! Anyhow . . . I would think as long as your little guy is thriving, gaining weight well, etc., you probably won't have trouble holding him off till 6 mos. You never know, though--every baby is unique! :)

Linda--thanks for sharing your experiences! That was a good point about how you have to make less baby food when they start solids later. And the info. about the veggies was interesting, too. It was fun to hear what worked for you and your kiddos! Thanks for the encouragement. :)

Mindee said...

I started all 3 with rice cereal, then veggies, then fruits, then meats. I think our oldest was about 4 months when we started the cereal. The others were about 6 months. I used store bought food. With our youngest, we went to table food much quicker than the other 2. We just smushed whatever we were eating. He never diminished nursing when we added solids, either. He was eating 3 meals a day at the table, plus 1-2 snacks and still nursing 5-6 times per day. He's our little eater! :)

~Mindee (who downloaded a new browser and forgot her password!)

Tricia said...

I delayed Calvin until 7 months and probably could have gone longer. His first food was bananas and I never used canned baby food or cereals with him or Ian. They both had enough teeth by the time that we started solids that I just mashed up the food, especially with Cal. I did make baby food for Ian and freeze it in ice cube trays, which worked well.

Carrie said...

Mindee, thanks for sharing your experiences! I'm hoping to get Julia to eat table food quicker than Sam did, too. I like the idea of smushing up whatever we're eating. :) Much easier and cheaper!

How do you like your new browser? Which one did you download? I've been using Firefox for a while, and I love it overall!

Tricia, it was nice to hear from you! Thanks for sharing what worked for you. I'm thinking I may like to do the food in ice cube trays for Julia whenever I do start her--it would be nice to do a bunch ahead of time and then just pull some out at mealtimes. Unless she gets enough teeth to eat a little more textured table food--she doesn't have any yet, though, so we will see.

zan said...

Um, George started eating solids at about 5 mos. I started with rice cereal.

Harry started at around 6 mos with the same.

George ate everything I gave him. Harry is more picky. If the food's texture is not to his liking he will gag and spit it up. It is pretty funny.

Harry only eats bannanas, pears, sweet potatoes, squash and chicken. I also feed him the unsweetened applesauce mixed with cereal. He eats alot! I am amazed sometimes.

None of my kids have had any problems with digesting that I can tell. They poop a lot and are very happy. : )

Whatever you are doing to Julia must be right. She is such a fat little bugg! ; )

Mindee said...

I am an Explorer user (I know, I know). So, I just downloaded the new version (7). It's quite a bit different and we're still getting used to it. I do like it, though. I just have to remember all my passwords! ;)

Carrie said...

Zan, thanks for sharing your solids experiences too! I loved how you put that about Julia--she is definitely a "fat little bugg!" :D Everyone comments on how chubby she is and how they just want to squeeze her, LOL!

Mindee, EXPLORER--GASP! (just kidding :)) I actually used to use Explorer till I switched to Safari--then when I started blogging, neither of them would let me load pics through Blogger, so I tried Firefox, and that lets me. And it seems to be a lot faster and have less glitches (for our computer, anyway) than IE or Safari--so now I love it. :) But hey, whatever works for you!! :D