Monday, August 5, 2013

Baby Food Diaries (Part II)

Ashley and Savannah had some questions re. baby food:

I need advice on solid foods! I'm introducing them to an exclusively breastfed baby! How did you decide how much breastmilk to add?  How long does it keep in the freezer? When you decided to give them the food did you thaw in the fridge or pop it in the microwave? Did they eat it warm? 

I wrote a bit about the twins (and our) first experience with baby food here.   

Disclaimer: I'm happy to answer any and all questions related to baby food but I need you to know that over the past month I've felt very behind.  Some of my friends are feeding their babies whole graham crackers and mine just started accepting puffs in the last few weeks.  So I may not be the best person to ask about these things.  Jude & Sloane are thriving so that is what is important to us, but I wanted to share this before I said anything else.

Ok!  Michael and I made the decision to wait until the babies were six months old before we introduced any type of food (including rice cereal).  We did this for a few reasons.  

Breastfeeding is:
1.  Free.  
2.  All a baby needs for the first six months ("The AAP recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for about the first six months of life. This means your baby needs no additional foods (except Vitamin D) or fluids unless medically indicated.")
3.  Convenient (and when you have two mouths to feed, convenience is key)

Once they were six months old we began with rice cereal.  From there we tried different fruits and vegetables and fed them one solid meal a day.  At around 7.5 months we started consistently feeding them two meals a day (oatmeal in the morning, fruit or vegetable in the evening).  As of this week I am cutting one nursing session (from five to four) and adding another solid meal.

When making the baby food I added enough breastmilk to make the food the preferred consistency (meaning: I didn't add a measured amount but it was typically two to four ounces). If there isn't enough liquid in the blender, pureeing is impossible.  Since I'm no longer pumping I've replaced breastmilk with water.  My advice is to start with a little bit of breastmilk/water--you can always add more but too much will make the food too thin.

Once I prepare the food I keep enough in the fridge for that day and the next day's meals.  Everything else I freeze. You can keep the food in the freezer for up to 30 days.   I rarely make more than a week's worth at a time and oftentimes I just make it on the spot (throw a banana or two in the blender and feed it to them immediately).

Also, this is where I expect a huge eye-roll from the masses...

We don't use the microwave to heat their food.

Coming from the girl who uses the microwave three times to reheat the same cup of coffee, the above statement seems ridiculous.  Michael and I made the decision to avoid the microwave (for the twins) as long as possible.  I pull the prepared food out of the freezer the night before and put it in the fridge.  It thaws overnight and the babies eat the food straight from the fridge.  It's all they've ever known so they don't mind the temperature.

End eye-roll.

A quick tip for those of you making your own food:  Butternut squash and sweet potatoes give you the most bang for your buck.  One butternut squash will feed Jude & Sloane for an entire week for a whopping $4.50.  Assuming you buy organic, the only fruit or vegetable I've noticed that costs as much as store-bought baby food is peaches.  Blueberries are a close second.

One other tip.  The Wholesome Baby Food website is fantastic.  I referenced it before every new meal I made for the babies.  Great recipes, great nutritional information, great reference.  I really can't say enough good things about it.  And while we're discussing reference guides, I know I've mentioned it before but I absolutely love Baby 411.  I'm going to start giving it as a gift to new moms.  It has quite a bit of information about breastfeeding & baby food, as well as every other baby-related item out there. 

While hindsight is always 20/20, I wish we would've introduced different foods a little faster (they suggest every 3-4 days, I typically waited an entire week).  Jude & Sloane have tried quite a few fruits and veggies but I know there are so many more! I also wish I would've offered foods with a thicker consistency a little earlier than I did.  I'm still glad we waited until six months to start solids.  It was the best decision for the babies and myself.  And our wallets.  It's pretty neat that for six months we spent $0 (food-wise) on two babies.

Ashley and Savannah, I hope the above answered most of your questions.   I'm all ears if anyone has baby food advice they want to share!  While I'm extremely flattered that some of you wanted to hear my tips/tricks, I sometimes feel like I'm the blind leading the blind.  I'm clearly no expert and always love to hear what others think.

I'm going to continue the food theme and answer your questions about food, exercise, & body image for Michael and myself later this week.  I know you're on the edge of your seats!  :)

3 comments:

Laura said...

I learned very quickly (as I'm sure you did!) that when and how to introduce baby food is a topic with millions of different opinions! Sounds like you've figured out what works well for you and those twins :-) We also waited 6 months to introduce food. I like free and easy for as long as possible! :-)

Savannah said...

you are a rockstar. thanks so much for your help! :)

ashley said...

Thank You so much! He is 6 months on the 23 and we will try rice cereal! I'm excited but a bit nervous!! I love that breastfeeding is free and for me I find it very convenient!! I find ideas from other moms the best!! We are all doing the same thing.....trying to nurture and love on our babies!!! Thanks!!

Ashley

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