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Blog: How to feed a baby (Hint: you put food in their face)

When do you start feeding your baby purees? Do you at all? How early do you introduce solids? Do you help or go baby-lead? How early do you introduce allergens? When can they start using a spoon on their own? Can I give her spaghetti? What about cake?

Those and a million more questions are what face you when it’s time for your baby to leave the much easier world of strictly breast feeding. “Easier” I say, as in easier for me. I wasn’t the one having my nipples wrenched on and bitten for 6 months, and even after you start on other foods, it’s not like the breast feeding stops. So yes, easier for me.

We started with purees for our daughter. Home made with our magical Baby Bullet steamer and blender. It was fun to see what she liked (pretty much everything) and what she didn’t  (green beans were not popular at first). We started right in the middle of Ontario peach season, so peaches were a quick first favourite. In the beginning the food went in, then a lot fell back out, she wasn’t exactly sure what to do with her tongue, but she definitely liked it. After a short time she was all about the food, sucking back whatever mush we gave her. Fresh corn from the farmers market, pears, cauliflower (not the $7.99 a head variety now that it’s winter), blueberries, strawberries, yams, carrots, it was a rainbow of wonder pouring into her little mouth, and she was ready to gobble it up.

Now I’ll take a second here to mention that, when you start in on the real food, some things change. Like anything, if you change the input, the output inevitably follows. Or to put it another way, for every action, there is an equal or opposite reaction. There will be new smells, viscosities… challenges. But when you feed them a lot of blueberries, their poop actually smells like blueberries, which is frightening and hilarious all at the same time.

Before long we had graduated from purees to small bits of soft food. Bananas and raspberries were now top of the list along with a host of other mushy goodness. We did some rice and wheat cereal as well along the way, usually for dinner and that seemed to keep her full and happy for a good nights sleep. We started with putting the bits on her tray, which was at first unsuccessful as she tried to figure out how to close her hand and actually get the food to her mouth, but before long that little fist figured out how to close in on the food and shove it in her mouth, and soon after the pincer fingers were working at full capacity.

Here is the very moment she figured out how to get those delicious raspberries to her mouth for the first time.

Just like that, meal times got easier. No longer prepping purees to last the week, thawing them out, then dolling out into a dish and feeding her. Our fridge is now packed with little Tupperware’s of cut up cheese, fruit, veggies. Cheerios on the tray in the morning to keep her occupied while we scramble some eggs. Going to a restaurant and just cutting up what we order and giving it to her! Amazing.

Giving her spaghetti for the first time was  spectacular too. I didn’t know the slurp function came built in, but she seemed to figure out pretty quickly.

spaghetti eat

The next revelation was not as joyful. That was the revelation that, not only could her hands be used to get food to her mouth, they can also be used to launch food in many directions. Luckily, our girl is such a piggy that it rarely comes to this, but if she is getting full and not particularly attached to what is on her tray, (peas for example) watch out. A spoon narrowly missed my head the other day, and a big splash of squash soup landed on my forearm just last night.

She has also really started to get in to sharing. She’s only 11 months, but feeding mommy and daddy seems to be just as fun as feeding herself. It’s as if she is saying, “Here, try this pea that I have been man-handling for the past 15 minutes”. And in yet another shocking (shocking to old me, not dad me) behaviour change, I let her drop that grubby pea in my mouth and chew it up, all the while saying “mmmmm, yummy!”

So it has really come full circle. Starting with trying to get her to feed herself, and ending up with her feeding me.

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