Thoughts about baby food

I love food, I'm concerned about being healthy and I love my baby.  Naturally, I want to provide Graham with the best nourishment possible.  For me, it was a no-brainer to breastfeed as long as possible (ok - maybe not THAT long, but my goal is at least a year) and to make Graham's solid foods from scratch.    Moreover, being a working mom who misses out on making decisions on what my kid does during the day, it helps me feel a part of Graham's life to have control over what goes into his little tummy, even when I'm physically not present. 

So, with that in mind, here are my thoughts about feeding your little one.

The CDC recommends that you breastfeed for at least 6 months to give your baby all the healthy antibodies that can only be acquired from breast milk.  But, it is not easy at first.  You would think it would be the most natural thing in the world; women have breasts that make milk and babies are born with a sucking instinct.  But it's really not that simple.  Breastfeeding is based on the supply and demand concept, so things have to be functioning on both ends for it all to work smoothly.

Many women have supply issues from the get go.  I was fortunate to have an ample supply of milk.  Because this is so important to me, had I not had a good supply, I know I would have taken the herbs, pumped and done whatever I could to boost my supply, but if you try and try and try and still nothing, please feel good about yourself for putting in the effort and know that some things are out of your control. 

We initially had some latching issues that were corrected upon me going to a Breastfeeding Support Group at the hospital which was run by an RN who is a lactation consultant.  I'll talk more in a later post about finding support among other women, but I can't say enough how much this weekly meeting helped me on maternity leave, for far more than just breastfeeding advice.

I also didn't feel that bond right away that everyone talks about.  In part because I was struggling with a case of the baby blues and didn't feel happy about much of anything.  Once I felt like my hormones were sort of regulating and we got that latch thing down, all of sudden I realized that I loved that time with Graham (this took almost 2 months).  The first time he was eating then detached, looked up at me in surprise and smiled because he made the connection that mom was also the milk was really a precious moment.

So if you're a working mom (even if you're not, but especially if you are) and you want to keep breastfeeding, you are going to become intimately acquainted with the breast pump (so spend the money on a good one that comes in a handy tote bag).  I hate pumping.  Ok, I tolerate pumping most days but there are times (like when it's cold outside and I'm in Chicago for work and I have to pump in the car and I spill a bottle of milk that I just pumped on myself and the rental car seat) that I hate pumping.

It's not the same as breastfeeding - you just won't get the same amount of milk and it takes some time to get used to hooking up the machine, not getting milk all over yourself and getting an adequate supply.  If you're planning to return to work, I would start pumping about a month before you go back to work.  Once a day is sufficient.  Do it in the morning as you actually have a greater supply earlier in the day.  Then freeze the milk in freezer bags.  I like the Nuk bags by Gerber.  They're cheaper than Medela or Lasinoh, hold about 10 oz and don't leak upon thawing (all of my Lasinoh bags leaked in the fridge).

Solid Foods
Making baby food is remarkably easy.  Cook, puree, freeze.  That's it.  I'll admit to getting a little wrapped up in when I should feed Graham what food.  Pay attention to it for sure because some foods are highly allergenic (like milk and berries) and some foods are hard for little immature digestive systems to handle (like greens and beans).  I think part of my paranoia about feeding Graham appropriate food was that I read a book called Super Baby Food and the author is a bit intense.   Granted, I would still recommend this book because she's got some nice charts in the book that make it easy to see recommended foods broken down by month and by food type.  She also has a great information about how to prepare and freeze pretty much all foods.  I have little tab markers in the sections that are useful and I can skip over the stuff I will never do (like make my own yogurt).

The website Wholesome Baby Food is also a great resource and a little more liberal in it's approach to baby food (like allowing meat, blueberries and spices).  Just today I consulted it about herbs and spices because I like to cook with flavor, and I want Graham to start getting used to that.

I tend to batch cook on the weekends.  It takes about an hour to do 3 foods, maybe less if you have one food steaming, one boiling and one baking.  Once a little cool, I blend with my immersion blender, which is a tool I highly recommend.  I usually put the food in the cup that comes with the blender because if the food is too shallow, the blender blades won't reach. I've used my food processor with less success - it just doesn't blend as fine for some reason.  Then I pour the food in ice cube trays and freeze until the next day.  Pop out the cubes and put like food in a labeled freezer baggies.  It takes between 20 and 90 seconds to microwave thaw the foods when you need them.  Really easy!

I put a couple frozen cubes in a container for daycare in the morning which I'm sure are thawed in the fridge by lunch time.  The daycare providers asked me one day if it was homemade food, to which I responded it was.  They said it looks and smells better than the jarred food and that only one other mom did her own food.  This is so shocking to me because it is so easy and it's cheaper than jarred food.  There is a cost analysis in the Super Baby Food book that shows just what a cost savings it is.  Fruits and veggies in adult quantity are more expensive than other foods but for babies since they eat less and the food is being frozen, it's definitely a good value.

We haven't introduced meat yet, so we're still feeding him the boxed baby oatmeal because it's iron fortified.  But I've also made him rice and oatmeal from scratch.  Graham also started eating Cheerios around 6 months and he LOVES them.  Seriously - Cheerios are a lifesaver.  While I've avoided most packaged baby foods, Cheerios are the best things ever.  He loves them, for one.  It keeps him occupied enough that we're now able to usually get through our own dinner without any tears.  And it helps him practice his pincer grasp.


  1. Can I be rude and ask, is Graham still drinking some breastmilk? I find that I'm having a hard time trying to lose some weight and I think part of it is the extra fluids from nursing.

    1. Yes - Graham is still breastfeeding when he gets up and before bed. I also pump at work so he has 2-3 bottles at daycare. I think breastfeeding has helped me lose the weight because although I'm hungry pretty much all the time, I try to choose small healthy snacks throughout the day and not gorge at meals (even though I feel like gorging frequently).


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