Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Feeding the Baby

When I first gave birth to my little one, folks would often have a great time pointing out that my baby had the most local diet of all. Since I was breastfeeding, this was quite true and keeping my baby on a local diet didn't take too much thought or preparation. Now that he is almost 8 months old, he is eating more and more solid food (meaning not just milk).

Before I gave birth, I vowed that I would provide my baby with the healthiest food I could provide--organically grown and as fresh as possible. I splurged on this special little baby food processor and started making plans. The grocery store aisles provide plenty of inspiration as I peruse the labels on food jars appropriate to his age and gather ideas. Unwittingly, these baby food companies have suggested all of the following local delicacies to me: winter squash, apples, pears, peaches, green beans, carrots, and potatoes. Seasonal produce provides more inspiration and far more variety in his diet as I can feed him kale, parsnips, beets, and turnips as well. As he continues to grow I'll be able to add in chicken, turkey, pasta, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese--all local!

Does it take extra time? Of course! Most local eating does. However, it's really not too bad. While the little man plays with his sippy cup in his highchair, I cut up the produce of choice and set it to steam if necessary.

Once it's finished steaming, I dump the contents and the steam water out into the blender and mush it up. After that some food goes into a container to be eaten that day (or immediately) or I put it into ice cube trays.

Later the cubes are tossed into Ziplocs and labeled. Defrosting is easy in either the steamer or the microwave.

Perhaps the most time-consuming part of this whole process has been the research. The more common baby care books and websites stick to the usual baby food staples--prunes, carrots, peas... A high-strung mama like myself could go crazy wondering if she is going to poison her child with kale since it just doesn't appear in the Gerber or Earth's Best selections. Fortunately, I have found some great sources. The Wholesome Baby Food website has offered tons of suggestions and, more importantly, helped me with serving sizes and answered my burning questions about feeding my child dairy. Homemade Baby Food Recipes also offers great suggestions and includes foods such as bell peppers and eggplant--some more great produce that just seems to be missing from those little jars in the grocery.

I'm pretty excited about introducing my little guy to our amazing world of food, and I'm glad that he won't have to miss out on parsnips!

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