29 June 2016, by Camilla Harrison
So we are a few weeks into Soma starting solids! She started off great, enthusiastically taking anything I would put on a spoon. However, we have come to a little standstill and I can’t help but wonder if another milestone is around the corner: teeth! Lately she hasn’t even been keen on anything, even apple or pear (which have been our go-to staple) so I think the next weeks will be telling.
It’s been really cool to have meal time together as a family of four. We put Soma in her high chair and let her play as we eat. She seems fascinated by this daily moment that we take for granted and has really made us more mindful of mealtime. Her presence has even made a difference in Siena increasing her vegetable intake. “See how much Soma LOVES carrot, Siena” we will say. And Siena will then take an even bigger spoonful to show her sister that she loves it too. Ah, sisters! Has the competitiveness started already? 😉
I’m definitely not one of those relaxed mothers who can hand their baby a chicken drumstick (baby led weaning) and walk away. I’m all for the traditional system: puree it, then puree it again and again and again. I think it’s all about finding your comfort zone and working within it. Sooner than later, my hope is whatever has been made for family dinner is what Soma will be eating too (that is until we get to 2 years old when a little picky eater may emerge!).
Speaking of picky eating, I really believe the more diverse range of foods you offer in the beginning, the less picky eater you potentially will have. Not only that, it may seem intimidating to prepare food for this age, but it can actually be super easy. I never worry about repeating certain foods too often. Think of how often babies have enjoyed milk before solids!
When it comes to the nitty gritty of preparing Soma’s meals, I have to say there is one thing I can’t live without. It is my Braun Baby Food maker. Just dump in your veggies and fruit, fill it with a bit of water and turn it on to “steam.” When it’s done just flip the switch to “puree” and voila! All done! Soma gets all the nutrition from just cooked fruits and vegetables (steaming preserves all the goodness, or so I’ve been told) and I’ve barely had to do more than a bit of chopping. This little tool is definitely worth investing!
As for what Soma actually eats, right now we are just combining fruits, vegetables and some grains. Think sweet potato, carrot and quinoi, or zucchini and apple. If the puree is too thick or lumpy, trust me you will know (insert image of baby gagging here). So just progress slowly. A great recipe that I know is well loved is actually mixing chicken with dried apricots. They provide great texture and sweetness. But really, there are no rules. Whatever you and your family enjoys can be mixed up and pureed for baby.
I think a lot of mothers also worry about how much their baby is taking and whether it is enough. But I believe that as long as baby is even taking a spoonful, you are succeeding. This stage is all about experimentation, so even a taste counts. Another tip from this still-learning-mother-of-two? I have also always believed the reaction and energy you present at mealtime impacts baby. If you have a look of total anxiety, baby is going to pick up on it too. Make it light, make it fun. Prepare for messy. That’s my motto!
Here’s Soma at a café recently. What an expression! While solids weren’t part of our morning out, I can’t help but think she is reminiscing about her first taste of broccoli (in which case I don’t blame her!).