Think Outside the Jar: Nutrition outside of baby food

Homemade Baby Food - Carrots

Homemade Baby Food – Carrots (Photo credit: Cascadian Farm)

 

We know that baby food isn’t always the best option for your baby. But sometimes, you just can’t help it. It’s what’s available. You work with what you got, right? (especially if there’s a lot of it, and especially if it’s free!) Last week, I discussed some options you can do to make baby food more nutritious.

 

Now, let’s take a look at alternatives. Baby food does its job, but you don’t want to be using it all the time. With that in mind, let’s explore other options baby can have.

 

Pre-made

 

Half of the convenience of baby food is in the fact that it’s already prepared, right? No cooking, no heating up- just pop the lid and serve. Did you know you can do the same thing with homemade food?

 

Freeze it

 

A lot of foods freeze really well. When you make up a batch of food, set some aside into containers to freeze. Make sure you leave room for liquids to expand! This works great for meals with a lot of leftovers. Recently, I made a large pot of soup and had plenty leftover. I poured some of it into empty baby food jars and stuck them in the freezer, so they’d be handy later!

 

Pre-prepared

 

Most foods will keep well in the fridge for at least a few days, sometimes even up to a week. Pre-make certain foods and just keep it in the fridge, ready to pull out when needed. Most of the time, you won’t even need to reheat them, so whatever is left uneaten can simply go back in the fridge! My 8-month-old daughter LOVES eggs. I often cook up to four or five eggs at a time. I scramble them as if for scrambled eggs, pour into the pan, and let sit for several minutes, until nearly cooked through. Do NOT stir! After a few minutes, I flip it to cook the other side. When done, I let it cool and then serve small portions to her. The eggs are healthy for her growing body, and the “pancake” style makes it easy for her to pick up the pieces. The leftovers I’ll put in the fridge to pull out later and serve cold.

 

Snack foods

 

If you have the time, you can also make up certain snack foods for your little one. The idea is to make foods that the baby can pick up and feed herself. Crackers, cookies, and other such things make great foods. For babies under a year old, consider using coconut or some other flour other than wheat. Some research shows that babies are unable to fully digest grains before one year old, and some experts recommend up to two years. If all you have is wheat flour, then try and at least limit your baby’s grain intake.

 

Fruits are also a great food. Your baby can have most fruits, barring allergies. Some, like apples, may need to be cooked first in order to soften. Keep bananas and avocado on hand to give your baby a healthy, nutritious snack!

 

I understand there’s a LOT more that can be said about this issue, but I didn’t want to go on too long! What foods do YOU give to your baby? Are there any suggestions you’d like to add?

 

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Rock-a-bye Baby

Ask any parent, and they will tell you- teething = fussiness. Some babies have less trouble with it than others. Mine doesn’t. My almost-4-month-old is teething. Some days are better than others. On her not-so-good days, she wants nothing more than to just sit and rock with me while we listen to music. (The music is important)

So we sit there, rocking… for an hour… while the rest of the house sits there… for an hour. I have chores to do, meals to cook. My articles won’t write themselves.

And yet I sit there. Some days, by the time Daniel gets home from work, I am very tired, worn out from a day of nothing. Amazing how unproductive days can make you feel so tired, isn’t it?

Sometimes it does drag on me. My little girl is a Daddy’s girl- except when it comes to moments like these. Times like these, all she wants is Mommy. She wants to sit in my arms, lying her head in my shoulder, where she’ll rock and listen to the random songs I find on Youtube.

It drives me ragged. I don’t remember the last time I had a girls’ day.

And she still wants me.

Despite all my shortcomings, she wants me.

Despite my frustrations and impatience, she wants me.

Despite the messy house, the chores yet undone- she wants me.

It doesn’t matter to her that the house isn’t clean enough or that things aren’t organized as they should be. It doesn’t matter to her that I don’t have all the right snacks ready to grab from the kitchen or that the bed (both hers and mine) is a colorful mess or that my pillows remain on the ground where they were tossed last night.

It doesn’t matter. All that matters to her is that Mama is there to rock her and has nothing better to do than to sing to her. She wants me… just me, just as I am. It’s all she wants.

And so we sit on the couch, mismatching pillows scattered around us for comfort. I balance my computer on the arm of the couch and keep ten Youtube tabs open in order to have the next song loaded and ready when the last one is done. And I sing to her, in my slightly off-key sort of voice- which she still doesn’t care about.¬† I go through every song I know, breathlessly hoping I don’t run out before she’s happy again. Sometimes I play the same song twice.

Because it matters to her.