Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Thoughts about Baby Food and an Applesauce recipe

With my eldest daughter, I introduced baby food (rice cereal! yum yum) at 4 months and added regularly after that, sticking the the baby book schedule. I made some of my own baby food, but bought a lot, too, while continuing to breast feed.

This time around, we decided to wait for baby to hit six months, as she was happy with breast milk alone and we're trying to do anything we can to protect her from our family's bad history of skin and other allergies. (I should clarify that we are not allergic TO skin; rather, lots of excema and psoriasis issues. Being allergic to skin would be disturbing). So, right at six months, we ceremoniously introduce rice cereal, mixed with breast milk, to be greeted by tightly clamped lips and a turned away head. She was very interested in everything we were eating, just not in any of that baby food crap.

So we tried these, which I believe my sister, the occupational therapist, had sent: baby food mesh feeders. They are a fantastic idea-little mesh bags that you can put anything appropriate for baby (no marsala-soaked tiramisu or crack cocaine) and baby can suck and chew away and not risk choking. Our baby loves playing with them, but still really was more interested in really digging into people food. We tried things like bits of mashed banana, unsweetened applesauce, avocado, but she wasn't interested in doing anything but smear them around on her high chair (and may I just say that the highchair tray that goes in the dishwasher is the world's greatest invention. Next to reliable birth control. Though if birth control was perfectly reliable some of us, perhaps, might not need aforementioned high chair).

All of the sudden, she wants to eat everything. I've been bad and have let her have things that a good mom would wait for years to try, either because they are bad for her (cake batter ice cream!) or because they have mixed ingredients (lentil soup) and I know you're supposed to add things individually. Still, I'm trying hard to stick to my slow food goals for my baby, too, and we have avoided any prepared baby food. She'll tolerate avocado, loves to chew on a crust of bread or piece of pita, and really is happy gnawing on a slice of apple or asian pear. We've been drying the asian pear into rings (we have a box full) and those are fun for her as they are easy to hold. No teeth yet, so we don't worry much about her chewing off a piece of, say, apple, though we do watch very closely, of course.

Easiest recipe ever:
*unsweetened applesauce, store frozen into ice cubes. Either thaw individually for a serving, or put a frozen one in a mesh bag and let baby go to town. Messy, but makes for a happy teething baby. And, if you haven't tried before, applesauce is the easiest thing ever. Wash apples, slice into quarters-peel and core if you don't have a food mill, add a little water, and cook until they are really soft. If you have a food mill, run them through. If not, mash with a potato masher. Add sugar if you'd like, though not for a baby.

Applesauce variations:
Of course, you can add sugar, cinnamon, etc.
Add some horseradish and serve with pork.
IF your baby doesn't appreciate your applesauce cubes, throw into your next smoothie.

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