Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Birth of a Foodie

Carter will be six months old on Monday (where did the time go?) and we are finally starting him on solids this weekend. Being a bit of a health nut (albeit one who also possesses a fanatical love of cupcakes and See's candy), I have been looking forward to feeding my baby since before I even became pregnant. I would fantasize about making my own baby foods, and imagine all the healthy, nutrient-rich concoctions I would come up with. All organic! All superfoods!

My mother is an incredible cook. Though she swears that when she married my father she couldn't cook a thing, my brothers and I grew up eating delicious, healthy food at each homemade meal. From breakfasts of pancakes, fruit, omelettes and muffins - all made completely from scratch - to dinners of stir-fry, roasts, fish, etc., it was simply good eating.

I aspire to be that kind of mom - to make sure my kids get well-rounded, healthy meals, made by me, every day. I have no idea how I can do this while working full-time (my mother worked only part-time, or not at all, while I was growing up) but I want to try. And so, with Carter's first foray into solids, it begins...

I had bought a box of Earth's Best organic rice cereal with the intention of starting him on that, but I recently started reading about alternatives. Some sources say avocados are a perfect first food; some say you can go straight to banana or sweet potato.

I've been reading Feeding Baby Green, and Dr. Greene (wonderful eco-friendly pediatrician that he is) advocates cycling through all the green veggies before moving on to sweeter veggies (carrots, sweet potatoes) or fruits, on the theory that green veggies are the hardest for children to develop a taste for and if babies get sweeter foods first that's all they will want. I agree with this. However, he also dismisses the traditional, conservative approach of waiting three days (or four, or five...) between each new food in order to identify potential allergic reactions. Dr. Greene maintains that this only makes allergies slightly easier to identify and it comes at a cost - studies prove that children adapt to new foods better and become more adventurous eaters when introduced to them in quick succession.

I'm a little torn on this issue - between our two families, my husband and I only have one relative with a food allergy (an aunt; egg whites), so we are not particularly predisposed to them. The cautious part of me is generally inclined to follow traditional advice, but the freewheeling retro mom part of me wants to throw caution to the wind and just give the baby food already. To be determined...

Another goal is to offer each new food to Carter on at least ten separate occasions whether he likes it or not, as Dr. Greene also cites studies that show that it often takes this many tries to get a child to adapt to a new food. My husband was a very picky eater as a child (and still is about some things), whereas I ate basically everything put in front of me (except vinaigrette dressing...to this day, I refuse to consume salads with vinaigrettes. Bleeech). Who knows how much control I have in shaping Carter's taste buds? Maybe very little - but I'm damn well going to try.

I did some more research, and discovered that quinoa cereal also makes a perfect first food. Take organic quinoa, do a quick dry-roast, grind it into powder, then cook into cereal on the stove. Fairly simple and packed with nutrients - quinoa is naturally rich in iron, so it doesn't need to be fortified like classic rice cereals. It doesn't hurt that I happen to be a quinoa fiend, too.

So that's the plan as it currently stands...stay tuned for the update!

1 comment:

The Mama said...

Interesting about the not waiting 3 days thing! I have to admit I have been fudging on that so now I don't feel so bad.