Every Mama has a plan on how best to feed their baby, with the hope that they won’t become a fussy eater. I think that no matter what you do, when the toddler years hit, they become picky just because they can. I am living in hope that my once eats-everything-baby will leave behind her current fussy-I-only-want-my-favourites-toddler and will grow into a child that has a varied and healthy appetite.
So I have decided to write a regular post called Mama’s Munchies. It is going to include my experiences, hints, ideas and recipes on feeding your little one. I would like to say I will post this every week, but I have a very busy toddler, two jobs and I am about to write exams, so that is being very ambitious, but watch this space, exciting things to follow!
My first post is the basic plan I followed when feeding Miss Bella. My experience has actually been pretty painless. Apart from a bowl of food thrown on the floor here and a tantrum there, she has pretty much been an excellent little eater. She started eating solids at 4 months old. I followed a strict plan set out by my paediatric nurse, starting her on baby cereal for the first few weeks. I then moved onto fruit and vegetables, with the rule of trying one new thing every three days. I started by tackling the usual suspects – sweet potatoe, butternut, carrots etc. And as Bella loved food so much, I experimented with some weird and wonderful additions to her taste buds. I gave her aubergines, red peppers, mushrooms and beetroots. Any vegetable I came across, I allowed her to taste it. That has been my main objective with her diet, getting her to taste as many different flavours and textures as possible.
When she was 6 months old, I started mashing her food rather than pureeing it, so that she would get used to lumpy textures. I also started her on protein – first with cream cheeses and slowly moved her onto meats. She was eating beef, chicken, liver etc by the time she was 7 months old. After getting stuck in a rut of giving her bolognaise or chicken soup on alternating nights, I set out to try to make each meal different and exciting. I cooked chicken with tomatoe-based sauces or coconut milk or even mango juice. I made bolognaise with pork or chicken mince instead of the usual beef, and served it on spaghetti or various shaped noodles or wheat-free pastas or even cous cous. I made her meatballs, stir-frys, soups and stews. I tried to make meal-time an ever-changing experience and she loved it all!
I only introduced Bella to eggs, peanut-butter and fish after 9 months, and had antihistamine on hand in case she had any allergic reactions. Luckily for us, she was clear on all three. And by 10 months, Bella was enjoying completely normal meals, but with only a few teeth until way after her first birthday, I had to continue mashing it up for her. Shortly after she turned 1 we discovered she had a dairy allergy, and although frustrating, it has allowed her to be exposed to goat’s milk cheeses as well as rice, almond and oats milk, which provide many new recipe-making opportunities for her Mama. She is now 2 years old, and while she has become fussy from day-to-day, she has an incredible diet and will try pretty much anything.
What I have learned through this feeding process is that it can be messy, frustrating beyond belief and tiring too, but ultimately it can be fun. Experiment with your baby’s meals, try shake things up and expose your little one to a variety of tastes and experiences. So go out and buy something your little one hasn’t tried yet. Puree it, mash it, or serve it as is, just let them have a completely new taste sensation today!