Baby food. So exciting! The response of a babe trying their first bite of mush is fantastic. It is hilarious and monumental all in the same messy spoonful. I love watching it happen. I am so lucky to see so many little people take their first bite of delight. It is definitely one of the best parts of the job.
Gus’s first bite of baby food. The shudder makes me laugh every time.
But as exciting as it may seem, it is also oddly confusing if you are a new mom. How much? How often? How long? And if you are like me, you google it. And it never ends well. I find out I am supposed to be feeding them 14 cups of puree every thirty minutes for at least 28 minutes. And then you should be offering bottle or breast in those two minutes of freedom. Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but you all know what I mean.
So let’s get real. What should we really be doing? There is a very important and very simple theory that I like to use when introducing purees: baby food is an also, not an instead. This means, you do not change or decrease their bottle or breast feedings, you just add in baby food a few times a day. I like to add in during meal times. It is natural, and it helps them transition nicely to when we are offering them real food.
Baby food is not meant to add substantial calories or nutrients. It is meant to introduce your child to new flavors and textures. The bottles and breast feedings will keep them full and happy – the food is just a bonus. When a bottle or breast feeding is removed and hopefully replaced with a puree, you end up with one crabby baby. Although it is easy to think that those purees are going to fill up your child easier, it doesn’t. The majority of what is in those little dishes is water. And even if you are making your own baby food, think about how much your child is really getting. One fourth of an avocado does not compare to an entire bottle or breast feeding.
The moral of the story: make it an also, not an instead of bottles. Keep your baby happy, growing, and hopefully sleeping. (No promises on the sleeping part!)