Screw the WHO. OK so they’re very well informed and their recommendations are generally useful but my baby wanted food at 4 months old and after two whole weeks of ignoring all her readiness signs because “she’s not supposed to eat solids until 6 months old” I decided to follow my babe’s lead and started giving her some real kai. She LOVED it and loves it still, and I LOVE preparing food for her and giving her new tastes. It’s fun. And to keep it fun I don’t follow any rules. I give her whatever I think won’t choke her.
I do everything else strictly by the book. Or at least A book. Or whatever website I’m reading at the moment (who am I kidding.. I don’t have time for books anymore). I still breastfeed on demand despite the fact that after 7 months it still hurts every time. I use cloth nappies and reusable wipes and chemical-free cleaners and skincare, BPA-free milk storage bags and a glass baby bottle. I babywear and practice infant potty training and write tri-lingual children’s songs with baby sign language actions. And huge fucking surprise: I haven’t found parenting to be very fun so far. It’s mostly been a hell of a lot of work. But food.. food is one of the greatest pleasures of this human existence and now I get to share that with my daughter. I need this to be fun. And it is.
I’ve read about no grains before one year, no salt, no spoon-feeding, no allergens, no spices… And I have ignored every single bit! And guess what? She’s happy, I’m happy. Apart from epic peek-a-boo sessions, it’s our favourite thing to do together.
So far Anaïs prefers salty to sweet (not surprising considering my salt fetish) and sour to bitter. She has no problems with a little pepper or chili. She doesn’t like everything I give her but I enjoy her ew-yuck facials even more than her ew-yum facials because I’m cruel like that. She sits at the table with us for every meal and if she wants some kai, she gets it. If not, she doesn’t.
Here is a list of some of the foods she has tried so far. Some of it is made specifically for her, other times we just give her a less salty or less spicy version of whatever we’re eating.
- pumpkin, quinoa and carrot (blended)
- red lentils with tumeric
- green lentils and kumara (blended)
- coconut yogurt (sugar-free varieties)
- roasted spaghetti squash
- avocado chunks (thanks to my organic co-op inexplicably having avos in July!)
- white beans and garlic (blended)
- chickpea soup (blended)
- cooked cauliflower pieces
- miso soup
- roasted pumpkin chunks
- mandarin pieces
- banana chunks
- pea and broccoli risotto
- smashed peas (thanks to the organic frozen vege section I just discovered at Piko!)
- small pieces of kalamata olives
- chia seeds in coconut yogurt (although these went straight through her and were a pain to wash off her cloth nappies!)
- stir-fried cabbage with chili and garlic
- coconut and chili pumpkin soup
- homemade herb and garlic cashew spread
- small pieces of homemade cashew cheese
- nutritional yeast
- carrot sticks (for chewing purposes, not to eat)
- long pieces of green apple (also for chewing/sucking)
- scrambled tofu
- cold soft tofu
- small pieces of re-hydrated dried shiitake mushrooms
- small pieces of re-hydrated nori sheets
- brown lentil stew
- celeriac (mashed)
- small pieces of dried dates
- peanut butter
- small pieces of wholemeal crepe
- chopped steamed chard or kale with lemon juice and pepper
- blue cheese *
*The Frenchman has been such a good sport about living meat and dairy-free at home and raising our daughter vegan, but on the subject of blue cheese compromise was required.
A lot of people keep baby food in ice cube trays but I’ve found my milk storage bags better for blended foods. I can throw them in the freezer flat and they defrost super fast under a hot tap.
For lazy days (read: when Papa is home alone with baby) I keep some Only Organic brand fortified baby rice in the pantry. They also do 3 or 4 vegan flavours of vege/fruit/grain blends.
There remains an entire world of tastes and textures for Anaïs to discover and I can’t wait to share them all with her over time. Bring on a new season of produce and a mouthful of teeth!