Generally speaking, I’ve reserved Sunday and Thursday evenings for baby food preparation, and usually need about an hour on each of those days to do the peeling, chopping, cooking, and pureeing. I’ve gotten a bit more efficient, and now that I’m not as concerned about Natalie’s food being a perfectly smooth and thin consistency, I’ve started saving tons of time by using our little electric food processor instead of the hand crank food mill. Her food has a bit more texture that way, and we’re trying to leave some soft chunky pieces in there for her to start practicing chewing since in another week or so we’ll be adding toast and other finger foods to her diet. I’m excited to expand her palate, but beyond nervous about the potential gagging and choking we’ll be facing.
I’ve followed the advice of some helpful commenters and other mommy bloggers and designated a couple of our ice cube trays for Natalie’s food. Once the little cubes are frozen, I toss them in a ziploc, label them with type and date, and then at every mealtime it’s as simple as heating up a couple little cubes for her. It’s made it so much easier to vary her diet a bit since I can pick and choose between lots of different foods when the freezer’s well-stocked.
The Budgie’s favorite foods are pretty typical–she likes the sweet stuff! Apples, peaches, pears, sweet potatoes, and squash are tops on the list. She is suffering through broccoli, peas, and spinach (we’ve started mixing one of those cubes with some potato and a bit of cheese now that dairy is a go, and she’s much more keen on them now!). Bananas, avocado, papaya, mango, zucchini, turnip, parsnip, and rutabaga have also been on the menu lately, and so far she has given every new food a chance. Yogurt and cottage cheese are new additions, which she loves. We’re pretty much on a 3-meal-a-day plan, with a usual day including 2 fruits, 2 vegetables, 2 servings of cereal, and a dairy thrown in as well. Starting this weekend we’ll be adding a serving of chicken or fish in place of her dinnertime cereal (wish me luck making my own chicken stock… it could be a disaster!), and in a couple weeks we’ll introduce egg yolks and then whole eggs.
We’re getting a bit better at the eating-out routine, which at first was pretty daunting. Now, we have it down to a science what to pack (bib, extra spoons, food that doesn’t need to be warmed, or something like cereal that can just be mixed with hot water wherever we’re out to eat), and since Natalie is generally such a good eater we can count on her being a happy camper when we’re at a restaurant if we have something for her to enjoy while we wait for our meals.
While I am enjoying making Natalie’s food, and I’ve considered it an important thing to keep up with, I will say that trying to imagine doing the myo thing with our next baby (years from now people), is a bit overwhelming. As with most things Natalie-related, Mike and I usually feel like we are just barely keeping up–she almost always feels like a two-person job. The same is definitely true of making her baby food; I have the luxury of making it because Mike is able to watch her while I cook, or I’m able to do it after she’s gone to bed. I can’t fathom trying to juggle an older child, and a baby, AND add the extra work of making baby food from scratch. I suppose that’s the toss-up of being the first child: she has the good fortune of benefitting from our undivided parenting attention & the time we have to do things like puree extra food twice a week, but that comes at the price of absolutely being our guinea pig baby who is the victim of all the mistakes we make nearly every day.
Let’s hope she turns out okay. All this organic, from-scratch food has to be helping to balance our all our screw-ups.