Q – When should my baby start eating solid food?
Every mother wants to offer their child the very best possible, whether that’s education, extracurricular activities or the food that we put on their plates. Many of us struggle with how to “do it all”. Finding ways to make life easier is essential for every busy parent (and let’s be honest, isn’t every parent busy?)
Mother Hen Organic Baby Food is a great alternative for busy parents who don’t have the time to prepare and puree their own baby food. They come frozen so they don’t have the preservatives that traditional baby food in glass jars often has. All you have to do is thaw and serve.
Mother Hen had their nutritionist, Genevieve Nadeau, share with us some thoughts on different stages of baby nutrition month by month through the first year. She debunked some common baby nutrition myths and gave great tips on how to care for your baby’s nutritional needs.
Mother Hen recently shared their line of organic baby food with one of our writers, Kyla Beyer– mommy to baby Harvey and successful Vancouver entrepreneur. Kyla shared with us her thoughts and Harvey’s reaction to this organic line of frozen baby food.
[pullquote_left][/pullquote_left]It’s no secret that it can be challenging to balance career and motherhood. As a new mom I envisioned making all of my baby’s meals from scratch. Boiling, steaming, chopping, pureeing…I did it all….for a while. And then, when I went back to work, I found myself with less time to prepare healthy meals for my son. I wanted to spend my precious time with him, not in the kitchen. There are plenty of canned baby food products in the market, but once I discovered Mother Hen’s frozen baby food I was delighted. Natural, allergen free, no additives and all their fruits and vegetables are organic. I noticed a big difference in the smell and taste (yes, I tasted them!) of the Mother Hen products when comparing them to canned foods because the flavour and nutrients of their foods is retained due to their freezing process.
The Beginner line of purees are blended to the perfect silky consistency(no matter how I tried, I could not get my homemade carrot purees to be anything but lumpy). The portion sizes are perfect for little ones discovering new tastes, and their containers are free of BPA so they can be safely microwaved.
The Junior line (8 months and up) has great flavours such as Chicken Cacciatore and Lamb with Fruits (inspired by Morrocan cuisine and my son’s absolute favourite). The portion sizes are larger for growing appetites and the variety of flavours help to expand his palate.
My discovery of Mother Hen’s line of baby food has freed up precious time and helped me to find balance in my busy life as mother and career woman.
Thank you to Kyla and baby Harvey for testing and sharing their thoughts on Mother Hen Organic Baby Food and to Mother Hen for sending them food to test.
Kyla Beyer is mother to Harvey and the owner of Limelight Floral Design, a busy boutique floral studio based in West Vancouver. With the help of her fabulous husband she manages to balance it all and still find time to stop and smell the roses.
Homemade Brown Rice and Quinoa Baby Food is fun and easy to make – and packs a huge punch for your little one as they begin solid food. You can also make this first food recipe in a rice cooker in bulk and freeze individual spoonfuls in ice cube trays. Once froze, pop the cubes out and keep them together in a big labelled ziplock bag. Just make sure when you thaw in the microwave that there are no hot spots.
½ cup brown rice
½ cup quinoa
2 cups purified water or organic free-range chicken stock
1 jar (4 ounces) organic meat baby food, any flavour
Put the rice, quinoa, and water or stock in a small pan
Bring to a boil over medium heat
Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 40 to 50 minutes, until the water is absorbed
Fluff with a fork and add the baby food
Cool before serving
Variation: Add peas, other soft cooked vegetables, or fruit
Veggie sloppy Joes are like childhood on a plate. Growing up in the ’70s, you just couldn’t escape this meaty dish. Since it’s such a comfort food, Ceri and I decided to go retro and bring back the sloppy. We’ve updated it, of course, for a more health-conscious family, substituting all that ground beef with a flavor-rich black bean sauce. This recipe was excerpted from the great new cookbook entitled How to Feed a Family: The Sweet Potatoes Chronicles Cookbook, by Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh. As two urban, working moms, Ceri and Laura learned quickly how challenging healthy meal-times can be. So they joined forces to create the Sweet Potato Chronicles (www.sweetpotatochronicles.com), a website written for, and by, non-judgmental moms, packed full of nutritious recipes for families.
This great cookbook is available across Canada at Chapters Indigo.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Makes: 6 servings
1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
5 cup (125 ml) diced carrots
1 cup (250 ml) trimmed and diced mushrooms
4 tsp (1 ml) ground cumin
4 tsp (1 ml) paprika
3 cups (750 ml) canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup (250 ml) prepared tomato sauce
2 Tbsp (30 ml) red wine vinegar
1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon mustard
1 tsp (5 ml) maple syrup
Salt and pepper
6 whole wheat hamburger buns
5 cup (125 ml) shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Now add the mushrooms, cumin and paprika. Stir everything together and allow the mushrooms to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the beans, tomato sauce, vinegar, mustard and syrup, and allow to simmer and thicken for about 15 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper if you like.
Toast the hamburger buns (to make those Joes a bit less sloppy). Spoon a generous amount of the bean mixture onto the bottom half of each bun and sprinkle with a good pinch of shredded cheese. Put that hamburger lid on top and serve.
Sweet Potato (also known as the yam) can be orange fleshed or ivory-white, though color is no particular indication of sweetness. Sweet potato puree provides a tummy satisfying starch as well as chill-beating vitamin C. Orange fleshed varieties are rich in beta carotene, the stuff which turns Flamingo feathers pink and, if eaten all the time, gives babies a ruddy glow. If your baby seems to have acquired a golden tan, lay off the orange colored food!
We like to freeze the puree in ice cube trays and pop the frozen cubes into labeled baggies or containers in the freezer. This allows you to always have an assortment of ‘cubes’ on hand. The recipe can also be prepared with a variety of other veggies (even canned pumpkin).. wink
Suitable for 6 months onwards. Makes 2 cups
Sweet Potato Puree
You will need:
1 pound Sweet Potatoes
Peel the potatoes and chunk into bite sized pieces and put into a pot with enough boiling water to cover. Return water to boil, reduce heat, loosely cover, and cook 20-30 minutes or until perfectly soft and tender. Drain – not too thoroughly – reserving a little of the cooking water. Mash (or use a food processor) to a puree with a little of the cooking water.
Alternately, you can use a steamer…
Serve and enjoy!
Good for 9 mos and up. It doesn’t get much easier than this. It’s quick, yummy and really good for you and your little one! You know what they say, “an apple a day”! This recipe is great if your little one is starting to eat soft solids and not just pureed foods.
With summer here and berries in abundance, your little one can enjoy the sweet berries of the summer season with this simple recipe. Blueberries are one of the most suitable berries for babies as they don’t need sweetening. They are high in vitamin C and contain a natural enzyme that allows them to keep for a long time in the fridge.
This savoury rice porridge contains many of the ingredients that baby needs to get through the day. Adding scant amounts of ginger, garlic and chicken to mild rice is a great way to introduce new flavors to your baby. The oil in this recipe is a good source of fat, which supplies energy and aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. The carbohydrates found in rice provide another source of energy and assists in the utilization of fats.
1 tsp oil 5 mL
2 tbsp minced shallots 30 mL
1 small clove garlic, minced 1
1 tsp minced ginger 5 mL
1 cup cooked white or brown rice 250 mL
2 cups water 500 mL
1/4 cup finely chopped cooked chicken 50 mL
2 tbsp finely chopped carrots 30 mL
1 tbsp finely chopped celery 15 mL
In a deep skillet, heat oil over medium high-heat. Cook shallots, garlic and ginger for one minute. Stir in rice. Add water and bring to boil. Reduce heat and stir in chicken, carrots and celery. Cook until rice is very soft and vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Per 1/4 cup (50 mL) serving: about 45 cal, 7 g carbs, 0 g fat, 2 g protein.
This recipe is short but trust us, it’s sweet! It’s good for babies’ ages 9 months on.
Makes 1 serving
When do I start my baby on solid foods? This is the million-dollar question, and it doesn’t have a really hard-and-fast answer.
When I was a brand-new-and-clueless mum, I had read all the books and was trying to do things “right.” I breast-fed and angsted over when to start my daughter on solids. According to the doctors who get paid the big bucks to tell us the right ways to do things, solids should be started when your baby has doubled her birth weight, can hold her head upright, and begins showing interest in other foods and can regulate her feeding by turning away from the breast or bottle when she’s no longer hungry. They also bandy around the number of four months as the minimum age. Breast-feeding purists argue that a baby needs to only have breast milk (as in NO juice, foods, or even water) for the first six months at least. Then you have the organic, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-slings mommies who say, whatever seems best, do it. Want your baby to sleep better through the night? Give ’em some rice cereal in their bottle. The war is on between these three factions, but it’s all in the interests of what’s best for a baby–the problem is, what’s best for Baby Peter might not necessarily be best for Baby Paul. Or Baby Rajesh or Baby Maria or Baby Xiao…you know what I mean.
So, when do I start my baby on solid foods? Basically, go with your gut and on your doctor’s recommendations. If you are a hardline breast-feeding advocate, it will not harm your baby to only have breast milk for the first six months of his life. Goodness knows, babies could do worse than breast milk! But also, don’t flog yourself if you decide to start giving Baby something solid before that six month limit, as long as it’s something in line with medical recommendations and age-appropriate.
The first solids to start babies out on are cereals, such as rice, which is the best non-allergenic cereal. Mix it with breast milk, formula, or distilled water. Then slowly move into fruits and veggies, pastas and meats and dairies. Offer new things in small doses and keep trying if they happen to reject something the first time, because babies need some time to really try things out. Make sure you always offer plenty of breast milk or the kind of formula your baby is accustomed to. Until they are completely weaned they will get most of their nutrition from liquids.