Chopped :: Introducing Finger Food

After introducing solids at the age of 5 1/2 months, we’ve moved to the next culinary adventure in baby land: self-feeding and fingerfood.

"Sooo...how do I get those Cheerios out?"

I’m thankful to say that Emma has not rejected any food or category so far nor has she developed any allergies. Actually, she even added food categories like books, paper, plush toys, and mommy’s arm to her diet. She also doesn’t really mind whether her meal is warm or not. She has pretty much been devouring anything we have ever served her including:

  • Vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, zucchini, peas, black beans, green beans
  • Fruit: mango, avocado, blueberries, nectarine, banana, pear, apple, peaches
  • Meat: chicken
  • Dairy: baby yogurt, salt-free cottage cheese
Unconventional combinations:
  • Cinnamon carrots with chicken
  • Chicken with cilantro and apple sauce
  • Black beans with avocado and cottage cheese
  • Guacamole

Emma is demonstrating excellent motor skills.

Recently we started project “I Can So Eat By Myself” which takes meal time to a whole new level. First of all, the splash mat we put under her high chair to protect our carpet is no longer large enough to cover the danger zone. I do have to say though that she is not really a messy eater. She even picks up the food she drops into her lap. Secondly, meal time now takes at least twice as long – from prep to feeding to cleaning up afterwards. Third, I am once again swerving between sadness to see my baby grow up to get more and more independent and pride that she’s developing so well.

  • Fingerfood: cheerios, veggie puffs, Monterey Jack cheese (cubes), whole wheat bagel (cubes), broccoli (small pieces of florets only). assortment of easily gum-able fruits, chicken
I also put a bowl with mashed sweet potatoes in front of her, gave her a spoon and asked her politely not to spill it everywhere. Not much landed in her mouth but she will have plenty of time to figure it out.
I am committed to using organic produce and fruit for baby’s meals. If I can’t find organic apples, she’ll get organic peaches. Meats are organic only. Same goes for Mama since I’m still breastfeeding (well, pumping).

Basil Garlic Butter

Inspired by one of my new favorite food blogs Love and Olive Oil, I thought I’d join Lindsay for “Basil Week”. Also, my organic basil plant has been growing like weed and wanted to be used.

Photo: Organic Spark

This is not a fancy culinary adventure. This is a simple, easy, quick recipe for a delicious (bread) spread. Since I use recipes for inspiration only and never follow the measurements, you won’t find exact measurements in this recipe below either.

  • Melt unsalted butter so it’s soft enough to be mixed with the other ingredients.
  • Finely chop a bunch of fresh basil leaves.
  • Press or mince garlic cloves.
  • Mix everything in a bowl.
  • Add a few grains of coarse sea salt and ground pepper.
  • Put in freezer or fridge until firm.
  • Serve with toasted fresh artisan bread or add to pasta, seafood dishes and veggies. Oh, heck, use for everything you can think of.

Let Them Eat Cake :: Introducing Solids

When Emma started grabbing our forks, plates and whatever we couldn’t get out of reach fast enough while sitting at the dining table, we thought it may be time to move on to the next Big Thing – solids.

"This organic whole wheat rice cereal is delicious, Papa!"

Emma is almost 6 months old and every time we eat or drink something she just stares at whatever travels from our plates to our mouths. The AAP recommends that an infant should not be started on solid foods until after 6 months of age.  Many pediatricians still start babies on solids around 4 months of age. I’d say with 5 1/2 months we’re right on track.

Geez, Emma is growing so fast, it’s making me almost sad (insert deep sigh). Soon enough she’ll be wanting to pick out her own clothes in the morning. Oh well.

Here are some other signs that baby is ready f0r solid foods:

  • Being able to sit up with support.
  • The eruption of teeth (in some cases).
  • Improved hand-eye coordination.
  • The ability to hold his/her head steady.
  • The ability to keep food in his/her mouth and swallow.
  • The ability to grasp objects with his/her thumbs and forefingers.
  • Your baby might also stare at you while you eat, trying to reach for your food and attempt to imitate your eating behavior.

So, yup, Emma can cross off everything on this list. Now, let’s do this.

Since Papa is a very hands-on daddy, we wanted to share the experience of feeding Emma solids for the first time. Hence, Father’s Day seemed pretty appropriate to start Emma’s culinary adventure.

Apparently, you’re supposed to offer the solid foods after breastfeeding as this will maintain your milk supply. And you avoid that baby is too hungry (read ‘easily frustrated). After nursing her, we prepped her for the second course: bouncy chair, towel under bouncy chair, fashionable bib, BPA free baby spoon, chic Anthropologie bowl with delicious organic whole wheat rice cereal mixed with breast milk – ready.

Available at Target and Whole Foods.

Emma loved it!

She finished the whole bowl and seemed to still want more. When we gave her the spoon, she tried to put it into the empty bowl, then shoved it into her mouth.

We’ve been feeding her rice cereal for dinner every night for almost a week now. No signs of allergies, no gas, diarrhea or rashes. One more week with plain rice cereal and I’ll get out that Magic Bullet, eat all the ice cream clear space in the freezer and start making my own baby food – avocados, bananas, sweet potatoes, pears.

Bon Appétit, mon cherie!