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Natural Baby Food Book Tour

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Baby J is now 7+ months old. I’m not sure where the past half-year has gone (probably the same place to which his miniature socks disappear at an alarming rate), but time marches on heedless of desire for just one more day of fitting into his 9-month-size onesies. Delirium is dissipating; schedules are semi-predictable; discoveries are mounting. Baby J can roll across the room in the blink of an eye and see the world anew while sitting up. He’s also this close to crawling, which means we have approximately 0.39 seconds to baby-proof the house before we discover just how far those little paws can reach.

Also, he’s now a huge fan of Maddie, which has been a rather traumatizing experience for her.

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A couple of months ago, I was asked to review Natural Baby Food by Dr. Sonali Ruder. The timing could not have been more perfect. I planned to introduce Baby J to solid foods around 6 months of age and hadn’t yet formed a game plan on how I would do it. Peter wanted to start with fried chicken, which didn’t seem the best choice to me (too gamey).

More importantly, I love Sonali’s blog. I’ve been reading it for a while, and I love her commitment to healthy recipes and research-based posts. She’s an Emergency Medicine physician with a culinary background and a mom who runs her awesome website. I mean, she’s like the version of myself that I’d want to be if there were three of me and each of those Jessie doppelgangers was a Renaissance woman. Needless to say, I couldn’t get my hands on her cookbook fast enough.

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There’s so much to love about this cookbook. The first part is chock full of information about when to start solids, how to tell your baby is ready, food safety, the basics of making homemade baby food, and–be still, my heart!–proper nutrition backed up with science. This registered dietitian approves.

As you might expect, the first recipes are simple fruit and veggie purees. Yet each recipe goes beyond the obvious and includes suggested herbs and spices to help introduce your baby to a variety of flavors. Sonali includes yummy combinations of fruits, veggies, proteins, and grains for older babies. These suggestions have been particularly helpful for Baby J, who prefers to classify new foods into two categories:

(1) Delicious
(2) The most vile substance to cross his delicate baby lips, created merely to torture him past endurance so he is forced to cry about it at a number of decibels equivalent to jackhammers

Baby J is still too young for some of the later recipes in the book for kids 12+ months, but I’ve already bookmarked a bunch. Even better, the whole family can enjoy them. I love a good prune puree as much as the next 7-month-old; somehow, Baby’s Burrito Bowl sounds a smidgen better.

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Natural Baby Food also contains suggested meal schedules, which I’ve used to help create a menu plan for Baby J. The list on the right contains new foods to offer (a little out of date). Also, I love how you can see previous weeks’ menu items underneath the current week, as well as the Christmas-themed drawings the neighbor girls did before Baby J was born. Guys, just say no to marker “chalk.”

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Introducing solids to Baby J has been both exciting and bittersweet. Exciting because watching him discover new flavors for the first time ever has been a joy. Bittersweet because starting solids means the day when Baby J stops nursing and falling asleep in my arms draws ever closer. A bit dramatic, sure, but true nonetheless.

Yet I’ll enjoy each bite. There’s a wonderful world of food out there for Baby J to explore.

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Check out Natural Baby Food for a comprehensive and fun-to-read guide on starting your baby on solids. And have a wonderful week, dear reader!

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P.S. In case it needs to be spelled out, I am, of course, kidding when I rejected fried chicken as Baby J’s first food because it would be too gamey. I reject fried chicken because it takes too long to prepare. Can’t handle hot oil, remember?

P.P.S. Peter is already trying to figure out how to puree smoked brisket.

P.P.P.S. Baby J’s scorecard thus far:

Loves: Carrots, broccoli, bananas, prunes, oatmeal, yogurt, zucchini, apricot
Detests: Sweet potato, kiwi, beef (Peter was heartbroken about the last one)

P.P.P.P.S. And it changes every day. Welcome to parenthood!

7 Comments

  1. Baby J is growing so fast! Could you email me a photo, please?

    I’m glad that you’re loving your new cookbook. Introducing new foods is totally exciting. We’re in guessing game mode for foods – she’ll love something one day and have no interest the next but love it again a week later. It’s a bit challenging. But she’s starting to figure out how to feed herself with a spoon, which is pretty fun (and extremely messy – hello, yogurt-covered eyebrows!).

    I understand the emotions about your baby getting bigger and older and changing nonstop. I’m just an emotional roller coaster! Squirrel is also a perpetual motion machine, and we still haven’t finished babyproofing. We set up a “fortress of fun” in the living room, which was a really great help in containing her when she became more mobile.

    Our husbands have such similar tastes… Mike wanted her first food to be steak.

    I hope that you’re all well! Hugs!

    1. Thanks, Marie! We will promptly be setting up our own “fortress of fun.”

      And, Mike … I shake my head.

      I hope you are all well! Picture forthcoming.

  2. Hi Jessie!! So glad to have news of you and your young family! Glad to see (read?) you’re doing well! Time passes so fast with little ones it’s insane. I still can’t believe my cousin’s boy is in primary school when he was a newborn only yesterday! (6.5 years ago? Ok)

    Yoghurt is always a hit with little ones. Any RD theories about why that is? It’s close to milk, sure, but still a bit sour, so a bit surprised it’s almost universally approved by the under 2s.

    Wishing you and baby J all the best!

    1. Hi Christa! I’m not sure why many babies love yogurt. I’m glad baby J does, though — we love yogurt in our house!

      Hope you’re doing well!!

  3. Thank you so much for the wonderful, thoughtful, and humorous book review, Jessie! I am a big fan of yours and I’m so happy that you liked the book and feel that it would be useful resource for new parents! I remember experiencing all of those same emotions when I started my daughter Sienna on solids- it’s such an exciting time but it also takes a lot of patience and perseverance! I wish you and Baby J the best as you continue through this journey together! By the way, I’m impressed with how organized you are with that menu plan 🙂

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