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.
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.
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:
(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.
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.”
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.
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!
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!