Bon Appetite, Baby!

I often share my thoughts on “food for babies” with the women attending my pregnancy and mom & baby yoga classes. Many new moms tell me how helpful it’s been as a guide. I’m not sure what possessed me to document what we started feeding our first baby, but I’m glad I did because it was an easy guide to follow when it came time to feeding our twins.

We decided to make all our own baby food (organic if possible) after having a discussion with friends about nutrition. The thought was that as adults we had already spoiled or abused our system with not so healthy food choices, but with a baby their pallet and digestive system is clean and untainted.

In the beginning it was daunting to make all the food, but after a few months of experimenting I got a system down that became easy. I liked knowing exactly what my baby was eating and I was also able to monitor if there were any reactions to foods. Our efforts in the first two years created some good eating habits. My kids eat a wide range of foods now, are willing to try new things, and they are starting to make some cool choices about what they eat! One of our twins prefers salads to desserts. The other twin prefers light foods and lots of fruit. And our first daughter eats anything.

For the first two years, I really tried to limit the amount of sugar they had. I didn’t give them any fruit juice or sodas, only water and whole milk. For the most part, I baked all my own cakes and cookies. I did use sugar in baking but would cut the amount down by a quarter to half. I preferred to make something like banana bread with very ripe bananas.

Once our girls started preschool, I had to give up a lot of control because they were offered fruit juice, snacks and the usual holiday treats at Valentine’s, Halloween, Christmas, etc. Although the idea of candy, cake and sweets is very appealing – they are first in line for cake at a birthday party – I can pretty much guarantee that after half a piece of cake they’ll say, “Mom, it’s too sweet.” I still make a lot of my own cookies and have an amazing (sugar-packed) brownie recipe that I’ll share in the recipe section soon. When I buy food from the supermarket, I try to stay away from corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup, MSG and any product with ingredients so long I feel like I’m reading a book.

We try to buy as much organic food as possible. It is more expensive, but we believe it’s worth it. It’s much easier now than when we started because many supermarkets, like Safeway, have their own organic range of foods. In Honolulu, Down to Earth has veggies and good bulk items (rice, oats etc), Kokua has lots of locally grown veggies and a wide range of free-range and organic meat products (chicken, turkey, beef), Whole Foods has great specialty items, and even Costco has an expanding range of organic products.

In next month’s blog post, I’ll present my guide to starting babies on food. I’ll share the beginning weeks and experiences of feeding food at six months old. I’ll also be posting some tasty, easy recipes that we still feed our kids today.

The most important thing for new parents is that you look at the time you have and the resources around you (ie. your food budget and available food stores). There are good readymade baby foods. Try supplementing some of these products with homemade food, or you can try making all of your own food. Again, in the beginning it’s scary and daunting but after a while you’ll get into a groove and it’ll become second nature. What we feed our kids feeds their growth and sets up patterns for the rest of their lives.

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7 thoughts on “Bon Appetite, Baby!

  1. I’m super excited to read this blog Cathy! I started with prenatal classes, and will desperately miss Purple Yoga when I move to KY 😦

  2. When I received your e-mail about the blog I thought to myself, “man I hope she can shed some light on the whole baby food thing” and BAM your first post touches on this. I’m looking forward to next month as we just started on the solid foods journey with my 6 month old and so far it isn’t good too well. We’ve started with organic rice cereal, banana, avocado and sweet potato and I’m anxious to see what else you recommend and any tips you have for actually making your own as it isn’t as easy as I had thought!

    Thanks for sharing and so excited to be reading along…
    -Heather

  3. Yay! I am so excited you started the blog. I will be reading and sharing. Thank you so much for taking it off the back burner, you are an inspiration to me. You were ‘with me’ for both my labors and births and have truly touched my family. I will never forget and always be grateful.
    Much Aloha, Katja

  4. Hi Cathy Louise! It has been a while but I am so happy to see your blog. I am also right with you on the baby foods – I made as much as possible for my two when they were just starting solid foods. It is really the only time you have full control over what your child puts into his or her mouth – why not make sure it is the best food possible? We are so lucky here, with an abundance of tropical fruits and fresh organic vegetables, and I was happily surprised as my children ate pureed kale and bananas (my son’s favorite combination). I totally agree, it sets the pattern for making smart food choices for the rest of their lives. Cheers! Looking forward to reading more.

    Aloha,
    Jenny Engle

  5. Yay! I think it’s wonderful you are baby/kid/family blogging. You have so much to share … I wouldn’t have made it through pregnancy, childbirth and infancy (ack!) without you. And as we move into the terrible 2’s (ugh!) and preschool, I still find myself heavily relying on your insight and support and sound advice. Thanks so much for all you’ve done for us and for sharing. Looking forward to keeping up with all the blog discussion. Love, Leah PS Great pic of the 4 of you 🙂

  6. Perfect timing for me! While I haven’t been able to get to class because of learning to juggle full time work with being a full time mom, I have been thinking about you because of your advice during class, and your promise to start a blog. We are just realizing that it is time to introduce solids to our 6 month old, and I’m nervous!

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