Feeding Baby Is Still Surprisingly Fun

I've got to say that the enjoyment I get from feeding William new foods is unexpected. For the most part, when people ask me if parenthood is what I expected, I say yes. At my age, I've been friends with women with kids for a very long time. I had a pretty accurate idea of what it would be like.

But no one mentioned how much fun it is to feed your baby new foods! Today I fed him hummus for lunch, and this afternoon we went to the DQ and Terry fed him some caramel from atop his sundae (we're not feeding him any dairy products at this time, so no ice cream). Oh, and we all had sweet potato pie for breakfast. William really enjoyed that, he was even able to eat the crust since he's getting better at "chewing" his food. In quotes because he doesn't have a single tooth yet, so he gums everything. But he's learning to gum thoroughly so he can eat more and more different things.

I'm even getting a feel for making my own baby food recipes. I start the same way I do when deciding what to cook for Terry and myself-- I open the fridge and see what leftovers or perishables need to be used up. But then instead of thinking what would taste good to me, I think what might taste good as a baby sauce. Terry and I call all the pureed foods for baby "baby sauce" instead of baby food since it doesn't really seem very food-like to us, it's more like a sauce, so there you have it.

The most recent example is the basmati rice/butternut-squash sauce I came up with. We opened a can of butternut squash puree for William (Whole Foods had them on sale, and it was more cost effective than the little jars) but I didn't want to feed him the same thing again and again. We had some basmati rice leftover from the day before, and I thought that would taste good with the squash. I now have a better idea what should go through the blender vs. what should go through the food processor, and I chose to run the squash & rice through the blender. I added some apple juice to make it smoother and blend more easily. YUM! William was pretty happy with the result, and I was happy since it included multiple food groups and was a more balanced meal than just a vegetable.

Terry is showing some interest in my baby sauces. He was curious about that one-- he asked what it was (after he fed it to William without knowing what it was, of course), and said it tasted like some sort of risotto. Actually a reasonable food analysis from Terry, he was pretty darn close. I guess any rice pureed with another liquid will be risotto-like. He'll sometimes watch me make baby sauce from our own food, but I don't think he really pays attention. I usually cook our food to a certain point, then take out a portion for baby. Sometimes it will be before I add spices and seasoning, sometimes after. Sometimes I'll add different seasonings to the baby sauce if I leave out ingredients. There are a lot of things that are crunchy or have nuts or dairy that I'll add to our own food after I take out Will's portion (lesson learned after the pureed raw celery fiasco). Sometimes there isn't much flavor difference between the adult and baby meals at all. In those instances, I will usually finish any baby sauce William doesn't at the end of his meal. If the baby food is blander, it goes back in the fridge for baby to finish later. . .

We're still steadily making our way down the list of foods recommended for baby in the first year. And William likes just about everything. I've noticed that foods that are tart (like the hummus today, the pomegranate last week) he doesn't go for the volume like he does with milder foods, but he's still happy to eat some. But we like finding foods not on the list that we can feed him, too, like the sweet potato pie and the pork barbecue. And now at the first sign of gassiness I give him some gripe water, and that seems to help. He's doing a much better job of sleeping through the night now without waking up from gas pain.

Terry picked up some caviar for him at the grocery store yesterday. Since I'm not ready to give Will creme fraiche or smoked salmon (I can probably hold out until he's at least 9 mos old, if not a whole year), I suppose I'll serve the caviar to him with either eggs or potatoes. That'll be fun. It's very good for kids-- a Russian friend of ours said her mother made them all take a teaspoon of caviar every day. Like Norwegians get a teaspoon of fish oil. I'd rather be in Russia, that's for sure. I take the flavored fish oil now myself, it's a lot more cost effective than the caviar for daily dosing, and the orange flavor isn't bad (the brand is coromega).

I certainly hope William doesn't have too many food hangups as a toddler. Some friends of ours have two little girls who are easy to take to restaurants since they pretty much eat the same as the adults. That's what we'd like with William. I know there's no way to predict, and every kid is different, but I'm hopeful that the variety of foods he's getting now will inform his tastes later.