Milena has just gotten the green light for solid food for Mateo! But which foods? How often? How much? Is oatmeal all there is? Luckily for us there is a local entrepreneur who has made a business out of answering these questions. Nicole Yorio Jurick of Peasful Kitchen. She gave Milena a jump start on how to begin feeding Mateo.
We’d love to hear about you and Peasful Kitchen. How did you get started- and as a mom yourself- how do you keep all of it going?
Five years ago, I found myself alone in my kitchen on a Sunday night peeling, chopping, steaming and pureeing carrots to make for my son to eat. I knew there had to be a more fun way to make baby food, so I started Peasful Kitchen as a place where parents could connect, socialize, and do something productive for their child. They leave our classes with a freezer stocked with food AND they get a fun night out (yes, parents bring wine and beer to drink while they cook)! Since then, I’ve had two more children, so running a business can get tricky. Luckily, I have part time help from my nanny so I cram in as much as I can in those “free” hours!
I totally get it! When are babies usually ready to start solid foods?
Most babies are ready for solids sometime around 6 months. I started my first two on solids around 5 months. I’ve been a little lazier with my third child, who turns six months this week, so I’m plan to start feeding her this week. (#thirdchildproblems–the struggle is real!) The most sure sign of readiness is that the baby is able to swallow the food, versus pushing the food out of their mouth with their tongue. The changeover takes a bit of practice since they are used to the sucking motion.
How do I introduce Mateo to solid food?
We recommend starting with one fruit or vegetable, and introducing a new food every 3-4 days. This will help parents identify the culprit should their baby have any type of reaction, such as a rash, bloody stool, or vomit. These types of incidences are rare, but it’s better to know exactly the food that’s causing it, versus having to guess between two or three.
How much should I feed Mateo and how often? How does this work in conjunction with bottle or breast feeding?
Breast milk and/or formula is meant to be baby’s primary form of nutrition for the first year of their life. When babies first start eating solids, it’s not meant to replace any bottle or breast feeding (so if you think you’re constantly feeding your kid, now here’s one more meal to add to the mix!). Over time, as they get to be 10 months +, they’ll naturally start to drink less and eat more, but that comes in time.
What foods are best to start with?
Our parents’ generation believed that rice cereal and oatmeal were the best starter foods, but now pediatricians recommend starting with a fruit or a vegetable. Many parents think that if they feed their baby fruit first, they won’t like the veggies, but the truth is that breast milk is sweet and formula is bitter, so your baby is already used to those tastes. For no particular reason, I started my first on carrots, and my second on pears. I just bought a butternut squash, so that will by my daughter’s first food. The most important thing is that the food gets cooked and then pureed completely smooth so it’s easy for baby’s tummy to digest.
What are the next foods I can give Mateo?
Once your baby has gone through some single-ingredient purees, it’s time to have some fun and experiment with blends of fruits and veggies, herbs, and spices. Studies show that the more flavors a baby is exposed to before age one, the more varieties of food they eat at age 6. I tell parents to think of what combination sound good to them–apples and cinnamon, peas and mint, cauliflower and curry–the possibilities are endless!
As you have built a business around this- I know you believe that home-made baby food is best- how do I even get started?
Homemade food not only tastes better than store bought (if you need proof, try tasting a jar of baby food green beans–yuck!), but it also contains more vitamins and nutrients AND it gives young babies a taste of what fruits and vegetables should actually taste like. If you blind tasted a jar of, say, sweet potatoes, it would be hard to identify what you are actually eating. Most parents have the goal of having their kids eat a variety of fruits and veggies, and that starts by teaching kids from the start how they are actually supposed to taste. Parents can check out our blog for recipes or refer to this super helpful cooking guide (we saw and LOVED these charts!) or register for one of our group or private classes.
Are there foods I should not give my baby?
1. Salt (babies kidneys cant handle excess sodium, so don’t add salt to baby food and watch for sodium levels of prepackaged products)
2. Honey (this can cause botulism–a serious and potentially fatal disease–in infants under age 1
3. Sugar. Any parent of a 2-year-old will tell you that the sugar tooth develops FAST–so why rush it?
I want to get started learning this process, how do I reach you? firstname.lastname@example.org