Saturday, January 31, 2009

Baby Food Crisis!

If you've read my profile, you've noticed that I have one child, Snugglebug. And if you have surmised correctly, I am a first-time mom, thus not a supermom as yet.

So, when we had our first baby food crisis, I was all in a quandary. Shortly, after New Years, Snugglebug decided to go on a food strike. He just wouldn't eat. He had been eating anything I put in front of him: veggies, fruit, mixes, cereals of any kind. But, now, nothing suited him. Even his favorites he pushed away after one bite.

I called my sister, a supermom and a mom of three, and asked what to do. "Have you tried finger foods?" she asked. Yes, we had been "trying" finger foods for months but they just ended up on the floor with Snugglebug leaning over the side of his high chair watching them bounce across the floor. Handfuls upon handfuls of Cheerios had been wasted in recent months in an effort to get him to eat finger foods. My almost 12 month old wasn't interested in eating with his fingers, and when I fed it to him, he choked on it.

But, my sis explained that despite all this he was in transition. Transition! That can't be good. "He's wanting food with chunks," she explained. Chunks...Hmmm. My next thought was how to do that when you are pureeing your own baby food. I'd like to say I found a formula online where x times y plus 2 to the nth power will tell you how chunky to make the baby food, but no such luck. I resorted to the old fashioned trial and error. I over pureed several batches which in turn were refused after one or two bites. I finally resorted to purchasing several jars of level 3 baby food just to see how chunky it was. I discovered that it wasn't that chunky and to my relief (oddly) he refused the store food as well.

I accidentally discovered that pureed chicken added to any vegetable or veggie mixture was the perfect amount of chunkiness for him. I used water to make my chicken puree and buzzed away on my food processor. In minutes, the chicken was mush! I mixed 1 ounce of meat in with 2 to 3 ounces of his favorite veggie and WALLAH!! Crisis averted or at least temporarily stalled till we reach another transition.

So for now, he is getting his protein and eating most foods again. And only yesterday, he discovered that he could eat with his fingers. And for the very first time a Cheerio entered his mouth, was chewed (baby style), and swallowed!! What a feat! I felt quite proud of my little boy! I was actually cheering for him!!

On a side note, I froze the remainder of the pureed chicken in ice trays, later storing them in Ziploc bags. I just add one cube of chicken to 3 or 4 cubes of veggies. For the pears, I puree one batch as usual and a smaller batch I only partially puree so that there are a few small chunks. I have only tried this with pears though because their chunks are easy to mush up in his mouth.

I've also started adding a few seasonings to his foods to enhance the flavor, such as cinnamon to his carrots. I am, however, staying away from salt and sugar though. Just the inexperienced mom speaking here, but I think it is still too early to be adding those two ingredients.

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