Along with celebrating PK's 6-month birthday last week, we also celebrated an important milestone that day: the introduction of solids! I was originally going to wait until February 9th to introduce solids, since that was the day we were seeing PK's pediatrician for her 6-month check-up, but I got so freaking excited that I just went ahead with it on the 6th.
If you had asked me a while back about what I'd have PK try out first, I would've told you rice cereal. That seems to be the norm for introducing solids. But then I attended a seminar at Whole Foods on introducing solids, which put a different slant on things. The lady running the seminar was from a company called Sprout Right. They hold classes on preparing home-made baby food. The seminar she did at Whole Foods was just an hour long and was more of an info session. She did, however have us all try some home-made sweet potato and home-made carrot purée, and compare them to a few ready-made organic baby food brands. All I can say is YUCK to the ready-made stuff. One brand (I wish I could remember what it was) actually looked more like jelly than purée. Nasty! Anyway, the lady running the seminar was a big believer in starting with the fruits and veggies first, and that this whole single-grain cereal business was overrated, especially rice cereal, which could cause some serious constipation. I can't say that I was fully convinced by what she was saying right off the bat. After all, shouldn't doctors know more about this stuff? What kind of background did she have?
I also talked to my mom about how she introduced solids to me as a baby. Well, back then, there was none of this business of introducing one food at a time. When I was a baby, she just took a bunch of veggies, boiled them until they were soft, and puréed them. A nutritionist giving a talk to my mommy group said that you don't introduce fruits first because it causes babies to develop a sweet tooth.
Whoa! Talk about information overload! EVERYONE has an opinion on this thing. So who's right? I honestly don't know who's right, but I decided to go with my gut on this one. I decided to do away with the rice cereal bit (or grains, for that matter - I can do those later), and start with sweet potatoes.
Preparation was simple. Just peel the sweet potato, cut it up into small pieces, and boil it (use filtered water) until soft. Then stick it in a blender (I used one of those little food processors), making sure to add enough water - you don't want the purée to be too thick. We'd gotten a set of those freezer cubes for baby food for Christmas, so after I made my batch of sweet potato, I put the purée into the cubes, and stuffed them into the freezer. My first batch of puréed sweet potato was a bit thicker compared to the last batch (my food processor is REALLY small, so I had to do this in batches), and was very much like the home-made stuff that I'd tried at the Whole Foods seminar. My later batches turned out quite watery (more like sweet potato juice) because I got impatient towards the end and just wanted to finish making this stuff already. In all, I ended up with 8 full cubes of purée. In hindsight, I probably should've filled them halfway, since the cubes are awfully large and PK is still awfully small.
Besides freezing the batch of sweet potato, I also got to test some out right away on PK. Feeding her solids for the first time was an absolutely hillarious experience for me. My mom was on-hand to help, and she fed PK while I got it on video. The video consists of PK making funny faces at the food while I laugh hysterically. She was NOT impressed, and I'm pretty sure that any sweet potato that actually went into her mouth didn't stay there very long. In hindsight, I think that her dislike for that batch of sweet potato might have been the result of two major factors. First, my mom thought that the sweet potato purée was a bit bland, so she had me add some salt. I added it only to the batch that I was feeding to PK at that moment. I think that I added too much salt. Second, the purée might have been a bit too thick for PK. She is, after all, used to taking formula, which is much much runnier. The runny batch of sweet potato that I'd just made would come in handy after all!
I am happy to report that day 2 of feeding sweet potato purée to PK went much better than the first day. Although most of it still did end up all over her face and bib, she did eat some of it. Day 3 was even more successful. So much so that PK actually looked EXCITED as we brought the spoon towards her mouth. We got some AWESOME photos of her eating that day.
We did the sweet potato thing for 5 days. By the end of it, PK even developed a taste for the thicker batch. The next thing I tried out was puréed carrots. You prepare these the same way as the sweet potatoes. The carrots went over VERY well. I actually think that she likes them even more than she likes the sweet potatoes. The only problem is that it seems that the carrots caused some constipation, which made PK REALLY REALLY cranky on Friday evening. Actually, cranky is an understatement. She had a full-on tantrum. Poor thing, though. She was in some serious pain, and we ended up having to use a glycerine supository to help her get her poop out. Those things have saved us on more than one occasion. Though the suppositories worked out this time, we need to make sure that she can get that poop out without the aid of the supositories. The funny thing is that I'd started with carrots on Wednesday, and she pooped TWICE on Thursday. Friday, however, was another story, and she was not happy. I wonder if I can get her to start drinking some prune juice to help things move along.
So all in all the introduction of solids went much better than I thought it would be. I was seriously afraid that PK would end up being a super-fussy eater. Of course, that can all change in a flash...