Being a parent is hard. You are responsible for everything. No exaggeration, EVERYTHING. When your child sleeps, how they sleep, how they play, how they dress what they eat. It’s rough, and overwhelming. Before I got pregnant I did a lot of research and work to improve my own health. This has helped me tremendously in making the transition with my baby from breastmilk to solids.
In previous posts, I had mentioned I was doing Baby Led Weaning. We’ve been doing it for 3 straight months now and Sugar Plum knows how to pick up foods, how to chew, and how to swallow. I am so proud that she has come so far, but now more than ever, she is curious to try new foods. So what’s a mama to do? Of course I try to give her vegetables first, then fruits…. but after that? What if I haven’t gone shopping for the week? Here are my tips on other foods to feed your baby, and what to look for when searching for healthy snacks.
1. Organic – This isn’t just some pretentious standard. I know organic foods can be expensive, but they truly are [let’s not say better but, ] purer foods for your baby to consume. Organic, in my opinion, means that food item, is as close to its original [or “organic”] form as it can possibly be. How is that not purer? OK now for the expenses, pretty much any one can afford organic baby food and snacks. Because these foods are usually free of preservatives, they go bad quicker, which means stores have to get rid of them faster, which means a lot of times the store will mark them down at a discount in order to sell them before they go bad. Find the clearance section of your grocery story. More often than not, there are organic foods back there, just waiting to be bought! I got that big box of animal crackers for just ONE DOLLAR! It’s possible…
2. Sugar – Even if some thing seems healthy or all natural, there may still be a ton of sugar hiding in it. Since my daughter is only 9 months old, I like to try and get foods that have UNDER 10 grams of sugar. The animal crackers pictured above only have 7 grams of sugar per serving, and I never even give her a whole serving [8 cookies] I usually just give her one or 2. To put things in perspective, think of a snickers bar – it has a whopping 25 grams of sugar in it. Now, most of us wouldn’t feed our babies a snickers bar, so why feed them 25 grams of sugar? If for some reason you find a food that has 10 grams or more of sugar, ask yourself why? Is it because that food contains fruit that has a lot of natural sugar? Or is fructose listed in the ingredients? Just be smart about what sugars you DO give to your baby [i.e. don’t give them a snickers…]
3. Meat – this doesn’t apply so much for ‘on the go’ foods like the previous 2, but it still is worth mentioning. Our bodies, especially females, are very sensitive to hormones [middle school, anyone?] and unfortunately, many animals are given hormones nowadays to make them mature faster, so that the companies can get the meat faster. It’s important, with babies who are still growing and adjusting to their own little hormones, not to overwhelm their system with added hormones in meat. Again, it can be pricey, but looked for marked down meats that are about to expire, then freeze them. Eventually you will have a stockpile of good, healthy meats on hand, for a fraction of the cost.
Those are my 3 cardinal rules for introducing foods to baby! What do you look for?