Food is a common theme in our home. First, we all love eating. And we also obsess (hopefully in a healthy way) about eating organic, whole ingredients. I also suffer from what we call being “hangry.” You know, becoming mean and angry when you are hungry. That’s me! So, I eat often.
I am also passionate about living a plant-based life. I was raised vegetarian and became vegan on my own accord in my twenties. I honestly didn’t think I would do anything different when I became a mother. I would set the example for my children on what to eat and feed my them the same diet.
When Asher was born, breastfeeding went extremely well. We both loved it, thankfully. When six months rolled around, we we were excited for the milestone of Asher trying his first food. It is important to note that experts recommend waiting until at least 6 months old to introduce solids. There has been a large amount of research on this subject and most health organizations have updated their recommendations. However, many pediatricians and written materials are not up to date in what they are advising parents, so spread the word!
A little recap of our food journey with Asher:
- Birth to six months, Asher was exclusively on breastmilk, mostly breastfed, but occasionally given bottles of pumped milk.
- At six months, we introduced Asher to food. He wasn’t super into it and we didn’t push it (see image below!).
- Six to eight months, we continued introducing different foods, all for fun. Again, he wasn’t into it that much. Remember, “food before one is just for fun.” And we mostly used the baby-led weaning method.
- At eight months, Asher officially ate his first real meal of solids. Want to know how I determine this date? His poop changed forever :-). We continued to use the baby-led weaning method.
- I breastfed Asher until 21 months. We never introduced a replacement milk. Although at times, for fun and some nutrients, he enjoyed almond milk and cashew milk, usually both home-made.
Asher is now three, and his favorite foods include: mango, broccoli, peas, almonds, cashews, lentil pasta, rice & beans, tempeh, squash, chickpeas, carrots, mushrooms, berries, peanut butter, almond butter, nut cheeses, raisins, dates, bell pepper, pickles, avocado, sweet potato, tomatoes, hummus, oat pancakes, and banana muffins. He now helps me in the kitchen every single day–both cooking and baking.
I am so thankful for Asher’s love of so many fresh, nutritious foods. It’s important to remember that YOU are in charge of what your child eats and when. He/she is in charge of how much.
While introducing solids, we never used pre-processed baby foods in jars or pouches. We also didn’t puree. Any hard vegetable was steamed. Obviously going this route with baby food takes A LOT of effort, but it is totally worth it. I wanted to make sure Asher was getting the absolute best quality food and nutrients. Want some helpful examples of food you can make? Scroll down to page 18 on my favorite baby food tool. And this tool does not just relate to vegans. You want your child to eat fruits and veggies too.
I was recently introduced to the No More Old Baby Food campaign. YES! There’s a reason why I was not drawn to using packaged baby foods, but I honestly didn’t know all of the facts about the ingredients, preservatives, shelf life, cooking, packaging, storage, etc. The images circulating with moldy food inside the pouches was simply seared into my brain, and I stayed far away.
Next time you’re in need of purchasing baby food, check out Little Spoon. They use 100% organic and non-GMO ingredients. The food is delivered to your door every other week to make sure it’s fresh. Seriously, compare the color of their food to the color of the foods in jars and pouches. It’s shocking!
I 100% understand the ease of using packaged baby food. Us mamas are BUSY. And honestly, getting a baby/toddler to eat can be really stressful. This is why innovation has happened in the baby food industry, yet when it comes to the health of our children, we shouldn’t have to compromise. Great options include serving your own food using the baby-led weaning method (easier than pureeing everything, in my opinion), using a local baby-food service, and purchasing from extremely high quality baby food brands.