Our little angel from July 2013 to June 2014 on her solid food!
I am happy that I have breastfed our girl for 18 months now! But, I am more excited that I have provided our girl with healthy home prepared/cooked food for 1 year now (we actually started her with solid few days after turning 6 months).
When I was expecting, we were just concern about “breastfeeding”, never a thought about feeding solid until her first few months – after doing some research. In fact, during our girl’s first month, I heard from a person with no motherhood experience saying how her sister in law being fussy about her children’s food. She even asked if I will be similar to her sister in law in the future. I didn’t answer, I remembered. LOL! I think I turned out to be one now! I never thought it would be “home cooked/prepared” food – as no one actually taught or told me about it (but I blame no one as we were doing things in stages). The most I heard was giving anchovies for calcium (which I never ever give – after doing some research on its preservatives level). And the simplest suggestion was commercial cereal – which we often see in advertisements.
I am glad that I took up the initiatives to do research and read up on feeding solid. I gave myself less than 6 months, as that was the only time left for me. LOL! It is a journey full of ups and some downs (the latter, thanks mostly to the old fashioned thinking people – seriously, do we need so much opinion?). I am glad that I have persisted. In this one year, I learnt so much about food – from fresh, preparation, cooking to baking. I also became familiar with some ingredients that never come across my mind before – for example, grains – millet and buckwheat; vegetables – zucchini, molasses sugar, the different kinds of flour – etc. I read and research so much, and there’s also when I found Healthy Food for My Baby facebook page. I remembered having a list of vegetables that she has tried and hasn’t – which I did during lunch time. In these few months, I thought to myself, I should have become a nutritionist.
We started her off with single puree. Though it is best to start new food during day time, the only time I had was in the evening (during that time I was working). I wanted to witness how my girl was taking in new stuff – so, I never let the nanny try on new food with her. So, I will rush home from work (leaving at 5.30pm sharp), prepare something and then pick her up (sometimes when it got too jam, I had to pick her up from nanny before preparing – and if you wonder, my nanny is just next block to where I stay). Generally, she is alright to most vegetables and fruit purees – she was only allergic to brinjal that time (I told that to a paed, the paed said – “that is not a very nice vegetable to eat after all!”).
During 6-8 months, I packed a warm-up fruit or vegetable puree (that has been tested on our girl before) to the nanny in a thermos, and asked her to feed my girl during daytime. I usually prepared during the weekend and freeze it; only heating up in the morning before I go to work. Well, I believe whatever freezing, defrozing and heating I do is definitely better than commercial food (just similar to expressed breast milk, frozen breast milk and formula milk concept). The amount is small and occasionally, my girl doesn’t want to eat at the nanny’s (according to nanny). But each evening when I tried at home, she accepted it! So, overall, at 6-8 months she had two small meals.
From 8 months on, we started her on yogurt – beating the traditional thoughts that anchovies, which has a lot of preservatives – to provide my girl with calcium. I have this packed in a cooler bag – 2-3 tablespoon of Fresh Farm Natural Yogurt with fruit puree. I asked the nanny to feed her for teatime. She usually finished it without hesitation – her favourite, probably because it is chill. And because of yogurt consumption, she rarely or close to never had constipation. So, by 8 months onwards she had 3 tiny meals – day meal, tea time and dinner (at home). I also started introducing things like cheese, home made brown rice/millet, oats and etc.
As we move forward to 10 months, it gets more adventurous – more combinations of stuff were made – for example – silken tofu with egg and oats. She takes an additional meal (total 3 meals and a snack) – where I provided a small container of fruits to the nanny, which I asked her to give our girl as snack – usually grapes or honeydew, which she can hold on. These persisted until my last day at work or when I turned into a stay at home mum – at her 13th month.
Her 13th to 14th month was also my transition period. I was adapting to the new life as stay at home mum and also understanding her pattern. It was from 14th month onwards, I became more active and hardworking in preparing all kinds of meals – sharing my efforts, which at the same time I got some words of encouragement. I came to understand her schedule and thus fit in my schedule into hers (yes, I believe it is important for parents to accommodate the toddler). Generally, she will have breakfast, morning snack, lunch, teatime, dinner and maybe a slight snack before bedtime. And, this has gone on till now.
It is also from her one year old onwards, I often hear many nonsense suggestions, but I persisted with my effort to do research and analyzing things for the sake of my girl’s health. Generally, no salt/sugar/soy sauce unless it is for baking (which is required for certain recipe). To be fair to our girl, we have also followed such rule at home for our own meal.
Moving forward, I think it will also be a hard time to be stern to a toddler who is constantly showing interest with whatever things we/others eat. Sometimes I have relaxed the rules to giving her some sushi or edamame in Japanese restaurant, or just plain rice in the restaurant. After putting some thoughts into it, I think I will persist this until at least 3 years old (hopefully)– for sure, I will still get many criticism or comparisons made with other toddlers (especially with their other grandchildren). But, I don’t do this for fun – but for the sake of my girl’s health. As I mentioned before, the first three years’ diet is the road to a healthy being.