Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, grown adults ate baby food in an attempt to lose weight. Maybe it wasn’t a land far, far away. Maybe it was just the 90s.
Before you have a baby, you usually have a few things figured out. You might have a savings account. You may have successfully cooked yourself meals. You may have acquired some stamps on your passport.
Then a baby comes into your world. They are adorable. They make your heart hurt with love. They teach you, very quickly, that you don’t know what the hell you are doing.
Parenting is an excellent opportunity to eat humble pie.
Speaking of eating, babies need to do it to grow. You have a good six months of their lives where you can feed them formula or breastmilk and feel satisfied that they’re getting everything they need.
Then it’s time for solids.
Whether you allow your baby to try eating for him or herself (also known as baby-led weaning, or watching your child throw all of your cooking efforts onto the floor with glee) or you meticulously spoon feed purées, is your call. The only thing all parents agree on? The baby has to eat. Eventually.
If you need some hacks on the baby food front, here are some ideas that I have given my nine-month-old. Sometimes he picks it up and then smears it all over his leg. Other times it gets into his mouth.
All we can do is celebrate our parenting wins, amiright?
- Raspberries and oatmeal (great for lazy days). Adult meal: same, with nuts and maple syrup.
- Pancakes (cut into teeny tiny pieces that don’t terrify every time your baby takes a bite). Pancakes for you, too.
- Smoothies. Before you add all the fixings, make it simple. Frozen fruit, some greens, purée. Don’t worry about adding any milk or liquid – it’s easier for a small baby to eat something a little thicker. Then after you do their helping (which can be as little as a teaspoon) go to town, adding all the chia/hemp/honey/milk that your baby isn’t necessarily ready for.
- Egg yolks and broccoli (consider this a baby omelet). Save the whites for yourself and serve yourself up some salad alongside if you are ambitious enough to consider eating with a fork for an extended period of time.
- Avocado toast. I like to buy frozen chunks because peeling an avocado now means I might miss out on my son electrocuting himself. I let him eat small pieces, and I smear some on toast for myself.
- Yogurt parfait. Your choice of yogurt for baby (careful of sugars) with small pieces of fruit mixed in. Save the granola for your bowl.
- Curry-less curry. Your baby might not be ready for heat, but grab all the vegetables that you would put in a curry or stirfry and sauté them on the side. Lazy hack: just pull them out of the sauce at the last minute and rinse them off. Your baby doesn’t know any better. If you purée, just run the mixture through a blender.
- Pasta. Babies love pasta because pasta is delicious and sometimes babies make sense. Either buy a tiny grain (like orzo) or cut larger pasta into small pieces. I found that my baby loves pesto and even sautéed onions and garlic. When he was really young, he just ate the filling of potato perogies. You can keep everything separate to make sure that you are not wasting food because your little one doesn’t like one part of the plate.
- Pizza night. The toppings of the pizza are fair game for your little one. Tomatoes can be a bit acidic for small bellies, but all the things you might put on top will be great sautéed in some olive oil. The bonus is that you can eat pizza with one hand while scraping extra toppings from your baby’s chin 😂
We have to do the best we can until the moment when our babies can request nut butter on toast for every single meal. Enjoy this short window where you can make all the food choices!