Nora will be six months tomorrow and I can’t even believe it. She’s rolling back and forth easily now, and wants desperately to move. She can rotate herself on her stomach, but hasn’t quite figured out how to get her legs under her to crawl yet. She’s making all kinds of new babbling sounds, and seems to find a different awkward sleeping position every couple of nights. She loves bath time, books, and she is fascinated by the cats, especially Maeve, who always seems to be lurking nearby.
Another exciting six(ish)-month milestone is weaning! Being a foodie myself, I was very excited to introduce Nora to the world of food. We started trying purees with her at 4 months, but she wasn’t ready yet. We tried every couple of weeks after that, but found she had the same reaction: pursing her lips, scrunching her nose, and spitting out more than she swallowed. I knew weaning wasn’t easy for a lot of people but I also didn’t want to push too hard and make her scared of the high chair, or dread the sight of a bib.
Finally, a couple of weeks ago, we tried carrots for the first time, and she LOVED them. She was happy, opening her mouth and excitedly hitting the tray of the high chair. I was so excited, for her and myself, that I immediately started looking into how to make homemade puree.
I found basic cooking instructions and flavor combination suggestions on Mummy Cooks and Pinterest. The general instructions are easy: bake, boil, or steam until very soft, and blend (I use a stick blender) using water, cooking liquid, formula, or breast milk to thin to the right consistency. I tried boiling apples and sweet potatoes first, but found the steaming method to be more flavorful. So far I’ve made pureed carrots, apples, pears, green beans, and sweet potatoes with the steaming method. Frozen fruits and veggies work well too. Over the weekend I made pureed peas by thawing frozen baby peas in the microwave and blending with water. Some purees, like bananas, berries, and avocado don’t even require cooking! I even tried using frozen peas and microwaving them before pureeing, and that worked well too!
Once the puree is smooth, I spoon it into an ice cube tray (I bought this one) and freeze. Once the cubes are solid, I pop them out, put them in breast milk bags, label and date them, and store them in the freezer inside a larger freezer storage bag: one for fruits, one for veggies. When it’s time for Nora to eat, I take one out at a time and thaw it in the fridge (if I plan ahead) or the microwave. I often thaw two, and she eats a combination, like peas and carrots. For breakfast I’ve been giving Nora fruit puree with a baby spoonful of plain whole milk Greek yogurt. Yesterday we kicked it up a notch by adding a pinch of cinnamon to our apple yogurt, and she really enjoyed that. She started out eating 1 cube (mine is 0.6 oz/20 ml), 3 times/day, but I think she’s ready to increase to 2 cubes per meal now.
Another great use for frozen puree cubes? Baby Popsicles! One day, when Nora was grumpy, I cut up one of the cubes of apples and strawberries into quarters and gave it to her in one of those little silicon feeders. She LOVED it. It’s been a great way to cool off on a hot day, or soothe teething pain (although we still have not seen any teeth). She’s even gotten the hang of holding onto it and putting it in her mouth by herself.
I like the idea of baby-led weaning, so I’m also trying to give Nora big pieces of fruits and veggies she can gnaw on. She doesn’t quite understand the concept yet, but I’m going to keep trying. I’m hoping with enough exposure she will play with the food and it will keep her occupied in her high chair so I can get some cooking done for the adults at the same time!
Please note: I am in no way an expert on babies or weaning, and I would never pretend to be. The post above is solely based on my experience with my daughter. If you have questions/concerns about the weaning process for your baby, please consult an expert, or your child’s doctor.