C doesn’t really have an entirely different menu from us. When we introduced her to pear, we had pear as after dinner dessert. When she had pumpkin, we prepared pumpkin soup for us. When we introduced sweet potato, we baked other roots and tubers as a side dish to go with baked wings. So there is no need to do special marketing for her meals. We simply buy more or make use of the quantity in the adults’ menu.
Whenever I cook barley drink, red bean soup, yam paste and such, I would separate out a portion for her before I season or sweeten it. For barley and red bean paste, I cook the drink/soup as usual and blend the cooked grains with some fruits for her. The adults don’t really eat the grains so nothing goes to waste now!
So what combinations of food can I offer?
At Stage 1, you may like to offer single food purée from a selection of fruits, vegetables and grains, such as apples, avocados, bananas, barley, carrots, oatmeal, peaches/nectarines, papaya, pears, plums and prunes, potato, pumpkins, sweet potato. From these selection of first foods, you can get a pretty decent combination as you progress onto double or more combination purée and Stage 2 of weaning.
Once you have introduced a variety of single foods (say 5 different types), you may like to start combining food to create different layers of taste in a meal. There is no hard and fast rule but I have some guidelines to help me decide what to prepare for babystingrui.
#1 Select a base: oats, potato, rice (for porridge, at Stage 2), sweet potato, yam
If you are concerned about not being able to use up the ingredients, potato and sweet potato are excellent choice. I used about 1 large potato or 2 sweet potatoes (depending on size) each time. For rice, I just cooked extra rice for our meals. Oats have a longer shelf life. I usually buy a large pack for myself and babystingrui. Yam is a little tricky because it is so huge. I only prepare yam for her when I make yam paste or yam abacus for the family.
#2 Include food of at least 2 different colour groups and 1 veggie.
I read about the different benefits and “functions” of different coloured foods when I was reading up on purple sweet potatoes during the time I was planning to introduce it to babystingrui. Rather than guided by which foods have more of this vitamins and minerals, I find it easier to provide a better balanced diet through colour codes. It is also a good opportunity to introduce colours to your baby! This website provides a comprehensive guide to “eating rainbow” You might like to introduce some fish, such as salmon and white fish, or chicken breast to provide the protein that your baby needs.
How much do I feed?
For a start, you can begin with 2-3 tablespoons. I started with 30ml because I want to see how much C wants to eat. She finished all the pear purée the first time, so I stuck with 30ml till she turns 9 months (7 months adjusted). I also follow the rule of thirds: 1/3 base and 2/3 of everything else.
How do I prepare the food?
I rely a lot on my Beaba, which I used for steaming, blending and sometimes defrosting. Let me share with you a simple sweet potato recipe. This recipe uses sweet potatoes as the base and other foods for flavouring. If you are just starting to introduce solids to your baby, start with the sweet potato first.
Ingredients for flavour
1 fuji apple
Cinnamon powder (for older babies, 8 months onwards)
1. Peel off the skin of the skin of the sweet potatoes and apple, and cut it into chunks.
2. Steam the sweet potatoes, apples and raisins in baby food processor. Make sure the sweet potatoes are soft enough.
3. Add a dash of cinnamon.
4. Blend away!
This recipe yields about 420ml of food. Apples are steamed together with the sweet potatoes to help your baby digest it better. However you don’t really need to steam it. If you choose not to, you may like to process the apples after the sweet potatoes are cooked to prevent oxidation.
You may use this recipe as a guide and play around with the combination of base and flavours. I will be sharing with you other starter recipes with you, such as oats, porridge in the subsequent posts so stay tuned!