Saturday, November 14, 2009

Favourite Foods

We have been having a lot of fun testing Lachlan's palate. He has become such a wonderful eater, trying eagerly all foods that are brought before him. At this time, Lachlan does not eat meat, so it is important that we provide well balanced meals that are jam packed with vitamins and minerals. This is especially important for infants six months and older as iron stores begin to deplete and they need to get them from an outside source. Breastfed babies will absorb the most iron, but still not the daily recommended allowance. Formulas and cereals are available fortified with iron, but do not assume that your baby will absorb all the iron in the serving. Egg yolk is a wonderful source of iron and if there is not a history of egg allergy in your family, it makes a wonderful additional to mango or banana mash. You'll want to mash it in with a ripe and flavourful fruit in order to eliminate the powdery taste hard boiled yolks render.

Protein is also important for growing bodies, which is another issue that parents of vegan or vegetarian babies need to consider. At this time I do not plan on giving Lachlan meat until he is one year of age, though I plan on introducing fish later on this week. This is a personal choice, as I find meat to be one of the hardest foods to digest. I'd rather wait for his intestines to mature a bit more before the introduction of meat, especially beef. To make sure that Lachlan gets enough protein, I make him beans or lentils with rice.

Lachlan has also started dairy products. We began with ricotta cheese, which he enjoys with mashed banana and cantaloupe (rock melon). He has also had cheddar cheese, which I add to my Cheesy Mash recipe. Although yogurt is a favourite starter food for infants, we have opted to avoid until he is over a year. My husband recently attended a conference where research scientists found that early introduction to yogurt can actually damage the balance of a babies natural, good bacteria in their gut. The children in the study had eaten various popular brand yogurts that have added cultures to them. Those babies that avoided these yogurts, had healthier, stronger guts. The studies were still preliminary, but it is enough for me to hold off. After all, he doesn't know what he is missing!

Below are some of Lachlan's Food Favourites:

Monster Mash

Mash half and organic banana, one free-range hard-boiled egg yolk and organic ricotta (amount to desired consistency). If too thick, add either water, formula or breast-milk.

Cheesy Mash

Bake six small organic potatoes in the oven until tender and the skins are all wrinkled.  When finished, peel of skins mash.
While potatoes are baking, finely dice half of a small onion and grate 1/4 cup of mild, organic cheddar cheese. Add to warm potato mash and mix well. I like to use a staff mixer. You may add water or milk/formula to reach desired consistency. Divide into baby food storage containers to freeze leftovers.
Note: The first time I gave this to Lachlan, it was not his favourite so I added a little sweet potato that I have stored to it. Now he loves it on its own and it is one of his favourites.

Organic Baby Biscotti

This recipe can be found in Lisa Barnes', The Petit Apetit cookbook. Lachlan absolutely loves them and they are good for mum and dad to eat with tea, too! Whatever is left of Lachlan's biscotti, our dog, Maxwell gobbles up.

Milestone Moment: Our Little Inch Worm

Lachlan has finally decided that he would like to give crawling a go! Of course many babies like to crawl forwards as they try to obtain something within their reach, not my little man. He has decided that he prefers to go backwards! He looks like a little inch worm as he gets on his knees and pushes back on his hands. Our little caterpillar likes to back track it until an obstacle stops him; such as the wall or until he gets stuck under the couch.

If you have a little backwards inch worm of your own, you can encourage him to crawl forward with these tips:

1) Place an object of interest just out of his reach to encourage him to reach forward, after all, reaching is the precursor to crawling!

2) With your bub on his tummy, sit behind him with your hands on the bottoms of his feet, like a 'kick-off' board. As bub begins to reach forward for a toy, allow him to push-off of your hands. Your hands will give him some traction. Babies tend to naturally move there legs in a breast-stroke or 'frog-like' swim. if he happens to push off of your hands and move forward a bit to grab a toy, he will be most likely to do it again.

I've been doing these exercises with Lachlan and he gets so excited when he pushes off my hands. He generally just needs a few pushes and then he begins to move like a frog as quickly as he can, trying to heave his body forward. When it fails, he metamorphoses back to an inch worm and before you know it I have to rescue him from the dust bunnies that live under our couch!