One of many challenging foreign waters you enter as a new mom is meal planning. But it isn’t just “what do we have for dinner”. It is much more intimidating. You have this tiny new engine with all brand new and unused parts. And you don’t yet know what he is potentially allergic to or can handle. So you just start by dipping a toe in the water and you start slowly with one food at time. You do countless Google searches, you ask pediatricians, you ask other moms, you talk to nurses, you read blogs and Facebook and you hopefully find a cookbook and kitchen tools that help you simplify this journey.
I am not an expert on nutrition. I am not a chef with formal training. And I definitely don’t claim to know what I am doing. Each day as a new parent is like diving into the pool and trying to remember the difference between a breast stroke and the butterfly stroke all while balancing a tiny human in the palm of your hand, oh and reminding yourself to have fun in the process.
I love food and I married into a family that reveres food. So more than anything I feel the weight of shaping his life long eating habits and appreciation for food. If I feed him more fruit than veggies will he have a sweet tooth? Should I worry that he prefers Cheerios over other finger foods and would rather suck food from a Plum Organics pouch than be bothered with a spoon? Luckily he will take food from a spoon if he doesn’t see the pouch. And he actually is getting more adept at grasping soft finger foods. He loved butternut squash the other day. He kept shoveling piece after piece into his little mouth until he looked like a very happy chipmunk with squash filled cheeks. And the dogs are loving this new world of solid foods, I don’t have to worry about cleaning up crumbs with them around.
George is actually a good eater. We even tried lamb recently with peas and mint and he loved it. Well he loved it on the first day. The second day after the puree had been frozen and then defrosted I think the flavors were a little stronger and he DID NOT love it. There was gagging, screaming and a very red annoyed face. Guess he likes his lamb freshly prepared!
Making baby food for George has been a bit of an adventure. It took me awhile to get the consistency of the purees and flavors to his liking. I’m so grateful there are some prepared organic baby food options out there, otherwise I would have lost my mind in the beginning. And even now actually I still use a mix of 50/50 homemade and prepared baby foods. There are just days when you need a meal to happen on the go and you either can’t keep homemade food fresh on your journey, or you just don’t have the time and need to cut a corner, or two.
We started slow with solid foods about four months ago when he was six months old and now that I can breath a little easier knowing he isn’t allergic to all the many things he has tried so far, planning meals has gotten a little easier. I guess like most new aspects of parenthood I need to just take a deep breath and trust that I am doing the best that I can for him, I’m not trying to win a top chef award so just relax and dive in. And don’t forget to sing a silly made-up song while we eat lunch together. These days are so precious, I should enjoy that I get to spend three meals a day with my baby boy. No matter what we are eating, or not eating as some days go.