So the BIG day has come… We have welcomed James into the world of solid FOOD! I’m so happy to share this experience with you. This is my little James’ 6-month eating adventure and how you can make your own baby food if you’re interested. Before I begin, please note that I am not a pediatrician. Just a loving mommy like many of you. I would suggest consulting your doctor before making the decision to feed your child solid foods.
Lately, while Jason and I are eating dinner at the table, we can see little James showing signs of interest in the food. Honestly, I was nervous because I wasn’t sure if he was ready for solid foods yet. He’s been drinking breast milk for the last six months, how was he going know how to swallow solids?
As a foodie, I was excited to start making him some homemade baby food. I was super curious to see what his taste buds and palate would enjoy (or not). Side note – don’t you love this long sleeve bib with arms and adorable print? It sure came in handy because it was messy feeding this little guy, so make sure to have a towel ready before you start! It was also James’ first time in a high chair, and we like this Chicco high chair because there are comfy straps to secure him in, easy to wipe down and folds up. As you can see, James was a little apprehensive at first…
Where’s the Beef?
During James’ 4 month check up, I was surprised to hear that the doctor recommended serving meat for his first solid meal. I had always heard about doing iron-fortified rice cereals first, so I was very hesitant and asked my other mama friends and family for their insights. It turns out lean meat protein is a more bioavailable source of heme iron compared to grains and vegetables according to the National Institute of Health, which is why my doc made the recommendation.
After some serious thought and research, I decided to go with my gut and follow the doctors suggestion. Here is what I did to make James’s first food experience go as smooth as possible…
Homemade Baby Food Prep
The selection of beef was crucial, so I headed to Whole Foods Market and purchased about ¾ pound of organic grass-fed beef (top sirloin cut). This cut of beef is pretty lean and easy to remove any excess fat or gristle from the steak. James was in for a treat! For my own conscience, I wanted to make sure the beef was free of antibiotics and growth hormones. Did you know that grass-fed beef also gives a more favorable ratio of omega fatty acids? I think I’ll be buying our whole family this kind of beef more often! Many of the books and blogs I read advised not to salt the meat, just simply roasting, baking or stewing the meat. So this is what I did to make a beef puree…
I placed the steak on a sheet pan greased with a small amount of grapeseed oil and roasted it in the oven at 375°F for about 20 minutes until the juices ran clear and the internal temperature was about 165°F. Once the steak cooled, I cut the meat into small ½ inch cubes. Be aware at this point, your husband will conveniently come into the kitchen and inspect (more like devour) several cubes. I made sure that there was no pink left in the center of each cube. If there was, I roasted those cubes for a few more minutes until the pink was gone.
Once the cubes of beef had completely cooled, I ground about ¼ cup of meat in my Vitamix blender until a powder-like consistency. I gradually added some room temperature breast milk until a smooth puree was created (about 2 ounces) or until you feel the puree is easy for baby to eat.
Next time I would add lukewarm filtered water instead of milk because that stuff is like liquid gold and I don’t think the taste would be much different, the consistency is just slightly creamier with the milk.
I thought that the puree was not smooth enough due to such a small volume in the large blender, so I transferred the mix to a food processor . That helped get it down to a much finer textured paste. I saved the extra cubes of meat and refrigerated it in a glass container so I could make fresh puree the next day.
I realized that James ate 1-2 teaspoons, so I only needed to puree about 1 tablespoon of meat for each serving. Make sure to use just enough water or milk to make the puree. For the next days meal, I used the mini chopper instead of the Vitamix since I was making about a tablespoon of food. If I were to make a bigger batch, I would use the Vitamix again.
Time to Eat!
With the food ready to serve at room temperature, it was go time! I was getting kind of nervous about actually feeding James. I wondered if he would just spit it out and never want to eat beef again? (a little exaggerated) Or would he know how to swallow it? We decided to feed him about half his milk bottle to make sure he wasn’t starving then gave him a small spoonful of pureed beef.
And guess what… he loved it! Or maybe he just liked the spoon, haha. He grabbed the spoon and chomped away at the food, and he even screamed for more. We gave him about a heaping teaspoon to start. The meat was still a little fibrous, so he struggled a bit to figure out how to swallow it. He still needs to work on that tongue thrush reflex! We then let him finish the rest of the bottle, so he stayed hydrated and was able to wash down the meat particles in his mouth.
I guess you could say the first experience was positive! I think I may try to shape some ground beef into baby meatballs, bake those and then puree them. Hopefully, that may make the meat a little easier to eat. I’m excited for him to try spinach, peas and maybe some chicken or turkey next. James’ food journey has officially begun with more tips and recipes to follow.
I’m hoping he loves food just as much as his momma! Do you have a cute little baby? What solid foods do you (or did you) feed your little one?