Getting Real with Kira Hazledine
Baby food is gross. I used to know people in high school that would pack jars of baby food for lunch because they thought it tasted good. I’ll admit that some of the fruit is not half-bad, but I still would rather eat something else. Hallie felt the same.
Hallie started solids at about 4 months because she was very interested in what was on my plate. I’m pretty sure it was a pile of chicken wings that first inspired her to crawl. So, I bought a food processor, grabbed some fruit, vegetables, and oatmeal, and I went for it.
I’m no master in the kitchen, and my whole family still thinks it’s gross that I mixed pretty much everything I pureed with breastmilk. Why would I use water when breastmilk is packed full of nutrients? My dad insisted that I ruined the taste, but somewhere I think I read that it would better adjust her to food. I don’t know if it helped, but she ate it. And yes, I tasted it too. I couldn’t expect to Hallie to eat something if it was gross, so I took one for the team.
Then the jarred baby food started pouring in from public health programs like WIC, which is awesome! Except Hallie, already introduced to real food, wasn’t a fan. And you can tell me all you want that it is “real food” but Hallie knew the difference. You could not convince her to take a single bite of jarred banana baby food, despite eating mashed banana daily for 2 months. And the meat? Yeah, right. I finally asked for that to be taken off our grocery checks, because I was overrun with pureed ham and turkey that smelled like cat food and looked like something in Hallie’s diaper.
For a few months, I tried it all to get her to eat the jarred baby food. I would mix it in with oatmeal, or sneak peas in with a fruit medley that Hallie tolerated. I tried baby food cookies and smoothies. I wore a lot of it. I did try frozen yogurt pops, mixed with jarred baby food and whole-milk yogurt. That was a favorite, especially when she was teething, but eventually she started throwing that at me too. It was a win, but only for a limited time. More and more often she was eating tiny bites off my plate. Here is a better breakdown of my baby food wins and fails:
- Puree food with breastmilk instead of water for added nutrients
- Pureed food with spice (add cinnamon to apples or a bit of salt to peas)
- Jarred baby food and yogurt make healthy frozen treats
- Baby-led weaning can help highlight what your baby likes to eat
- Oatmeal mixed with jarred vegetables
- Oatmeal mixed with jarred meat (why I even tried, I’m not sure)
- Jarred baby food smoothies
- Cookies (still jarred baby food, still gross according to Hallie)
Overall, Hallie is a healthy eater, so I don’t have much to complain about. And maybe your baby would love some jarred baby food cookies or oatmeal, because they weren’t bad attempts. Hallie just wasn’t interested. She would not eat jarred baby food, thanks, and I better get into the kitchen to puree her next meal. It was more work, but I was excited that Hallie was satisfied, as long as it was real-people food. Now that she has teeth, she has nearly free reign over the foods she can enjoy, and I don’t have to puree it or taste-test. I was able to donate a large box of baby food to charity and feel good about helping other, less particular, babies.
Even as kids get older, fed is best. However you can get your child to sit down and eat a meal is a win every time.