Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Baby Food

In less than just two weeks Crosby will be six months old and it will be time to start introducing solid foods into her diet. I cannot believe she is nearly 6 months old! I remember thinking I had so much time before I introduced her to food and here it is upon me now. Some people do introduce food a bit earlier to their babies (between 4-6 months) but we have decided to wait the full 6 months because there are some dairy, fish, and egg allergies on Scott's side of the family and my sister was just recently diagnosed with celiac disease. While there is no way to prevent Crosby from inheriting any of these genes that could cause the allergies, I have been advised that breast milk only for the first full six months is the best shot at protection against such issues. So, I have stuck with it and hope it is giving Crosby the best start at a good healthy diet.

We are headed on another family holiday soon and so as soon as we return from that trip, I will begin the food adventures. In order to prepare for Crosby's first foods, I have been scouring the shelves at the grocery store and doing quite a bit of reading online. When I took Crosby to the pediatrician back in the US (at 3 months of age), the doctor gave me this leaflet as a guide to introducing foods into Crosby's diet:
There is quite a list of items to avoid - some until she is ONE year old and others to avoid until she is TWO years old. The other bit of advice listed there (and also given here in the the UK) is that babies should be introduced (early on) to only one food at a time, most especially if there is a history of allergies in the family. I have seen various advice on the "wait time" in between foods - anywhere from 2-4 days before introducing the next "new" food is what I have read.

Now comes the confusing part for me. Here in England, I have not found any plain baby food at the grocery stores - just one food item at a time in baby food form. So, unless everyone makes their own baby food, how is it possible to introduce just one vegetable or one fruit at a time???? (*Minor exception - Ella's organic pouches have just released plain apples, plain pears, and plain mangoes)

As seen at my local grocery store:
The Plum Brand foods - no plain foods there - all mixed varities!

Ella's Kitchen offers a mixed strawberry & apple pouch as a "first food" which is another point of confusion for me since the US pediatrician said no strawberries until age 2. Here, a first food is between 4-6 months. Confusing, right?

And then beyond the "First foods," come the stage 2 foods which are more like little meals for babies. I never thought about the foods in the US before until I started looking at the foods here. These baby foods seem to be very culture specific.
Hence the Fish Pie with mash (very British) and the Beef Stew with Spuds. Sounds like pub fare to me!

Annabel Karmel is considered to be one of the baby food "experts" here in the UK. She is widely known and her books are all over the baby shops and bookstores here. After reading her website, I am now just more confused on which standard I will follow for introducing foods to Crosby. As a prime example, the first photo from my US pediatrician says fish should be avoided until a baby is over 1 year of age. However, Anabel's website has this recipe and information under the foods for 6-9 months age:

It’s important to encourage a liking for fish early on. This Salmon Puree baby food recipe is quick and easy to prepare and combining it with root vegetables is a good way to introduce fish to your baby. Oily fish like salmon, trout, tuna and sardines are especially good as they contain omega-3 essential fatty acids which are very important for visual and brain development. Tinned tuna however does not contain omega 3s only fresh tuna.


200g carrots, topped and tailed and sliced
125g salmon fillet, skinned
60ml orange juice
40g grated Cheddar cheese
a knob of butter
2 tbsp milk

And of course then the baby foods contain fish and other items that I am not sure are in US baby food....

Personally I am a bit disgusted by baby food. My thought is that I don't eat meals out of jars or little packets, so why would I want to give my baby her first foods from them? Fish or lamb sitting on a shelf in a packet? Can it really be that healthy?

So, I am making all of my own baby food so that I know what goes in it and can control the quality of food she eats early on. It is simple to make and I have already made and frozen: peas, sweet potatoes, pears, apples, and mangoes in anticipation of Crosby's first foods. This way I can also introduce one food at a time to ensure we are able to catch any food sensitivities when they occur. There is no guarantee but I hope I am giving her the best start possible. Plus, I want my little girl to be a good, healthy eater which I think includes lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and proteins. We will forge through this next stage as best we can but it is a bit confusing that different countries have different advice for such tiny people. I guess both are probably right and wrong to some extent - after all, both countries continue to grow their population so something is working!


Kris said...

It's so overwhelming, isn't it!! I'm sure Crosby will love trying all the new flavors!
I started Tess on homemade baby foods, but then moved onto Ella's and other jar purees, as Tess didn't seem to like my homemade stuff! ha ha! It's crazy the differences between the UK and US guidelines. I've been giving Tess fish and strawberries for a couple months now (though we have no history of allergies in our family).

Crystal @ New Creation said...

I found your blog a few months ago and love it! I am still in the US but we will hopefully be moving in a year and a half for my husbands job. We have a 19 month old and although she is past the baby food stage and full force into table food we know we will probably have our second in the UK. Your blog post are giving me a wealth of information on just daily things that one would never think to ask or research. Thanks and your Baby girl is absolutely adorable. God Bless!