Sunday, January 30, 2011

Introduction of Solids and Julia’s Favorite Puree’s

 When to start solids for your baby is sometimes an issue of debate (everyone has their own opinion like anything I suppose), not for us we went by the book on this one and started the day Julia turned 6 months.  For the first year of life breastmilk or formula is the baby’s sole source of nutrition, the addition of solid foods is solely for practice.  Some parents will say they started earlier so their child would sleep through the night and so forth these are more along the lines of a myth it is actually not recommended to be putting cereal in a baby’s bottle so they will sleep longer nor is it recommended to start solids before 6 months of age.

Most people will start their baby on rice cereal, STOP and think about that for a minuet rice cereal? Like white rice cereal?  Why? Ok so there is one company My Organic Baby that makes a whole grain brown rice cereal none the less why not start on something nutritious after all they are only going to be taking small amounts so why not make it count? Starting with an infant barley or oatmeal cereal? Or avocado or squash? We started with My Organic Baby oatmeal cereal – when selecting a cereal for your baby you need to read labels carefully as many contain many different ingredients, preservatives, skim milk powder I mean does it get any more refined then that??  Not to mention that doesn’t mesh with a vegan diet or a baby with a milk allergy or intolerance (what is the difference? we will discuss this in a later post).  This is the first food that you are putting in your baby’s mouth wouldn’t you want it to be simply pure…?

When Julia was around 4 months I started preparing baby food, nothing could have prepared me for this incredible experience and the excitement of possibilities continues to bubble inside me.  I was reading and typing list after list trying to figure out what food to give her first, how much, how often, how I was going to make it steam it or bake it? Peel it before or after? So the experimenting began…

After weeks of researching options we decided to start Julia on My Organic Baby Oatmeal cereal, mixed with breastmilk.  When first starting solids you want them to be a soup like consistency, first your baby needs to be receptive to the spoon and then they need to figure out how to get that food to the back of their mouth to swallow.  These first attempts we are talking a couple teaspoons of cereal (if that) you start slow and gradually increase.  We intensely toyed with the idea of making our own baby cereal; however, our concern remained in the fortification process, infant cereal is fortified with iron and that was something that we couldn’t do at home (or could we, has anyone ever done that?).  Given that iron is very crucial in this time of development (7-9 months) we wanted to ensure Julia was getting enough, to compound this factor raising a vegan baby iron becomes all the more important as they are not getting that heme source of iron from meat products (will discuss iron more in a later post).

Knowing that Julia was more prone to constipation her second food was prunes, now try finding sulphite-free prunes this took a bit of sourcing as well, once we found ‘em we needed to get them into a puree form that our 6 month old daughter could consume so we pureed them in the food processor with water until they were smooth, in the early days we decided to freeze them (to find out prunes actually don’t freeze solid they are more of a gel like substance) so from there on we have made a fresh batch of prunes every 3 days and Julia LOVES them.  It was funny I remember taking her to the pediatrician and she was puzzled when we said we were making our own prunes, to me this was the only way to do it.  We have prepared every single thing our daughter has consumed and all these recipes, tips and tricks will come over the next few months.  My most recent creations are a baby friendly salt-free veggie stock, and delicious crackers so far I have only made wheat and rye but I have kamut, spelt and barley flour all calling my name in the kitchen so I will be making some fun cracker creations in the next few weeks and will share all these recipes.

This post was suppose to list Julia’s favourite puree’s but I guess I couldn’t do that without first giving you a low down on the initiation of solid foods.  We have discovered you can puree almost anything into baby food, while savouring the nutrients that are lost in the canning process of commercial baby food.  This made me think of the word “organic” please do not be fooled by this word “organic” it doesn’t mean better or more nutritious, jarred “organic” baby food went through the same canning process as it’s shelving neighbor thus losing many nutrients.  So buying a jar of organic baby food has lost the same nutritional value as the non-organic one by being heated to high temperatures to be canned and preserved for a couple of years.

Ok finally Julia’s Fav’s...

Single purees that have been a huge hit: prunes, pears, peaches, red or black plums, peas, beets and zucchini (aka summer squash).  We will discuss the controversy between fruits and veggies which one’s first? in the upcoming weeks.

Mixed purees  (we are only getting started now that she is a bit older and has tried many single
things we can start creating mixed dishes, spices and the possibilities are endless and I am excited).  Here are a few samples:

Tornado Tomato Mushroom Barley Risotto
Mini Munchkin Green Goulash
Wild Mango Berry
Triple Green Baby Monster
Popeye’s Smoothy
Powerhouse Peas (this might be the #1 hit of the household right now)
Rainbow Couscous

** All of these recipes will be posted shortly if you are wanting one sooner please send me a message or comment below

Textures are the other thing that really come into play now as baby’s learn how to “chew” or gum their food, things don’t have to be pureed as fine as they once were, hate to say it but more to come on this in an upcoming post.

I also intend to discuss the process of sourcing and making your own baby food in the upcoming weeks, I will also show you how we store all this food in a picture of my over stuffed freezer (ekk!).  Since Julia was about 4 months old (8 and ½ months ago I have made an average of at least 1 new thing daily) – to keep things “Simply Pure” for our little princess we have committed ourselves to making everything for her from the simplest purest form.

I know that I have mentioned the scarce resources on raising a vegan baby, so in turn I have been reviewing many baby cookbooks and I am absolutely appalled how “cheese” and “salt” are added to almost everything two comments on this will suffice for now and we will revisit this in the future 1) are babies getting a taste for broccoli or cheese when mixed together?; 2) sure salt will enhance flavours and is essential for cooking and baking and so forth but why start a taste for salt at 6 months old? 6y ok we can talk about that in ummm… 2017?!

I feel like I keep saying in “future” post and I guess that is because I should have started this blog months earlier but give it sometime and these pieces will all fall together and I will hope to link “future” posts to the references that I have made.  I have always had a passion for nutrition but having a daughter to feed has made me more passionate then I could imagine leaving me compelled to share so I have so much to say… but will stop here for today... sorry for super long post next one will discuss non-dairy alternatives to milk.  Enjoy your chilly Sunday!!


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  2. I'm really looking forward to your future posts. I admire you for tackling a topic with little information about it.

  3. Thank you I am very excited to share our story and put the pieces of a vegan baby together. Do you have children? Are you raising them vegan?

  4. We don't have children yet we are trying. I have been vegan for almost two years. My husband is not vegan but we have both decided that we want to raise them vegan until they can decide for themselves. I don't think they are missing out on anything if they are raised vegan but it is easy to say now because we don't have kids yet.

  5. Good luck and I hope you continue to follow me/us... being a mom is the best job in the world!!

  6. I use earths best grain cereal. what company makes prunes without sulfites? it would be so helpful to see a schedule of Julias first foods by month if you have time!I use super baby food (book) but at 6 months there wasnt much to try especially veggies!

  7. We also looked at earths best products but our local store did not have their cereal where are you located? We got sulphite prunes at bulk barn ( they were the only ones that we could find have you found them elsewhere? I will certainly post a schedule of Julia's 1st foods by month later this week :) How old is your baby/children? Are you vegetarian? Vegan? Thanks for stopping by

  8. Just a quick comment: you can get iron supplements from your pediatrician. If you get them in drop format, like some Vitamin D supplements for babies, then there are no other ingredients.

  9. Thanks for your comment where are you posting from? In Ontario we can buy iron supplements over the counter but I strive to avoid supplementation as it comes with its own set of side effects and I believe that natural sources are best are you raising a vegan baby/child?