You might have guessed that since I'm very focused on nutrition and good health, that I'm going to make Ava's first foods at home. It's a tradition in my family. My mom made all of my food when I was a baby so I'm excited to keep the tradition going. I actually hated Gerber food that I had on occasion because I preferred real food that she made me. She used to freeze the purees (including meats) in ice trays and then pop them out and freeze them in a separate container for easier storage. I put the baby food trays on my baby registry and I was looking forward to trying them out. Thank you, James, Kelly and Ethan!
I got some small Ginger Gold apples in my produce box from Farm Fresh Delivery, and decided to cook them into applesauce. Our approach for Ava's first foods is to give her fresh real food, from the family table and let her experiment instead of rice cereal and packaged baby foods. I've been doing lots of research at my Le Leche League meetings (with other breastfeeding moms), from my favorite Lactation Consultant resource site Kellymom.com, reading Nina Planck's Real Food for Mother and Baby, and also talked to Ava's pediatrician to confirm my action plan. I learned that babies lack the enzyme to digest starches until age 1 or 2. They get some of that enzyme from breastmilk and even found naturally in banana. Babies are great at digesting fat and proteins so naturally, I'll use butter and olive oil in her first foods.
I'm planning on starting her sweet potatoes, avocado with olive oil and sea salt, and egg yolk with sea salt mixed with a little of mom's milk to ease the transition. Breastmilk is sweet, so there's no need to skip starting on fruits versus veggies like the conventional wisdom (probably more for formula babies). Applesauce is the perfect sweet and fiber-filled first food. Ava will be 5-months old next week so I thought it would be good to have it on-hand when I'm ready to start her after 6-months old. Until then, it's all momma's milk, of which she's thriving and literally more than doubled her birth weight! As of tonight she was 17 lbs on the bathroom scale.
This afternoon, I put Ava in her Bumbo chair with her toys around her (see my picture) and she played happily while I peeled, cored, and cut 3 green apples for the applesauce. The apples simmered on low heat after coming to a boil with filtered water. I added a dash of ground cinnamon and a bit of butter toward the end. They cooked on the stovetop for about an hour, stirring every so often and then I let it cool. It turned to applesauce, the apples breaking out without effort. I loaded up the ice cube trays and stored them in the freezer while Ava was hanging out in the Baby Bjorn after our walk. I told her that she'll get a taste when she's a little older and can sit on her own.
You don't have to be a baby to enjoy this applesauce! You could sweeten it with honey or maple syrup, but I thought the Ginger Golds were sweet and tart, delicious on their own. I wonder if Ava will like apples as much as her mom! I'll let you know.
Resources: Here's a great link on Kellymom.com about First Foods where she discusses delaying solid introduction until about 6-months and the best foods to start.
Do you have any experiences to share about making your baby's first foods?