When I was pregnant with Hemsley there were a few topics that seemed to continually pop into my mind as I thought about life with a baby. You’d think like most women I would be worried about the feat of childbirth, but that really wasn’t much of a concern to me. Instead, I thought a lot about if I would know what to do when baby arrived (would mommy-ing just come naturally?) and… how would I make sure my baby got the best nutrition possible??
I guess, considering nutrition is a huge part of my life, career, and passion, this maybe wasn’t so odd after all. I just wanted to make sure that my future baby would be well fed and fed well.
Well I’ll tell you, it’s been a pretty fun journey so far (…and a bit of a learning curve) and I’m quite certain that Hemsley is acing it in the nutrition and food category!
Miss Hemsley is most definitely a very, very, enthusiastic eater. It wasn’t more than 5 minutes after she entered the world and she was already latched on to me, breastfeeding away. Still at 9 1/2 months, she loves to nurse. My hope is to continue to breastfeed Hemsley for her entire first year and then let her gradually wean off herself. While breastfeeding was an adjustment at the beginning I do have to say I’ve really loved it and am so happy I’ve been able to nurse her with ease. I am sure I’ll miss it when it ends.
Our journey with solid foods has also been a positive one. Although I do have to say, it didn’t go as I originally planned…
You see, before Hemsley was born, I had in mind that I wait until she was 6-months old and essentially let her feed herself diced solids and wean on her own (an adaptation of Baby-Led Weaning). But, like most plans when it comes to babies, it didn’t go down that way.
At 5 months Hemsley was showing pretty much all of the signs of readiness for solid foods. She was sitting up with minimal support, holding her head up great with awesome neck control, reaching for food out of my hands, and staring intently at anyone who was eating.
I did some research and decided I’d let her give diced solids a go and see how she responded. So, I cut up some avocado, sat her in her high chair, and watched as she smooshed, mashed, and squished the avocado all over the place, getting it everywhere but her mouth.
Hmmm. We needed a new approach, so in came the purées!
It turned out that Hemlsey didn’t yet have the dexterity to pick up solid foods and get them from the table to her mouth so instead I made fruit and veggie smoothies, mixtures of mashed fruit and chia or hemp seeds, and quick and easy purées using avocados, bananas, berries, and pear. I also used ready-made purées including LoveChild Organics Simple Firsts, Super Blends, and Savoury Baby Meals.
As much as I would have loved to make all of my own purées, I frankly just didn’t have the energy or free hands (did I mention Hemsley was also going through a sleep regression at this time?) so it was wonderful to have tasty and nutritious superfood organic purees without any artificial preservatives, sugars, sodium or fillers on hand to feed her.
She gobbled up the smoothies, purées, and mashed fruit blends without any hesitation and showed no signs of digestive issues, intolerances, or allergies, so I knew we were good to continue with solids.
During that time I often gave Hemsley diced solids to see if she was able to pick them up to feed herself, and just before she turned 6 months old she had figured it out!
While it was so much fun to watch her pick up little chunks of banana, avocado, pear, zucchini, and carrot and pop them into her mouth, she also often gave herself food hair masks and left a whole lot of scraps for the cats! A warning to all those with little babies out there venturing into the world of food, it will get messy.
Now, at 9 months, Hemsley is a food pro. She gobbles up all types of diced solids including fruits, vegetables, chicken, seafood, beef and grains, which I season with lemon, lime, herbs, and spices. She also still enjoys her LoveChild Organics purée pouches which she can hold and squeeze to feed herself (these are AMAZING for on-the-go), as well as the super convenient Pat-A-Cakes and Love Ducks made with clean, simple ingredients and added superfoods.
I can truly say that feeding Hemsley so far in her first year has been a ton of fun and has shown me that I really didn’t need to worry so much when I was pregnant!
While Hemlsey can’t speak yet (aside from “mama” and “dada”) I know her little mind is a sponge so I do my best teach her about food. I’ll show her different foods, say their names out loud, let her try and explore different tastes and textures, and aim to encourage her curiosity. Knowledge truly is power and I believe that the more our children’s generation knows about healthy, whole foods and nutrition, the more likely it is they will live healthy, long, active lives.
We’ve really enjoyed looking through It All Begins With Food, the beautiful cookbook written by LoveChild Organics founder Leah Garrard-Cole and have many pages dogeared (seriously, there’s a ton of amazing recipes in her cookbook!).
I can’t wait until Hemsley is big enough to help me in the kitchen so that together we can get cooking and baking. For now, I’ll keep putting her in my baby-carrier as I prepare meals so she can watch (and taste test), and I’ll continue to feed her all of the yummy baby-friendly concoctions I can come up with!
Fingers crossed as we get closer to toddlerhood (that’s when the real pickiness typically begins), Hemsley keeps her zest for food. Stay tuned for Feeding Hemsley Pt.2 when we get to that stage!
Do you have a baby at home? How has your feeding experience been? Or, are you through this stage already? And if so, how did it go? I’d love to read about it in the comments below!
Have a lovely Sunday,
Christal // NITK