When faced with the task of feeding my first daughter, Pearl, solids for the first time when she hit 6 months, I am embarrassed to admit I was a little freaked out. As a cook, I couldn’t believe I was so daunted by steaming and pureeing fruit and vegetables but my baby brain was in overdrive about doing everything right to give Pearl the best start in life nutritionally. Otherwise known as ‘first child syndrome’ I believe. However, as I got stuck in it became clear that it is actually a relatively easy and fun process to wean a baby onto solids. When the time came to wean my second daughter, Poppy, I decided I would go with the baby led weaning idea of giving her pieces of food from the start. However, after a few days of her throwing everything on the floor rather than down her neck, I reverted back to purees but in combination with giving her pieces of the same food also which worked really well too. Anyhow, these were my first baby steps into the world of spaceman food cubes…
BABIES FIRST FOODS
Baby rice (or baby bear porridge as it became known in our house) is the suggested first food to wean baby with, which I found perfect as it’s really quick and simple to prepare, phew. Then, roll on the fruit and vegetable purees. Baby purees are really simple too. They just might take a little time to prepare in between juggling baby, but nothing too tricky. Firstly, get organise ahead of time and pull this list together.
MY CHECKLIST OF ESSENTIALS FOR PREPARING FIRST FOODS:
Peeler, board and sharp knife
Steamer (or a sieve set in a pan with a lid)
Blender or processor
Ice cube trays, silicone or soft pop out bottoms are essential and with covers, if possible
Spatula and teaspoons
Freezer bags and marker pen
Next, write your fruit and veg shopping list. It’s probably best to tackle only one or two items at a time, so that when you get sidetracked (potentially for days), you won’t turn back to find knackered old produce in your fridge.
SOME SUGGESTED FOODS, PERFECT FOR THOSE FIRST FEW WEEKS:
Carrot, potato, sweet potato, butternut squash, parsnip, cauliflower
Broccoli, peas, brussels sprouts, cabbage, leeks, green beans, courgette, avocado
Apple, pear, plums, apricots, banana
Papaya, mango, peaches, melon, kiwi
Bananas and avocados are perfect for when on the run with baba, as they can be easily transported and then mashed to order. In fact, neither hold or freeze well so don’t attempt to prepare them in advance. As for everything else on the list though, follow these simple steps…
BABY PUREES STEP BY STEP:
- Wash, peel, deseed or core as necessary.
- Cut the flesh into a small dice.
- Cook in a steamer, if necessary, until really soft.
- Soft fruits like ripe mangos, peaches, melon and pappaya can go straight into a processor without steaming (unless your baby is under 6 months or you feel they are not digesting the fruit properly).
- Blend in a processor until really smooth (except for regular potatoes which will end up like wall-paper paste if blended. Instead, pass through a mouli or ricer or beat with an electric whisk until smooth).
- Add a little cooking liquid if you think it’s a little thick (although, you can always thin it a little with water on serving). Don’t worry if anything is quite runny as you can thicken it with baby rice when serving).
- Pass it through a sieve (or mouli) if you think it’s still a bit too lumpy or grainy.
- Spoon into ice cube trays, cover and freeze.
- Pop the cubes out into freezer bags.
- Label with name and date (Don’t forget to consider the star rating of your freezer as to how long your food lasts).
Easy-peasy, especially as you get into the conveyor-belt swing of it! Then, each evening, take out your chosen spaceman food cubes for babies breakfast, lunch and dinner, popping them into individual pots with lids. Pop them in the fridge and make sure they have defrosted fully, before serving them warm or cold the next day.
From here you and baby will need to progress onto introducing other foods like meat and fish. I would cook meat and fish by steaming or in stews and casseroles and blend and freeze them in the same way. Then, along with the vegetable purees, I would have a whole host of different meals to offer baby depending on how I mixed and matched cubes. But thats for another day. For now, happy baby pureeing.