Food for babies is great. They eat regularly. High fat foods are encouraged. They can get it all over their face and all over the floor and everyone’s full of nothing but praise. They don’t even have to lift the food to your mouth themselves. They will never have it this good again in their lives and yet they are too young to appreciate it. Here is what we’ve learnt so far transitioning from mook to grub.
Having round the clock access since birth to a never ending supply of sweet boob nectar, Captain Poo Pants was naturally pretty cheesed off when mommy went back to work and I tried feeding him from a boring old cup. Having no experience of drinking from a vessel, when presented with it he was as stressed as if I’d asked him to recreate it in watercolours. When he realised further down the track that I merely wanted him to drink from it things got a lot easier but the first few weeks of my parental leave were quite tough. I’d say at 5:30pm when mommy got home;
“He’s done really well – he’s drunk 8ml of milk today!”
Now he’s downing pints of it like a rugby thicko in freshers’ week. It’s still 3 months to go until we can feed him normal milk (i.e. forcibly harvested from a cow) rather than the scientifically formulated supermilk that somehow mankind managed to do fine without until relatively recently.
There’s a load of cash to be made from baby food and milk and it’s all made by the same people that make shampoo and those little useless tubs of bacteria that you buy.
“Baby porridge now with added pro-V molecules that beat the 7 signs of hunger leaving your baby with a thick, glossy coat.”
In reality – a small bag of expensive dust.
The World Health Organisation recommends waiting until 6 months until introducing solid food (don’t rely on this – I can’t be bothered to look it up but I think that’s right). We did it a bit earlier; actually on Christmas day. So whilst everyone was tucking into turkey with all the trimmings, he was tucking into overcooked brocolli mushed up with breast milk – yummy!! It really makes it an enjoyable moment for the baby if the whole family can anxiously stand around shouting “oh god I think he’s choking”.
Incidentally you’ll think your baby is choking far more than it actually is. Babies have a good gag reflex which is good news for us as Captain Poo Pants has a tendency to eat, say, a rice cracker or a mango in a single go.
Increasing the range
You’ll soon realise that what you’re feeding the baby is disgusting. My rule is that if I wouldn’t eat it (non-mushed) why should he. Would I eat overcooked brocolli with a side of breast milk? Probably not (unless it was in a fancy restaurant and I could make out I was being sophisticated).
The sheer number of flavour combinations are limitless so you might want to try some of the classics – e.g. guava and kumquat, chia seed and almond pressings, kiwi soil and a flange of porcini shavings.
Cooking for babies
If you can cook the same thing for your baby as you’re cooking for the rest of the family then great but be sure to cut out the salt and chilli. This provides me with a bit of a challenge as salt and chilli are the main ingredients in many of my recipes.
It’s really important to give baby finger foods not only to improve their fine motor skills (how are his motor skills? Fine, thanks for asking) but also crucially to teach them how to mash things into their clothes.
Especially during the summer months it’s sensible to offer your baby water. Naturally as he’s been used to drinking milk for months giving him boring old life-giving water is likely to be received poorly. Every time I try to give it to CPP I get a look that says “why have you done this?” as if having offered to make a round of teas at work, I’ve returned from the kitchen with mugs of hot urine.
The transition to solids takes place at both ends. The good news is that poo-splosions stop almost completely. The bad news is that some poos are now so dry they will roll away out of the nappy and under a bureau if you don’t get a firm enough grip. Largely though nappy changes become like taking a geological sample with rings of differently aged sediment allowing you to correctly age your sample for cataloguing.