styleberryFAQ | Homemade Baby Food, Breastfeeding & Nutrition

What better way to follow up some chit chat about cloth diapers than by talking about something else I am equally as passionate about–homemade baby food & breastfeeding! You all asked some great questions–so hope these answers help!

BABY FOOD

What were your favorite baby food recipes?

This is, hands down, the question I get asked the most about our homemade baby food experience. I wish I had an elaborate answer for you, but I kept it simple, which was VERY deliberate. I wanted caroline to experience the flavors of fruit & vegetables as naked as they could be. I wanted her to love broccoli. All by itself. So I steamed it & added nothing. & she ate it! Every so often, I’d mix foods together or add some spices or cheese, but 90% of the time, she got the fruit/veggies in their pure form. & that has paid off IMMENSELY. She now eats tons of fruit & veggies, as a toddler, plain as day. No sauces, no added flavors. Just broccoli. Straight out of the steamer. This was one area that I wanted to make it easy on myself. I just couldn’t cook meals for her & meals for us too!

I gave her palette variety in her other foods, the foods she shared with us. I began feeding her table foods as soon as she could pick up little pieces & feed herself, which was at about 9 months. I introduced her to all the meals & recipes that I make as we ate them. At night, she got some of our main dish & her own plain fruits & veggies too. It worked out great–as she still eats what we eat, when we eat it!

If you are desperately in need of some ideas for baby food, I recommend these two books, and the website Wholesome Baby Food. Both will give you options if you need them, but my best advice is not to over-complicate it! It will just make dinnertime harder later.

How do I know she getting enough of the right food?

Good question. We have a huge task as mamas–managing our child’s complete nutrition. I took this very seriously & asked for a referral to the Nutritionist from our pediatrician. I sat down with the dietician and went over every last thing I fed her. Exactly how much. When to increase portion sizes. How her growth chart looked (she’s consistently in the 95-99%ile for height/weight/head) compared to her eating habits & where we could alter things a bit. It was SUPER helpful. I did not feel like I had adequate knowledge to do this alone, so I sought out the expert. & it cost me absolutely nothing. (local San Antonio Military mamas–BAMC has a Nutritionist available & she is awesome! She loves helping proactive moms!! So don’t be afraid to ask for a referral to her!)

If you do not have access to a Nutritionist, this is a really great set of guidelines: Managing Portions from 0-24 months

Any tips on substituting foods for allergies. Ie. onions?

I do not have any tips–I would ask google. It’s my go-to resource!

How did you use your Boon squirt spoon with frozen food?

Because I only made one batch of super smooth baby food, I found most of our food stuck in the boon spoon & caused it to clog up. I started feeding caroline chunky food pretty fast,  I quickly moved on to using the ZoLi OTG Feeder. I continued to use the boon spoon for yogurt on the go, but that was about all I could use it for.

When did you introduce meat?

I introduced meat as soon as caroline could pick up little pieces of food (like beans) and feed herself. Mushy meat freaked me out…so we skipped that. I marinated & grilled organic chicken for her to start & tore it into little pieces. Then I added grass fed beef into her diet. I bought it at the farmers market & fried it in a skillet in little patties, then froze the patties. I’d defrost one patty at a time, which were about 1oz each. Eventually I started sharing my salmon & fish with her & she loved them!

NURSING

I was going to ask you about your pumping regimen: how often did you pump and for how long?

Hmpf. Pumping. I have a love hate relationship with that stupid thing…mostly because of the 450 oz I had to dump down the drain. If I learned anything from my experience with it, it’s to pump less & nurse more. The baby does get what she needs & I’ll be less neurotic about making sure she has “enough” milk next time.

That being said, in the very beginning I would pump an extra time in the morning, & after most feedings & I started stockpiling milk. Which then led to an overproduction problem (duh) as I was producing an extra 6-12 oz/day. This was not comfortable…especially if I was not home tied to the dang pump. I found it to be terribly time consuming (hello–pump, then feed, then clean all the supplies vs. whip out the boob–no brainer!) BUT the one way I did use it effectively was for the dreamfeed.

The dreamfeed is a concept presented by The Baby Whisperer, which I used in conjunction with BabyWise for an incredibly smooth infant scheduling experience. I always joked that I was the most well rested newborn mommy around–because I was! I did caroline’s dreamfeed at 10pm nightly (starting at 11wks) & fed her a pumped bottle, so I knew she had a nice full belly all through the night (so mama could SLEEP). I would pump at night, LATE (because I am a night owl–so about midnight) before I went to bed & since I couldn’t store my milk more than 24 hours without it souring, I worked a day ahead, using Monday’s pumped bottle for Tuesday, etc. I loved the dreamfeed. It was one of my most cherished memories. Looking back at my records–I dropped the dreamfeed at 6 months. I continued to pump nightly & instead of offering a pumped bottle during the dreamfeed, I offered the hefty serving for her last feeding before bed. This lasted until 9 months & then I stopped pumping. & she just nursed before bed, as she was eating a good amount of solids for dinner.

What kind of schedule did you have when you were nursing and starting solids?

We started solids at 6 months & were on a nursing schedule of 8am/1130/2/5/8pm. I would always nurse before I fed her solids & always introduced her new foods at lunch, when I knew she’d be awake for a nice chunk of time, in case there were any problems. I gradually added breakfast + lunch solids (after she nursed) and then eventually dinner.

How did you start to wean?

caroline really weaned herself. Her longest nursing session was always in the morning (after we started solids) and as the months passed on, her afternoon feedings gradually dropped to nursing literally minutes at a time. I never pushed her to eat more, as she would always head into a meal to get the rest of what she needed nutritionally. I continued to nurse her with no milk supplementation until she was a year old. The at one, I added organic whole milk. She weaned herself from me by 15 months. Just was not interested anymore! It was actually much easier than I thought!

What are your favorite sippy cups? How did you get her to use a cup?

This was such trial & error! I bought a bunch. And threw a bunch away (mainly the Nuby brand–they were terrible!) & you can follow the progression:

  • After the medela bottles I used for pumping, I introduced the Avent Magic Cup w/ handles and the white soft spout. The spouts are interchangeable–which I really liked! AND the tops fit on Avent bottles, if you happen to have a ton of those you want to make into sippy cups.
  • After the trainer Magic Cup, I bought a bigger one, removed the handles & used the green hard spout. She was rapidly becoming a thrower & these were leaking all over when she threw them.
  • We then switched to Klean Kanteen bottles, which use the same Avent spouts. Same leaking problem, as expected. But bigger volume. However, my thrower dented the heck out of the bottle & the paint chipped off. That bugged me. Plus, it was really cold to hold when filled with cold liquid.
  • Enter the Nalgene Sippy. I thought this would be the only sippy I’d ever need…but…she could throw this one hard enough to dislodge the silicone valve, which resulted in major leaking. She’s better with them now, but that valve does wiggle loose.
  • MY FAVORITE: the Camelbak sippy. This is both of our favorites. No leaks. Nothing can get dislodged when thrown. She loves to pop the spout (it folds into the lid) and REALLY loves that she can bite it & carry it in her mouth, while still carrying a baby in each hand. They are easy to dismantle & clean. Just ignore the 3yrs & up label–so not the case. We started using it at 18 months & I will start earlier next time!

MISC NUTRITION

Does Caroline drink water from the tap?

Yes, filtered water from the tap.

How do you store your produce?

Some in the fridge in the drawers, some on the counter in a wire basket.

Do you always take food from home for Caroline when you are out on the town?

I do. I don’t ever want to be stuck having to feed her junk because I was ill prepared.

Eating at a restaurant, how do you stay away from the nuggets and fries on the kids menu?

Well, we really don’t eat out that much. Maybe once or twice a month. But when we do eat out, I always feed her off my plate, and rarely ever get her anything just for her. I am not a huge eater & anything I eat surely will meet my health standards for her, so we often share. Sometimes I’ll feed her protein off my plate & order her a side of broccoli, no butter. Typically restaurants will also be more than happy to let you buy a grilled chicken breast in place of any breaded chicken tender, too. You just have to ask. Even Chick-Fil-A will let you buy a plain grilled patty for $2 so you can bypass the fried chicken. Grilled chicken + fruit and maybe a splurge fry or two is a good enough lunch in my book!

When did she start to eat dinner with you and your hubby?

She has always eaten with us. We’ve eaten lunch together since her first meal at the table at 6 months!

Do you have any specific meals that you can make ahead and that freeze well?

Sorry to say, I am just not a freezer meal kind of gal. I like my veggies crunchy & fresh and I have yet to find a way to make them as good after a stint in the freezer. I do freeze any of my homemade beef or turkey burgers & prepare the sides, but that is about it. Oh, and my Tomato Soup. I do love freezing tomato soup! :) (pictured here are my Ranch Burger Sliders, freezable)

What you eat during the day?

I get asked this question all the time, too! As I’ve shared before, I am really not a big eater. Food is just not one of my excitements in life. Each day starts out with a shared (between caroline & me) bowl of old fashioned oats with cinnamon & a dusting of brown sugar. Sometimes I’ll swap that for 1 egg + an extra white. & of course, my latte (which I taught you how to make here). Lunch is usually leftovers of some sort. Or maybe a sandwich. Or Salad. I am not a snacker. I usually won’t eat again until dinner & I cook all but maybe one or two nights a month. Other than water & coffee you’ll only catch me drinking the occasional Izze or Simply Lemonade. If I do snack on anything, it’s trail mix from costco. I keep my diet pretty simple!

OOf…did you make it to the end?! That was a long one! Next up: beauty & style! Now that’s a fun one!! :)

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Hi! Hello! I am Shawna, the founder of Styleberry Blog. This creative corner of the internet has become a learning haven for moms and creatives, offering a warm and encouraging nudge to those who wish to be better and do better, but often don't know where to start. From Decorating to DIY to Diapers and Paleo-ish Dishes, I strive to make the complicated simple and empower women to take action beyond their personal comfort zone. I subscribe to the Shine Theory & so strongly believe that we shine when the women around us shine and mutual support—lifting up instead of tearing down--will always be the culture here. Are you in? I hope so! Beyond the computer, I run Styleberry Creative where I work with clients to create low fuss, high function spaces that are pretty and practical in San Antonio, Texas and beyond. I LOVE making a house a home. My own studs out renovation is now complete and I am now back to working with clients. Please don't hesitate to drop me a line if you'd like to work together! I hope you’ll join me on this fun new adventure! Xo.