Rice & Beans

I mentioned a little while ago I would share my recipe for baby rice and beans. I started Little E out on mashed beans at 8 months and began mixing beans and rice the following month. I felt like feeding him both rice and beans in one sitting to begin with was a little much for his digestive system. I didn't want to suffer alongside him all night if the after effects were negative! I keep a steady supply of rice and bean frozen food cubes in the freezer. I feed him two at a time every few days or so.

I have heard from a friend who is from Puerto Rico that Latinos don't have a problem with gas from beans because they began eating them as babies. I hope this is true for my little Latino boy, too!

For the beans, I take one can of organic light kidney beans or black beans and rinse and drain them in a colander. I puree the entire contents in my food processor, adding a little water so they can puree evenly. The texture is entirely up to you, puree more for a smoother consistency and less for a chunky consistency, which is great for older babies.

Set aside.

For the rice, I measure out 1/2 cup of brown rice and 1 cup of water into a small saucepan. Bring the rice and water to a boil and turn heat to low. Simmer for 1/2 hour or until the rice is done and the water is evaporated. I then puree the rice with water until fairly smooth. I have found that brown rice doesn't really ever get too smooth, but I like the chunkiness. It makes the meal seem kind of hearty to me.

Then, I mix the beans and the rice together. I usually refrigerate enough for 2 days and freeze the rest in food cubes, like this:

Sometimes I need to add a little water before heating to make it a little thinner.

Yum! No salt or spices, but it's still great. I even love the taste!

Yogurt Goodness

My baby LOVES yogurt! There is hardly anything else that lights up his face as much (except the yellow cheerios box and the sight of his mother, of course!). I started giving him whole milk plain yogurt when he was 8 months old. I mash up 1/4- 1/2 of a banana and mix with 3 heaping tablespoons of yogurt. He goes nuts when he sees me take the container out of the fridge!

I buy Stoneyfield Farms organic whole milk plain yogurt in the big container. It's a lot more economical than buying the little containers that come in a 6-pack, but not nearly as convenient. I'm glad Stoneyfield Farms started making plain yogurt in the 6-packs, because until a couple of months ago they only offered flavored YoBaby! yogurts, which contain sugar as well as fruit.

He is 11 months old this week and still eats a bowl of yogurt just about everyday. I like that it contains good bacteria that helps strengthen his immune system. I will probably try out the YoBaby! flavors soon so we can have a more portable option.


Great Website!

A friend just reminded me of this GREAT website for making baby food. What's so great about it is the breadth of information they offer. There are a lot of articles about food allergies, how you can take homemade baby food to daycare, and other topics of interest that don't seem to be covered on other websites. They even offer food plans for different age groups, although I wish they contained more specific information about quantities. Check it out, you might find it helpful.


How much to feed your baby?

This is such a hard question to answer and when I started feeding my little guy solids I searched for a chart or something that would tell me exactly how much he should get at each meal. All I got was a headache, confusion and a bunch of conflicting answers. And, here's what I took away from it:

Feed them until they are full and then stop.

But, how do you know if they are full or just want to keep eating? It's hard to discern, I must admit, but I did get better at judging how much he needed as time went on.

As you know, I am a hybrid feeder, meaning I mostly make his food, but do buy jarred foods for eating out, eating with papa and when I am lacking time to prepare a meal. Well, I used the prepared food jars as my guide for how much to feed Little E. Here's what I mean:

A small jar of baby food for the first stage is 2 oz. A frozen food cube in most ice trays is 1 oz. Each measured tablespoon is 1/2 oz. So, using this as my guide I started out feeding him 2 food cubes or 1 jar of food or 4 tablespoons. At this point I fed him one food at a seating.

As soon as he wanted more (which was almost immediately), I would add one more food cube or 2 more tablespoons. When I started increasing his quantities I started adding more variety. I would feed him 2 oz. of pureed peas and add 1 oz. of apples as a dessert.

From there we just kept increasing out quantities as he wanted more food.

How do you know if they are still hungry? They let you know. Crying, yelling, mouth smacking...I just always knew.

Once he was eating 4 oz. at a time I switched to the bigger jars, and I started mixing foods he had eaten together. Apples and sweet potatoes. Winter squash and pears. Carrots and peas. You get the idea.

When Little E was 6-7 months here is an example of meals he would eat:

- 1/4 cup Earth's Best multi grain or oatmeal cereal mixed with water
- 2 pea food cubes, 2 pear food cubes - 2 carrot food cubes mixed with 2 apples food cubes
- 1-2 oz. jar Earth's Best winter squash, 1/2 ripe banana mashed up
(I always offered 2-4 tablespoons of cereal mixed with water if he was still hungry)

Around 7-8 months:

- 1/4 cup cereal mixed with 2 tablespoons organic, unsweetened jarred applesauce, water
- 2 pea and brown rice food cubes, 1-4oz. jar of Earth's Best Apples and Plums
- 3 carrot food cubes, 1/2 smashed banana
- 2 green bean and brown rice food cubes, 1 apple food cube mixed with 4 tablespoons of cereal
(I always offered 2-4 tablespoons of cereal mixed with water if he was still hungry)

Around 8 months and beyond:

- 1/4-1/2 chopped banana pieces as finger food first, then 1/4 Happy Bellies oatmeal cereal mixed with 2 tablespoons applesauce and water
- small handful (3-4 tablespoons?) whole cooked cooled peas as finger food; 1/2 banana smashed with 3 tablespoons organic whole-milk plain yogurt; 2 pea and brown rice food cubes, handful of cheerios
- small handful of chopped cooked cooled carrots, 2 bean and brown rice food cubes, 4 oz. Earth's Best jar of peach, banana and oatmeal, handful of cheerios
- 1/3 stick of string cheese, chopped into small bits, 3 carrot food cubes, 4 oz. jar of Earth's Best Apple and Apricot, handful of cheerios

SIDE NOTES: I worked into these schedules, which means I introduced each food for 3-4 days before adding a new food. I also worked up to the above quantities as Little E demanded more food. I always stop if he seems full, which to him is playing with his food and throwing it over the highchair onto the floor, or disinterest.

Also, you will notice that I feed him a lot of jarred fruit. There a few reasons for this. First, it is either difficult to find during a New England winter or too expensive to buy a variety of organic fresh fruit. Hopefully this will change as summer rolls around. Also, some of the jarred foods offered fruits I could easily introduce using the jarred mixed versions (apricots, plums, raspberries, peaches). These are all mixed with apples.


Feeding plans that worked for us

I had a lot of trouble figuring out how much and how often to feed my baby when we started with solid foods. We had waited to start him on rice cereal until he seemed interested in food and could sit up in his high chair. Once he learned how to take food from the spoon he was able to move it to the back of his mouth in no time at all with some practice. For Little E that was at 5 months, just after the doctor had given us the OK to start solids. SO, after I introduced the cereal a few times I began to wonder how to balance solid food with breastfeeding. The search I began became the genesis of this blog. So, I thought I would share a sample plan that we used. It will be different with different babies, but hopefully this will be a little bit of a start for some of you just starting out.

8 a.m. - breastfeed or bottle
*12 p.m. - breastfeed or bottle and immediately after offer cereal
4 p.m. - breastfeed or bottle and cereal
8 p.m. - breastfeed or bottle
12 a.m.(if needed) - breastfeed or bottle

*It was at this feeding that I introduced new foods, like winter squash or sweet potatoes in the beginning. I had read that introducing foods early in the day is a good idea in case there is an allergic reaction. If so, then there is still time to call the pediatrician's office.

The above schedule turned into this schedule between 6-7 months (which we are still on at 10 1/2 months) Again this will vary with child:

7:30 a.m. - breastfeed or bottle
9:00 a.m. - cereal with fruit
12 p.m. - yogurt with fruit and veggie (cheerios for dessert)
2:30 p.m. - breastfeed or bottle
5:00 p.m. - cheese, veggie and fruit
7:30 p.m. - breastfeed or bottle

What works for you? I'll keep you posted as we hit the year mark.

HappyBellies Cereal

Let me tell you about my new favorite cereal. It's called HappyBellies and its made by HappyBaby. My friend, Kristi, turned me onto it a couple of months ago and now it's the only cereal I feed my 10 1/2 month old. For one thing it's both organic and whole grain, two things I think are essential in baby cereal. And, the oatmeal version actually tastes like oatmeal. But, an added bonus (and the real selling point) for me is that it has probiotics in it. Probiotics are "good" bacteria that help aid in digestion, as well as crowd out "bad" bacteria. Apparently this helps promote good health and can help guard against allegies, as well. All in all I think it's worth hunting around to find it. I buy mine at Whole Foods and it's only slightly more expensive than Earth's Best, which is the other organic whole-grain cereal out there.

I scoop out 1/4 cup of cereal and mix with 2 tablespoons of organic unsweetened applesauce and water to desired consistency. I then pop it into the microwave to heat a bit.

One other bit of info...in the lid of the cereal container is a coupon for HappyBaby frozen baby food. The coupon makes the food a steal because it's buy one, get one free! As you know, I make most of what Little E eats, but with a coupon like this I couldn't pass up trying it. It's super yummy!

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