Portions of Baby Food?
How much is a portion of baby food?
As you can imagine, given that baby food is my jam (so to speak), I was quite particular about this when starting solids with my first son. In earnest I cooked, weighed and measured out what I hoped would be perfect portions of each indivudal food. I froze them in such portions in advance so I was good to go.
The kicker though was that despite this 'perfect' measuring my son did not necessarily eat all of these perfect portions - sometimes he ate less, sometimes he are more and sometimes this was just of certain foods and not others....so where to from here?
My short answer to this question is that we do not want to focus on particular portions of baby food - this is a ultimately an unachievable goal for both ourselves as parents as well as our babies.
These three points are our priority instead:
* Encouraging instinctual eating from the start
* Applying the division of responsibility
* Focus on the provision of the core foods
To expand a little more on these you can see that we want to see our babies as being capable of managing their food intake even right from the start. I know this is easier said than done but remember that babies do not over think things the same that we do - they are hard wired for survival and their metabolisms (and subsequently hunger and fullness hormones) are well regulated. In adults' this is not necessarily the case as we have done many things to disrupt this delicate balance over a number of years.
1) Encouraging instinctual eating from the start
Keeping the above points in mind what this means is that we want babies to eat on cue and instinctually right from the beginning. This is one of the key reasons I suggest doing solids first, milk second even from the first day of solids. We then want to allow our babies to eat until they are full - not a partuclar portion size or amount. Some days they will be more hungry than others which is perfectly ok.
2) Applying the division of responsibility
This is a framework that I refer to a lot when it comes to both baby and toddler feeding. In toddlers it is paramount, however I still believe we can start to apply this right from the beginning with babies. In it's simplest explanation it is separating our responsibility as parents to provide nutritious food and a variety for our babies to try - it is then their responsibility to decide what they will eat and how much. So think what of each food, if offering more than one, in what form puree or more soft pieces as well as how much.
3). Focus on core foods
To give some guidance as what to provide, in The Nourished Baby I talk about three core food groups that ideally our babies will be offered each time they have solids. These three core foods are pictured above:
*A high source of iron
* A source of health fats
Providing all of these core foods will ensure we are giving our babies maximum opportunity to have a go and eat the most nutritious foods they need - but allowing for their instinctual eating and division of responsibility to guide the rest. This will take a little time at the start but I explain how in more detail in my book.
In my Baby and Toddler Cookbook I have 24 baby food recipes which all match my week-by-week guide and show you just how to create recipes using these core foods. A sample recipe from this is my grain-free mussel fritters which is a baby-led weaning option. In my follow on cookbook Feed the Tribe I show you how to do this from all the main meals which is helpful when feeding more than one child.
Be sure to also check out my upcoming events on the events section of my website I have some in person and virtual events coming up!
xx Dr Julie