Friday Tips: Vegan Baby and Starting Solids

Delicious Vegan Dish of the Day:

We used up some cabbage in our Mu-Shu burrito dinner tonight.  Super quick and super yummy!

Money Matters:

Today we got ready for a trip to NYC –  no money spent!

Friday Tips for Living Vegan and Living Cheap – with kids!:

Starting Solids with a Vegan Baby

With my first baby I was soooo excited for him to eat solid food.  I think if I had know how messy (and I mean literaly messy) the process would be I might have been less enthused.  With IP I was a little more patient and a little more wiling to give her “people” food instead of baby food.  The second time around was less stressful because I had done it once before, but it was just as messy (actually, a bit more messy!)  Here are some of the things we are done to when little baby vegan.  Some of these tips are more “vegan” but others are more general, since most “first” baby foods* are vegan anyway!
Also, I just gotta say it.  I’m totally NOT a doctor.  Or a nutritionist.  Just a mom, sharing what she did.  So, use your brain and your medical professionals when you are starting your baby on solids.
Great transition foods: For both kids we had some specific foods we used in the initial transition to solids, when they were about 5 or 6 months old.  The most basic is baby cereal (we used Earth’s Best Organic Oat) mixed with breastmilk.  With LP we made it super liquidy, and fed it to him with a spoon.  With IP I would make it a bit more solid and let her hold the spoon.  Sometimes she even got it in her mouth!  Sweet potatoes and bananas were other good transition foods.  With LP I would mush baked sweet potatos or bananas and feed it to him with a spoon.  With IP I would make sweet potato fries (baked with a bit of oil) or banana “sticks” that she could pick up and use to feed herself.  Tofu slabs were great early baby finger food as well!

Have a bunch on hand: One of the things I despise about this early stage of solid foods is that the baby just can’t have everything we are having for dinner.  Now, there are some people who would disagree with me, and I certainly gave IP more “big people” food earlier than I did for LP.  But, the bottom line, was that I needed foods that were easy to grab and give a baby at a moments notice.  With LP we fed him lots of pureed food.  We would puree a whole bunch of baby food (like a greens/blueberry/tofu/banana mix), pour it in ice cube trays, freeze it, and then just zap it in the microwave at dinner time.  With IP I would make an extra batch of quinoa and lentils at some point in the week, and then we could always give her that if our dinner wasn’t “baby-friendly.”  Lentils might be her favorite thing in the world – she can’t get enough of them!

Talk to your friends: With both kids I took a lot of my cues from my friends with kids, especially if their kids were a few months ahead of mine!  I loved going to their houses and watching them feed their kids before I had to worry about solids.  I’m someone who needs concrete examples of what to do, and my parent-friends have provided that in spades.  There are lots of “solid-food techniques” out there (just like there are dozens of competing parenting trends – seems like there is a new one started every day).  What I found worked for us was a) different for each kid and b) a hybrid of different solid-food philosophies.  Some days we are baby-led weaners (that sounds wrong!) and some days we go the spoon-it-in and hope for the best. 

Starting solid food is an exciting time, especially if eating together is important to your family.  As messy and annoying as solid foods can be, I love the fact that now both of our kids are very much part of our family dinners, an important ritual in our home.

*Helloooo sweet potatoes and bananas!

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