Baby Food Versus Baby Bites

| 16 Comments

Maya pulling my hand towards her mouth

When my 7 year old, Evelyn, was a baby, I blended real food into “baby food.” I was on the right track with feeding her fresh foods but maybe I was going overboard with the complicated preparation.

Babies don’t need special blended foods.

Feeding right from your plate or bowl usually works just fine. Now, that doesn’t mean that blended baby food is totally bad. But it isn’t a must.

Why you might not want to blend your baby’s food:

  • Blending can damage delicate proteins
  • Blending takes extra time
  • Blending mixes flavors and reduces the baby’s experience of variety
  • Blended food is gooey and doesn’t give babies the chance to work the jaw
  • Baby knows when to quit eating

Why you might want to blend your baby’s food:

  • Mixed flavors make new flavors
  • Filling baby’s tummy is quicker (but why are you in a hurry?)
  • Baby can eat foods that would be otherwise inaccessible (pre-chewing could accomplish the same thing)
  • Prepared and frozen, fresh baby food is easy to drop off at day care and grandma’s house

What to feed your baby:

For specific foods and recipe ideas, please refer to the book I reviewed last week – Super Nutrition For Babies. Feed the foods right off your plate as long as they’re soft! Babies are equipped with survival mechanisms, just like the rest of us. They aren’t likely to choke. Always sit with the child and watch your baby eat. You’ll see if she chokes but chances are her reflexes will make her cough if it goes down wrong.

Good foods to feed babies include, meats, fish, liver, eggs, and butter (no starches). Also throw in a little soft fruits and avocado. If you’ve made bone broth, you can feed her some in a bottle, with a spoon, or in a cup.

When to feed your baby:

You can start feeding babies as soon as they take an interest – 6 to 7 months. Evelyn was interested right around 6 months, Maya barely took an interest at 8. During the first year, breast milk is still their primary source of calories, and their sole/main source of carbohydrates.

How to feed your baby:

Squish a piece of meat or avocado between your fingers and touch the baby’s lips with it. Once he’s used to eating, just bring your hand close to his face and wait for him to open his mouth or even bring your hand to his mouth.

Author: Peggy the Primal Parent

The blog owner!

16 Comments

  1. Great post :) I can’t even handle all of that cute.

  2. Pingback: Baby Food Versus Baby Bites | Paleo Digest

  3. Peggy,

    At what time are starches ok to introduce? Would it help initially to chew them (or any other foods) first in your own mouth to introduce salivary enzymes that the baby may not be producing enough of yet?

    Do babies have any tendencies to reject foods that they can’t digest well?

    Also, what about fermented and/or raw dairy?

  4. Serious cute. My 1.5 year old smiled the whole time… so we keep watching it.
    He started just eating off our plate, and he wasn’t interested until 13 months! Now he eats meats and fat on a regular basis, but I am still trying to find the best carbs for him. He has mostly been getting carbs from vegetables, yogurt, and seeds. Any suggestions?

  5. Why can’t babies have starches?

  6. HI Peggy – just wondering would you need to be feeding very tender meat to baby? I mean steak can be quite tough to chew, as can pork and lamb. I remember giving my little niece a bit of beef and it didn’t go down so well – a lot of choking and then spat up!

    • Hazel,

      Hi! It definitely needs to be quite tender! I often make carne asada. That is very thin slices of beef. Then I kind of tear it into little shreds and feed her that. Some cuts, like ribeye or strip steak, can be very tender and squish easily. Other suitable meats will be slow cooked chicken, beef, and pork. And fish and eggs are very soft.

    • Hi hazel, I deal with swallowing pathologies professionally- if you cut the food to about “minced” type pieces (after or before cooking) and the food is quite moist then the food doesn’t need to be chewed at all so safe for babies :) If the food is VERY soft and moist (slow cooked meats), then the minced pieces can be a tiny bit bigger. Of course, you may have some success getting other things down but these are the safest options for a baby.

      • Also, if the item is so soft (eg. egg like peggy said) that the baby’s gum-mashing and tongue movement breaks it up into small mince-type pieces then the pieces can be a bit bigger. I think after you feed a baby a few times it becomes intuitive.

  7. Hi, this is a great post but just thought I would add a couple of things.

    Showing an interest isn’t a very reliable indicator of readiness for solids – lots of small babies will be interested in food and watching people eat, purely because they’re interested in everything! Babies need to be older than 6 months, sitting well unaided, developed a pincer grasp and have lost their tongue thrust before you begin.

    Also, with baby-led weaning, it is very rare for babies to actually choke. People often use the word choke interchangeably with gagging. Gagging can happen reasonably often but is a natural and safe reaction – the baby is pushing the food back to the front of their mouth. No need to panic or do anything, just wait. Gagging is noisy, because the airway is not blocked. In comparison, true choking is when the baby’s airway is blocked by food and the baby will usually be silent and turn red. That’s when the parent needs to step in.

    We loved doing baby-led weaning with our little one. She loved sucking on a lamb chop and eating dinner with the rest of the family! :)

  8. What the heck, she’s eight months already??

  9. Our pediatrician just told us this morning that she would advise against egg yolks or liver, stating that yolks are much too high in cholesterol and fat, whereas liver would be hard to find (organic, clean) and shouldn’t be given until at least 8 months anyway. Do you know of any medical studies that show these are beneficial foods for baby’s first solids? My husband needs a little more proof we need to be going against our doctor’s advice! Thanks so much.