I have heard so many different schedules and parenting hacks for baby foods, from eating super-charged lactation cookies to increase breast-milk production and using the latest bottle warming technology (this thing takes forever, I prefer the old stove-top option), all the way to baby food processors and baby formula pod Keurig machines.
My method was pretty simple. I knew I wanted to breastfeed my daughter as long as I could and then introduce a natural diet full of fresh and nutritious ingredients. I breastfed Livia exclusively until she was five months old and then I noticed she started getting more demanding as my work hours got crazier. As committed as I was (I even took a manual breast pump on my ski trip when she was four months old, took my pumping breaks at the tops of the mountains in 10F weather, and would store the milk in a little backpack until I made my way down the mountain), something had to give.
Taking my mother’s and grandmother’s advice, I started supplementing her breast-milk with evaporated milk and water (an old hack used by countless mothers back in the 60’s and 70’s). I was pretty apprehensive about the whole situation, but Livia sucked that first bottle down in lightning speed and did very well with the initial introduction. I asked several pediatricians what they thought, and I received the same feedback- as long as she is eating and gaining weight, you are gold. Why not formula (I have been asked this several times)? I felt her digestion was very similar to when she was only on breastmilk and she was handling it like a champ. Why change something when it works and is equally healthy?
A month after the fact, I started introducing solid foods because she kept staring longingly at me whenever I had a spoon in my hand. I was so excited to use my Beaba Babycook steamer and blender, so I armed myself with organic bananas, sweet potatoes, carrots, and apples and started one new food each week. So far she is absolutely in love with her sweet potatoes. After I steam these, I mix a little bit of evaporated milk to get the consistency where I need it to be, and she is over the moon. As a working mother, it is hard to cook her fresh food on a daily basis. But what I do is simple- I cook once a week and store her food in baby freezer food trays and defrost them on the stove-top, never in the microwave.
So what is the right way? There really isn’t as long as you are raising a healthy and happy baby. There is only your way when it comes to your children. I felt “breast was best” to start off with (but I also was not planning on breastfeeding her into her toddler years), and I also think introducing them to a healthy diet to start off with is crucial. Not only because of their overall health, but because it develops babies into children that are willing to try new things and leaves them less prone to being picky eaters.
Now for those adventurous mamas that are still breastfeeding, but want to be able to go out on a little outdoor adventure like I did- I recommend the Evenflo Manual Breast Pump , $16.99, Amazon. It worked like a charm and was easy to carry around.
Want to make your own baby’s food? BEABA Babycook 4 in 1 Steam Cooker and Blender, 4.5 cups, Dishwasher Safe, Latte Mint $149.95, Amazon
Need help storing food for the little one? Best Homemade Baby Food Storage Container Freezer Trays , $18.95, Amazon (the little pods serve as the perfect baby serving and are also easy to take out)