Can you believe it? Arif's now 6 months old (adjusted age 4 months)! With a preemie, it can be hard to tell when to start him on solid foods. These days, mums are often told that we should wait until our babies are 6 months old before we start solids. But our mums tell us that they started feeding us solids at a much younger age, and we turned out fine. But as preemies have an adjusted age to consider, to me, it all boils to a bit of research and my intuition.
When Arif reached 5 months and a half, I decided to start him on solids because he still seemed hungry after having milk and he has been stuffing everything he can grab into his mouth. Of course, I read up on what foods to introduce and how much. I introduced the solid foods to him little by little, and I'm happy to report that he's taken to them really well! Now he eats a fair amount! So far, he's had pureed rice porridge, sweet potato, bananas, apples and carrots.
First, I cut up the fruit or veges and steam them until they're soft. Here I'm steaming apples and it only took maybe 5 minutes. Some veges will take longer.
Next, comes the mashing. First, I mash the steamed morsels with a potato masher, then I transfer the roughly mashed mixture into a metal sieve. I then push the food through the sieve with a fork or spoon. This is where the elbow grease comes in! Obviously, some foods are easier to pass through the sieve than others. I find that adding a bit of boiled water can help loosen things up.
Here's a bowl of mashed sweet potato that has passed through the sieve. If it's still a bit lumpy, I pass it through the sieve again.
Adding some water really does help, see how the mixture has become much smoother?
I then fill an ice cube tray with the pureed food and freeze it.
Once frozen, I run the back of the ice cube trays under tap water to loosen the cubes. I then put the cubes in a resealable bag and keep them in the freezer, ready for use. These are my sweet potato and carrot cubes.
When feeding time rolls around, I put a cube or two in the microwave and zap them for a few minutes. I add water if it's needed. I then wait for the puree to cool down and feed it to Arif. I'm glad he seems to like his pureed food. He hasn't spit anything up or developed any allergies, so that's awesome.
I've also started mixing the purees, for example rice with carrots or rice with sweet potatoes. He loves them :) So there you have it, a cost-effective way to feed baby, without any fancy equipment!