Category Archives: Eating Philosophy

My Family’s Eats

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I am lucky to have the time and opportunity to cook for my family every night. I really enjoy cooking so I do not mind at all. However, I am not a short order cook. I make one meal and everyone eats it. I’d say I am a pretty decent cook so its not like I am serving burnt tv dinners and expecting them to eat it. Everything is made from scratch, whole foods, and healthy. I do not make separate meals for my kids either. Unless I am making something that contains a major allergen Cassidy is not old enough for yet (peanuts, shellfish, etc). Both Alyssa, who is 3 1/2, and Cassidy, 10 months, eat whatever meal Dave and I are eating. Occasionally Alyssa will say “But I don’t want to eat this” or “I don’t like this” (before she has even tries it!). So I will say “ok that’s fine. Go ahead and get up and cook me the dinner you want to eat”.  She then says but mommy I’m too little to cook. So I say “yep, that’s right. That’s why you eat what I cook you”. That’s when I am feeling nice. If she is being rude with a little attitude, I flash her the evil eye and then she promptly says “Thank you Mommy for cooking me a healthy dinner” (A line I have fed her many times before, although its not usually said with much enthusiasm).

My What I Ate Wednesday went like this…

Peas and Crayons

Breakfast: 1 bowl wheat flakes with rice krispies and raisins added, 2 bowls multigrain cheerios. 1.5 cups skim milk on top.

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Snack 1: Blueberries from blueberry picking in the morning! A small black decaf from Dunkin.

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Lunch: salad- lettuce from my garden topped with leftover mexican pasta salad, avocado,and shredded chicken. An English muffin with 2 Tbs almond butter. Plus more almond butter straight from the jar of course.

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Snack 2: Four cups watermelon. Yeah that’s right, I ate half of a huge watermelon. Gotta get it while its good!

Dinner: Millet, chicken, and green bean casserole with melted parmesan and cheddar. Seconds were consumed.

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Snack 3: raspberry chocolate froyo popsicle. (plain greek yogurt, cocoa powder, honey, mashed raspberries)

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The girl’s Munchkin Meals very similarly went like this…

Breakfast: Cassidy: 1 stick of cheddar, some wheat puffs, and blueberries while we were picking.

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Alyssa: 1 bowl of multigrain cheerios with raisins.

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I kept Cassidy happy by feeding her fresh blueberries while we picked. The owners actually encourage you to eat while you pick since its all pesticide free!

Snack1: Alyssa: homemade graham crackers while we grocery shopped and Cassidy napped.

Lunch: They both had leftover Mexican Bean and Corn Pasta Salad with more blueberries on the side.

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Snack 2: They split a homemade yogurt popsicle. It was organic baby yogurt with mashed organic raspberries frozen in the mold. They both loved it. So much so it encouraged Cassidy to finally do the sign language for “more”. She was whining for more and I told her she wasn’t getting another bite until she said more. Well she signed it AND said the word. She wanted that popsicle!

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Dinner: Millet, chicken, and green bean casserole.

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Snack 3: They each ate a TON of watermelon. I would bet Alyssa will be up in the middle of the night to pee!

And of course Cassidy nursed 5 times throughout the day as well. Cassidys breakfast is usually different than mine and Alyssa’s because she eats a little later. She nurses right when she wakes up so she won’t eat any breakfast until at least 45 minutes later.

And here are some sweet pictures of my babies, just because…

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I love how in this next picture, Cassidy doesn’t have pants on and Alyssa doesn’t have a shirt on. Naked it where its at in this house apparently! They play together so well now. They played for over 2 hours last night together while I cleaned the house, love my girls!

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HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!

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Another Good Weekend Turned Bad

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Let’s start off with the good… We kicked off our weekend on Friday blueberry picking. We have a pesticide free farm right down the street. We picked almost 4 pints of blueberries. The farm owner also sells zucchini, cucumbers, honey, eggs, and more depending on the season and his crop production. I talked to the owner about some zucchini growing tips and when it came time to pay he gave me a HUGE deal. 4 pints of blueberries, 5 cucumbers, and 2 squash for a whopping 5 bucks! And all pesticide free. One pint of organic blueberries are often more than $5 alone! We spent the rest of the day at the pool and the girls had an amazing time. Cassidy is fearless in the water just like her big sister!

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Saturday we went to Lowes for the kid’s build and grow workshop. Alyssa “bammed” as she says, which means hammered. She built a little wooden car and got a free pair of goggles and an apron. It was really cute! The rest of the day was pretty low key. We made some hummus and ate 3 of our cucumbers and 2 peppers out of our own garden.

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We also baked more homemade graham crackers and some cookie dough hummus for dipping.

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Sunday we went to church and I left Cassidy in the church nursery for the first time! I only left her for half the service because I didn’t want to let her get to the point where she was crying and fed up. She did great though. We had lunch at church and helped set up for the upcoming vacation bible school Alyssa will be attending all week. It’s the first time I have ever dropped her off somewhere and left. She has yet to go to preschool either. I am quite nervous, especially with her nut allergy. They assured me there was not nuts in anything they are serving and I was almost going to let her eat the same snack as the other kids. But I got a reality check and my paranoid parenting kicked back in on Sunday night and I decided I would pack her own snacks for the week. And for Thursday I am actually making snack for the entire VBS, 250 rice krispie treats! And what was my reality check?

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We had an allergy issue Sunday night. Although it wasn’t with Alyssa. I fried 2 organic eggs to top on a salad as part of dinner. I took the yolk out of one egg and fed it to Cassidy. After her second bite she started rubbing all over her face and I noticed she looked like this.

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She had hives all around her mouth. I remember this all too well from Alyssa’s reaction to cashews. I washed her down, took the egg out of her mouth, and called ask a nurse. She told me babies can’t have egg whites before one, something I already knew. And I am that overly paranoid mom that follows ALL the rules. If she was 11 1/2 months, I still wouldn’t have given her the whites until her actual 1st birthday. I told the nurse I knew that and I only gave her the yolk.

Then get this…she says “well do you think the white could have accidentally touched the yolk?”. Umm are you serious? Of course the yolk touched the white, haven’t you ever seen an egg?! The yolk is surrounded by the white! I obviously meant to remove all the egg white, but maybe there was a tiny bit left on there? But at 10 1/2 months, she is pretty close to 1 and I know plenty of moms who give their kids scrambled eggs well before 1, so it shouldn’t have been a huge deal if a microscopic piece of egg white was left on. But apparently it was. She has eaten egg yolks plenty of times the last month or two with no problem and has eaten things like pancakes and breads made with egg (which is considered ok before 1).

We are headed to her pediatrician tomorrow morning and then to a pediatric allergist soon after.

Not even a fresh loaf of chocolate zucchini bread could make this better. Although it was quite tasty.

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So now I guess we will have a nut free and egg free house. And since I am breastfeeding I think I am going to have to avoid egg containing foods as well. I just don’t understand… I feed them so healthy, they rarely eat processed foods, and I follow all the recommendations on introducing allergenic foods…why are so many kids developing food allergies these days?

Munchkin Meals

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A Healthy Slice of Life is hosting a link up similar to What I Ate Wednesday except its for our kiddos. Love the idea since I am always curious what other kids the same age as mine eat. As a whole, I try to feed my babies only organic whole foods. I am pretty successful while we are at home, and we do eat at least 95% of our meals at home. But maybe 2-3 times a month we will have a meal out, and its harder to control the health factor when someone else is cooking for you.

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For the most part my 10 month old, Cassidy, still gets the majority of her nutrition from breast milk. She nurses for 5-10 minutes at each feeding which happens roughly at 830 am, 1130 am, 215 pm, 515 pm, 815 pm. Her nursing has gotten very efficient lately and I estimate she gets about 25-30 ounces a day. But that is a complete and total guess since I just breast feed and she has never taken a bottle, little stinker! She goes in waves as to how much solid food she eats. She is on an eating spurt right now so this is definitely at the higher end of what she eats.

Breakfast (915): 1/4 banana and 1/4 cup brown rice puffs.

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These puffs have 1 ingredient, puffed brown rice. No sugar, salt, additives, or preservatives. Sometimes she won’t eat any solid food for breakfast at all, I guess maybe she drinks a lot of breast milk upon waking so she’s still full. I’d say she only eats breakfast 3 times a week. I always offer it, but she throws it on the floor if she doesnt want it.

Lunch(1 pm): 1/4 avocado, 1/4 peach, 1/4 hotdog bun.

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Since we were at another carnival today, I let her gnaw on a bun. I brought the avocado and peach proportioned.

Dinner(6pm): 1/4 organic chicken sausage, 1/2 ear corn on the cob (but she only probably got half the corn off),  homemade baked “french fries”.

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The fries were just sliced potatoes roasted with a little olive oil. She LOVED the potatoes. I slide a little food towards her at a time because otherwise she ends up playing with it and shoving it all on the floor.

Bedtime Snack (715 pm): 2 oz breast milk mixed with 1/4 cup baby oatmeal cereal (for iron since I don’t give her those nasty multivitamins and she doesn’t drink any formula, which is often fortified with iron)

So over the course of the day she got 2 servings fruit, 3 servings vegetables, 4 servings whole grain, and 1 serving protein. Everything was organic besides the hotdog bun and corn on the cob. Usually she has protein and cheese at lunch as well but I didn’t want to feed her a hotdog and didn’t want to bring meat and cheese out in the heat and risk it spoiling. She LOVES cheese. I’d say its her favorite food. Maybe i should start giving it to her at breakfast since I know she’ll eat cheese anytime!

According to WebMD babies 5-12 months need an average of 850 calories per day. Cassidy got roughly 350 from solid foods and 450-550 (again a very rough estimate) from breast milk, so 800-900 total.

Alyssa, who is 3 1/2, ate…

Breakfast (845 am): 1 cup multigrain cheerios, 1/2 banana, 1/4 cup 1% milk on top. 1 cup 1% milk in a cup.

Lunch (1 pm): Smoothie with banana, strawberries, almond milk, and spinach (at 1130 am). 1/2 hotdog with bun.

I made Alyssa and myself smoothies for on the way to the carnival since I didn’t know what kind of food would be available. I do this quite often if I know we will be eating an unhealthier meal out.

Dinner (6 pm): 3/4 chicken sausage, pile of baked fries, 3/4 corn on the cob.  Quite a few homemade graham crackers and 1/4 of a banana for dessert.

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Overall Alyssa had 3 servings fruit, 3 servings vegetables, 3 servings protein, 2 servings dairy, 4 servings whole grain. According to WebMD a 3 year old should consume between 1000-1400 calories depending on activity level. She ate roughly 1150.

Feeding Philosophy:

I take slightly different approaches to the way I feed my baby versus my preschooler. Cassidy is only 10 months so she never gets what we call “special treats”. Special treats are a lollipop, a donut, a rice Krispy treat, etc. Alyssa gets them sometimes, mostly when we are out at a birthday party or BBQ, which is quite frequent in the summer months. I also bake a lot in the evenings with Alyssa so she will eat our (mostly) healthy creations. Cassidy has never tasted anything sweet like cake, ice cream, cookies,etc. And she doesn’t know any better so I figure why would I introduce those things to her. She thinks fruit is dessert and I’d like to keep it that way as long as possible.

Once Alyssa hit around 2, she realized hmmm cookies are good! So now that she is older, she has those things sometimes, although mostly homemade. I feel like if i restrict her from having any unhealthier type foods then she will just want it all the more since you always want what you can’t have. She its not that she “can’t” have those things, its just a “special treat”. I treat her diet the same way I treat my own eating. She eats healthy the majority of the time but if we are at a BBQ, sure she can have a couple chips and a cookie, but not until she eats her veggies and protein.

As far as drinking goes, Cassidy is still on breast milk only. She doesn’t even like water out of a sippy cup. I have bought like 5 different sippy cups and she just doesn’t like them. She’ll play but won’t drink. Alyssa drinks organic milk (usually 2%) or water. At almost 4, she has yet to try soda, and I plan on keeping it that way as long as I can. I don’t drink it, so she has no reason to. Maybe once or twice a month she will have a cup of juice if we are at a party and other kids have it. Even 100% fruit juice is just the sugar from fruit, not the good fiber and nutrients. She eats plenty of whole fruit though. Smoothies however you get the whole fruit and she loooooves them! But again, I have to let her be a kid and a couple juice boxes every now and then makes her pretty happy!

I have never made either of my kids special “kid food”. Why would I cook myself and Dave something healthy and then put junk into their growing bodies? As a stay at home mom I know I am lucky to have the time to cook healthy for my family and I absolutely love doing it! I am not a perfect parent by any stretch, but I have complete control over what goes into their bodies so I do the best I know how to do. Alyssa asks for fruit or carrots for dessert sometimes so I think I’m doing pretty good forming healthy habits.

Getting Back to Intuitive Eating

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With my second pregnancy I was diagnosed with Gestational diabetes. The risk factors are if you are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, are over the age of 25, had gestational diabetes with a previous pregnancy, and are inactive. Well I was at a healthy weight, only 24, had a previous pregnancy without it, and run and lift on a regular basis. I literally did not have 1 risk factor. Oh well, it is what it is. I was going to do anything and everything in my power so it did not negatively effect the baby’s health or my own. I was told on a Friday about my positive result but wasn’t set up to see the nutritionist for another week. Lets just say Friday night was spend scouring google for meal plans and what foods I should stay away from. I was determined to follow the meal plan to a T so I would not have to be put on insulin. Here I am at 27 weeks, a couple days before I was diagnosed.

I did not have to calorie count, but I did have to carb count. I knew what a carbohydrate was. Bread, cereal, rice, etc. And I guess I knew that fruit was a carb but I never thought of it that way before. I thought of fruits and vegetables as “free” foods. They are so packed full of nutrients I wouldn’t worry about eating 3 apples if I wanted them. But my gestational diabetic body disagreed. I now had to count all fruit as carbs.

And the front view, beginning of the 3rd trimester…

I was given a meal plan by the nutritionist based on my body size. It ended up being 1700 calories a day. Um, are you serious? Didn’t you know I am pregnant? I ate more than that on a daily basis before being pregnant. So she gave me a new plan of 2500 calories. Much better. My new meal plan looked like this.

breakfast: 30 g carbs

snack: 15-30 g carbs

lunch: 45 g carbs

snack: 15 g carbs

dinner: 45-60 g carbs

snack: 30 g carbs

The carbs were use or lose. I couldn’t save up my afternoon snack carb allowance and then use it along with my dinner allowance. My body needed a steady dose to keep my glucose levels even. 190-210 g carbs per day, doesn’t look too bad right? But compared to my current 400 g a day, it was a change!

Do you know how many apples I could have for my afternoon snack? One really small one! And I mean really small, about the size of a plum. If I wanted a whole banana, I would have to use almost my entire lunch carb allowance for it. A banana for lunch, not too filling? Milk and yogurt have a lot of carbs too. A greek yogurt would take my entire breakfast allowance so I couldn’t even top it with fruit or granola. As you can see, things got a little difficult. It was hard to fit in the healthy carbs while still getting full. I finally figured out what worked for my body and how to get in enough calories while not going over my carb allowance and glucose levels. I was SO diligent about sticking to the plan. However, this took away all senses of intutitve eating. If I ate my breakfast and was still hungry. Oh well, I had to wait until snack time. And on the other end, if I wasn’t hungry for a snack, I had to eat it anyway to keep my blood sugar levels even.

I had to take my blood glucose levels 4 times a day. I never missed. I think I went over my threshold number 3 or 4 times my entire pregnancy, and just barely.  Not to say I am perfect but I am a paranoid pregnant person. I am one of those no caffeine, no artifical sweetener, no occasional glass of wine people. In my mind I would forever blame that one glass of wine if something went wrong with the baby. I would blame myself, that I caused it somehow, even though I know that’s not rational. Its just what I would have done. And I don’t judge women for drinking their morning coffee at all while pregnant, I kind of wished I could let myself be more laid back about it!

Since I was SO diligent about counting every single bite of carb that went into my mouth, I also kept track of calories to make sure I was getting enough. I was already having trouble gaining weight while pregnant since tests showed my metabolism was all revved up. I have never had it checked not pregnant so it may just be a pregnancy effect.

Literally the second they delivered the placenta, my gestational diabetes was gone. I could eat an entire cake if I wanted. I definitely went back to eating dessert and more carbs in the morning but I still found myself calculating carbs and calories in my head every time I ate. Even now, 6 months post-partum, I still do it. Its not intentional, but I just ingrained it in my head so much. I find myself starving a lot but I tell myself “you’ve already eaten 1000 calories at lunch, how could you want more?”. Well if I’m still hungry, then i must need more. I eat mostly healthy foods so that 1000 calories was a peanut butter and banana sandwich, a huge salad with avocado and sausage, an apple, yogurt and granola, some almonds, a brownie, and a 100 calorie pack of sun chips (my lunch today). But I am still hungry.

I need to get back to eating intuitively and somehow stop the counting in my head. Like most people, I eat a lot of the same foods. So while pregnant, I quickly learned the nutritional stats of those foods for easy tracking. But now I need to forget them. I am not worried about calories or carbs at all right now. I have fully incorporated them all back into my diet after pegnancy plus some! I just need to get the numbers out of my head. If I am hungry eat more, if i’m full then stop. Who cares if I’ve only eaten 2500 calories and 30o g carbs in a day or 4500 calories and 500  carbs. I just love carbs, especially whole grains and sweet potatoes.

What the Baby Eats

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Breastfeeding… if you don’t have interest in the topic, see you tomorrow, its going to get honest here! People have such strong views on the subject. Some people are so pro breastfeeding they do it well into the toddler years. Other people think its gross and give formula from day 1 without ever trying. There are obviously people in between as well (like myself) but this subject can be touchy.

I breastfed my 3 year old until she was 14 months. Her first word was “boob” at 8 months. She said it in a deep voice very drawn out “Booooooob”. She said it before ‘mama’. Needless to say, she very much enjoyed it and honestly I did too. Well, after the first month that is…

For any of you new moms out there or pregnant ladies I’ll be brutally honest, it freakin hurts when you start to breastfeed. Don’t beleive the whole “it only hurts if you have a bad latch” business, its far from the truth. That first month is painful. Like bleeding, blistering, I want to cry pain. But usually only the first 20 seconds of each time they latch on. It was this way with both of my girls. I saw lactation consultants each time and they said the girls were latched perfectly, but still, OW! But I stuck with it hoping the pain would go away, and it did. After a couple weeks we were both enjoying it and the past pain was totally worth it. Its a great feeling knowing I can solely nourishmy baby.  I have now been nursing my second baby for almost 6 months and love it just as much. Its a great bonding time and lets not forget about the massive calorie burn! (And so I don’t scare you too much, its not this terribly painful for everyone I’ve heard, just my experience).

I take nourishing my baby pretty seriously, I want to give her the best start to life as possible. They say you can eat whatever you want and the baby will just get first dibs at the nutrients, leaving the mom void. That doesn’t sound too good to me. So I try, even harder than usual, to make sure I eat a variety of healthy foods. I try to get in at least 2-3 serving of dairy a day for calcium, red meat once a week and lots of leafy green for iron, fatty fish once a week  and lots of flax/chai seeds for omega 3’s, pretty much all of my grains are whole grains, and I eat a mass amount of fruits and veggies, probably double the recommended 5 servings a day. And then I throw in dessert and treats as well because I like them, for one. And two, its honestly kind of hard to meet my calorie needs by eating only super healthy. I rarely cook with oils, butter, or salt so I figure I can afford some dessert.

I quickly learned while nursing Alyssa what foods gave her gas. No onions, garlic, broccoli, cualiflower, cucumbers, beans, tomatoes or pasta sauces. That took a lot of food out of the picture. I avoided all of that food until I reintroduced it later on when she had a more mature digestive system. Since I knew all those foods hurt her belly, I just avoided them with Cassidy from the get go. Cassidy is the easiest baby ever, never fussy. I think this plays a part. Now that she is 6 months I am starting to reintroduce some of those foods back into my diet and so far so good. I don’t mind avoiding these foods if it makes for a happy baby. Stay up all night rocking and bouncing an inconsolable baby as you watch her clinch with belly pain and you’ll agree its not a big deal. I would hate to think that just because I wanted some pasta with sauce that I caused my baby girl to hurt. And then no one gets sleep which makes for a rough night and next day.

So…A day in the eating life of Cassidy…

She wakes around 830 am ready to eat! She won’t even let me change her diaper first before she is clawing at my chest. Then at 11 am, 2 pm, 445 pm, 715 pm, and 830 pm. She is actually a slow eater compared to my first and takes about 20-30 minutes each time (except for her last feeding of the day which is just to top off the tank and takes about 5 minutes).

I pump after her morning feeding since she can only eat the milk from one side, leaving me quite lopsided and uncomfortable. Let’s just say I make plenty of milk and my body may be confused that it needs to feed twins. She refuses to take a bottle however, she’s a boob girl, so this milk just piles up in my freezer. I have a couple hundred ounces frozen and just gave a little over 100 oz to a friend who can’t breastfeed because of a past surgery. I needed some room for my frozen veggies! She about had a heart attack when I mentioned it was going to go bad before I could use it all, so I offered her the “liquid gold” and she was SO excited.

Yep, that is the contraption you pump with. It looks scarier than it is.

At 8 pm Cassidy gets 1 oz of the pumped milk mixed with oatmeal cereal and a touch of banana sometimes. She actually hates it and its a battle to get most of it down. It’s a rare night if all gets down. The banana is just so she will tolerate the taste.

Last night at dinner she had some of my baked sweet potato that i smashed between my fingers. Again, not much went down. Maybe a pea sized amount? She also got a pea sized bite of avocado at lunch time when I was making my sandwich. She is still not a big fan of solid foods but much prefers it fed to her in pieces. Maybe we will be skipping the pureed food stage and go straight to really mushy solids.

It is so fun watching her try new foods. Starting from scratch and forming her tastes is important. Alyssa was an amazing eater from day one and is the most unpicky 3 year old I’ve ever seen. It makes me so happy I never have to make a separate meal from her. She does not have any “texture issues” like I know lots of kids (and adults) have. Its just one less thing i have to worry about. Cassidy on the other hand seems to be picky already. She hates both rice and oatmeal cereal. She will suck on apples or sweet potatoes but she doesn’t like being fed spoonfuls of food. Lets hope this changes soon!

Now that she is almost 6 months, it will be fruit and veggie time. She has tried a couple but I have not actually sat down and fed her a meal yet. I plan on making her baby food myself, like I did with Alyssa, and introducing veggies first so she doesn’t get accustomed to the sweetness of fruit. Let the mess begin!