then I'd feed my baby rice cereal.
To me it just doesn't make sense. Those little flakes that come in the boxes that say, just add water or breast milk must be pretty processed. I mean, I can't just toss a pinch of rice grains into a dish, squirt some breast milk on it and voila, have edible rice!
What does go on when food manufacturers make "rice cereal?" From what I've read, the grain is being refined (naughty word), the germ and bran (along with other nutrients) are being stripped out to promote longer shelf life (bye bye naturally occurring nutrients), then fortified (nutrients are added to the rice to provide our infants with iron, which is very poorly absorbed when provided in this cereal, zinc and vitamins, source below), and it's being pre-cooked, dehydrated and flaked. (hum, kinda reminds me of some adult breakfast cereals, doesn't it?)
Then I ask, would *I* eat it? Heck NO!
We moms are supposed to bring boxes of this stuff into our homes and add our liquid of choice, breast milk or water, and serve this mush to our infants? While convient and over emphasized as the thing to do, I found it equally as convient and acceptable to feed Ava fresh fruits and vegetables first, followed quickly there after by meat.
"There is no medical need to start baby out with cereals; unless your pediatrician has indicated your baby may need extra iron due to less than overall good health or due to being pre-term. In this instance, you should use a fortified commercial infant cereal and consult with your pediatrician on the best foods to offer as "first" foods; you may be surprised to hear your pediatrician recommend adding meat to baby's diet!" Wholesome Baby Food
"Rice cereal is a less than perfect choice for the first complementary food given to infants. Rice cereal is low in protein and high in carbohydrates. It is often mixed with varying amounts of breast milk or formula. Although most brands of formula now have added iron, zinc, and vitamins, iron is poorly absorbed—only about 7.8% of intake is incorporated into red blood cells." Wholesome Baby Food Site (Great Site)
I'm not saying this is the way to go for everyone, but I had to follow my heart (which was also backed up by plenty of reading). And I've never had to bring anything extra into my home to feed my child. It's simple for me, cost effective and I can also attest to it being wholesome and nutritious.
If starting your baby on grains is important to you, I found some recipes for making brown rice cereal in our homes. Sounds easy enough, but I'll confess, I've never tried it. http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/cereals.htm
The choice is completely personal. Research seems to support mothers either way, whether you go with grains first, or fruits and veggies, even meat.
Since I've been asked a number of times by friends what I've done with Ava, I did fruits, veggies, with meat following very closely behind. I do puree, either single items or tasty mixtures and freeze them in ice cubes trays and reheat on the stove only. I often serve items with whole milk yogurt (which I am excited to start making on my own at home! ooh, future post) or butter to boost fat content. I've also added flax seeds to boost fat, but watch out, because this boosts fiber and some babies can really poop after a meal with flax! And you can bet I'm adding plenty of meat stock to her foods as well (who needs to add water to the blender?!).
I've never added my breast milk to her solid foods and she's never turned me down. She LOVES eating meals with us and hasn't refused anything I've given her. In fact, she's VERY enthusiastic! And we still nurse with just about the same regularity as always.
I'd love to hear what other moms have included in their homemade baby foods! Any tasty recipes?