Many thanks to Cassie for this blog and insight into her daughter’s food journey. Cassie is 29 years old, Lily is her first child who is now 16 months old. Cassie and her daughter live with her partner (lily’s dad) in Surrey. She used to be a early year practitioner and now she is a stay at home mummy who writes a blog www.lilyslittlelearners.com.
“I’ve always been quite lucky with Lily and the healthy choice has always been the easy choice for us. Like all baby’s Lily started her food journey with milk. I was really happy when Lily took to breastfeeding no problem and she fed for the first 40 minutes after she was born. I was breastfed myself until I was 18 months old and so I was hoping to be able to breastfeed Lily until at least a year. We managed this and beyond as Lily still has one or two feeds during the night now at 16 months old.
I started Lily on solids at just over 5 months old. Although the recommended age was 6 months old I felt that she was ready to start slowly trying some foods. Her first ever food was pureed carrots. She loved them and kept opening her mouth and leaning in for more. I think carrots are a great food to start with. They are healthy and tasty, easy to puree up and really bright in colour which makes eating inviting. I didn’t try to many different foods to fast though, and for the first few weeks she would have carrots, or broccoli. I also gave Lily pureed fruit for the first 2 months of weaning. She really enjoyed pear and apple and sometimes I would mix it together for her. Apple and pear are both really good fruits to start with because they are sweet and not to over powering for them.
From then on Lily would become a really good little eater. She would try most things I put in front of her and her favourite would always be her vegetables. For me it was always important to encourage Lily to eat healthily and so by starting with the healthy foods first she would happily eat them.
I spoon fed Lily for the first few months and then that started getting difficult. She would push away the spoon for some of the foods I was offering like chicken or mash and wouldn’t eat it. The way I overcome this was by just leaving it on her tray and pretending to ignore her and before I knew it the food she was at first refusing was now all around her mouth from her picking it up and eating it herself. It was at this point that I stopped using spoons and let Lily have her independence. I think when food is laid out on a plate for babies they can look at it a little more and investigate it and so it makes food more exciting for them and they are more likely to want to eat the foods you give them.
One thing I’ve never had to do for Lily is hide foods in other foods to get her to eat it, instead I’ve always had to make sure food items were separated. If everything was piled in front of her all at once she would get fussy and push her plate away but If I gave them her separately or laid them out on the plate so they were in there own areas then she would eat them. I think she gets it from her father that she likes to eat each individual item one by one, so for example she would eat the carrots first, and then the potatoes, and then the meat, rather than having a little bit of each at a time.
I am lucky to say that I haven’t had many problems when it comes to Lily eating. She went through a fussy stage at about 12 months old where fish fingers or beans were all she would eat. But I didn’t let it worry me or phase me and always provided her with other food options on the side even if I knew she wouldn’t eat them. I wanted her to see that I was always going to give her that healthy option and I didn’t want her to forget about them. Eventually this fussy stage passed and she is back to eating a more varied diet.
The food groups have always been important to me but now that Lily is over a year old they are even more so important. I always try and make sure her daily intake has something with carbs, protein, fruits and fibres, vitamins and minerals and fats in it.
For breakfast she has mixed cereal with grapes and then toast and milk to follow. This gives her a good intake of grains for fibre and carbs to start the day.
For lunch she has always had a picking plate of food. You would get most the food groups all on one plate and know she was getting a nice varied diet. Food would include cheese, salads, like cucumber or peppers or tomatoes, ham, olives and sometimes she would have crackers or cracker bread. Lily has never been a big sandwich eater and so I’m always glad that she has her toast in the morning.
One of the dinners I always love giving to Lily is a Sunday roast. She loves all that come with it, and happily eats all the meat and potatoes and vegetables. Her favourite has to be gammon. Gammon is high in salt but is fine on a occasional basis and I always serve it with a big drink of water. I always follow up with a dessert of yogurt and fruit.
As for drinking during the day, Lily only gets juice as a treat once in a while and when I serve it I always use fresh fruit juice with lots of water so it is very diluted. I do find that Lily prefers drinking plain water and her sippy cup will be empty quicker than when she drinks juice and I think its because its what we have given her from the start.
I’m really happy with Lily’s eating and I’m going to continue to try new healthy foods with her as her food journey continues.