The Lykketroll's introduction to the wonderful world of food
One of the most fun things about becoming a parent has been introducing the Lykketroll to the world of food. I love cooking and eating and I want him to love eating and eventually cooking, too.
After a bit of a tough start, the Lykketroll finally took to the boob and was fed exclusively on breast milk for the first four months. As well as it being excellent for establishing a strong and healthy microbiome, we wanted to get him used to different tastes and textures as early as possible. In anticipation of him being able to try food once his his gut was ready for it, we made a list of about 40 different fruits and vegetables and just began ticking our way through them. I was going to share the list but it looks like the wife's deleted it from our Wunderlist, which is a shame.
I boiled each food (if it was necessary), whizzed it in a blender and then froze them in little ice-cube-sized portions.
We started off with one ingredient at a time (mashed potato was the first), trying it out for three days before moving on to the next. He reacted with nothing but delight and excitement with pretty much every fruit or vegetable that he tried, and didn't seem to suffer at all in the bowel department. His poop went through all kinds of colours and consistencies (and still kind of does), but as long as he didn't seem to be in discomfort, we just kept working our way through the list.
Broccoli and peas were the only two foods he didn't take to at the first tasting, but he soon got over that and loves them now, too.
I had lots of fun prepping all the ingredients and doing fun things like recreating the (healthy) bits of the Very Hungry Caterpillar's food binge. This was probably one of my favourite projects because it combined three of some of my favouritest things in the whole world: the Lykketroll, food and books.
One of the side benefits of the Lykketroll's single ingredient diet was that it made me appreciate just how tasty individual vegetables are on their own, and sometimes how pretty they are too. I really enjoyed sampling the foods and rediscovered my love of carrots, prunes and plain sweet potato, untarnished with salt and butter.
From around five months, we started combing several ingredients into 'dinners' and introducing him to meat and fish.
Because we kept lots of different ingredients in the fridge, I was able to put together lots of different flavour combinations. This was more for my sake than his; I doubt he got bored of repeatedly eating the same thing , but I have this thing about not eating the same thing two days in a row. (My wife, by contrast, would be happy rotating through the same 5 dishes for dinner from now until the end of time.)
I use a silicon mini muffin mould to make little layered fruit pots that I mix into his porridge and now, instead of making lots of little cubes of different ingredients, I use a Mushy Mushy solicon food storage tray to portion-sized dinners.
Since he turned seven months, he has been eating pretty much what we eat. He still gets a lot of porridge (he's half Norwegian, he has to), but now he gets at least two 'grown-up' meals a day.
The only foods we'e steering clear of, at least until he's a year old, are cows's milk because of the increased risk of milk allergies, iron deficiency and potentially overloading his kidneys (Leung and Suave, 2003), and honey because of the risk of infant botulism (Tanzi and Gabay, 2002).
He loves strong tastes. We only half seriously joke that it's because he has has Indian genes in him; when I met his mum she thought anything with a little pepper on it was too spicy. She's much better now, but she still gets her own specially made spice-free curry whenever we visit my parents.
The other day, he had a baby-sized, mushed-up portion of cod with chorizo and spicy beans (sans the big bits of chorizo) and absolutely loved it.
It's not that he has to like everything that he eats, but it's important to me that he's willing to try everything at least once.
At some point we'll have to address the issue of vegetarianism. There are lots of things I need to think through here, so I'll save that for another post.