The Kaylie Method (infant feeding)
As a dietitian and a mom, I get asked “what do you feed your daughter?” a lot. I’m going to call this the Kaylie method to feeding, why? Because it’s unique to Kaylie and what works for her may not work for your baby and that’s okay. Hopefully it does, but if it doesn’t then you can tweak it to fit your baby’s preferences!
Breastmilk or formula?
Yes, I breastfeed. She probably had 7 bottles in her life but that’s because I stay at home. I am not bashing anyone or their choices. Again, you do what works for you and this is what worked for us. I set small goals and a plan. If I can’t breastfeed then I’ll pump, if I can’t pump then I’ll give formula. Breastfeeding was challenging to say the least but it did get easier.
When did I introduce solids?
I started introducing solids at 6months, per AAP recommendations (see here). Now the next question, baby led weaning (BLW) or traditional??
I actually went the traditional route. I researched day and night and really wanted to do BLW. Her first food was avocado and I offered it in strips (true BLW style) and I freaked out. I had this overwhelming feeling of anxiety and I just couldn’t do it. So I mashed it and mashed it and mashed it and added some breastmilk. And right there, in that moment I said screw this! I’m doing purees!! After working with dysphasia patients for the past 3 years, I couldn’t handle the fear of choking. There was a study published not too long after I started introducing foods regarding BLW and the risk of choking, you can check it out here.
Did I make my own food?
You betcha. But again, this is what worked for us. Sure, at times we had pre-made stuff because let’s be real, life happens. Did I use organic? I try to 99% of the time, but again, life happens. Is this ideal for everyone? No, that’s why it’s the Kaylie method, it’s ideal for her.
My arsenal of tools include:
- Party bullet (no judging), I was given this as a bridal shower gift (thanks, Kel!) and it worked wonderfully in making purees. You really don’t need any fancy tools, a blender, magic bullet, immersion blender, or food processor will all work.
- Metal steamer basket
- Stainless steel pan and pot (my preference)
- Nuby masher
- Silicone tray with lid (ice cube trays will suffice)
- Freezer bags (breastmilk storage bags could work too)
First foods included:
- sweet potato
- oatmeal (see below)
- butternut squash
Why did I give oatmeal and not rice cereal?
Simple. Arsenic. (See here and here) After doing my research, this is what I felt was best. The baby oatmeal provided her with iron and other nutrients that are minimal in breastmilk. I didn’t want to give her a supplement and she wasn’t eating meats/eggs just yet so I felt this was best choice for her. Since I was all about the theory behind BLW, I didn’t want Kaylie on purees for too long, so I got creative.
Next step: mashed food
I started incorporating mashed food around 7 months. I had a lot of frozen purees and needed a way to re-purpose them. I didn’t want to give Kaylie purée meats because lets be real, that’s gross. So, I boiled chicken legs and salmon (not together, separate meals) and added pieces of the boiled meat/fish to a pureed vegetable and added cooked quinoa for added texture and nutrition! Then mashed it up using the Nuby masher.
I introduced all of the allergens, except dairy, as early as possible. My husband was out of town a lot for work, so I planned these introductions when he was around, just in case. I didn’t introduce as early as I wanted to but before a year was my goal. She has had eggs, mashed, chopped, scrambled, banana egg pancakes and in recipes. She had peanut, almond, cashew, pecan butter all individually mixed in oatmeal, banana, and apples. She had shrimp, lobster, and salmon. She had tofu and edamame. She had corn and wheat. I have yet to introduce dairy due to her sensitivity via breastmilk, but I plan on introducing it as she starts to tolerate it more (through breastmilk).
Preparation and storage
The freezer has become my best friend. I prepare enough food for a few days if not weeks and freeze it! This helps me increase variety in Kaylie’s diet without being a short order cook. I freeze (all cooked) meatballs, pasta, beans, meat crumbles, mashed potatoes, eggplant, and even meat from chicken legs. I also keep frozen fruit like watermelon sticks and banana for teething!
Remember, EVERY SINGLE BABY is different, what worked for Kaylie MAY or MAY NOT work for your baby, that is why this is the Kaylie Method. Feeding our babies is exciting and should be fun, ENJOY!