Help! The ‘What should I feed my kid” edition

So lately I have been on a quest- to figure out what to feed my kid as she gets closer and closer to her first birthday. I have been asking other Mom’s (via my trusted Facebook), searching the internet and have started the process of finding someone through our family doctor to help us. But I still feel totally lost. And a bit stressed out. (I know, I need to stop worrying so much… but I am sooo good at it.)

Why is this so complicated you ask? Here’s the thing:

1) She is allergic to dairy, which eliminates a whole bunch of ways to get both protein and fat in her diet

2) She is currently on Soy formula, which I am okay with if it was just part of her diet, but not as comfortable with as her only source of protein and fat. (Soy is great, but it does have estrogen mimicking compounds that I worry about when it is such a high proportion of her diet.) Soy was never something I felt great about being her sole source of nutrition, but it seemed slightly better to me then our other option of hypoallergenic milk formula (which must be really processed).. so we went with it. But now that she is on solid food I have allowed my brain to re-open the debate on this.

3) Also, for those of you who read my post about the search for corn in our cupboard, you might have noticed I did not look at the formula. I didn’t want to know. Well, curiosity got the best of me the other day and I looked. The first ingredient is organic corn syrup solids. Awesome (insert sarcasm). If processed corn syrup is something ‘they’ say adults should stay away from how is okay to be the main ingredient in baby formula?

4) She had GERD for the first 9 months of her life and has just started to not spit up 24/7. She is very adverse to new textures in food and often spits up after eating something new.

5) She is picky. New food typically require about 8 introductions before she will eat it regularly. (Oh the wasted food!) She will eat just about anything pureed, but is very slow to eat things which are mashed or in chunks. She also won’t eat egg or meat she can taste/feel the texture of (she will eat meat if it is a tiny amount hidden in a veggie puree). I also haven’t been able to get her to eat any lentils yet. I need to try that again.

So my goal in the next 6 months is to:

a) Get her off soy formula completely (obviously I can’t do this until she is getting enough protein and fat from other sources).Β  This would allow me to introduce some soy sources like soy yogurt and tofu.

b) Get her on a balanced and healthy diet that is dairy free and not totally depended on soy.

c) Have her eating as much home-made, non-processed food as possible.

Here is what she will eat:

anything pureed except plain meat or lentils

bananas, soft cooked apples or pears, avocado (sometimes), baby fruit leather, apple sauce

squash, sometimes sweet potato

cheerios, pasta, baby cereal, adult oatmeal cut in chunks, sometimes muffins

Here is what she won’t touch so far:

eggs, pureed plain meat, chunky or pureed lentils

Mashed or chunks of potato, carrot, peas, green beans

bread, toast, pita, ect.

So, I figure it is worth a try to ask the blogosphere for help. I know a few of those who tend to read my blog have babies who are formula feed and/or babies that have milk issues. Thoughts? Or any good resources you know of that would tell me, for example, a typically weekly diet for a dairy free, minimal soy baby-transitioning-to-toddler? Ways you got your kid to eat meat/eggs that was sneaky? Good sources of fat for babies? Special ways you cooked veggies that did the trick? The only thing I am not worried about is fruit and carbs. (Obviously her mothers daughter.) Seriously, I need some help before I get lost in the abyss of internet searching. Also welcoming comments that can convince me to stop freaking out and worrying so much.

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13 responses to “Help! The ‘What should I feed my kid” edition

  1. amberhj February 10, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    She sounds like an absolutely NORMAL eater for her age. My first suggestion: Try not to worry so much. Texture is something all kids that age get hung up on. Spitting out food is normal. Taking many tries before coming around to a food is typical, and to be expected. Lots of babies don’t like chunky things–it’s tricky for a lot of babies to swallow something that is both liquidy and solid, and there’s no need for them to have to eat it anyway, so it’s no big deal. Check out “Baby Led Weaning” for some reassurance and tips. The list of what she currently eats is GREAT–plenty of healthy options! She doesn’t sound picky–she sounds normal for her age. Honestly, she is doing VERY, VERY WELL. You can take my word on that. She will come around to other foods and in the meantime, she’s eating plenty of great stuff.

    I also would check out the book “Super Baby Food”. It’s a bit over the top, but still very helpful. For example, you can make a porridge/cereal by grinding all types of grains and legumes together and then cooking them, for an excellent protein source. (I used to mash the yolks from hardboiled eggs into the cereal. You can add fruits or veggies to create a taste she’ll enjoy.)

    Has she tried yogurt made from coconut milk? It’s great. We went with plain, because it has less sugar and still tastes great.
    http://www.purelydecadent.com/products/coconut_yogurt.html

    I put flax oil in her cereal, or ground flax. Great source of fat and DHA. (So were the egg yolks, mentioned above.)

    You are both doing great. It’s still so early for her in the grand scheme with eating solids. Relax and try to enjoy meal time and everything will be fine! I promise! (I really regret worrying so much about it myself.)

    • amoment2think February 10, 2010 at 2:46 pm

      Thanks so much for the reassurance. I know I am worrying too much, but I find it difficult not to. Especially because I am getting a little nervous about the soy. I think I just need to feel like I have a plan for getting her on a good balanced toddler diet- even though I know it will take us a long while to get there. What can I say, I am a planner!

      You have some great ideas here- coconut yogurt sounds like a great idea. I have never seen it here in Calgary… but I will look. Flax and grinding legumes into things sounds like a great idea too! And I will take a look for that book. I really appreciate your thoughts!!

      • amberhj February 10, 2010 at 3:22 pm

        I am the same way. Better now though. I apologize to you and Clara. I get REALLY worked up about this because I was made to worry so much, over what turned out to be nothing (like the idea that she wasn’t eating enough solids by age one) and it robbed me of some enjoyment of life and motherhood. I think we moms are all made to worry so much about every little thing, and it needs to change. We deserve to feel confident and not anxious all the time. Babies are so different and unique and yet you can too easily read about what they “should” be doing on a week by week basis, which is so silly.

        In the early 1900’s, babies didn’t get any solids until 1 year of age. The way we feed babies changes in waves and fads. There is no one “right way.” Babies are resilient and flexible and very capable of getting what they need. Our only job is to offer healthy, wholesome options. That’s it. You are doing such a fantastic job. You have the extra challenge of avoiding dairy and keeping soy to a reasonable level, but thankfully today there are so many great options available. Okay, I’ll leave you alone now. It’s just a topic that hits close to home for me πŸ™‚

      • amoment2think February 10, 2010 at 4:17 pm

        Again, thank you. I totally understand your reaction and I agree- we Mothers do worry too much. As much as I know that I can’t always keep myself out of that trap. I think a big part of my worry comes from the soy formula- something I wish she didn’t have to have. If she was on milk formula or breast milk I don’t think I would worry as much. Although I am sure I would… and that’s just the excuse I am giving myself. πŸ™‚

        Here is the good news though- so I took everyone’s suggestions and supposed I could get 1/2 an avocado, 1 egg yolk, 1/4 cup of coconut milk or coconut yogurt and some lentils into her and she would only need 1/2 the amount of formula she takes now. She doesn’t really like her mid-morning and mid-afternoon bottles anyway so it would be easy to do. Then her diet would be a bit more soy-to-other-stuff balanced. That is way less food then I thought we would need to make up the difference. And I am pretty sure I could get the egg, coconut milk and avocado into a custard she would eat. So a little number crunching and I have a solution. Thanks everyone!!

      • clara February 12, 2010 at 6:47 pm

        I hope I didn’t sound like I was implying she’s not like most kids (referencing amberhj’s reaction) – every kid is different and challenging in his/her own way. I can only speak for my own experience – my kids are wolfers until they hit 2 and then they get picky until…well, I don’t know because the older one is 3.5 and is still makeingme crazy. I only meant to express sympathy because the eating thing is hard. I never was going to make an issue of it because I knew exactly how my own parents screwed up with me when I was a kid…and it *still* presses my buttons. And I have to think that’s normal too.

        But glad you found something that works for you and makes you feel better.

      • amoment2think February 12, 2010 at 10:27 pm

        Not to worry! Every kid is different- some have trouble with sleep, some with food, some with other stuff. I know my girls issue is food– she is not ‘abnormal’- she falls within the ‘normal’ range. But I know it is something I will have to put more thought into because she won’t follow the typical ‘weekly menu’ that most baby food books suggest.

        I appreciate the sympathy- sometimes you need someone to say “I know it sucks, eh?” I also needed Amber to say “‘Stop worrying- she is doing great!” Sometimes you need to hear both.

  2. clara February 10, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Have you tried legumes on their own, like kidney beans or chick peas…just kind of smush it with your finger so it isn’t a choking hazard but not mashed or pureed. My kids both liked those kinds of beans at that age. It’s a fun finger food but protein.

    And if chick peas pass, make hummus. Chick peas, tahini (sesame butter), olive oil, lemon juice, garlic. Blend as thick or smooth as you like. That’s practically a full meal. You could adjust it to suit her taste – less lemon juice or less garlic, more oil to smooth it out. Olive oil is very good for you too.

    Just watch the canned beans/peas as they are shockingly high in sodium.

    Avocado is very high in good fats and is very good for babies. I read something somewhere (I know, helpful) basically calling it a superfood. I know that I always feel kind of bad buying avocadoes year round considering the distance they travel but at least they’re easy & most kids like ’em, including yours, so yay!

    Both of my kids were suckers for oven roasted vegetables. Sweet potato, potato, that sort of thing, drizzled with olive oil and a bit of salt and sometimes cinnamon. In sticks long enough to pick up and put in her own mouth but thick enough that they don’t get too crispy. I was guilty of underseasoning my kids’ food for a long time; salt is bad, obviously, but there are many other spices that with a light hand make foods taste so much better.

    And if she’s getting the formula, she’s still getting nutrients. It’s like ask moxie says about first foods – it’s just practice. Really, the balanced nutrition is coming from the breast milk / formula.

    That said, I feel for you. It is hard enough figuring out what to feed kids, let alone with that many caveats. It sounds like she has experienced pain with eating so is understandably slow to warm up to the concept, more so than most kids.

    If it helps, you can remind yourself that I was a picky eater until I moved out of my parents’ house and had to suck it up and fend for myself. Now I eat almost everything. πŸ™‚

    • amoment2think February 10, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      Thanks! More great ideas! I will try the beans and hummus and the roasted veggies.

      Yeah, we were lucky in that she was a “happy spitter”, it didn’t seem to bother her that much that she was spitting up all the time. I know there are a lot of kids that have a much harder time then her with the spit up. But it has made her very reluctant to try new foods. But I know that is normal.

      I think sometimes I hear some Mom’s with babies her age that say “oh, my baby just eats what we eat but in small pieces” and then I get all worried- because I can’t think of a single meal we have had that she would eat too!!! I am going to try and stop worrying!

  3. amberhj February 10, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Sorry, I gotta reiterate that she does NOT sound different from “most kids.” We saw occupational therapists over our similar worries with Stella and were told that MANY many babies don’t just wolf down whatever you put in front of them and that the behavior you describe is normal. SHE ISN’T EVEN ONE YET!

  4. amoment2think February 11, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    So I tried to find coconut yogurt here in Calgary- so far no luck. If any of you Americans want to bootleg some up to Canada let me know. Just kidding! LOL.

  5. Jen February 17, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Hey found you through the follow on Twitter.

    Try seaweed. I don’t know what magic seaweed has in it, but Kale will scarf down the nori on a cucumber sushi roll in milliseconds. And that stuff is LOADED with protein. I usually give him the roll, let him squish the cucumber out and eat that, then I unroll it, and then tear the rice and seaweed part into tiny pieces. And I’m happy to loan you my copy of Super Baby Food. It gave me some ideas to get started, but I stopped following once I got a bit of practise under my belt.

    • amoment2think February 18, 2010 at 9:13 am

      Seaweed!!! What a great idea I would have never thought of!! I love the internet! Also, I very good excuse for allowing me to have sushi more often! Thank you!

      Thanks for the offer of loan on that book- very nice of you especially since you don’t know me! I have taken out a bunch from the library lately, so I am good. Thank you.

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