Read an Excerpt
As a general consultant pediatrician, I’ve been fielding questions for years from new parents about what (and how) to feed their children. When I first started my practice, I am embarrassed to say, many of these questions truly stumped me: When can I stop warming up the bottle? When can I give the baby eggs? Juice? Yogurt? It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I realized how much there truly is to learn about the care and feeding of babies. And, alas, knowing how and what to feed a baby and putting it into practice are two different things.
The Baby’s Table is full of delicious ideas and recipes. While some of the recipes may sound intimidating to the sleep-deprived new parent (Gourmet Tuna Melts or Salmon and Vegetables with Creamy Dill Sauce), they are all surprisingly simple and quick to prepare. When Mom and Dad are craving their favorite spicy takeout, having some of the dishes frozen in bulk to feed baby is a great option.
This book — part recipe book, part everything-you-need-to-know-to-feed-a-baby — answers all the feeding and nutrition questions I tried to answer in my early years as a pediatrician as well as the questions I had when I was figuring it out for myself as a new parent. The dishes are truly great-tasting as well as nutritious and safe. They focus on unprocessed, unsweetened and unsalted whole foods.
Finally! A book that I will be happy to recommend to new parents, to help them feed their baby for those crucial first years.
—Cheryl L. Mutch M.D., C.M., F.R.C.P(C.)
Pediatrician, Burnaby, B.C., Canada
If you’re like many new parents, you may find the prospect of making your own baby food a daunting one. You’re no Naked Chef; baby’s keeping you busy (and tired) — and besides, how would you know that what you’re feeding your infant is safe and supplies the nutrients needed for healthy development?
It’s easier than you think. And The Baby’s Table, filled with important nutritional information and cooking tips and more than 100 simple and tasty recipes, can show you how. There are helpful hints on dealing with behavioral issues such as feeding problems, and strategies for making healthy eating a pleasurable experience — for you as well as for your baby.
More and more parents today are seeing the advantages of preparing homemade baby food. It’s nutritional, economical and takes far less time than you think. All you need is a steamer basket, a blender or food processor, a small double-boiler, ice cube trays and a freezer. In an afternoon — during one of baby’s naptimes — you can whip up and freeze an entire month’s supply of meals rich in essential nutrients.
Your baby’s nutrition is of critical importance for physical and intellectual growth and development and has lasting implications for his or her future. Using the tips, recipes and meal plans provided in The Baby’s Table, you can create your own baby-pleasing fare that offers nutritional advantages not found in commercial brands. Homemade baby food cuts down on unwanted additives and offers your baby a wider variety of textures and flavors than commercial baby food could hope to replicate. The savings are substantial; your own baby food can be prepared at a fraction of the cost of store-bought. In the long term, offering home-prepared baby food can also help you shape your baby’s food choices for a healthy childhood, and beyond.
All recipes in The Baby’s Table have been reviewed by a physician and tested by parents — and more importantly, babies! Information is based on the latest medical and nutritional research and complies with the current Canadian guidelines for infant feeding. Be aware that the contents of this book are not intended as medical advice: the suggestions apply only to healthy full-term infants, and parents should consult with their doctor before undertaking any change in their infant’s diet.
The chapters in The Baby’s Table are conveniently named for the age group to which the recipes apply: Newborn to Four Months; From Four Months; From Six Months; From Eight Months; and Toddlers. There are also three helpful Appendices: Resources, Growth Charts, and References. For the purposes of this cookbook, age definitions are as follows: newborn, up to one month; infant, from birth to 12 months; toddler, from 1 to 3 years; and child, 3 years and older.
The fact that you’re reading this book shows you’re ready to take the plunge. Congratulations — you have made a commitment to a healthy future for your baby. Read on, have fun, be creative — and, since you’re sure to be taste-testing these recipes yourself, bon appétit!
Newborn to Four Months
For the first 4 to 6 months your baby will be fed only breast milk or breast milk substitute. The first 6 months is a time of peak growth and bonding, when your baby will double or triple his birth weight, will learn to smile and laugh and will rely on you entirely for healthy nutrition. It has been proven that breast milk is the optimum nutrition for young babies. It is not always possible to breastfeed, however. Regardless of whether you choose breast or bottle, a loving and caring approach to feeding will ensure your baby thrives to her greatest potential.
According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Dietitians of Canada, Health Canada and The American Academy of Pediatrics, breastfeeding is the optimum method of feeding for all infants with very few exceptions. Research continues to prove the vast benefits of breastfeeding for your baby:
> Reduced rates of infection: Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the rates of respiratory, ear, gastrointestinal, urinary tract and other infections in both infancy and childhood by at least 30 to 50 percent. Antibodies and other proteins from the mother prevent infection and strengthen the immune system.
Possible prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): In addition to placing an infant on his or her back for sleep, recent studies show a reduced risk of SIDS among breastfed infants.
> Enhanced cognitive development: Breastfeeding has been shown to improve childhood intelligence quotient (IQ), standardized tests of reading, mathematics and scholastic ability. These improvements are thought in part to be due to the specific fatty acids found only in breast milk.
Prevention of allergies: Breast milk provides protection against the development of allergies in those infants with a family history.
Prevention of iron deficiency: Breast milk is associated with lower rates of iron deficiency, provided iron-fortified cereals are begun between the fourth and sixth month.
Other benefits: There is a possible reduction in asthma, diabetes, bowel diseases and some childhood cancers in breastfed children.
And then there are the health benefits of breastfeeding for mothers:
Decreased osteoporosis in later life: During pregnancy, calcium is lost from the mother’s bones as a source for the developing baby. The hormones produced by breastfeeding replace the skeletal calcium lost during pregnancy, which leads to a decrease in osteoporosis.
Decreased cancer risk: Breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancer. This is thought to be due to the reduced levels of estrogen caused by breastfeeding.
Enhanced weight loss: Breastfeeding is related to increased weight loss following birth and a faster return to pre-pregnancy weight and body shape. This process begins immediately, as hormones released during breastfeeding promote faster shrinkage of the uterus and mobilization of fat from the lower body. These effects occur without dieting or excessive exercise and are more evident with prolonged breastfeeding.
Other benefits: New parents are often overwhelmed by the time commitment of breastfeeding a newborn baby. However, breastfeeding is an excellent way to escape the demands of cleaning, sterilizing and preparing bottles, particularly in the early weeks of baby’s life. Furthermore, breast milk is a dynamic substance, which alters its consistency depending on both climate and your baby’s needs.