baby

"It sucks if you have carpet." 6 things no one told me about feeding a baby.

Rafferty's Garden
Thanks to our brand partner, Rafferty's Garden

I think I have learned more in the past eight months than I ever have in my whole life.

When my son, Alexander, was a newborn, I felt like I was on The Amazing Race, or Survivor, except keeping a baby clean/fed/warm/alive was the name of the game. Thankfully (with the help of the internet and other experienced mums) we made it through.

Then all of a sudden he wasn’t teeny tiny anymore and it was time for him to eat real food. Which meant more learning, and quickly. I mean, have you ever seen how quickly and thoroughly a baby can squish a piece of banana in their pudgy little hand? It’s actually impressive.

Here’s what else I learned.

They start solids way earlier than I thought.

A girlfriend gave me a (beautiful) set of a teeny bowl, plate and cutlery for my baby shower. The card read “Trust me, you’ll need these sooner than you think”.

And she was right.

I felt like I had just got the hang of having a newborn and then BAM!…my baby was four and a half months old and it was time to start solids. In my head I think I imagined him being 18 months before food was introduced. Oh, how little I knew.

TIP: It’s very likely that your baby will start solids before they can sit. That was the case with my son, Alexander. His paediatrician said it’s fine to feed him purees in the bouncer so long as he is carefully supervised – before he can sit in a highchair.

Rafferty's baby high chair 1
Bounce, baby, bounce. Image: Supplied.

It sucks if you have carpet.

Yep, we have carpet under our dinner table, not ideal. But of course, all the clever mums on the internet came to my rescue with so many great tips.

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There’s plenty of purpose-made waterproof feeding mats to put down under the highchair, but I loved the generous suggestion of buying a clear shower curtain and pulling the rings off - that way I can just pull it up and rinse it whenever a wipe won’t do the job.

When you introduce allergens is important.

The latest studies show that it is important to feed your baby the common foods that have a higher chance of causing an allergic reaction, like eggs and peanuts, before the age of 12 months. It’s scary to do, but delaying it until after their first birthday is proven to have a higher chance of developing an allergy. It’s best to introduce the food in the morning (or daytime - not night when there’s less resources at a hospital) and then watch your baby closely in case you need to make a trip to see a medical professional.

They’ll eat way better than you do.

I shudder to think of our grocery bill when I started making baby food at home. Like any first-time mum I bought all the organic veggies, fruits and then chicken, lamb, etc. It cost me an absolute bomb.

So when you witness your sweet baby just spit out the pricey mush that you slaved over for hours you need to try not to take it personally.

When out and about, going away or even just when I didn't have time, I'd feed Alexander the Rafferty’s Garden Nothing Else pouches. They are for four months and up, and inside is only what it says on the packet, and nothing else.

Made in Australia, they have no preservatives, no artificial colours or flavours, no added salt or sugar or juices, and definitely no GM ingredients. Basically it is like I had made the puree, but without the hard work. The favourite flavours in our house have been Pumpkin, Apple and Sweet Corn, and the Spinach, Apple, Broccoli and Pea.

And the chocolate custard is great, too. Image: Supplied.
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Timing three meals and four bottles a day is like trying to do four-unit maths.

When Alexander turned six months of age he graduated to having three meals plus four bottles each day. I love watching how much he enjoys his food, but trying to get the timing right of all the meals, bottles and naps, while trying to manage to leave the house, is like trying to solve the Da Vinci Code.

Again, that’s where the pouches come in so handy. I chuck one into his bottle bag and I can feed him lunch on-the-go if we were unexpectedly caught out and about for longer than I had planned. Because trust me, you don't want to be carting around homemade purees in tupperware.

baby feeding chair
I'm a parent, not a mathematician, kid. Image: Supplied.

The mess is next level, but so is the joy.

Be prepared for puree and bits of food to be all over their little faces, hands, clothes, and basically anything within a five-metre radius. There’s always a lot of cleaning up to do.

But, on the flipside, watching them taste foods for the first time (the faces they make!) and develop their own favourites and preferences is so rewarding.

Got any advice from your experience with babies and feeding? We're all ears - drop a comment below.

Feature image: Supplied.

Rafferty's Garden

We believe that real food tastes best. The Rafferty's Garden NOTHNG ELSE range is made from delicious, premium, pureed fruit & vegetables. Proudly made in Australia with NOTHING ELSE except for the real ingredients in the name, it has a smooth texture making it the perfect first food for babies trying solid food for the first time.

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