Since long before I got pregnant, I had planned on being a certain kind of mom. I wanted to breastfeed, cosleep, baby wear, cloth diaper, and make our own baby food. Realistically, though, as a full-time working mom, you have to pick your battles. So far, we have had some wins, but we’ve definitely had some fails too. We have not been able to try cloth diapering yet, and I haven’t found a great baby carrier that we love yet, but I do baby wear a little. We do cosleep full time, and breastfeed or give Jake breastmilk via bottle when I’m at work. I really was looking forward to making our own baby food as well. When I saw a post on Pinterest about how to make your own baby cereal, and Jake’s pediatrician suggested we try cereal to help stretch our breastmilk a little further because I have been having some supply issues lately, I decided to give it a go.
First of all, the reason I was interested in making my own baby food is because I wanted to know exactly what Jake was getting. He’s shown some sensitivity to dairy already (through my breastmilk, of course – kids shouldn’t have dairy until they are a year old), so I’m trying to be realistic that he may have some other food issues also. Also, we don’t like to give Jake things he doesn’t need, like iron or vitamin D. Most commercially available cereals are fortified with extra vitamins and minerals.
I had a bag of whole grain brown rice and decided to make cereal. Basically, all you do is grind the rice into powder, which you then cook, then that gets thinned out to the consistency you want using breastmilk or formula. Well, we have a food processor that was maybe 30 bucks and roughly 5 years old. To my chagrin, this does not result in a fine rice powder or a cheerful baby, because it’s loud and took forever. Then, I sifted that powder and ran it again through the food processor. I sifted again, and decided to cook what I had gotten down to a powder, and set the part that was still granules aside for later. So, I boil water and add the rice powder. It takes approximately 10 minutes of boiling to cook. At this point, gruel is the word I would use to describe the concoction.
We take a tiny spoonful and mix it with breastmilk. It is lumpy. The lumps don’t go away no matter how much we stir. We consider blending it, but don’t want to essentially lose all of it stuck to the blender. We decide to try to just scoop up the more liquidy part on a spoon and go for it. Jake is less than enthused by this. His first experience with a spoon, and he is not impressed.
We decide we’ll try it from a bottle instead. While Brian transfers this mess to a bottle, I put the rest of the cooked cereal in the fridge for later. It is a gelatinous blob – I’m struggling to remember why I thought this was a good idea. Brian tries to give Jake the bottle, and it immediately clogs the nipple. I am beyond frustrated, and the combination of frustration and oh my goodness, when did he get so big already? has me on the verge of tears. My mother suggests maybe we just buy some to try? I concede. She goes to the store and returns with baby rice cereal. We mix a tiny spoonful in with the milk I manage to strain back out of the crap I made, and look! No lumps. Jake eats it. We all live. I cry again.
We have given Jake the commercially available baby rice cereal 3 or 4 times. We give him only a tablespoonful in a whole 3-4 ounces of breastmilk. I don’t love it. I think it makes him gassy and changes his poop habits for a few days each time. I don’t know is this is the iron or the cereal in general. I also don’t think it helps him to sleep longer or use less breastmilk but we don’t give him much cereal anyway. I think I definitely want to try again, but our food processor is not up to the job. I need to look into a new one before trying again for sure. Also, the remaining gruel that I put away for later? Essentially, it turned into a big gummy, lumpy blob that I just decided to toss.