Nomz’s First Foods 離乳食

The Japanese kanji for baby’s first foods read rinyushoku which translates to “food to separate from milk/breast”, which when you think about it, is bittersweet for a breast feeding mom. It’s exciting that she gets to explore a whole new world of flavors and textures and we can sit together at the table for meals, but it’s also sad that this means soon my baby won’t be a baby anymore. Weaning her will be a relief and bring freedom, but I will also miss this special bond we had together.

Nomz started solids at around 6 months and I was surprised that as the daughter of a food lover, she didn’t take to solids so easily. I had conciously tried to expose her to various flavors, spices, and healthy foods during my pregnancy and breast feeding, but so far she seems to prefer milk. At 9 months now, she has her moods and some days she’ll eat and some days she’ll swat the spoon away with her hands. More than anything I want eating to be a fun experience for her, so we just go with the flow.

I’ve been having lots of fun reading up on introducing solids (in both English and Japanese) and I gotta say, Japanese moms really go all out on making gourmet baby food. Through the use of dashi and other flavors, they recognize that babies have sophisticated palates and appreciate umami too. I was also encouraged by a great US article about how bland baby food is no longer the standard and that it’s ok to use mild spices and herbs to jazz up baby food, as they do in cultures all around the world. When does baby first taste curry in India, or kimchi in Korea? Really, when you count pregnancy and breastmilk, they’re exposed to it from the very beginning. I ate lots of natto because I wanted Nomz to love it too (what kind of Japanese baby would she be if she couldn’t eat natto?) And she loves it!

I make some of her food and I buy some. I like to freeze large cubes of various starches (oatmeal, rice, udon) and smaller cubes of what I call “flavor packets” and mix and match them for variety.

Here’s some udon porridge, pears with cinnamon, spinach with a hint of curry

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Nomz at 9 months:

Starches: rice, udon, oatmeal, poi, pasta,
Veggies and fruits: carrots, sweet potato, cabbage, spinach, daikon, banana, avocado, pear, apple, papaya, peas, blueberry, plum, corn, squash, cauliflower
Proteins: yogurt, tofu, shirasu (fish), natto, cheese

One thing she’ll never refuse: puffs and mum mums.

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