Like most things with baby number 2, starting solids has been a drastically different experience than the first go around.
With our first-born, an unfortunate combination of me not making enough milk, him refusing the bottle and his weight dropping rapidly forced us to introduce solids at 4 months to try to keep him nourished. Starting solids was stressful and overwhelming. I knew I wanted him to get the best nutrition possible so I carved out time to prep all his meals at home from organic produce. I created a whole system for batch cooking food, pureeing and freezing to use later. Because he was our first-born (and I had insane amounts of guilt over not being able to breastfeed adequately), I poured all my time and energy into feeding him the best nutrient dense food I could….the second time around….ain’t nobody got time for that!
At his five month appointment our pediatrician told us it was probably time to start solids, and that if he showed signs of readiness to go for it. Babies are typically ready for solids when they can sit up in a high chair without slumping over, show noticeable interest in food (aka stare you down while you are eating), and don’t thrust the food out with their tongue when you do offer solids. Despite making a mental note to watch for these things, I was in denial that our little one could possibly be ready until last week when I was eating a turkey burger and he grabbed my hand and attempted to (very quickly and confidently) bring the burger straight to his wide open mouth. Point taken little dude.
In true second baby fashion, there is no schedule, no careful planning, no time for carefully curated meals…just survival.
My go with the flow dude sleeps when and where he can get a chance, eats sporadically, and his bedtime routine is utterly nonexistent. So the idea of having to prepare meals and add in one more thing to our already crazy day seemed unlikely. But I still wanted his first foray into ‘real food’ to be from real, fresh high-quality ingredients. When I found out about Raised Real I was instantly intrigued. Homemade, organic, nutrient-dense meals without 95% of the work…um sign me up.
Raised Real is a home-made baby food delivery service. You make the food, they make it SUPER EASY to do so. It’s like Hello Fresh for babies and toddlers – but without the washing, cutting or cooking really. You just use their Meal Machine to steam and puree the prepared food packets and then feed them to your little one. Each meal box comes with 20 pre-portioned meals made from organic fruits and vegetables.
The food arrived in an insulated box packed with ice to keep the ingredients frozen. All the ‘meals’ are flash frozen and organically sourced to optimize the nutritional content and the meal combos are curated by a PhD in nutrition to ensure a balanced diet for your little ones. The four “meals” we received were Sweet Potato + Cinnamon, Green Beans + White Quinoa + Avocado Oil + Rosemary, Chickpeas + Cauliflower + Tahini + Turmeric, and Cauliflower + Kale + White Quinoa + Avocado Oil + Garlic. Each meal comes with an ingredient card that includes the health benefits of the ingredients and nutritional information.
I think one of my favorite things about the meals (aside from knowing that it’s organic, home-made meals with REAL raw, fresh ingredients) is the fact that they come in clear pre-portioned pouches, pre-cut into bite sized pieces so that you can pull them out and steam or steam and puree as needed. It’s the perfect amount for 1-2 baby meals or a great base to build a toddler or preschooler’s meal around. Pick up a rotisserie chicken, steam the packet and voila a healthy meal in minutes with little to no effort and even less dirty dishes!! Shoot, I would eat these (and may have steamed a couple for myself already).
We decided to do a family taste test of the four recipes. My favorite was the Caulflower + Kale + White Quinoa + Avocado Oil + Garlic, my 4-year-old chickpeas lover gobbled up the Chickpeas + Cauliflower + Tahini + Turmeric, and my husband – well – he ate all of them mixed up like Thanksgiving Dinner apparently not understanding the concept of a taste test.
As for the baby, we opted to start with the Sweet Potato + Cinnamon because it’s a great starter food and purees the smoothest. I added a little breastmilk to make it smoother for him. It was a hit! He grabbed the spoon from me and cried every time I took it away. It was adorable, not to mention he took an epic nap afterwards…nothing like a full belly to make a baby sleep soundly. Apparently he was ready for food and is a huge fan of the Raised Real meals. I can’t wait to try the others with him.
The verdict is that these rock! Not only was it incredibly easy to make the meals in the Meal Maker, but they were really good. I love the idea of taking all the hard work out of making your own baby food – and beyond that it’s food the whole family can enjoy. It’s also a great option for moms that plan on making their own food, but know that life happens and you can’t always get it done. When I made all my food for our firstborn, I always had some store-bought baby food on hand just in case. Having a bunch of these in the freezer is a great insurance policy for days when you don’t have the energy or time to make it from scratch yourself…and what’s better is that if you don’t need them for the baby, you can eat them yourself!
*This post was sponsored by Raised Real.