|eating jjajang-myeon (noodles with black bean sauce)|
Traveling for 3 1/2 weeks around asia with a baby starting solids caused us to let go of the normal routine followed with introducing solids. Before we left, Olivia had done 3 days each of simple fruits and vegetables. We started with avocado and moved on to bananas, apples, and carrots. We also tried rice cereal and breast milk with and without blackstrap molasses (for iron), but that was the one food Olivia wasn't interested in. However, on the road, it wasn't practical to cook and mash up fruits or vegetables, so we began to feed her what was readily available.
On all of our flights, we contacted the airlines ahead of time to request baby meals. For each meal, the airlines provided us with 2 cans of Gerber baby food and a small bottle of juice. I guzzled the juice, and gave Olive some baby food. She wasn't interested in any of the weird smelling "mixed" flavors, but was okay eating the really basic ones like sweet potato and banana.
We started out in the Philippines hanging out with my Lola, and it turns out food that is favored by my 98-year-old grandmother is also fitting for a 7 month old baby. We started out with lugaw, which is filipino congee, or rice porridge. My lola has this with every meal instead of regular rice. Lunch and dinner always includes sabow (soup). We mixed some of the soup broth with rice or lugaw. If our meals contained appropriately cooked meat or vegetables, we added it to the soup and rice as well. Fish was often available and was easy to flake into small pieces, as long as there weren't too many bones. Sometimes the soup contained soft, easy to mash vegetables like squash, or vegetables with small leaves like kangkong. Her favorite dish while were there was mongo, a soup made of mung beans. The beans are perfect for baby because they are tiny, like lentils.
In Hong Kong, we became more comfortable feeding Olivia while eating out since we weren't staying with family, but in a tiny Airbnb room. Our good friends who live there, shared their favorite spots with us (many of them dives), and we were happy to have extra arms to hold and/or feed baby O. I would have to say that 4 adults to 1 baby is a good minimum ratio! While we were there, she got her first taste of egg tart. This is also when we discovered that chopsticks are better than baby spoons (if you're skilled at using them like my husband). Olivia got so into eating while were there, that she would get upset if we got too engrossed in eating ourselves and didn't feed her with enough frequency. M discovered that sometimes just sticking the chopsticks in her mouth empty kept her happy as we ate.
In Korea, we had a mix of home-cooked meals and restaurants. M's imo cooked many delicious meals at home and enjoyed feeding her as well. Her gomo-halmoni also discovered that a shot glass is the perfect size for a baby water glass! Since we didn't have a high chair with us, it was often easier to just sit her on the floor when we fed her. It was also great when we were able to eat at a restaurant where we sat on the floor as Olivia could sit on her own and the floor was also relatively clean if she felt like crawling around a bit. While in Korea, she got some of her first taste (just small ones) of dessert foods including frozen red bean, deli manjoo (fresh corn cakes stuffed with cream sold at subway stations), cheese cake, and hodo kwaja (walnut shaped cake stuffed with red bean and walnuts).
I'm glad that our trip happened at the time it did as it helped us to be a little more adventurous with O's introduction to solids. Being busy traveling kept us from worrying too much about being perfect or following all the rules and let us have fun. It also gave us a chance to share the experience with friends and relatives who loved helping us introduce her to foods and witnessing the crazy faces that babies can make when they first taste something new.