• Pinay Mom Began Making Baby Food From Scratch When She Couldn't Breastfeed Anymore

    This member of our Facebook group Smart Parenting Village shares three of her recipes!
    by Kitty Elicay .
Pinay Mom Began Making Baby Food From Scratch When She Couldn't Breastfeed Anymore
PHOTO BY courtesy of Divine Enriquez-Datoc
  • Divine Enriquez-Datoc, 26, is a stay-at-home mom who is determined to make fresh baby food for her son, Daniel, when he showed indications that he was ready for solids on his sixth month.

    “I read a lot of articles when I was pregnant, and I noticed that he was already showing signs that he was ready for solid food,” she shares in an interview with SmartParenting.com.ph via our Facebook Messenger.

    “He could already sit on his own, he was eager to participate whenever my husband and I ate our meals, and I could see him chewing even without anything in his mouth.” (Want to know if your child is ready to start eating solids? Click here.)

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    Divine with her son, Daniel.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Divine Enriquez-Datoc

    First food for baby

    Divine admits she’s a picky eater, and she didn't want Daniel to grow up like her. She started researching for recipes online and discovered "The Nanay Avenue" run by Cherdyn Mojica, a mom of one who shares her baby food recipes on her Facebook page (read our interview with her here).

    Her baby's snacks actually look really yummy!
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Divine Enriquez-Datoc

    Daniel’s first solid was avocado purée. He loved it and is a great starter food, according to pediatrician Dr. Tanya Altmann, who is also the spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics. “It’s a good source of healthy fat, which is important for brain development. Green veggies, which are packed with important nutrients, are another great starter food,” she shares with The Washington Post.

    Divine gave Daniel purée food for a month, making it in batches using a regular blender. “Each variant will last him up to three days and then we would switch to different fruits or veggies,” she shares.

    “When I saw that he could already chew his food, I decided to let him try mashed food. Then, after another month (when two of his teeth showed up at eight months old), I fed him bite-sized pieces,” Divine says.

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    Divine also makes homemade brown rice cereal. You can find the instructions below.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Divine Enriquez-Datoc

    What to consider when making homemade baby food

    She now makes his breakfast and snacks fresh every day. “For his lunch and dinner, I cook it in batches, and each will last around two to three days,” she shares, adding she tries to use fresh ingredients as much as possible.

    “I buy organic finds at the supermarket or my lola will accompany me to the wet market, so we can buy fresh vegetables from her suki.” She also doesn’t use salt, pepper, sugar, or any artificial seasoning. (For babies, the rule is to not add any salt whatsoever in their food because their kidneys are not yet ready to process it.)

    And her tools? Rice cooker with a steamer and a baby food maker for mashed food. She also uses a separate saucepan, pot, chopping board, knives, measuring cups, spoons, and other utensils when making Daniel’s meals. "Since what he's eating is different from ours, I just want to be safe since his tummy is quite sensitive," Divine says.

    Divine swears her son has become more active with homemade baby food, and he is not a picky eater at all. “He finishes everything I serve him and whenever he sees someone eating, he’ll want to eat, too!”

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    Divine says her son never refused anything she's given him ever since she started making her son's meals.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Divine Enriquez-Datoc

    Divine says she was motivated to make meals from scratch because she could not sustain breastfeeding Daniel for long. “I really tried everything to produce breast milk but I wasn’t able to produce much. I hated it when other moms would tell me that I should have tried harder or that I shouldn’t have given up easily when God knows how hard we tried,” she shares.

    “Those people who judged me also motivated me to prepare all his meals. I feel very fulfilled and happy and I see that he really enjoys everything that I make. I can’t fathom the joy in my heart whenever I see his satisfied face,” she says.

    She also encourages other mothers to try their hand in making baby food — we found out about her meals when she shared photos on our Facebook group Smart Parenting Village to inspire more moms. “There are a lot of benefits! You can be sure that all ingredients are fresh, washed thoroughly and prepared in a clean environment, but most importantly, the joy that each meal will give you is unexplainable,” Divine shares.

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    Baby food recipes

    Divine shares three recipes that she says are for are babies 7 months old and above. 

     Ginisang Ampalaya

    Exposing kids to vegetables early is a good way to avoid picky eating!
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Divine Enriquez-Datoc

    Ingredients
    1 medium-sized ampalaya, sliced thinly
    3 cloves of garlic, minced
    1 small onion, diced
    ½ cup distilled water
    1 tbsp olive oil

    Optional
    ½ cup lean ground beef
    1-2 egg yolks (for babies with no allergies and 9 months above)

    Instructions
    1. Soak sliced ampalaya in warm water with sea salt for 15 minutes then squeeze.

    2. Heat olive oil and add onions. Once translucent, add garlic. Once the garlic is fragrant, add meat and cook thoroughly.

    3. Add ampalaya and ½ cup distilled water. Simmer until ampalaya is cooked.

    4. Serve with brown rice or brown rice cereal. (To make brown rice cereal, Divine crushes uncooked brown rice with a blender and cooks it by using 1 cup of water per 2 tbsp of the homemade cereal. You can also mix it with veggies while cooking.)

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    Baby Pakbet

    Make sure that you slice the vegetables into bite-sized pieces, says Divine.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Divine Enriquez-Datoc

    Ingredients
    1 small eggplant
    5 pcs ladyfingers
    1 medium-sized pumpkin
    String beans
    2 cups distilled water

    Instructions
    1. Slice vegetables into bite-sized pieces. You can also add any vegetables you want.
    2. Place vegetables in a medium pot, add water and wait for all vegetables to be cooked.
    3. Serve with rice.

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    Homemade Taho

    Many of the moms in our Smart Parenting Village asked Divine for this recipe. Divine advises it is not for babies who have G6PD. 
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Divine Enriquez-Datoc

    Ingredients
    1 1/2 cup soy milk, divided into small pieces
    1 tsp powdered gelatin


    Instructions
    1. Place 1 cup soy milk in medium saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin on top and let sit 5 minutes to allow gelatin to soften. 
    2. Heat soy milk over medium heat, stirring, just until gelatin dissolves (do not boil soy milk).
    Stir in remaining 1/2 cup soy milk. Pour into storage bottles and chill until set and very cold, 3 to 4 hours.

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