I’m from Singapore and will be bringing my 8 month old girl to Bangkok this weekend. I’m curious to know how you managed Veda’s meals at that age. Did you mainly rely on organic jarred/pouched baby food?
So far I have fed my girl homemade baby food and I am concerned that a sudden (and expensive may I concede) change to commercial baby food may not suit her appetite.
Since my daughter began eating solids, we have almost 100% of the time made food for her ourselves, and we’ve tried feeding her from our plates, so she is quite accustomed to eating what we eat ourselves. As a result, she does not like jarred baby food, and yes it is expensive, especially in a lot of developing countries! She’s developed a taste for fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and flavor as well; she likes Indian curries and enjoys food flavored with cumin, coriander, garlic, cinnamon, etc.
I am happy that my daughter prefers freshly prepared food to processed jarred baby food. But, it certainly can make traveling challenging sometimes. I’ve had to be creative! Here are a few following tips below based on my own personal experience with my daughter:
1) She will sometimes eat organic pouched baby food (Plum Tots and Happy Baby) which I feel better about since it’s organic and has great healthy combos like blueberry quinoa, beet/banana/blueberry. I like these also because they are packable, and I usually bring along enough for at least one pouch per day during travel, at least for a backup in case I can’t find anything else. However, I’ll caveat this by saying she prefers home-made food to this as well, and sometimes turns this down. One day she’ll suck down a whole packet, another she’ll refuse it and push it away. These brands also have healthy snacks that are great for travel, such as organic yogurt snacks. I might add that these would be great for plane or car travel.
2) If you have a kitchen with a stove and a pot where you’ll be traveling to, you can still make your own baby food. Many places in the world have things like yams, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, peas, etc. that can be steamed or cooked to mushiness and made into baby food. I like to pack quinoa along with me because it’s such a fantastic super grain (a complete protein) and it’s the perfect consistency for a baby. It can be mixed into mashed vegetables, and I add a little seasoning. As long as allergies aren’t an issue, my baby also loves hard-boiled eggs, which is easy to do anywhere, and easy to take on the go.
3) If you don’t have a kitchen, get creative. I sometimes bring along instant oats that I can usually just add hot water from an electric hot water heater hotels usually have for making coffee/tea. Veda likes it sweetened with mashed up bananas, which you can usually find most places in the world. You can try to find things that are easy to mash without needing to cook it; avocados are great, and are plentiful in numerous places. Look out for soft fruit like ripe nectarines and berries. Scout out the local fruit and veggie market or grocery store and focus on soft foods you can easily mash with fork/ knife at least into soft bite sized pieces that baby can gum. When you’re out and about look for things on menus such as hummus that baby can easily eat.
4) Bring along pre-prepared food for the trip. Depending on the length of your trip, you might consider making food you know your baby or toddler likes in advance and bringing it along with you. Especially if it is a weekend to week-long trip and you don’t want to bother with cooking where you’ll be, or are worried about finding things for baby to eat, you can make a couple of batches of food for baby before you leave. Pack it in plastic (BPA-free) containers, and then seal those in zip-lock bags to make sure you won’t have spills in your suitcase. Of course, this will require you to have a refrigerator where you will be staying. I’ve cleared out hotel mini-fridges before, telling the hotel to take it all away so I can make room for baby food and pumped breast milk.
5) If you’re still breastfeeding, be confident that your baby can get perfect nutrition straight from you! My baby at 16 months is still getting about 50% of her nutrition from breast milk, and at 8 months she was still just eating food more for interest and sport. I’d say 85% of her nutrition was still coming from breast milk at that time. Yesterday we were out for the day and I packed numerous snacks and food options, but Veda wasn’t interested and reverted to breastfeeding much of the day. To be honest, it’s actually easier and a lot less messy, so I don’t mind. Babies and toddlers eat to fill themselves up when they’re hungry, and I know she’s getting the perfect nutrition, so I don’t mind reverting back to more breast milk than food when we’re traveling.
It can be stressful and worrisome to figure out how to get baby healthy nutritious food while traveling, and having a picky eater who definitely does not like the jarred food, I have had to be more creative! I’d love to hear from other parents who have struggled with this while traveling, as well.