How I adapted baby meal-planning for our busy lifestyle

Katie-Rose Decoeli on running her own business, feeding three kids and overcoming mom-guilt

By Katie-Rose Decoelis, The Wild Decoeli
How I adapted baby meal-planning for our busy lifestyle

Photo courtesy of Katie-Rose Decoelis

In partnership with Heinz By Nature 

Being a parent to three kids is no joke. Add in the fact that my husband and I also own and run two successful businesses that eat up a lot of our time—there are many things that just can't be done. At least not like I envision them or how I had done when I started my motherhood journey.

I’ll admit that back when I was childless, I was that girl quietly judging moms in public, deciding in my head what parenthood would look like for me. But, like most things in life, you just can’t plan for how motherhood will turn out. And the truth is, life just gets too busy to be perfect all the time.

When I was pregnant with my now-seven-year-old Aubrey, I made sure I ate the healthiest meals, only buying from our farmer’s markets or picking up organic options in the grocery store. And when he started eating solids, I spent hours each week concocting homemade baby food from fresh ingredients. At this time, I was on mat leave from my job and blogging was just a nap-time side-hustle. Looking back, it feels like I had SO MUCH TIME to do these types of things and, to be honest, I thoroughly enjoyed it. They didn't feel like a lot of work and Aubrey ate them up like they were candy. It was a super rewarding time in my life.

Baby in high-chair eating food from pouch Photo courtesy of Katie-Rose Decoeli

But, then we had Poppy three years later. Things got busier, but even still, I was committed to trying to replicate the food success I had with my first child. I bought all the baby food contraptions and appliances to make sure I gave her as much attention and nourishment as I had with Aubrey. Poppy had other plans. All that money invested, food prepped, time spent, and she HATED baby food of all sorts. After weeks of trying to get her to eat all of the food I had prepared, she would only touch store-bought food pouches or the grown up full-flavor meals that Rob, my husband, and I were eating. 

At the time, it was hard to wrap my head around. I always thought doing all the work to hand make each baby meal would make me “good mom”. And it was hard not to internalize her unwillingness to eat the food I made as failure. I was doing everything that they say in the books to do. But, it failed miserably time and time again with her. She had other plans and different tastes.

In the summer of 2019, (yes all three of my kids are three years apart, almost to the day—don't ask) we had Emmitt, our last baby and the final piece to our family. At Christmas, once he was over six months old, it was time to get him started on solids. I was actually pumped for the switch as, after three babies, my body was ready to be just mine again. But, in my business, Christmas is the busiest season. Unlike when I was starting the other two on food, I now had a very successful business, as did my husband, and we also had a total of five mouths to feed and a dog now in the picture. Spending hours in the kitchen preparing homemade baby food just wasn’t an option for our family dynamic anymore. And although I wish it were, I knew I would be more stressed trying to make all of his food by hand than I needed to be. Who has the time, and if I’m being honest, the inclination, especially after Poppy’s complete refusal to eat?

Katie-Rose Decoelis feeding her baby from the jar Photo courtesy of Katie-Rose Decoeli

We ended up starting Emmitt on Heinz by Nature puree pouches right off the bat. They were easy to grab out of the cupboard and to throw into my purse if we were jetting off here or there. I was even able to pack a few boxes of them into our suitcase for our family vacation this past winter down south. 

Heinz By Nature is a great alternative to homemade baby food with all the nutrients that a baby needs, plus it’s easy and affordable for parents—especially the extra busy ones like us. There are a variety of flavors to choose from, which helps even if you have picky eaters. Emmitt’s favorite is Pea, Pear and Broccoli. And, you can be rest assured that each pouch contains no added sugar or salt, and is organic too. All the benefits of homemade, but without the time commitment.

I know mom guilt is a real thing, and when it comes to nourishing our little ones, it can get pretty stressful. Opting for healthy options that work better for your lifestyle (like Heinz By Nature) is a guilt-free alternative and provides your babies with everything they need to start their love for food, even if it's not made in your own kitchen.  

This article was originally published on Aug 05, 2020

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