These Three Moms Share Their Personal Experiences with Starting Solid Food
The first time I was in charge of introducing solid foods to a baby, I found myself staring at a grocery aisle. I was overwhelmed with the choices. There was little help choosing what was appropriate for a 6-month-old. And it was so incredibly expensive.
I didn't know how much to feed a baby either. What was the goal? Does the food pyramid apply to toddlers?
My child's pediatrician had suggestions, but I didn't have a good relationship with her, so it was hard for me to feel confident in her advice.
It's food. We all eat it. Why was it so hard?!
At that time, I worked at a large book retailer, and would often browse the pregnancy and parenting sections on my breaks. I'd scan the shelves, read reviews, and see sales numbers for the books in the store. I settled on one that was close to my parenting style, gave recipes by baby's age, and had expanded information if I wanted to read, or just straight recipes if I didn't.
I didn't start off with a plan to make and puree all of my child's food. I didn't think I was that person. But honestly, the book made me believe it was easy, so I tried it. And for me, with this one baby, it was. I could throw a few frozen peas in a pot to cook (or sweet potato, carrots, beets,) then puree them in my mini food processor, and it was done. It took maybe 10 minutes! When I was in my heyday, I would have a pot on every burner and make up ice cube trays of purees for two weeks and feel amazing.
Now, with baby #2, I tried. I did. Because I did it before with so much enthusiasm, it should have been easy!
But baby #2 is getting some packaged purees and small bits of whatever we're eating. Scrambled eggs are our go-to for mornings now that he's over a year old. And all in all, it's working for us. Our pouches and small snacks travel well, don't need refrigeration, and it doesn't really make more dishes.
And guess what? Both of these methods have worked well. Our life changed, and so did our feeding methods. And guess what? Turns out my kids have their own ideas about food, too. Go figure!
My daughter loved peas, my son hates them. My daughter needed some time for green and red peppers, my son will chew them right up. Both of them are not really into bananas.
I found two great ways to expose my child to colors, textures, and tastes. He does not seem to have any allergies to this point, and he is healthy. With some perspective, this is great.
Both kids figured out how to use forks. They both learned sign language for "more" and "all done" which ended many frustrations before they started, and we're getting along with life.
My guidance after having gone through this twice now - not every option is going to fit your life. Find a method that you enjoy, and that is sustainable for your life at that time. I opted to stay off the internet when researching food options because as a parent I know better. The internet has too many opinions!
In case you're curious, the book I used to help give me confidence with my first child and help to remember great first foods to my second is called The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet by Karin Knight, R.N. and Tina Ruggiero, M.S., R.D., L.D.
Somewhere between organic everything for every meal and nothing but McDonald's is where most of us live. High five, you're going to do great.
I knew exactly what my plan was going to be for starting solids. We were waiting until 6 months at least, we weren't doing any cereal or purees, and we were going to follow Baby Led Weaning (BLW.)
I did my research and was so excited for her to turn 6 months old. We started that very night.
I soon realized BLW was not a good fit for me. I have anxiety, and it only added to those anxious feelings that I was having. Something about it just didn't feel right. So I started doing my version of starting solids, which was sort of a mix of a little bit of that BLW, a little bit traditional weaning, and a lot of what I felt comfortable with.
I gave my baby easy to swallow foods at first like applesauce, yogurt, and mashed potatoes. As time went on and she got better at eating and got some teeth, I starting giving her small chunks of food. Now at 8-months-old I give her most of what we eat besides tough meat.
From the beginning we have let her self feed. 98% of the time she puts the food in her mouth herself. It's messy, requires patience, and something we've gotten a lot of judgmental comments about. But it is what works for us, and I absolutely love watching my little girl explore her food, even if it means lots of cleanup later.
We started solids when Violet was between five and six months old as per our doctor’s suggestion. We knew from the beginning that we would be making our own for the most part, simply to cut costs. I started looking on Kijiji for Baby Bullets and fortunately found one that included the steamer, blender, storage containers, and feeding guide all for $50! The steamer has since broken but it was kind of more work than it was worth, considering you can use the steamer that comes in your pot set or just boil the fruit and veggies. Full disclosure, I thought the steamer in our pot set was just another strainer.
The book suggested starting with certain foods at the four to six month point, and to add food from there. The main reasoning for slowly introducing new foods had to do with avoiding allergies. There is a lot of debate about whether this actually helps with preventing allergies, but we haven’t had any issues. The only digestive issue we ran into was a bit of constipation when she was eating apple and banana so we gave her some pear and that cleared everything up. Since she’s been actually teething we also use the mesh teethers. So far I’ve only put apple in them but it’s a great alternative to blending because they’re eating but also soothing their gums. Some of Violet’s favorites are mango, potatoes, avocado, and carrots.
How did you start your babies on solids for the first time? Tell us about your experiences in the comments.