Starting Solids : how we do it

This is what we had for dinner last night - eggs, potatoes, and freshly-peeled oranges (oh, and I drank a cup of grapefruit juice...I love the stuff) :

Starting Solids : how we do it 1

This is what our 9-month-old had for dinner last night (it's the exact same thing that we ate...in teeny tiny bites that she fed to herself):

Starting Solids : how we do it 2

I view the current baby-feeding advice with a hefty dose of skepticism and a little bit of amusement. Why-oh-why, I wonder, do babies need to have rice cereal and then oat cereal and then pureed vegetables and then pureed fruits, in that order, only introducing 1 food at a time? Heavens to Betsy (I don't know what that expression means exactly and I never say it in real life, but it seemed appropriate here)! That is too strict for my tastes (or my babies tastes, for that matter).

When it comes to baby food, here are the general "truths" that I adhere to:

  • Breastfeeding is the optimal form of nutrition for my baby and has everything that my baby needs for the first 6+ months of life.
  • When my baby begins to express interest in food by grabbing at foods and/or protesting vocally (yes, babies do "protest," even before they can talk), I will begin mashing, pureeing, or cutting OUR FOOD into manageable bites.
  • As soon as my baby is ready, allowing her to feed herself is the best and least frustrating way to proceed (although, NOT the least messy...I hate to break it to ya.). That said, I much prefer cleaning up a little extra mess to zooming smashed peas into my baby's mouth bite-by-bite on a plastic spoon.
  • Variety in a baby's diet is healthy and good. All rice cereal and no enchiladas make for a very boring menu.
  • The BEST foods for baby are the *same* foods that are best for the rest of the family: organic, fresh, "raw" foods - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.

There you have it. I generally don't pay much attention to serving sizes and I very rarely buy any food from the baby aisle (too expensive, sort-of yucky, and not as healthy as what I typically prepare). When I do buy jarred baby food, I buy "plain" fruits or vegetables (pears, peaches, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.) because they are generally pretty tasty and very healthy - and our 3-year-old loves 'em too.

When my baby is just starting out and getting the hang of things, my favorite foods to offer are avocados and bananas because they are easy to mash and cooking isn't necessary. From there, I begin offering little bits of whatever we are eating (pasta, pizza, breads, fruits, veggies, pancakes, whatever). I do hold off on the non-water drinks (juice, milk, etc.) and desserts though for at least the first year.

Actually, I take back the desserts part. I must admit that I gave my baby the teeniest tiniest taste of ice cream today. First-time mommies everywhere are gasping with horror! I was the same way. Not one teeny, tiny morsel of cake or ice cream touched my older daughter's lips until her first birthday party. With our littlest, however, I figure - eh, a little sugar never hurt anyone (especially in the ittiest bittiest amount).

YOUR TURN: How do YOU introduce solids to your baby?

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14 comments on “Starting Solids : how we do it”

  1. I just got Super Baby Food for Christmas from my sister in law. She said, "The woman who wrote this is totally crazy, but even if you just adhere to 20% of what she is saying, you'll be doing great things for your baby."

    So my plan is to read the book, and take the advice with a grain of salt, and then just jump in.

  2. I had to laugh at your last paragraph... things are SO different from baby #1 to #2! With my first born, we weren't even sure if we wanted her to have cake on her first birthday! With #2, however, a tiny bite of dessert here and there doesn't make me coil in guilt. My moto is everything is great, in moderation!

  3. For both girls their first food was mashed bananas. With our first daughter I was more strick with the one food at a time but for Lily I was much more relaxed. Lily quickly stopped eating the soupy canned baby food because she wanted to do it - no mom help at all. Now she eats just about everything.

  4. Levi didn't start expressing an interest in food until he was around 10 months old, and even then it was spotty. I pretty much just ignored the food advice, and gave him what we were eating. Guacamole was his first food. And, after that I'm pretty sure he went straight for the salsa and hasn't stopped since.

  5. so very true! We have baby food in a jar, we have pureed baby food in the freezer, and the only times we really ever give Evangeline those is when we're eating a lot of diary, wheat or nuts (PB and J for example) or when we're on the run and in a hurry. But babies express an interest in YOUR food first, because guess what...it tastes a whole lot better than the FOUL pureed baby meats (which I have never been able to even keep in my house). Plus, the more variety and texture, the less picky of a eater you will get. My mother in law always tells me not to give her spicy food. Phgggssssshhhh. Ridiculous. My mother always tells me that my favorite food as a baby was Spicy Chile Crab.

  6. I enjoy making my own baby food and experimenting with what to give my son. I think you're right that the rules are too strict. The first real food my baby ate was watermelon, from a mesh feeder. He loved it! I fed him that on a whim because he seemed interested in it. I also like adding fresh fruit, cinnamon or vanilla to his oatmeal at breakfast time. Babies have taste buds too!

  7. Love it! I'm the same way... it only took our 3rd baby for me to figure this out! I figured that 100 years ago they didn't have baby foods and probably didn't specially puree every single thing that went into a baby's mouth, so no sense in adding that extra non-essential step into our already busy life! Granted, we have learned much in these last 100 years and following some food rules so that our babies aren't poisoned or find out about serious allergies (honey, peanut butter, etc.) is important, but I agree, let a baby eat when they are ready! I'm no doctor or scientist, but as a mom of 4, I have found out what works for our kids! Dealing with the mess is difficult (my husband has to sit away from the child learning how to feed themselves!), but it is fun seeing them enjoy food, not fight it! I guess the fighting comes later, a couple of toddler years later! Thanks for posting this!

  8. At 6 months old we gave Lily some home-made rice cereal. We gave it to her a couple more times and then graduated to home-made pureed veggies. She loved those and at about 10 months old I just started giving her small pieces of veggies for her to feed herself. It's working great.

  9. Avocado was my baby's first food, and I don't mash it! I just give him a slice with the skin still on so that he can pick it up easily. He gnaws on it and gets it mushed up very effectively. :)

  10. Rice cereals are crud! Don't do it.

    I introduced vegetables first and did the one week at a time thing.

    He still mostly eats vegetables. It's highly important to me that he develops a taste for vegetables. And thus far, it's working.

    He also eats bits and pieces of whatever we're eating, too. Eggs, chicken, potato etc.

    I do personally feel like it's highly important what foods you feed your baby for the first time. From our own personal experience with our three boys.

    :--)

  11. I used the book Super Baby Food as a guide to know what to give my little guy. I found it quite helpful; and so many people were surprised that I was giving mashed avocados as a first baby food!

    We choose to limit sweets and fruit drinks to very small amounts. The kids will get enough of it later...why encourage it now?

  12. I also had a good chuckle at what you wrote because I've done the same things with my three year old. The only introducing one food at a time thing didn't last for very long at our house. We did however stick to the advise of our ped when it came to honey, peanut butter, and seafoods. For our family this turned out to be a blessing that I listened to those warnings because our daughter does have food allergies. (Despite there being absolutely no history of food allergies on both sides of our family)

    Unfortuantly it took an ambulance ride right after her second birthday and a hospitalization for us to find out about her severe allergy to peanuts - now we carry around an Epi-Pen Jr. any time we leave our house. Because of that experience I know that with our youngest daughter I'll be a lot more cautious about what's on her plate. Food allergies have completely changed our entire family's eating habits - a blessing in a way because we are now so much more aware of what we are putting on our table each day.

  13. My 9-month old eats as much as my 3-year old sometimes. Today they both had a grilled cheese sandwich (the whole thing) and half a banana each. I can't believe how much food she can eat! And yes, she does protest if she can't eat what I am eating. She likes chive and onion cream cheese on her bagel.

    It is so much easier to feed your baby what you are eating. That way you don't have to make several different dinners all for the same meal.

  14. I agree with everything you wrote! I laughed out loud at the part about babies protestng. My Lucy is SO funny when she wants to eat what we're eating. My son also had NO sweets until his first birthday. But my Lucy, only 8 mos, sucked all the chocolate off a girl scout cookie the other day. Worst mom in the world award right here. But that is hardly routine for us.

    I'm also in agreement with juice except that I use a tiny bit to coax her into using a sippy cup for the first time. After she gets the hang of it, it's only water or whole milk (later on down the road.)

    I'm curious. Do you follow guidelines on allergy-triggering foods? It's not that I DON'T follow the guidelines, it's that I kind of forget. If she sucks some peanut butter off my finger is it really a bad thing?

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