Ideas for your baby’s first bite of “real” food. Your baby is ready to start solids, get tips and tricks for your plan here!
I got a lot of awesome feedback from my Moving Beyond the Mush post about starting finger foods. I have some friends who have younger babies and I would love to share with you how we first introduced solids with Baby Babe.
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It seemed like such a big deal to wait until 6 months to start solids. One pediatrician recommended starting rice cereal at 4 months to help her STTN (sleep through the night). I didn’t feel so good about that because I had heard “wait until at least 6 months” over and over. I also read that eating solids doesn’t really help them STTN.
The idea of rice cereal as a first food seemed a bit old fashioned to me, from what I had heard in the mom groups I am in. Old school works for some people. I pass no judgement on parenting choices and I think it is important to go with what feels right for you and your family.
just for fun, playing with spoons while we ate dinner
My goals for introducing solids were:
- Interest Did she seem interested in food?
- Sitting Did she sit unsupported? You’ll notice on prepackaged baby foods and snacks they say your baby is ready for the food if they are crawling with their tummy off of the floor.
- Loss of tongue thrust Did she push out her tongue when we tried to feed her something? Tongue thrust is a reflex that babies are born with that protects them from foreign objects that touch their mouth. This reflex disappears around 4- 6 months old.
- Eye- hand coordination– Did she bring her hands to her mouth or put objects to her mouth when we were eating?
- Age I wanted to exclusively breastfeed until 6 months old. “Exclusively breastfed” means no other liquids or foods have been fed. I had this goal in mind based on the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics and things I read in books and websites about breastfeeding.
We met all of our goals except for age. Baby Babe was 2 weeks shy of 6 months when we fed her food. I had been seeing so many signs that she was socially ready to eat and she was reaching and fussing for our food for several weeks. One day we were sitting at the table and she reached for some sliced banana. It felt right. We figured, lets go for it! I don’t think there is an exact age that her belly would be ready for solids, and two weeks didn’t seem like it would be that crucial in the grand scheme of things. I originally planned to serve avocado first but bananas it was!
Why avocado? They are nutritious, pretty, sweet, and mild. Plus those awesome healthy fats! We ended up doing avocado second. I had read about the idea of serving fruit first could encourage your baby to have a sweet tooth but I didn’t feel concerned with my eager, easy going girl.
For her first serving, we simply mashed up a bit of banana and added water until the mush could pour off of a spoon. I later expressed or pumped milk to use but water works just as well for thinning purposes. I think it’s good to mix the food to be runny like soup, barely thicker than water for that very first serving. We spoon fed her a few bites and also let her hold and mouth a slice of banana. She did awesome! That first “meal” only lasted about 2-3 minutes.
Mashed, thinned banana pours off the spoon
Don’t expect your baby to eat a whole bowl of food. At this stage a serving of one tablespoon, or about 1-5 bites is very appropriate. It’s all about practice and keeping it positive. If your baby turns away or fusses call it off. Try to catch them at a time that they are alert, interested, and in a playful mood.
1 tablespoon of banana
How Often Do You Serve Solids? We started out once per day (breakfast) and then followed Baby Babe’s lead. Soon she was smacking her lips when I ate lunch, then she was fussing for food at dinner time. When she was about 7-8 months old she was eating 3 small meals per day. To ensure that the majority of her nutrients still came from breast milk, I nursed her 30 minutes to 1 hour before her meals.
Currently, she is 10 months old and this is her eating schedule:
7:00 am- Breastfeeds when she wakes up
(Sometimes snacks in the afternoon)
7:00- Breastfeeds at bedtime
I used to nurse her around 4:00 but she was too playful and uninterested so I cut that session out around 8 months or so. If she’s in a playful mood and acting silly when it’s time for milk I set her down and let her get her sillies out, then offer milk again. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink, right?! I can see that’s she is gradually weaning herself and I know that it will be a process for her, she won’t stop breastfeeding over night, so I’m not worried.
We followed the 3 Day Wait Rule and tried avocado next. I love having a reason to have avocado in the house. They are pricey around our area (up to $1.50 per avo) but they are so good for you and tasty!
Sweet potato was up next. I baked the sweet potato until tender then I mushed it before freezing in containers.
Pear was her second fruit and she loved it! It was perfect timing to introduce pear before oatmeal because then she could have two different breakfasts: banana oatmeal and pear oatmeal.
thinned pear puree, shouldn’t stick to the spoon. start out thin and increase texture slowly.
I continued this plan until it got to the point that I thought, “Well, what hasn’t she had yet?” It had been about 2 months of introducing one new food every 3 days and then I relaxed a bit and introduced new foods more frequently, including dairy, meat and eggs… then we kind of jumped right into “table foods.”
There’s so much new lingo when it comes to starting solids. This might help clear things up:
- Table Food= Regular meals like casserole, chili, soup, baked chicken with seasoned veggies
- Baby Led Weaning= a philosophy in which baby is served large chunks of food and allowed to scrape, maneuver, gum as much of the food as they are able to eat themselves. No spoons or small diced servings are used with BLW.
- Finger Foods= food the baby can pick up and self feed with their hands. This is not necessarily Baby Led Weaning. A lot of finger foods are small diced pieces of food or it can even be a dollop of puree on their highchair tray.
I hope these tips are helpful! Have fun experimenting with your baby and please check out Moving Beyond the Mush whenever you’re ready.
Remember: Food is just for fun before they are one! Your baby should continue to get the majority of the calories from milk or formula until their first birthday. The schedule that worked for us was to breastfeed 30 minutes to an hour before feeding solids.
Please let me know if you have any questions about serving size, meal frequencies, or food ideas. I’d love to share our experience with you.Share it!