In today’s post I’m sharing our approach to introducing solids as well as some info on how to get started!
The world of introducing solids to babies is a fun (and messy) one! We gave Sadie food for the first time around the five-month mark as she was showing all the signs and very eager, however, it wasn’t until closer to six months that we fed her solids more regularly. She’s now six-and-a-half months old and by now she’s tried a good assortment of foods, some that she likes and others not so much!
Today’s post is all about introducing solids to babies and what we have personally done. Know that it’s always best to speak to your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about starting solids with your little one. This post will just cover some of the basics!
When Should You Start Solids?
It’s recommended to start solids around the age of 6 months (though some babies are ready a little before or after this time). According to The Canadian Paediatric Society, here are some signs your baby is ready to begin solids:
- Able to sit up without support
- Good head and neck control
- Ability to pick up objects/food and try to put it in their mouth
- Shows interest in food when others are eating (watches you intently, mouths for food, or leans forward for it)
Breastmilk or formula is still baby’s primary source of nutrition and calories at this time, but introducing solids around 6 months becomes important because their nutrient requirements increase, namely iron and zinc, and breastmilk or formula alone become less able to provide adequate amounts. Introducing whole foods early on can be a very nutrient-dense way to optimize infant nutrition compared to commercial baby foods in many cases.
Baby’s First Foods
Here’s a list of the foods we started Sadie on for the first time:
- Banana (note that some babies can get constipated from bananas, so you may want to go slow)
- Sweet potato
- Acorn and butternut squash
- Homemade apple and pear sauce
After we introduced some of these fruits and veggies, I then introduced other foods like chicken, oats, and goat yogurt. More on allergens below.
How to Serve Baby’s First Foods
Most foods can be made baby-friendly by ensuring that they’re well-cooked, soft, and small enough (steaming and mashing, blending into a puree, or cutting into appropriate sizes for baby to hold). Baby led weaning (BLW) is a popular approach to serving food that allows baby to self-feed and have more control over what or how much they eat. Often, larger chunks of food are served that baby can hold onto and chew on themselves. But it doesn’t have to mean only big pieces of food (which can be a little nerve-wracking if you’re new to it!). Purees can still be a wonderful way to serve food to baby, and you can still do it baby led weaning style by pre-loading their spoon and letting them feed themselves.
We do a bit of both. Some foods Sadie loves to gnaw on in bigger pieces, like chunks of cucumber or quarters of bell pepper, and many others I mash or puree and let her feed herself. I like using the Solid Starts app for tips on how to prepare different kinds of non-pureed foods.
We started off by offering just one food at a time every few days or so and then gradually moved on to mixing or serving a couple items at a time.
Our Feeding Essentials
Here are some of the items we use everyday for baby mealtime!
- IKEA Antilop Highchair
- Bamboo footrest for highchair
- EzPz silicone utensil, suctioning bowl and cup set
- Silicone bib
- Silicone baby food meal prep freezer containers
- A damp cloth nearby for cleaning her up but also sometimes wiping things (including your own hands!) while feeding
What About Allergens?
New research indicates that it’s better to introduce allergens (like eggs and peanuts) sooner rather than later to help prevent food allergies in future. This advice is different than what most of our parents likely would have done, as most people years ago avoided allergens for much longer.
The priority food allergens include egg, fish, dairy/milk, fish/shellfish, mustard, peanut, sesame, soy, tree nuts, and wheat.
We introduced eggs and yogurt around 6 months, and peanuts shortly after. Unfortunately, Sadie had a reaction to both egg and peanut and had testing done with a paediatric allergist to confirm allergies to these. There is an 80% chance of outgrowing egg allergy (most babies do!), though only about 20% chance of outgrowing peanut. If you are concerned about allergies with your baby or how to safely introduce them, be sure to speak with your doctor.
So that’s about it for introducing solids and what we have done! I really hope this post was helpful for any of you new mamas out there. Happy feeding!