Let's talk about introducing solids to your baby... a topic that comes up more than anything else in my DMs these days! This is something that honestly made me super nervous in the beginning, but now that it's been several months, I've gotta tell you, it's become so much fun! I had so many questions when we first got started and thought it would be helpful for other mamas if I shared my experience here. I'm definitely not an expert, but now that we're a couple months into solid foods, I do have some tips and tricks to share that hopefully can help put new mamas at ease when starting solids too!
Let's start at the beginning. At Noah's 4-month pediatrician appointment, his doctor told me we could start introducing solids right away, but if he didn't seem ready, I should wait until he was giving me the signals that it was time to start. He honestly didn't seem that interested in food at that point and I also wanted to wait until he was more stable sitting before we got going, so we waited to start at just about 6 months. By then he was eyeing our food when we were eating and just seemed ready to try it out!
Baby Led Weaning or Purées?
Once you're getting ready to start feeding your baby solids, you'll probably hear everyone talking about Baby Led Weaning (BLW). With BLW, you basically skip purées and let your baby start feeding themselves finger foods from the very beginning. It's supposed to be really great for their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, teaching them to be independent eaters, etc. etc. That all sounded great in theory, but this first-time mama was very nervous about Noah choking so I decided to start with soft mashed foods (like avocado, obviously!) and purées until I was more comfortable. I really feel like there's no "right way" to do it and you just have to do what makes you feel the most comfortable and at ease. There were a couple things that helped me get there...
Some great advice
I was a couple weeks into our feeding solids journey and still felt super nervous and unsure about how to progress on to finger foods, so I set up a FaceTime call with Jessica Diamond, a dietitian nutritionist who specializes in working with mamas, babies, and kids. She changed everything for me! She told me that feeding should be enjoyable, not stressful. She said to embrace the mess, let Noah lead the way, and make it a fun experience for everyone. She walked me through what nutrients I should focus on at this age, her favorite types of spoons / bowls / drinking cups, and advice on raising a good eater.
You guys had sooo many questions when I mentioned Jessica on my instagram stories (btw, make sure to check out my "baby bites" story highlights!) so I'm putting together a full Q&A blog post with her - coming very soon!
Choking vs. Gagging
Another very important discussion we had with Jessica was the difference between choking and gagging. When your baby starts eating, they'll definitely make some interesting faces and scary noises, and you'll panic when you first hear them and wonder if they're choking, so it's important to know the difference. Gagging is actually a good thing - it's your baby developing their gag reflex and building their mouth muscles. Choking is obviously terrifying but there are cues to look out for and you'll be a little more at ease if you brush up on what you learned in CPR class! This is a really helpful article that walks you through the difference.
Noah's first foods
These were Noah's first foods:
Now that he's 10 months, it's gotten so much easier because I can feed him a lot of the same foods I'm already making for us! I still make him some purées and keep them in the freezer just so I always have something on hand for him, but I'm now doing thicker purées because he gets frustrated with the thin ones now and he doesn't love being spoon-fed... he just wants to get his hands in there and feed himself, so the thicker ones are better for that (just be prepared, it gets MESSY!).
Just to give some ideas, this is what's currently in my freezer: chicken + spinach + apple, sweet potato + cinnamon, kale + pear + pea, and beets + apples. I pretty much just throw whatever we have on hand that seems like it would go together into the brezza, steam it, pour out some of the excess water, and blend it!
Banana Egg Pancake Recipe & first finger foods
If you watch my instagram stories, then you've definitely seen Noah devouring these pancakes. They were the perfect first finger food because they're soft (so I wasn't that anxious about giving them to Noah), babies love them, and they're really easy for them to pick up! They're also a great way to introduce allergens. This was how I introduced eggs as well as peanut butter (I just mixed the PB into the batter). Here's the recipe...
Base recipe: 1 small banana or 3/4 large banana + 1 egg (that's it!)
Add-ins: spices, nut butter, ground flax seeds, chia seeds, spinach... get creative!
Makes 6-7 pancakes, depending how big you make them
You can see the step-by-step of these pancakes on my Baby Bites story highlights!
The next finger food I tried out was steamed broccoli florets. I made it super soft and he LOVED picking them up and feeding himself. Then came sautéed zucchini & steamed carrots.
As I kept trying more foods, I got more and more confident, and Noah got so excited with each new food! From there we tried things like roasted sweet potatoes, zoodles, salmon (the flakes are easy for them to grab - he was a big fan!), chickpea or lentil pasta (I love this brand), cauliflower rice, chicken meatballs, watermelon, peaches... the list goes on, and I'm telling you, it's really fun now!
Keep trying & don't get discouraged!
Just remember that sometimes it may seem like your baby doesn't like a food at first but it could take several tries before they learn to like it. Keep trying it, even if you have to try it a couple different ways. In the beginning, Noah seemed like he hated scrambled eggs. So I made the banana egg pancakes which were a hit, and I was happy that I was getting eggs into his diet. I tried scrambled eggs again and he showed no interest, but eventually I tried adding broccoli or zucchini in them and... success! Keep offering it and don't get discouraged!
Top 5 Must-Have Products for Feeding Your Baby
You can find all of my favorite products for feeding your baby on my Amazon store, but here are my top 5 products.
More recipes and tips to come!
Wow, did you make it all the way to the end!? I hope this post was helpful for you! I'll be sharing more baby recipes and as promised, a Q&A with Jessica soon too!
July 28th, 2016
June 23, 2017
Lindsay is a Holistic Nutritionist who lives for a great meal, a beautiful farmers market, daily matcha lattes, and homemade chocolate chip cookies. Weeknight Bite is Lindsay's happy place where her nutrition practice, simple recipes, and wellness tips come together to inspire you to live a healthy, balanced life.