In my limited experience with motherhood I have found that when I am first introduced to something it seems so big and intimidating it could swallow me whole, but I have no choice but to just jump in and totally pretend I know what I’m doing. The cool thing about being a mom is just that, you’re the mom, you get to decide how you do things and whichever way you choose.
Around 5 months, Dex started showing interest in the foods we were eating. He started grabbing for our cups trying to take the food out of my hand. He also cut his first tooth around that time too so I decided to look into starting to experiment with some solid foods. Now, with starting solid foods there are a ton of different opinions and approaches and it seriously intimidated me. How much do I feed him? When? Will it affect nursing? What foods? In what order? I could literally google all day long. At a certain point I decided I was just going to go for it and because I’m his mom, no one is going to tell me I’m wrong. (Well they might, but I’ve gotten really good at the “Thank you very much for your opinion” thing.)
During my research I came across Baby-led-weaning. In a nutshell, baby led weaning is basically where starting around 6 months you pretty much let your baby eat whatever you eat (as long as it’s okay for a baby/not a choking hazard). For example, a piece of avocado or banana, soft toast. The idea behind BBL is there are no purees, cereals or spoons right off the bat. The baby is actually “leading” the whole thing and they get to touch and feel the different textures of the food and eat at their own pace. I like this idea, and we plan on doing it eventually but we have decided what will work best for us is a bit of a mix. We plan to do purees until Dexter is a little older and then when we feel like he is ready, transition into more of a baby lead situation. (ps. the weaning in “baby led weaning” doesn’t necessarily mean weaning from breast feeding. We are not weaning from breastfeeding yet and don’t plan to do so for a while.)
The first food we tried with Dexter was some pureed sweet potato. We were making some for dinner for us and thought it would be fun to let him try a little bit. Basically, we steam the vegetable and then blend/whip it in my kitchen aid mixer and feed it to him plain, no salt or butter. The first time around I added some breast milk to it to make it a little runnier and familiar tasting to him. Naturally, he went nuts and couldn’t get it in his mouth fast enough. He was reaching for the spoon and flailing his arms when it took me a while to get him more. I was crazy paranoid about how big of spoonfuls I was giving him so I pretty much just fed him like half-pea sized for the first time. Success.
The second food I tried was egg yolk. Egg yolk is an amazing first food for a baby as it is easy to digest and contains good cholesterol and iron. They are also rich in Omerga-3 fatty acids which aids in brain development. It is recommended to use an organic farm fresh egg. You only want to feed the baby the egg yolk, as the whites contain difficult to digest proteins. We got ourselves some farm fresh eggs and soft boiled them by boiling them in water for about 4 minutes, then cooling under cold water, peeling and draining out the runny yolk. The yolk is the same consistency as baby food and is already warm for the baby. The yolk is super rich so you want to start small and not overwhelm the baby with a whole egg yolk. Try to work your way up. This has been Dexter’s favourite food so far.
Since then, we have also tried carrots and he didn’t love those! It is recommended to try one food for several days in a row and watch for any changes before moving on to the next food. So far, so good with all the foods we have tried.
Tips from an Expert: (kidding, I have no idea what I’m doing but here is what has been helpful to me so far)
- Have fun with it. In the beginning I was so confused. WHEN do I feed him? Won’t it cause me to skip a (nursing) feed? What about my milk supply? I have found it easiest to think of trying new foods as an activity or playtime. I nurse him and then maybe an hour or two later when he’s not starving but not full we will sit down and play/experiment with the solids. Food before age one is just for fun so they’re not really depending on this food for nutrients as they get all they need from breast milk or formula. About an hour after he is ready to nurse again and we are still on track.
- Let them be hands on. While we haven’t started baby-led solids I liked the principles and I like letting Dex be as hands on as possible. I usually put a little pile of mush on his tray so that he can see it and touch it if he wants but I feed him from a little bowl with a baby spoon. Usually near the end, I let him play with the spoon and try to get it into his mouth (we are close the whole time to make sure he doesn’t get it too far in there). This is good practice for babies and also makes
himme feel like he is involved and getting to explore this new world of food at his own pace.
- Don’t force it. If your baby doesn’t like the food today. Try again (that same food) another day. If your baby is distracted or bored, just move on and try again in a bit. It will be frustrating for both of you to try to force them to eat. You want it to be relaxed and fun. Sometimes, Dexter will be so into it, then become too distracted so I take a 5 minute break and just talk or sing to him then try again and he is ready to eat!
- Give yourself a good chunk of time. Feeding a baby is wildly messy and takes some time. Do it when you have no where to be and when you have time to give him a bath after.
- Have fun with it. Interact, play and talk to your baby. Cheer when he eats a good spoonful, explain what you are doing and make it a time to bond and have fun.
Watching Dex smack his lips and react to these new flavour and textures has been so fun! Please share in the comments your experience with starting solids with your baby. I would love to hear any tips, products or ideas :)
Also, please check back thursday as I’ll be posting our favourite products for mealtime and starting solids!
Thanks so much for reading!!