From all of the reading that I had done during the first few months of Mia’s life, I was expecting to start the transition to solids at 6 months – that seemed to be the norm, although I did hear of people who started earlier or waited until later on. It came as a HUGE surprise to me when our pediatrician told me at Mia’s 4 month check-up that we could start introducing solids then. I literally went home after that appointment and started frantically reading up even more on baby-led weaning, tips for transitioning to solids, and what all the best baby cereals/first foods were.
As a first time mama I knew the basics, but I wanted to make sure that I was doing it right so I took little pieces of advice from a TON of sources and later figured out what worked best for Mia and I. When it comes to babies, one thing that I’ve learned is that there is no “one size fits all”. Each baby is different and any advice that you read will need to be tweaked to make it just right for you and your baby. In today’s post I wanted to share a little about our journey with introducing solids to Mia and what worked/did not work for us. I hope some of these tips help with transitioning your own baby to solids, but just keep in mind that you will need to make changes depending on your baby’s needs.
When did we start introducing solids for the first time?
As I mentioned earlier, we started introducing solids to Mia at 4 months based on our pediatrician’s recommendation. She mentioned that newer research showed that introducing solids at 4 months helped to minimize the risk of allergies which I am all for. BUT, we also discussed whether or not we actually felt that she was ready for that transition being so young. Remember, follow your baby’s cues! She already had really great head control and could sit up with a little assistance, and she was constantly showing A LOT of interest in whatever we were eating. So based on those cues we were comfortable transitioning her to solids. HOWEVER, one compromise that we made was not starting with baby-led weaning because I didn’t feel that she was ready for that at 4 months. We decided instead to start her solely on purees and baby cereal and wait until she was 6 months to reassess baby-led weaning.
What were the first foods that we introduced?
The very first food that we introduced Mia to was baby cereal. I used the Organic Baby Gourmet Tasty Smooth Oatmeal (pro tip: don’t follow the instructions on the back as it comes out way too thick as a first food, use more water/milk and make it more runny). We chose to use baby oatmeal cereal as opposed to the rice cereal because I felt that it had slightly better nutritional value.
After a few days of that, we started her on veggies – we initially did sweet potatoes, carrots, and peas. After about 2-3 weeks we introduced her to fruits and started with pears, apples, and bananas. We rotated between those first foods for about a month and then started to introduce even more veggies and fruits to her such as butternut squash, broccoli, avocado, strawberries, blueberries, and mango. When she reached 6 months of age we also began to introduce organic whole milk yogurt (mixed with fruit purees) and Baby Mum Mum Rice Rusks and we’re now slowly introducing her to bits of our meals as well.
How long did we feed purees?
Mia will be 7 months in 2 days and we actually still use purees. When she turned 6 months we tried to do baby-led weaning but she just wasn’t ready for it yet. One of the important things that I’ve learned is to take your baby’s lead on this and don’t rush the process – they will let you know when they are ready for the next step. Because the foods are so soft and sometimes mushy, its hard for her to pick up and put into her mouth, so we are trying to do a combination method now. We feed her purees but still have chunks of food in front of her so she can get practice picking them up and feeding herself. We also feed her more solid foods broken into small pieces (such as pancakes) to get her used to chewing her food.
What is my process for introducing new foods?
Everytime we start a new food, we first introduce it on its own (not mixed with anything else) so that we can easily identify if there are any allergic reactions to it. We feed it to her 2 days in a row and always wait a few days before introducing another new food. After the initial 2 feedings, if there are no signs of allergic reactions then we go ahead and mix it with other fruits and veggies for future feedings.
How do I prepare our baby food?
I completely LOVE the idea of compact one-step baby food makers, but the reality is that they are an extra expense that not all of us have the funds for. We chose not to invest in another appliance and instead opted to use things that we already have at home to prepare all of Mia’s foods. I steam fruits and veggies in a small pot using a regular veggie steamer basket for about 15-20 minutes or until soft. Once they are finished steaming, I puree the food using our magic bullet (I have a new cup and blender attachment designated for baby food prep), divide them into the OXO Tot Baby Blocks Food Storage Containers, and freeze them until ready to use.
How has her feeding schedule changed over the last 3 months?
When we first started solids with Mia, we did one small feeding with a half bottle of milk once a day. About 2 weeks later we increased it to 2 small feedings per day (fruit in the morning and veggies for lunch) and have slowly increased the feeding amount based on how much she wants (we don’t push her to eat more than she wants at any given feeding). At 6 months we started to introduce small “snacks” between feedings such as yogurt and rice crackers as mentioned above. We are now (at almost 7 months) starting to increase her to 3 feedings a day with intermittent snacks on demand and more solid solids as opposed to purees.
How have we handled her not liking certain foods?
We’re still pretty early on in our solid food journey so this isn’t a huge issue YET, but we have had instances where she doesn’t like a certain fruit or veggie and pushes the spoon away when we try to feed her. When this happens, we might try two or three times to see if she’ll take the spoonful of food, but if she keeps pushing it away then we stop. One of the big things for me is to have Mia develop healthy eating habits and to know that she is in control of her own body. If she doesn’t want to eat something, I’m not going to force her. HOWEVER, I also don’t want to just omit something from her diet because one time she decided she didn’t like it. So we always try giving it to her again on another day and usually she will eat it perfectly fine the second time around. We actually had an interesting situation with bananas – she used to LOVE them, and now refuses to eat any bananas. I think it might be the texture that she’s grown to not like (we mash them instead of puree), but she won’t eat them at all even if it’s mixed with other fruits. But we keep trying to serve it to her in other ways and have discovered that she will eat it if you allow her to bite it off of a full banana and she quite enjoys banana pancakes which is awesome because it still gets her to have some serving of bananas in her diet.
When we first introduced solids to Mia, it was so bittersweet because I was super excited about this new step but also so sad that my baby girl was growing up SO FAST! But it’s been about 3 months now and this girl LOVES her solid foods. She’s a champ when it comes to eating and when we have days where she’s not feeling something or wants more or less than usual, we just follow her cues and go with the flow. I think that’s the most important thing for parents to accept – you can plan all you want and read all the resources that you want, but at the end of the day only your baby will be able to tell you what works for him/her or doesn’t work. Anyways I hope that sharing a little bit about our journey on starting solids helps you and your little one and helps you feel a little more prepared heading into this new phase.