Starting your baby on solid foods is both an exciting and daunting milestone for many parents.
I started Baby Chloe a week before her 6 month health check-up.
I know that many people start earlier but I decided that as the current guide lines say you don’t need to start feeding your baby to 6 months old, why over complicate life with an extra task. I also thought this way if I had some questions I knew I could ask at her health check-up.
In hindsight I can see that for some people, starting earlier could be great for exactly the reason I held off. It gives you a daily activity to do. Saying that your baby still needs to be ready to start e.g able to sit up properly in the high chair. You can’t feed them if they are all slumped over 😉
Purees vs baby led weaning
I’m a qualified dance and gymnastics coach, so I’m a big believer in skill progressions. You have to master the basics before you get to the harder skills. So that is the approach I’ve been taking to starting solids. This is the method that you will also find is followed by many feeding specialists. My favourite experts in this field are Rachel Coley from Cando Kiddo and Alisha Grogan from Your Kids Table.
Rachel has a super fab online course that you can do that goes into all the nitty gritty details. You can read the basics of her process here and buy the course here. I know that it probably sounds a little strange to do a course in baby feeding but I found it really helpful. It has given me the knowledge and confidence to create meals that are developmentally right for Baby Chloe. This course doesn’t provide you with recipes but instead gives you a guide about progressing through the different stages and textures of food. At first I thought recipes would have been good as well but this way is better like that saying ‘give a man a fish and you’ve feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ve feed him for life.’
So if you are wondering what is the first progression – yes it is purees!
My fave puree recipes for 6 – 7 month old
I’m a big believer in making life easy, so I did a mixture of store brought purees and home-made purees. This took the pressure off of me having to make everything.
The first week I made up a batch of broccoli puree and sweet potato puree.
The second week I made the Salmon Avocado Sweet Peas and Spinach puree from Buona Pappa and Quinoa Blackberry Avocado and Banana puree also from Buona Pappa (in this recipe I used raspberries instead of blackberries). I love watching Barbara’s youtube videos. She is full of energy and her enthusiasm made me feel like I could super easily make those recipes. So the confidence boost from watching her videos is worth it.
Then from there I tried to make one or two new recipes a week, while still rotating through the ones that we already had down pat.
For breakfast I started with baby rice cereal and then sometimes I would mix a fruit puree through e.g. pear or apple. I then started offering yoghurts at breakfast as well.
Moving on from purees
As Baby Chloe was going quite well with the purees, at about the 3 week mark I started doing some mashes e.g. mashed banana or mashed avocado or mashed canned peaches/pears/apricots (just making sure to get ones low in sugar). If you can find a really soft fresh pear, you can mash it up and then add a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.
At 7 months of age I started her on dissolvable puffs. Just make sure to read the packet carefully to make sure they are suitable for your baby. You want to make sure it melts in the mouth, that way they want choke on it. Some puffs are made for older babies and aren’t quite as melt-in-your-mouth.
As the lovely Barbara from Buona Pappa says in her videos I tried to make foods that had brain boosting ingredients e.g. the essential fatty acids in avocados and oily fish. So I do avocado at least twice a week and salmon twice a week.
To make sure Baby Choe is getting a variety of nutrients I tend to think in colours – as different coloured foods have different vitamins. So if she had something green for lunch I’ll try to give her something orange for dinner.
The most important nutrient that health professionals get concerned about is iron. From 6 months of age your baby needs more iron in their diet. This is why most baby cereals are iron fortified, so it’s probably a good idea to include some baby cereal for breakfast each week.
Do I need any special tools to make baby food?
For a few weeks I was obsessed with the idea of getting a Baby Bullet. It looked so cute and seemed to be a great way to make baby food. However I decided to first try and use my own blender and guess what? It worked fine. Also the Baby Bullet is made by the same people who make the Magic Bullet/Nutri-bullet, so it’s really the same thing just with cute graphics and tiny containers.
After watching some videos from Buona Pappa I realised that I already owned a steamer basket! Hilariously I had one and I didn’t even know what it was for… I thought it was some sort of thing that stopped hot food from burning your benchtop. Ops!
So armed with a steamer and a blender I was off and racing.
Your baby will seriously have two or three spoonfuls of food (if you are lucky!). So you’ll need to store the food in the fridge if you are going to use it again in the next day or so or pop it in the freezer. I really liked using this style of stackable little pots. Some of my other mommy friends prefer to do it in an ice cube tray and then pop the cubes out into a freezer zip locked bag. So feel free to try that as well.
Do you have any fave recipes or tips for starting solids? Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts 😊