Healthy Baby Food: Introducing Solids

Since my kitchen is still a disaster area, I thought it might be fun to share a peek at what our little guy is eating this week, rather than looking at our random take-out meals and smoothies.

Some parents are anxious to start feeding their little ones solid food, but I am not one of them. Nursing is so convenient that I haven’t been looking forward to preparing extra meals or cleaning extra dishes! (Not to mention the extra cleaning of floors, tables, hands, etc…)

avocado-mash

Of course, exclusively nursing hasn’t been “easy” for me by any means, either. In fact, I’ve had a pretty rough go of it. Breastfeeding hurt me for FIVE solid months. Ouch! This is not the norm for most people– it’s only common for breastfeeding to hurt for the first few days– but despite my numerous visits with lactation consultants (who all assured me that my son’s latch was “perfect,” and that he didn’t have tongue or lip tie), and even watching some detailed YouTube videos, we just couldn’t get a consistent pain-free latch down for those first five months. Luckily, this didn’t impact my milk supply at all, since we continued to nurse on demand, and our baby has grown into a healthy little chunk! Don’t ask me what has changed, but for some reason my son’s latch magically resolved itself at the five-month-mark, and I’m beyond grateful that we can both enjoy a comfortable nursing relationship now.

And that’s still what our baby is mostly eating– breast milk! Most pediatricians and health organizations agree that babies should receive the majority of their calories from breast milk (or formula) for the first 12 months, and that “food before one is just for fun.”

Thank goodness that’s the case, because our little guy is NOT very interested in food at this point. avocado-grimace

Can’t you tell?

Of course, if someone fed me plain avocado, I’d probably have the same reaction– it’s not my favorite flavor on its own. (In guacamole or pudding, however, it’s another story!) After delaying solids until well after the 6-month-mark, which helped keep our baby’s immunity high while we traveled last month, we have opted to skip any sort of baby cereals, and are jumping right into fruits and veggies. His first food was a ripe avocado, mashed with a little bit of breast milk that I hand-expressed directly into the bowl.

Needless to say, he wasn’t a fan. (We also tried the baby led weaning route, but once he knew what avocado smelled like, he wouldn’t bring it anywhere near his mouth!)

I continued to offer avocado for four days straight, to rule out any food allergies, before moving onto the next food– which was sweet potato! Since sweet potato tastes sweeter, and therefore more similar to breast milk, I was hoping we’d have better luck this time around. I had a pouch of organic sweet potato baby food to try (the ingredients are just organic sweet potatoes and water), but after tasting it myself, I wasn’t a fan. So, I whipped up my own version by simply blending together a small amount of steamed and peeled sweet potatoes with filtered water.

baby-blender

To make our homemade baby food, I’ve been using this new blender that I just love. Instead of using a plastic blender container, it blends directly into GLASS mason jars! That means there’s no extra container to clean up, and you can serve and store the blended food directly from the glass jar you used for blending. This blender works with practically any regular-mouth glass jars, so the size options are endless, too. I’ve been using these 4 oz. glass mason jars for making baby food, but larger glass jars fit on this blender, as well, which are perfect for making individual smoothies and sauces.  (Disclosure: Tribest sent me this complimentary blender to try out, and I happily accepted because I love the idea of using glass instead of plastic! I think this idea is brilliant.)

baby-food-comparison

As you can see, homemade baby food looks more appealing than the packaged stuff, too.

I personally thought the sweet potato mixture tasted delicious, and certainly better than plain avocado, but our little guy just isn’t a fan of any food yet. His grimaces are priceless!

BLW

This was our second attempt at baby led weaning, which basically means we let him feed himself rather than relying on purees. This puts the baby in control of what goes into his or her mouth… which in our case, means nothing goes into his mouth. But, he does like mushing the food between his hands!

We plan on introducing more whole foods over the next several months, but I have a feeling I won’t have any fun baby food recipes to share for quite some time. For now, we’re just keeping it simple!

For more baby food resources, I’ve found the following links to be helpful in deciding how to feed our baby. (Like most things health-related, they can be a bit contradictory of each other, so I just use the bits and pieces that resonate with our family.)

Reader Feedback: I’d love to hear about your experience with introducing solids! What was your baby’s favorite first food?

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Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the body’s detox organs— no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

36 thoughts on “Healthy Baby Food: Introducing Solids

  1. Kristin

    My little guy’s favorite was sweet potatoes. We tried purées and baby-led weaning and he was all about baby led-weaning! He hated purées. It took him awhile to like solids at all, though. He’s 15 months and a champion eater, now. And he’s still a great nurser. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Maria C

    If it makes you feel better my son didn’t eat many solids before he turned one. He actually never liked the purees! he only ate if I gave him the big piece to chew on it! he also didn’t liked anything sweet and never liked sweet potatoes! good luck!!

    Reply
  3. Jessica Clark

    I found your site a few weeks back and I just love it, so thank you for all the wonderful recipes. As a mother of 2 and avid cook I enjoyed making baby food probably more then the average person 😉 One of my favorite recipes was roasted banana and sweet potato, it’s basically the same as your sweet potato recipe but I added a roasted a banana. Actually this recipe is just good no matter what your age. I put the whole banana in the oven, peel and all and roasted on about 350 until it turned black. Then when it’s cool enough to handle carefully peel open and add to puree or put on top of your own baked sweet potato. It’s smells like banana bread so try not to drool.

    Reply
  4. Elizabeth Horton

    Mine is almost 11 months old and still has pretty much zero interest in food. We have tried bananas, avocado, applesauce & butternut. Also tried fresh juice in a variety of bottles and sippy cups but he won’t have anything to do with that either. Tried baby led weaning also and he will put stuff in his mouth but pretty much no actual eating is taking place.

    Reply
  5. Krista

    I always thought babies should be having three meals by 1 (based on what family members have done) and it makes me so happy to hear that most of their calories should still be breast milk. I plan on having fun with food when my LO is past 6 months, but it’s nice to know there’s no pressure!

    Reply
  6. Megan

    My little girl is 7 1/2 months and she’s been trying different fruits. I mashed up some banana and blueberries this morning and she liked that. Only eats a tiny bit though. I like the idea of baby lead weaning and have tried it with an apple piece which she happily sucks the juice off of and a chunk of bell pepper that she grabbed off my plate which she loved. It does freak me out when a large piece breaks off though.

    Reply
  7. Stephanie

    My daughter was really interested in table food around 5 months. We started giving her squash soup little by little. She ate purées until about 8-9 months, when she decided that purées weren’t interesting anymore and she wanted table food. I started mashing cooked veggies with a fork, and let her pick up pieces of egg yolk on her own. She likes feeding herself and has transitioned to all table food (except dairy as I have an allergy…we’ll be introducing dairy after 1 year!) She loves eating whatever we do, with whatever utensils we are using (spoon, fork, chopsticks!)

    I didn’t do anything special, but somehow we ended up with a great eater! I

    Reply
  8. Kelly

    My girl wouldn’t eat any food until 7 months (then very little), and started more when I went back to work at around 11 months. I soaked grains like millet for several hours then cooked into a porridge and blended with breast milk. She also loved avacado, bananas, cooked ground buffalo, and sweet potatoes. When she was teething I did make fruit Popsicles of blended organic fruit and breast milk that she loved! Good for you for staying with the breastfeeding – I weaned mine after 2 years. So glad I stuck with it for her

    Reply
  9. Laura @ Raise Your Garden

    My daughter is over 2 and still nursing! I’m embarrassed that she would rather still nurse than eat table food (which she obviously still does)

    I don’t know what to do! My husband thinks I need to stop nursing cold turkey, but I feel so mean about that.

    Wish I knew about some of your ideas here to try.

    Texture is a big thing for her.

    Reply
    1. Jen L.

      At 2 it’s important for any child to be able to be able to eat a wide variety of foods. There is the physical part of biting through food, chewing on both sides, moving food back for the swallow, clearing the mouth, and even the skills of feeding oneself (I am a speech therapist and do this as part of my job). So do be sure that there is not a physical reason your dtr to resist eating (food allergies, reflux, problems swallowing from enlarged tonsils or adenoids).

      I nursed my older son until he was ready to turn 4, so I am not judging you! My doctor was saying, “After age 2 the nursing is for the mom, not the kid.” Some of it was for me, some of it was for him (comforting) and so what? He’s 22 now and not in therapy from it, ha ha.

      Just my opinion…at ANY age we need to decide what is best for our kids and then set a loving, firm boundary about it. At two, what do YOU think would be best from a health standpoint and socially for her? You’re the adult. If you think it should only be for certain times of the day communicate that simply and STICK TO IT CONSISTENTLY.

      For my son, I also balanced what I wanted; it’s not all about the kid! Our kids need to learn that other people have feelings and needs, even at age 2. You know, some kids still want to nurse at age 6 or 7! Child-led weaning is fine up to a point, but at some point the adults have to say, “You are old enough to live and be happy without my breast milk and I trust you to do it.” And they do. 🙂

      Reply
  10. Debi

    My son is 28 now. To this day he still prefers fresh veggies and fruits over junk food because in addition to nursing the first year, I made all of his baby food with fresh, organic ingredients. To make life easier I would spend a few hours blending zucchini, carrots, green beans and other vegetables. I ate meat then so I would also steam then blend veal and turkey. Freeze them in ice cube trays then pop them into separate freezer bags. For a quick meal time take a cube of each and blend with fruit; apples, melons, bananas or your babies favorite. My son loved it.

    Reply
  11. Baylee

    His faces are priceless!!! LOL! They remind me of our little guys. He was born in Sept. too so they’re about the same age. Ole always makes that face when he tries something but then says “mmm!!” And keeps eating. His first food was avocado too. We’ve just had to do BLW because he has never let us feed him! LOL! He’s very independent. Some of his favorites now are scrambled eggs, carrots and watermelon.

    Reply
  12. kelly

    We did avocado, applesauce, and zucchini mixed together. My son had a lot of food sensitivities so he didn’t really start on solids until about 14 months and then it was just those three foods. He got most of his calories from breast milk until about 27 months….and he’s just fine so let your little man make the call. He looks so handsome and healthy!

    Reply
  13. Lyzz

    Looks about like the reactions we’ve gotten! We’ve tried avocado, sweet potato, banana and they’re all met with the same face. Although he remains curious and keeps putting them in his mouth usually. He does really like baby carrots and celery, we’ve been giving them raw and he shaves little bits off with his bottom teeth. I think he likes them for teething more than anything else.

    Reply
  14. Tia

    We started my daughter on food at five months because she is so little. Our first puree was sweet potatoes. She loved it! She loves to eat and has been able to try additional foods in the last month. She loves pears the most. We did bananas last night and by her expression she wasn’t a huge fan. I use the baby bullet to mix up food. Its so simple and came with storage containers. I love it. We got it as a gift at our shower. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  15. sarah

    The world health organization recommends breastfeeding until 2 and then as long there after as mutually desired. We are breastfeeding averse in the U.S; AND pediatricians- know very little about breastfeeding- not required to learn about it in school. In a global perspective- folks breastfeed much longer- and no it is not about the mother- there is much more to breastfeeding than – calories…. our milk changes as we nurse older babies- toddlers- and comfort-yes- is a good thing do for your child- it goes fast- do not hasten it because you read it in a book or your pediatrician told you to- listen to your baby!

    Reply
  16. brynda

    Your baby is adorable! This is off topic, but when is your cookbook coming out? I can hardly wait to buy it. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      Aw, thanks! The cookbook won’t hit the shelves for a while, but it should be available for pre-order by the end of the year.

      Reply
  17. Sabrina

    My son was ready to eat at 6 months and actually grabbed my hand and put the food to his mouth. He still nursed every couple hours but just was ready for food too. I made all his baby food and used recipes from Anabel Karmel 100 baby purees and my son loved almost every one I tried. He especially like banana and advacado mix I thought crazy but it tasted good. To this day he eats a variety of veggies and says how delicious they are when served just the other day I made a zucchini boat and he ate a whole boat and asked for more. So the labor of making home made baby food will be a benefit for life.

    Reply
  18. Nicole

    I had the same issue with nursing. Perfect latch, yet terribly painful for the first few months. After three kids, I’ve finally realized this pain is normal for some moms. I really wish lactation consultants were more honest about that. I ended up quitting nursing early on with my oldest, because all these lactation specialists had me convinced there was something wrong with me. “His latch is perfect, so you should not be feeling pain.” Ugh, so unhelpful to tell a struggling mom that.

    That said, thank you for this post. My youngest is 4 months, so solid foods are on the horizon for us. But I’m really conflicted about whether to do baby-led weaning or to just make purees and feed him with a spoon. If you have any success with the former, definitely let us know!

    Reply
  19. Deb

    My daughter is 22 months, still nursing (I work f/t so morning evening overnight – we cosleep – and weekends. We started solids for real at 12 months. I think between 9 and 12 months we let her try our smoothies (homemade in the Vitamix, whole fruits / veg / avocado). I wanted her first food to be cooked egg yolk. Didn’t go over too well.

    We follow a paleo approach to diet and so far our little girl is also completely paleo. I don’t know if it’s the continued nursing or the diet or both but she has been sick exactly one time in 22 months. And nursing really got us thru it because she wouldn’t eat solids for 3 days.

    At almost 2, smoothies are now a daily part of her diet. We include avocado, coconut meat, almond butter even homemade bone broth sometimes. The balance of fruits and veggies seems to work great for her. She loves them. We also crock pot and she likes most of what we make. My recent is a modified butter chicken, the Indian dish. She gobbles the chicken and sauce. Makes me proud that she’s eating spices like garam masala, cardomom, etc

    Reply
  20. Ellie

    My 8mo is enjoying purees and finger foods. I just puree whatever I’m making for dinner before adding salt: chicken and zucchini, sweet potatoes, fish and asparagus, split peas, broccoli, etc. She LOVES beans. She is doing some finger foods now too: clumps of cold leftover pasta with sauce (cuts up nicely into soft big bites), beans, small chunks of fruit (strawberries, mango, pear), raisins, etc. It’s so fun to watch them discover new tastes. My daughter’s face is always the same, “I have no opinion about this taste.”

    Reply
  21. mariz

    Your little boy is so cute. I started to fed my baby boy on his 5th month. He likes mashed squash and bananas. After a week or two, I introduced another fruit or veggie. And I’m glad that he likes it. Sometimes I also prepare carrot juice for his snacks. I enjoyed reading your post. You might want to see this. Thank you.

    Reply
  22. Pingback: Food Recipes for Babies | Food Recipes

  23. Erin

    super off topic and way late to the party (ha) but I was wondering if there is significance to the necklace your little boy is wearing? I am not a mom and admittedly don’t always read your posts about babies but I was just curious. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      Yes, it’s an amber teething necklace! Amber contains a natural analgesic that, in theory, is supposed to be absorbed through the skin and help relieve some pain. I can’t be sure if it works or not, but he’s never seemed to be in much pain from teething, so we’re going to keep having him wear it! Some mothers also swear that it reduces drooling, and our son doesn’t seem to drool at all… though, he may just not be to that stage yet.

      Reply
  24. Chloe

    His faces are priceless!!! LOL! They remind me of our little guys. He was born in Sept. too so they’re about the same age. Ole always makes that face when he tries something but then says “mmm!!” And keeps eating. His first food was avocado too. We’ve just had to do BLW because he has never let us feed him! LOL! He’s very independent. Some of his favorites now are scrambled eggs, carrots and watermelon.

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      He only received breast milk– we still nurse now that he’s 2 1/2 years old, so he never had the need for a supplemental milk. I’m not sure what I would have given otherwise, but if for some reason I couldn’t nurse before he reached 12 months, I would probably looked into using raw goat’s milk.

      Reply
      1. Linda

        Thank you for your reply. Hmm I heard good things about goat milk but just didn’t think of it for babies. I would be scared how it would be to there system but like you said would have to look into it. I want to try to stay all natural but at the same time I’m scared that I wouldn’t be giving the right amounts of nutrients that a baby needs. Im so confused.

        Thank you.
        P.s love love your site 😄

        Reply

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