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 mashed in a small bowl

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. babies face after trying avocado

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 blending sweet potatoes

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.)

comparing different baby foods

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!

baby holding a sweet potato chunk

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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Comments

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

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!

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

    Megan

    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.

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.

Heather @ Dimples in the Wrong Cheeks

Although I don’t have children, I have a friend that is a health nut and I am totally getting her this blender for her baby shower! I know she’ll love it and she’ll use it. Thanks for sharing Megan:)

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!

Jess @ Crunchy Hot Mama

LOVE baby-led weaning! I did it with my first and she turned out to be a great eater. I’ve been doing it with my 7 month old but she doesn’t seem as interested. It could be my fault since I’m trying to do the paleo/WAP method this go-round…but she’s slowly getting there 😉

Check out my post on blw:
http://crunchyhotmama.com/2012/11/27/baby-led-weaning/

PS-love that blender and his faces 😉

Sara Maples

His face is hilarious!!! I love those photos!

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

    Megan

    That’s amazing! I hope my little guy eats that well in the future, too. 🙂

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.”

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.

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!

    Megan

    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.

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.

Linda

Hi , I have a question. What did you give as milk to your son?

    Megan Gilmore

    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.

      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 ?

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