I am by no means an expert on feeding a baby. I had a lot of direction and guidance from Mom’s that have come before me… and a plethora of books on the subject. Here’s what worked for us when we were first introducing solids.
How to Begin:
Navigating solids was overwhelming and most of the time, challenging. I wanted to be that Mom that fed him sweet potatoes, bananas, or avocados as his first food – steering clear of processed foods in his brand new, perfect, little body. And I tried, but I quickly realized I was wasting a lot of produce. Until Chief got the hang of actually swallowing something more solid than milk, I started him on Earth’s Best Organic Oatmeal. It was much easier to prepare and I didn’t care too much if none of it actually went down his throat. I mixed it with water in the early days, because I didn’t want to waste all my precious breast milk. 😉 I’m stingy with that stuff!
I would feed him until he turned away from spoon or shut his mouth. I wouldn’t force anything. I would offer Chief oatmeal once per day until he began to get the swallowing technique down, then I moved to offering him oatmeal twice a day. During this time I didn’t change his nursing/bottle schedule at all. I would just offer some oatmeal in the morning or evening (or both), after a nursing session.
After a week or two of this, and when he was actually starting to swallow, I moved to produce.
When I started solids, I would pick one food to introduce every 3-4 days. I would always introduce food in the morning feeding- that way if there was an allergic reaction I could see it during the day. If I introduced food in the evening and he had a reaction, it would’ve been in the middle of the night. It’s just easier to observe throughout the day. (Chief never had any allergic reactions). After we had done food for 3 days, I would move on to introducing the next food.
I found the book Super Baby Food was super helpful when I was trying to figure out how to feed him. I pretty much adhered to the schedule in the book as to what foods to introduce during certain months, until he was about 10 months old, then he started eating a lot of the same things we eat.
*When introducing any type of solid, water it down enough so it’s running off of your spoon. You want it to be just a little thicker than milk.
*Bananas and Sweet Potatoes can be constipating. If baby becomes constipated introduce prunes and/or pears. I never made my own prunes, I would just buy organic jars of those.
*When I started making my own food, I would do a mix of frozen and fresh depending on prep time. I buy frozen organic broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, peas, sweet potatoes (sometimes), spinach, beets, green beans, etc. I did fresh carrots, pears, apples, sweet potatoes (when frozen wasn’t available).
*There were times when he completely turned up his nose to a particular food, spit it out, etc. If Chief refused a food, I would just keep offering it. For example – he spit out peas for a week. After he tried them 3-4 times and kept refusing, I began mixing them with carrots and he ate them up. After a while of mixing them with other veggies, he eventually came around to them and loves them today!
How to Prep:
I would usually prep batches of food on Sundays, just steam the food and then blend it up. At first, I would make sure to add enough water so that the consistency is pretty smooth. With the exception of soft, raw fruits like bananas and avocados. Obviously you wouldn’t steam these, just put a few bananas (or avocados) in a blender and add enough water to make it smooth. As he got older and more comfortable, I would make it thicker and add less water (or breastmilk). Then pour it into food trays and freeze. Once frozen, store in ziplock bags until ready to use. When ready to use, microwave for about 30-45 seconds and they should be ready to go. I tried to feed Chief a mix of warm foods and cold foods so he didn’t get particular about having everything at a specific temp.
Here are the freezer tray’s I used to store his food: At first I used basically an ice cube tray, this one. After Chief started eating more, I began using these .
Once he was introduced to most things, then I started combining flavors.
Some of his favorite combos were:
(Actually anything with oatmeal – banana, peach, apple, etc..)
Butternut squash cauliflower
Butternut squash pear
Beet Carrot Apple
Spinach Banana Mango
Sweet Potato black bean
Sweet Potato lentil