Please note: I am not an expert and I have not had special training regarding this. “It’s just something I do’, however this is purely a record of how we have dealt with it because I like to write that down for myself and share our experience. Each baby is unique and develops at its own pace. Stella loved food from the beginning, liked every flavor and she eats everything. This is certainly not the case with all babies. Most babies need to get used to solid foods, the taste or the texture. And some babies just don’t like purees at all. Just make sure you don’t force her to eat. Your baby will show you whether she’s ready or not. Especially the first few months solids are for practice, their main food source is still milk!
– Click here for this blog post in Dutch -> Baby’s eerste hapjes 4-5 maanden –
Baby’s first solids 4-6 months
Which mom doesn’t look forward to it, when her baby is ready to start solids? I sure did! After months of nothing else but preparing bottles with milk, I couldn’t wait to make something else for her.
Stella was just 4 months old and the pediatrician had given us the green light to start with solids. You all know that I’m a huge fan of fresh and healthy food, so Stella now it was Stella’s turn to endure it all 😉
Before you start with solid foods you have to check a few things off your list:
- Check with your pediatrician if you can start with solids.
- Your baby should be able to sit upright and stable and she can hold her head upright. Stella’s pediatrician tested this by pulling her up her arms. When your baby is bringing her head up she is ready for her first solid snack! A highchair may only be used at 6 months old, but until then you can use a bouncer you naturally move up as far as possible.
- The baby is showing interest for what you eat? Stella did that absolutely! From 3 months old she followed my hand if I brought a fork or spoon to my mouth to eat something. And then starting salivating… she really wanted to eat too!
- Don’t give solid foods until your baby is 4 months old, because their intestines aren’t ready for it. Even though we started at 4 months, I preferred waiting until 5-6 months old. But do not wait too long as well, so between 5-7 months of age is a perfect time to start solid foods.
- The gag reflex which babies naturally have, has disappeared. Or, well, disappeared… with young babies the reflex is in front of the mouth, as they grow older it pulls backward. Everyone has this gag reflex, but to start with solids this reflex has to be pulled back far enough to eat normally. To practice this, we have fed Stella some milk with a spoon to see whether she could ‘eat’ this.
You can read everywhere that it is good to start with vegetables instead of fruit, and also to start with subtle and soft flavors. I don’t have a really strong opinion about this, but I think it’s good to offer the same foods two to three days in a row to detect a possible food allergy. And I also believe in getting your baby familiar with as many flavors as possible. Food allergies aren’t a known thing in both our families, and we noticed nothing of an allergy with Stella so after six weeks I no longer kept the rule that you offer the same foods for a few days. Also, she was almost 6 months at that time so I began with blending the flavors. Lentils with butternut squash for example, and peas with spinach.
Preparing food for your baby, how do you do that?
There all kinds of fancy devices on the market to make your own baby food at home, who hasn’t heard of the BEABA Babycook? I thought it was a waste to spend a lot of money on something like that, because my goal was to feed Stella the same things we are eating, as soon as possible. And also, my kitchen cabinets are already filled with devices, the one more fancy than the other 😉
At Ikea we bought a steamer insert (for $ 9) for the pans that we already owned. Using this I steamed the veggies, because this way all healthy nutrients are remained. The pureed the steamed vegetables with a Hand Blender (small portions) or the Food Processor (large portions), which I already owned. Then I let them cool off slightly and serve immediately, and froze the remaining portions in a Beaba Multi-Portions Container. As soon as it was frozen I stored the portions in freezer bags, so I could use the container again.
I thought it was really a piece of cake, to steam, mash and freeze the vegetables. I made 2-3 different kinds of purees in a week and had a freezer filled with baby food in no-time.
The things I made:
I started with zucchini, because that just about the only vegetable that I could eat during my pregnancy 😉 So I thought she would like that because she was (hopefully) already familiar with it. And she liked it!
After three days of zucchini puree (which incidentally is very watery but good to thicken with rice cereal) we tried butternut squash. Also a hit!
Pear – prunes (for constipation) – sweet potato – peas (not so successful because of the texture) – banana – avocado – green beans (again that texture that she didn’t like) – cauliflower – carrot – mango – peach – parsnip – apple – broccoli – chickpeas – spinach… and after that I no longer held track.
By that time she was 6 months old and it was time to combine flavors and to introduce meat and fish. Chickpeas with spinach was a hit, but also lentils with tomato sauce and salmon with beets.
For fish it’s the same as with vegetables: steaming in the steamer, then purée with a hand blender (with cooking water added) or breaking up with a fork. Regarding meat puree I only made beef: cook ground beef in a skillet with some olive oil or butter and then puree with a hand blender.
Meanwhile, Stella was 6 months old and she ate more textured purees. So it was time for the next step!
But that’s a thing I will tell you about soon, in another blog post
Do you have questions about baby food? Ask them!