Hi mamas and papas,
Since I started my Lara on solids I’ve had so many questions asked about what I feed her. It surprises me so much on how scared we are as parents to start feeding our babies something other than milk!
We started Lara on solids right on 4 months because she showed interest in food. She would watch us intently as we ate and would open her mouth if I brought a spoon or food to her lips. Every baby is different though, and some take longer than others. I believe you should listen to your baby and go with what they want:- that’s where baby led weaning is fantastic!
If you are thinking about starting your baby on solids but are not sure where to start, try this – The very first thing we gave Lara was baby rice cereal mixed with her formula. Mixing the cereal with her formula makes it taste familiar, and also make the consistency quite runny so it’s easy to swallow. As your baby gets more confident with food you can increase the consistency to be more thicker. If you’re still breast feeding you can mix the cereal with your breast milk.
Now look, I’m no expert or dietician, and before I started feeding Lara solids I had no idea what to do. I asked everyone I knew who had kids and what they did, I googled, I scrolled for hours on Pinterest, I spoke to the maternal health nurse:- and everyone had a different way or different opinion. You have to listen to yourself and go with what feels right for you and your baby.
Below is a list of some the foods I have given and still give to Lara that she likes and are very easy for her to eat. Baby led weaning is pretty much about letting your baby choose what they want to eat by touching, feeling the texture of the food, smell and taste. Sometimes they will eat some, sometimes they won’t and most of the time it will end up on the floor so make sure you put a towel or matt down! You will soon learn what your baby likes and dislikes which will make life a bit easier for you when it comes to prepping meals. Plus it’s super fun watching your baby taste different foods and watching their facial expressions.
Baby led weaning ideas;
- Roast pumpkin pieces
- Steamed brocolli
- Boiled eggs
- Tuna patties
- Tuna and rice balls
- Peanut butter on toast (no crusts)
- Avocado slices or on toast
- Mini quiches (no crusts)
- Hash browns
- Steamed apple and pear slices
- Cheese slices
- Mini pancakes
- Steamed zucchini
At meal times I put 2-3 options on Lara’s high chair and let her investigate, play and eat. Once she’s had some time to eat then I top her up with either a sachet of food or something I’ve made to make sure she’s eaten enough. I also give her a sippy cup with water to help wash it down.
If your baby has no teeth yet like my Lara (8months) or if your baby is in the early stages of eating then just ensure the food you give your baby is really soft. The usual rule is if you can squish it with ease between your thumb and finger then a baby can mush it with their gums.
Also, your baby will gag, but remember this doesn’t mean they are choking. It takes practice to learn how to swallow food and baby’s have a very good gag reflex so don’t panic, they are just sorting them selves out. Learn the signs of choking:- if your baby isn’t making any sound, looks distressed and isn’t breathing then your baby is choking. Always ensure the food you give to your baby is super soft. A baby will choke if the consistency is too thick or too hard as this will get ‘stuck’ in their throat. This has happened to us – I fed Lara some mashed sweet potato but didn’t water it down so it was really thick. One spoon full later and she was choking and ended up vomiting all over me. Lesson learnt!
If you are worried about egg and nut allergies then speak to your doctor first. I gave Lara natural peanut butter and egg from 4 months to build up her resistance. My advice is if you’re wanting to try egg, start by just cooking up the egg yolk. The egg white is full of protein and can be too overpowering for little bodies which can make some babies sick if they are sensitive. So introduce the egg whites slowly. A good way to do it is by making scrambled eggs and slowly increase the egg white ratio as the weeks go on.
Starting your baby on solids shouldn’t be stressful or scary, it’s fun and exciting!
Don’t feel like you have to go out of your way to make your baby special meals, because it will just cause you more stress in the long run:- Unless you’ve got all the free time then go for it! I feed Lara pretty much what we eat, sometimes just making a few easy adjustments. This way she will learn to eat the same food as us which will make dinner time much easier and you won’t have to worry about cooking different meals for everyone.
Again, I’m no expert, and what I do works for us! Lara loves her food and eats very well. We are now working on her feeding herself with a spoon, which is giving me more anxiety than anything because now she can flick food across the room on the spoon and the clean freak in me can’t handle it *facepalm :- but she has to learn somehow so let’s just roll with it.
Pinterest is really handy for baby led weaning ideas and also tips on how to cut and prepare foods to make it easy for baby to eat without being a choking hazard.
I hope this has helped you in some small way and gives you a little confidence to start your solids journey with baby.
Remember, be patient with your little one and have fun! Don’t force them to eat things they’re not interested in because this will just push them further away from the experience and will end up with fussy eaters in the future.
I’d love to hear how you go, so make sure to leave a comment.