A Big Post on Baby Food and Starting Solids

Baby Food and Starting Solids | Freckled Italian

We started feeding Sophie solids when she was about 5 months old (and by "started" I really mean we gave her 1/4 of a teaspoon of avocado one time). I was excited and really nervous to start solids--I love food and looked forward to sitting at the table with her to eat, but the thought of allergies and choking really freaked me out. 

Before we had a baby I really wanted to do baby led weaning, so we gave her little bits of avocado and banana for a few weeks until she got used to chewing. She would occasionally get too much and gag, which is normal, but having that be our first experience with food really freaked me out and I decided to introduce some purees instead. One of the most liberating things I've learned so far as a parent is that almost nothing has to be all or nothing (whether it's BLW and purees or cloth diapering or formula and breastfeeding or a nanny or daycare)--you can come up with a combination that works for you and your family.

I really don't have any wisdom or expertise regarding starting solids, I just know that I felt more nervous than excited about it, so I read a lot and really enjoyed hearing other people's experiences about what foods they did first, how they prepared them, etc. So I wanted to put together a post with our experience so far! Sophie is a great eater and really seems to like everything we've given her so far. Sometimes it takes a few days for her to decide she likes something (I had to mix shredded chicken with strawberries a couple times before she'd eat it by itself), but she enjoys eating and has already gotten pretty good at feeding herself.

Foods We've Tried So Far:

  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Sweet potato
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini  
  • Squash
  • Eggs
  • Plums
  • Apples
  • Watermelon
  • White beans
  • Mango
  • Peanut butter
  • Yogurt (whole milk, no sugar added)
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Chicken
  • PUFFS! She loves them and man are they easy. (We get these ones.)

Preparations:

  • I serve almost all of these foods steamed or lightly boiled--I just simmer a couple inches of water in a small pot and cook for 8-10 minutes, then puree it in our blender. 
    • Now that she's gotten the hang of chewing and swallowing, I chop, dice, or smash the food instead of pureeing it, and instead of feeding it to her on a spoon I put it down on the tray for her. Sweet potatoes get sliced into long thin pieces so she can easily grab them, and I just smash blueberries with my fingers before I hand them over. 
  • I thin peanut butter out with about half an ounce of breastmilk, but you could use formula or water. I just didn't want it to be too thick for her to swallow--the handout our doctor gave us mentioned that peanut butter could be a choking hazard if it's not thinned out.
  • We've used cinnamon (on sweet potatoes and in a white bean puree) and lime juice (on avocados) so far for seasoning, but we haven't gotten too into other herbs or spices yet. You'll read that they shouldn't have salt yet, so her food is pretty bland.
  • I was making all of my own purees before we moved in the middle of July and then I started buying the pouches from the grocery store and I love having a few in our bag that we can use in a pinch. She's not really eating purees anymore but I think I'll keep a few on hand for travel and days when I'm feeling lazy. It's weird having to cook for her after being able to feed her exclusively with my boobs for months and months, but I do love it.

Foods I Want to Try Next:

  • Fish
  • Beef
  • More beans
  • Pasta
  • Toast
  • Rice
  • Cottage cheese
  • Tofu
  • More, different fruits and veggies--any suggestions?
  • Eggs (again)
    • She ate eggs for almost a month with no problems, then one day she threw up pretty violently about 4 hours after having them. The next day the same thing happened, so I waited a week and tried again. Sure enough about 4-6 hours later she was puking again. We took her to the pediatrician and he said to wait a few more weeks, even a month, and try again. That was a month ago and I still haven't gathered the courage to try again. Lots of people wrote to me when I shared about it on Instagram and said their babies couldn't tolerate eggs until they were about a year and a half--has anyone else had that experience? I want to try again one more time before her 9 month check-up because our doctor said we could talk to an allergist if they're still making her sick.

Products We're Loving:

  • I use these bowls and lids when I'm putting together meals for Sophie (then I take a little at a time and put it on her tray).
  • This silicone ice cube mold was perfect when we were doing purees. You can also use it for freezing smaller amounts of breastmilk!
  • I've had these jars forever but I like them a lot for storing Sophie's food after I've cooked it. I also can't get enough of these reusable bags.

Like I said, I'm no expert but I do think taking it slow and introducing foods at your own pace is key to making the experience a good one. We never push food on Sophie and I remind myself constantly that breastmilk is still her main source of nourishment for a few more months. Food before one is just for fun, as they say, and I think that can definitely be true. I love food so much so I have been really enjoying sitting down with her a few times a day and enjoying a snack together.

I think that's all for now, let me know if you have any questions! Thanks to everyone who submitted a question on Instagram, I answered all of those on Wednesday night (I never know if I should keep highlights or not for Stories--if you have an opinion one way or the other let me know! It's easy enough to save them so you can go back and view them again later.)

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Currently...

Currently | Freckled Italian

Feeling a bit more anxious than usual these days...I started drinking an afternoon cup of coffee for the first time in over a year and I think that could have something to do with it. Also just moving, unpacking, getting ready to do some traveling, and a few little personal things always throw my routine-loving self for an emotional loop. I'm proud of the work I've done when it comes to my anxiety--I know what triggers me and things I can do to get it under control (sounds simple but I wouldn't have been able to say the same thing a few years ago--thanks, therapy!).

Eating berries like they're going out of style.

Drinking Brew Dr. Kombucha--it might be my new favorite! I'm loving the jasmine/lavender/green tea one. So good on a hot afternoon.

Reading The Sun Also Rises and The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus (affiliate links)I never read anymore (seriously never, it's the worst), so Rob and I decided that we'd each read at least one book in August. I've read The Sun Also Rises more times than I can count but I love it so much. I picked up The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus at the library when I took Sophie the other day and I don't know if it's good or silly or stupid or anything yet--we'll see! Has anyone read it? It's not new and I've never even heard of it. Sometimes I just need to read something random.

Watching Modern Family--I've seen a lot of it but we're finally watching the later seasons. It makes me cry way more than it probably should.

Thinking about how fast Sophie is growing! She stands up and crawls so fast and is eating food like a champ and sometimes it's hard to believe that she's the same sleepy little baby we brought home almost nine months ago. Taking care of her and watching her grow is the coolest thing I've ever done.

Looking forward to my mom getting here on Friday! She'll be spending a few days with us and then she, Sophie, and I are flying to Virginia together and then Rob is going to meet us in Charlotte before we head up to Richmond for my 30th birthday. We hadn't planned to be back in Virginia until October but Rob surprised me with this trip and I'm so excited to see all my friends again so soon.

What are you up to currently? I want to know--especially if you have a book recommendation!

Dear Sophie | 36 Weeks

Dear Sophie | Freckled Italian

Dear Sophie,

You're going to be 9 months old in a few weeks! You've almost been in the world as long as you were in my body, and I've gotta say as much as I enjoyed experiencing pregnancy, having you here with us is 500% better. You are the light of our lives.

You started standing up a couple months ago and I really feel like you might be an early walker. You are so active and funny and only cuddle when you're really sleepy, so from the minute you wake up we're all over the place, following you around as you explore every inch of our house.

The other day you fell and smacked your little face on the coffee table and my heart completely broke--I always hated the cheesy saying "having a child is having your heart outside of your body" or whatever it is they say, but it's true. You cried and I scooped you up and nursed you until you felt better and then you gave us a huge smile--you are so brave and smart and sweet and I still go to bed every night looking at photos of you that I took that day, showing them to your dad and reveling in the fact that you're our daughter.

Lately I've been thinking so much about work and motherhood and cooking and our future and all the things I want to do but haven't found the time for yet. I want you to look back on your childhood with a smile, and feel so incredibly loved by us every single day; and I also hope that you'll grow up and be proud of me. Maybe that's silly, but it's true.

What I know for sure is that I'm proud of you--already, and every single day.

xoxo Mama