I’m super excited to share this post with all of you all- it’s been a long time coming! I hope you are excited to start the solids adventure with baby. So many of our favorite family memories revolve around food so establishing a really fun and wholesome relationship to food early is something we care so much about in our family. Making meals for my kids isn’t something I dread. It’s not a chore when you love to do it! Good food, little fuss, lots of fun! I am by no means an expert or a doctor. I do however have three baby girls and can share what has and hasn’t worked for us. I don’t think you can really “go wrong” when feeding baby but you definitely have tons of options and lots of opinions to sift through. My main advice is to keep it fresh, simple and flavorful! The tools: 1.Baby and Toddler On the Go Cookbook: Fresh, Homemade Foods To Take Out And About 2.Weelicious: 140 Fast, Fresh, and Easy Recipes 3.The Baby and Toddler Cookbook: Fresh, Homemade Foods for a Healthy Start 4.Zoku Mini Pop Molds 5.Cuisinart CSB-75BCSmart Stick 2-Speed Immersion Hand Blender, Brushed Chrome 6.Whiskey Squares Silicone Ice Cube Tray Set 7.ReSqueeze Reusable Food Pouch 6 oz. (8-pack) and ReSqueeze Reusable Food Pouch 9 oz. (4-pack)
The methods: Reading through baby food recipes is a really great start when you are just figuring out how to go about feeding your tiny human big people food. There are basic methods involved (boiling, roasting, steaming etc.) and ways you can make your life easier! I love the three cookbooks listed above. They are so so good and have great recipes for your babe but help you navigate the next stages too. I love that there are recipe combinations and ideas you might not think of immediately and seamless ways to keep baby progressing with different foods and textures as they get older. Someone should make a statistic about how many years of a Mom’s life are spent worrying about how their kids eat and how many more years are spent actually doing the cooking 😉 Pinterest boards are, of course, also a great resource (like this). But trust your Mama gut- you already know what flavors taste good (think about what you eat!) and are the best judge of when baby is ready.
We started our girls on solids at all different stages. Our first daughter Lilly (now 5) started on rice cereal around 4.5 months. I pretty much followed our pediatrician’s advice- rice cereal for awhile, then green vegetable purees, then fruits last. All soupy, thin, stage 1 foods. With Gracie (now 3) we went through different challenges because of medical complications when she was born. Gracie would only nurse then eventually take goat milk bottles completely upside down. We worked with the feeding team at our wonderful Children’s Hospital and a Feeding and OT Therapist to get her situated upright. She was much older when she started solids – 9 or 10 months old. She started on thicker purees. Many with oatmeal or quinoa pureed in. Sprout was our favorite pouch food and Grace pretty much lived on it for two years. I made Gracie lots of homemade pouch baby food too. This is when I really discovered my love for cooking for my girls and how fun it was to come up with my own flavor combinations. This post and this post explain some more about my puree recipes and also making homemade pouch food!
The immersion blender is your best friend. It’s SO easy to clean and use and lends itself well to making small batches of different recipes. I know the whiskey ice cube tray might seem odd on this list but it freezes perfect portions of baby food!! Honestly. I love these trays haha. Now with Sally, we are doing a combination of traditional baby food with a broader “Baby Led Weaning” philosophy. Basically “third baby eats whatever the hell she wants” lol! But honestly. If you haven’t heard of BLW it’s worth looking into. Baby pretty much eats whatever everyone else is eating (within reason) without being pureed first. Think soft, finger-shaped vegetables and fruit. Favorites for sally are sliced avocado, steamed baby carrots, raw squash or zucchini, cucumber, broccoli florets, blueberries, bananas, watermelon, mango…on and on and on. BLW is MESSY business but worth the ease and fun of letting baby discover food on their own.
The zoku mini pops in action. I love squeezing extra baby food from pouches right into these little circular molds. They are AWESOME for teething babies and end up being a pretty good portion too. The purees are also naturally a bit thicker so the “popsicle” doesn’t melt and drip in the same way as a real popsicle- it just turns into cold, icey chunks that baby really enjoys munching on either with sore gums or just in the heat!
What else? I think it’s always important to know what to do if baby is choking. LEARN how to clear an infants throat properly esp. if practicing BLW. Baby is likely to choke at least once in their feeding journey and while this is really no big deal when you know what to do, it can be scary! That being said, baby will also “gag” and “cough” to clear food as they figure out how to eat and swallow properly. This isn’t TRUE choking (silent) and is all part of baby figuring out what to do with all these tasty treats. Don’t be afraid of FLAVOR! While no one would advise extra added salt or sugar to baby’s meals, there is no reason not to get creative with baby’s flavors. Herbs and spices are a great way to help baby learn to be an adventurous eater and like all different, less traditionally bland meals. Some examples we love here; mint and basil pea puree, smashed sweet potatoes and pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg, applesauce and cinnamon, green beans and chives etc. etc. etc. Squeeze pouches are the best invention ever! The ReSqueeze ones listed above are the best I’ve tried and really really do a great job keep the food sealed and fresh. They are dishwasher friendly and EASY to wash. I keep a few in the freezer to toss in my bag on pool days or when we’re headed out to the park. They thaw perfectly by the time we’re ready for lunch. Ask other Mama’s! It’s really fun to hear what other babies are eating (isn’t it?! haha you know you’re a mom when……….) But honestly. I have great conversations with Mama’s mostly on instagram about methods and tips and tricks- and I learn so much! (You can find me @sweetersidemom)
That’s pretty much it! Jump in, have fun, enjoy food.