Starting Solids-Homemade Baby Food Essentials

starting solids tips and essentials

I remember when Nico was about to turn 6 months old and how excited I felt to start feeding him homemade purees. He had began to show signs of readiness so I spoke to my pediatrician, bought lots of different books and read the entire Wholesome Baby Food website back to front to prepare. I was too excited I guess. After reading everything I decided to start Nico on Avocado. The day after he turned 6 months I put him in his high chair with his little owl bib and gave him a small spoonful of avocado. He had the worst look on his face and started to cry! Not exactly what I pictured. Well, the next day, he was licking the bowl. What a difference a day makes. Isn’t it so funny how babies can change from one day to the next?

What I have learned from my experience and from reading is that every baby is different and maybe your baby likes the consistency a bit thicker or more pureed for different fruits and veggies. And if your baby is at least 6 months (which is around the age that is recommended to start solids) he may not like purees at all and actually like smaller pieces of food or large chunks to knaw on (Baby Led Weaning Style). The first year it’s all about having fun and exploring food. Also, when feeding your baby  it is very important to go at your babies pace and to learn when they have had enough. A great tool is to begin teaching your baby the signs for “all done” and “more.” Those were really helpful to me and worked!! Just keep doing the signs and they will get them in time.  Other signs to look out for when your baby is all done is when he closes his mouth, turns his head away or fusses. Maybe your baby will love solids and will get angry when you stop feeding him, or maybe your baby will be like mine and is content with only a couple bites.  Either way, I wouldn’t worry too much.  It’s very important to note that until one year of age food is a supplement to breastmilk or formula and should not replace it. Have a great time with your baby exploring food! Nico hasn’t been a huge fan of solids until just a couple weeks ago (He will be 9 months in 2 weeks!), but he has been able to have many tastes of different foods and it has been a wonderful experience.

Update: My son Nico is now almost 3 years old and although he wasn’t super interested in food until after a year he is such a strong and healthy boy now and enjoys eating! They may go through their phases of not wanting to eat a certain food or texture or maybe they won’t eat something due to allergies or being sick. You never know!!  Just make meal time a stress free zone,  keep offering healthy foods and allow your baby to choose what he wants to eat. Never make mealtime a battle and you will have a better outcome later on.

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Now my son loves to help me cook and bake too!

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Another Update: I had another baby!  He was much different then my first and was into solids right away! He actually began solids by crawling over to his brothers food and eating it! He was a few days shy of 6 months old. I guess he was ready!! lol The next day we “officially” started and did avocado. Just like I started with Nico. Here are a few pictures of him enjoying other food as well. He was 6-7 months old in these pics.  I do purees with him at times, but mostly he loves to eat small pieces of food or large chunks (Baby Led Weaning Style) like in the pictures below. He has a great pincer grasp too and makes a huge mess when he eats. He is in love with food and eats everything!!

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When should I Introduce baby to solid food?

The AAP recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months of life. This means your baby needs no additional foods (except Vitamin D if your doctor recommends it) or fluids unless medically indicated. Babies should continue to breastfeed for a year and for as long as is mutually desired by the mother and baby. Breastfeeding should be supported by your physician for as long as it is the right choice for you and your baby. Source

Other Signs of readiness

Can sit up and hold head up on own unassisted, doubles birth weight and weighs at least 13lbs, etc. Read the full scoop on signs of readiness here.

How much should I feed my baby?

If you are doing purees, a new eater only needs 1-2 tablespoons of  food and will gradually increase to 3-4 tablespoons as she gets older.  By getting your baby used to lots of different foods, you’ll help him build a healthy diet for life. Never force your baby to eat. Look for signs your baby is done eating when he turns his head or cries. Teaching them the signs for All Done and More are great tools to use as well! If you are doing Baby Led Weaning you just place the food on the table or high chair and when your baby begins to throw it on the floor or look disinterested in the food then he is done. It is important to never force your baby to eat. Our job as parents is to offer healthy real whole foods to our baby and allow them to explore and choose how much to eat. Their tummies are so tiny they really don’t need a whole lot of food. Trust in the process. Your baby will not starve himself. He will eat if he is hungry.

 SOURCE More help here on How much should my baby eat?

What Should My Babies first food be?

Start with an organic veggie or fruit! We skipped baby cereal all together with both my boys and started with avocado. It’s much more nutrient dense and a great source of healthy fats and kids usually love it!  There is some controversy over starting with grains. You can read some interesting articles here and here and make up your own mind about it. Also Good help here, here and here. If you would like to include grains in your babies diet it is much better to prepare them at home for your kids rather then using the store bought kind even if they are organic. They are overly processed and can be very constipating and irritating to babies sensitive stomach. It’s very simple to make your own at home! I in fact never even ground mine up although you can. I just cooked oats in the pot with water and served! Great things to mix in are hemp seeds, chia seeds, blended pumpkin or sunflower seeds, pureed fruits and veggies etc.  I did some homemade oatmeal around 9 months, but very sparingly. Most of my babies diets were fruits and veggies. If you personally have a hard time with grains or digestion I would most definitely not start with grains. Another key point I’d like to make here is to stick to feeding your baby real whole foods as much as possible and stay away from the baby marketed processed snacks which can contain sugar and preservatives in them. You don’t want them to fill up on those snacks and miss out on the more nutrient dense foods that real whole foods provide. If you want to learn more about that go here.

More tips:

  •  Choose organic, non gmo foods for your baby! I love shopping at the farmers market to great deals and local fresh produce.
  • Make fruits and veggies the highlight of your babies diet. You can also add a little organic pastured egg yolk, organic meat if you are not vegetarian or vegan. Grains and Dairy are last on the list and as these two can cause tummy issues so go slow and minimal with these.
  • Keep breastmilk or fomula as the main drink and don’t offer juice which is void of any nutrients and will fill babies tummy up. You can offer tiny sips of water (especially if formula fed), but I would suggest no more then 1-2oz a day. Just use it for them to practice with. Or you can do NO other liquids besides breastmilk too! Baby doesn’t NEED water.
  • If there is a history of allergies in the family I would really pay attention to the 3-4 day wait rule between foods and only offer 1 food at time to be sure baby isn’t allergic.
  • Read some books and research a bit before you begin solids and then do what you feel is best for YOUR family!

Websites:

1. Wholesome Baby Food (my absolute favorite resource. they even have printable guides!)

2. Nurture Baby

3. Homemade Baby Food Recipes

4. Weelicious

5. Kelly Mom

There are so many gadgets and tools out there that you can use to make baby food and it can be overwhelming. So I decided to create a list of some of the things that have been most helpful and that I love. I would try to use what you have at home first and then go buy something if you really need to. I am all about minimalism (except when it comes to books!! lol). 

 

Books: I love reading and since I am a health coach and really into food I wanted to learn everything there was about feeding my little baby.  So I probably have every book out there on feeding your child! haha There are some really great books out there and I actually enjoyed all of them but I’m sure you probably don’t want to buy them all so here are my top 3. For sure get the first 2!
1.  This is a must read! It is a  great book that teaches you how to trust your babies instincts with food. It’s a different view then the norm.  It has great tools for feeding super nutrition to your baby. I feel like everyone should read this book!

2.  Although I didn’t follow everything in this book such as starting with grains or  using non fermented soy, this is a wonderful book to have on hand. She offers great recipes, tools and tricks for helping you feed your baby right from the start and is by far my favorite book as far as recipes, tips and guidance go.

3.
Another great read which is written by the author of my favorite website for learning about making homemade baby food!

Click HERE for more of my FAVORITE Books and Feeding Items.

 

Tools for making homemade Pureed Baby Food:

You don’t have to purchase anything specifically for babies. You will do great with these 2 basic items:

1. 
Steamer Basket to steam and soften fruits and veggies. Just stick it in a small pot with water and cover to steam.

2. A blender. A Magic Bullet is an inexpensive option to puree your fruits and veggies to a smooth consistency. It’s so easy to use and clean up. Perfect for busy moms. *(The Baby Bullet looks cute if you want to purchase something specifically baby marketed, but you really don’t “need” it). I like the magic bullet because its small and can make fresh food fast. If you like to make large batches use the pitcher attachment or another high speed blender will work great!

I also really love using my Cuisinart mini food processor for fresh purees.
Update: I got an awesome new Blendtec Designer Series Blender and use this mini twister jar which makes excellent purees. I especially love it for making homemade nut butters!!

 

Storing Your Homemade Baby Food:
If I make purees I usually make it fresh as I go, and store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days in these:
1. Mini Ball Glass Jars

2. Wean Green Wean Cubes which are great for purees as well as snacks. They are just more expensive then the mason jars, but I love them!!

If you want to store your baby food  in the freezer these are great tools:
2. Just pour the puree in and place in your freezer. Once they are frozen you can pop them out and store them in ziplock type storage bags in your freezer.
3. I haven’t used these but saw them and they  look pretty cool if you want to make purees and put them in the pouches like they sell at the stores.

4. This is also another way to put purees in and it allows them to feed themselves. I haven’t tried it yet but will be getting one and will update you all! UPDATE: So I go this and it works well for smoothies but can get a little messy! I prefer straw cup for that. But for homemade purees it’s a great option.

Other Favorites:

Invest and just get a few really great quality items for your baby rather then a bunch of things!

Stokke High Chair grows with your child all the way to adulthood and allows your baby to sit at the dining table with the rest of the family. It has been a huge hit in our home and is a great investment. You can buy one on craigslist too. We use the Stokke Tripp Trapp Baby Set to go along with it.

Beaba First Stage Soft Spoons (My Favorite for purees because they are so soft!)
Sugarbooger Silverware Set. Love these as they advance and progress in their eating skills.

 

Think Baby Stainless Steel Bowl. You really only need one bowl!

Stainless Steel Utensils. I don’t have this but looks so lovely!

 

Skip Hop Owl Bib-Favorite bib because it’s so easy to clean and use for the next feeding. Just rinse under water and hang dries fast!

Innobaby Stainless Bus Divided Platter. This is fun and provides different spots for food. Super cute way to eat when baby is a little older.

 This is my favorite plate that I use for my toddler. We use it everyday.
Zo-li Bot Straw Sippy Cup Loved this for when just starting to learn how to sip out of a straw. Nico was able to sip water out around 7 months. He loved using it. I am not a huge fan of it being plastic but it was lightweight and easy to hold for learning. Also I loved that the straw glides on the bottom so they can get everything out but I had issues with it because I had to replace it a couple times because it’s hard to clean. Overall though  I felt like it was a great cup to learn in which is why I left it here.

THERMOS 10-OZ STAINLESS STEEL FOOGO LEAK-PROOF STRAW BOTTLE. Once nico became a year old I started using this for his smoothies, milk and water and I LOVE it! Love that it keeps liquids cold up to 10 hours! I actually didn’t buy a zoli with my second baby because he ended up stealing this from his brother and does just fine with it! It’s a little big but it works fine since I don’t really give him liquids besides breastmilk and I love that it is stainless steel and keeps things nice and cold. And I haven’t had any leaking issues with it either.

 This is also an excellent option. Love that its stainless steel and has a silicone grade top that is interchangeable with their other tops. it’s the only one out there on the market.  I just wish they had a straw option! I spoke to them and they will be releasing one in the future. I can’t wait! In the meantime you can purchase the .Pura Kiki XL Sipper for the top. EDIT: They have released their SILICONE STRAW Part. I got to buy them from the natural products expo to try out. It took a couple days for my kids to get the hang of  them but the are great and I give it a thumbs up!

 

 

Click HERE for MORE of my FAVORITE Baby and Toddler Feeding Items.

Great Video to watch:

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie Santos August 8, 2014 at 9:02 am

Hey Josefa! I like your blog on starting solids. 🙂 Adrian has more than doubled his weight now and can kind of sit up but he’s not 100%. Plus he always seems hungry! I did start him with organic oat cereal but it’s not often. It’s more of an introduction to solids I guess. I’m excited to introduce him to veggies first and then fruits since I read that some babies will prefer sweeter solids like fruit over veggies if fruit is introduced first. But I don’t know much on all of that. If I were to start with avocado, do you first steam the avocado or just mash it? What veggies do you steam vs boiling and blending? Thanks!

Josefa August 8, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Hi Jackie!
For avocado just mash it or cut it in strips he can hold. If you want it as a purée you can a tiny breastmilk and mash but not necessary. I just give long strips or small pieces and he eats it like that. Steam or roast all veggies although carrots you can just blend. Fruits you don’t have to steam but you can. Starting at 6months you don’t have to do purees you can give large chunks of fruit. Look into baby led weaning. Did you see video of gianni? Like that. Or strips of it to hold. It takes practice to grip and hold but if you let him do it he will love it!! My favorite resource which tell you which food to steam and such is the wholesome baby food website. You should check it out!

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