07 August 2012

Starting Solids

A few weeks back, at a week shy of 6 months old, we decided to try some "solid" foods on Baby Cora.  I was planning on waiting a bit longer, but honestly, her drop-in daycare had been trying to bully me into it because I'm pretty sure they were overfeeding her.  The WHO and now even the AAP recommend waiting until 6 months for solids now, but it seems a lot of people and places--daycare included--haven't quite gotten the memo.  We are taking a semi-Baby-led Weaning approach to solids, which basically means that baby will be fed whatever we're eating within reason.  Some people will preach that this approach is better and healthier and blah blah blah, but honestly, I like it because I'm kinda lazy.  And I think jarred baby food is overpriced.  I also hate having to get my blender down from the high shelf because I'm short.  (If starting solids earlier, purees, and making your own baby food works for you, that's awesome.  One of my friends is a baby-food-making fiend, and I'm happy for her.  No mommy judgment here; in fact most cultures introduce mashed foods or porridge as a first food.)  Our approach is half-assed anyway because true Baby-led Weaning doesn't use spoons and lets baby feed herself, but that hasn't been working for us quite yet.  (She has mostly been eating food off of our fingers.)

For a few weeks before we started solids, we put her in her high chair during meal times and let her play with a baby spoon and a basket of stuffed fruit.  She may not have been ready for solids, but she was definitely ready to be part of meal time.  Occasionally we would let her taste something, but she usually wasn't interested.

Baby with her faux first foods
Once she was sort of ready, I decided to try sweet potato first.  I just baked it in the oven for an hour and scooped it out once it was cool.  We tried to feed her from a spoon that we were holding, but she had no interest in that (even though she likes to chew on the spoon when there's nothing on it).  We then let her try  to feed herself with the spoon or with her hands.  Well, you can just imagine how this went.  She had very little interest in actually eating, but she made a pretty awesome mess!

She only wanted the end of the spoon with no food on it.
I also believe in meal time being a time of exploration and learning, so I was expecting (and sort of encouraging) the mess.  I had bought a cheap tablecloth to put underneath the high chair, since our dining room is carpeted and our kitchen is just a galley.  This is also nice because when she throws food onto the floor, I feel okay picking it up and giving it to her again.

The tablecloth was on clearance; next time I'll get a white one
so I can find and clean up the sweet potato slop more easily.
Since the sweet potato a few weeks ago, we've tried some other foods.  I did some rice cereal, mostly to appease the daycare.  She was not interested at all.  The daycare tried and basically told me that she didn't eat much so they just let her play with it.  And that day I actually got a whole bottle of milk back (i.e., she wasn't overfed), so that was a win in my book!  We were eating soft tacos one night, so we gave her some pieces of a tortilla.  She actually did great with that!  Breads seem to be easier for her to grab and put in her mouth, so I gave her a piece of sandwich bread the next day.

We had porkchops and apples one night, so I reserved some extra apple pieces for her.  I'm no chef, so I couldn't quite get the consistency right, but she was easily able to pick it up and gum on it.  The next day I threw some apple slices in a small slow cooker to make them easier to eat for her.  (Yes, I should probably get a steamer basket and try that, but that's not really how I cook, so I haven't gone that route yet.)  She ended up doing really well eating the cooked apple off of my finger--they were a bit slippery for her to self-feed though.  That was probably the day she ate the most food.  I kept the rest in the fridge and have been giving her more.

This is her nomming on some soft-cooked apples.
We recently did half a banana cut into sticks for her to pick up.  Each day she makes a bit of progress, so I took a video today at lunch.  In it, she both eats off my finger and she feeds herself.  I was really happy that she opened her mouth for my finger feed!  I don't try to force the issue when she keeps her mouth shut.

(I added some background music to the video, since it was mostly silent.  Enjoy.)

We've continued to give her stuff from our plates, too, like last night when we had slow cooked chicken with carrots and celery.  The carrots and celery were super soft, and I was surprised when she picked up the celery piece and ate it all by herself.  Oh, she has no teeth yet, if you're wondering.

I guess you could call our approach "lazy" but it does take a lot more clean up.  Many times we just make bath time immediately after the meal!

If you want to see more pictures and stories of Baby-led Weaning, check out this awesome blog.


  1. You can bake apples and pears also! Just cut in half and place in a baking dish, cut side down, with a tiny bit of water (maybe 1/2 inch up the side of the fruit) and bake at 350 until fork tender.... My other baby food recipes are here http://katiekateskitchen.blogspot.com/p/baby-food.html and another great site I used was http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/index.htm As you know, we started solids at 3 months, but S was definitely ready and his appetite continues to flourish.....as of right now, he'll eat an ENTIRE PB&J sandwich (inc. the crusts), goldfish, AND 1/2 a peach plus 8 oz of whole milk for lunch! I fear for my grocery bill when he's a teenager!

  2. I have heard a few things about BLW and am interested! Your girl is an absolute doll-- love the picture with the sweet potatoes!

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