About to Start Solids?
Yesterday I posted this picture on my facebook page of Manus enjoying one of his many juices and smoothies. At 13 months he really loves drinkng anything he sees us enjoying and usually not out of a sippy cup but out of a big person’s cup, hence the mess. But I don’t really mind and I will get to that shortly.
One reader asked the following and it’s a question I get frequently, and although I am not a baby specialist or a nutritionist (yet) I am happy to share my findings with any interested mama’s out there.
Any advice for a mumma about to start solids?? Ive got my little one on banana and avocado… Any good books? I want to keep her raw for at least until 12m, we’re a high raw but not full raw family and have juices and smoothies several times throughout the day, my elder 2 were brought up on cooked foods but in the last year we have gradually gone to 50%+ my bubs is only 6m so I’m not sure of the natural progression between foods when it comes to raw?? When should she be able to digest greens?!
First of all, I want to say that I was advised to start M on solids at 4 months of age by his paediatrician. As I was supplementing my breastfeeds (more on my breastfeeding issues here ) with formula feeds, I think I was more open to instruction from the doctor rather than going by my own instinct, which was telling me to wait until M starting showing signs of wanting solids like reaching for my food.
So at 4 months of age, I blended up some spinach, water and banana into a thin smoothie consistency and tried to feed it to M. At first he was curious, didn’t think much of it, and as per normal for first time feeds, it went mainly out rather than in. I really had no desire to attempt any rice or usual baby cereals.
M didn’t particularly like the banana, so we then moved onto mashed sweet potato (mixed with formula – would have been breastmilk had I still been breastfeeding) which he loved for 2 weeks straight then wouldn’t have a bar of it. Plus (sorry) his poo’s started to get hard and he got a little constipated, so we mixed a little steamed pears in with the potato and started experimenting with other vegetables, using the delicious recipes in Raising Happy Healthy Babies as a basis.
After about 2 months of trial and error with raw and steamed vegetables and playing games to get M to eat up (it was a constant fight and would end up just giving him his bottle instead) I finally came across Baby Led Weaning (you can read more about it here) and bought the book immeidately. M was around 8 or 9 months by now and still only mainly getting his food from his formula – which if course I now know, is where the majority of it should be coming from for their first 12 months. Either breastfmilk or formula.
Baby led weaning was first introduced to me by my friend Natalie, whilst I was still pregnant, but it was out of context for me at the time so it went forgotten until I really needed it.
Baby led weaning runs on the idea, as the name suggests, that you follow babies lead. You wait for them to show interest in your food, before trying to force and play games with them and get down mashed or pureed food that teaches them to swallow before they chew – a little bit backwards.
BLW also allows the baby to be in control of their food, sure they may gag now and then as they get used to moving the food around in their mouths, but as long as they are controlling the food to their mouth then it is not dangerous. Gagging is unsettling yes, but normal and doesn’t happen nearly as much as you think it might, if you follow the rules and I certainly recommend reading the book and not just the website.
You don’t need to puree or mash any foods and you can serve them a little of what you are having, so it takes the work out of having to prepare separate meals and freezing them ahead of time for your babe.
Also, they don’t need to have teeth, it is all about exploration and play time, they are getting their full nutritional needs met by their breastmilk/formula, so this is all about playing and learning.
It is a great way to develop their independence and motor skills, and at 11 months of age, I had a little boy who was spoon feeding himself, albeit a little messy, but that is par for the course.
Another great book that is on it’s way to my mail box that I have been dying to get my little grubby hands on is Evie’s Kitchen by Shazzie Love which is a raw foods recipe book for children. I need some ideas as little people can have different desires to us, but at this stage, M LOVES the food we are eating – last night our dinner closely resembled pureed baby food and he didn’t want anything to do with it!
One major regret I have is NOT doing baby led weaning as soon as we started solids, so we were a little late to the game, however we definitely follow it along now and have had great success with it.
Here are some foods that we have given to M and he has enjoyed:
- steamed and mashed sweet potato and pumpkin
- steamed and mashed parsnip and pear
- steamed broccoli trees & carrots
- gluten free pasta with vegetable tomato sauce
- vegetable stirfry with brown rice (usually add the tamari/salt after cooking so we can keep it as salt free for M as possible and it’s amazing how those little hands can pick up grains of rice
- hummus for steamed vegetable dipping
- arabic bread
- red apple sticks with raw cashew or almond butter smeared on
- green smoothies with and without spirulina
- freshly made fruit and vegetable juices
- nut cheese on romaine/cos lettuce leaves
- cherry tomatoes
- green beans
- whole bananas – he sometimes loves these and other times doesn’t
- does not like avocado one little bit
- almond milk – we are going to trial switching his formula to fresh almond milk blended with coconut oil soon
- thick almond milk smoothies – eats them with a spoon like a pudding
- chia puddings
- cucumber sticks – loves these especially when teething.
- loves chia and flax crackers especially the onion ones