I haven’t written a baby post for the longest time, but I have been asked by a couple of folk recently: “How do you start solids?” I have written about it previously in Se7en Things You Absolutley Don’t Need When Having A Baby, But since a certain young gentleman has just started solids in the last couple of weeks I thought I would show you what he eats. I do want to say there is no one way to start solids with your child and I am really only posting what works for us.
If you follow our blog you will know that I am pretty minimalist when it comes to baby gear. While I can think of about a million uses for baby food jars I have never needed to buy jars of baby food. While mashing and smashing and pureeing food for babies is very fashionable I have never got round to doing that either. I also thought that storing mushed baby food in ice-cube trays was a brilliant idea, defrosting what we needed for that day. I even (honesty blogging) bought a couple of ice-cube trays for Hood #1 thinking I would definitely be cooking in bulk and freezing.
Turns out… and I didn’t know this initially because when my baby was born I was thinking about labor, it was only later that I thought about living with a baby and actual food, but it is recommended that babies have milk, exclusively, for the first six months of their lives. This is recommended by the WHO and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Thereafter any food they do eat during the first year is primarily for tasting and trying out new textures – most of their nutrition in the first year will be from milk.
There are two basic reasons friends give me for starting solids:
- They were told that their baby had doubled in birthweight: And I say, if your baby doubled it’s birthweight on milk then surely it would continue to grow on milk. Your milk isn’t suddenly going to be an inferior food because your baby has doubled it’s birthweight.
- They were told that their baby would sleep better: It is most unusual that a baby will be sleeping incredibly well when it is younger than six months and sleeping through the night depends on your definition of night. For some folk “sleeping through” means from se7en till se7en and for others it is from when they go to bed until they rise – I can tell you whose babies are considered the worse sleepers!!! Not to mention there are a lot of factors in a young baby that hamper sleep, not just hunger but teething, for instance. Of course there is always the exceptional child that is a great sleeper (we even had one of those!!!) but that is beside the point. The point is that no study has ever proved that by feeding your child solids or giving them some cereal before bedtime will make them better sleepers.
So when does your baby start solids? Well when they are ready and nearly all of mine haven’t been ready before about eight months, and one or two were only ready much later. It is not enough to say your baby is interested in food… because lets face it babies are interested in everything. I you have ever read a magazine with a baby in your lap you will know what I mean – though I don’t see many people feeding their babies magazines!!! Good indicators that your baby is ready is when it can sit, it has a couple of teeth and it can pick up things in its hand and let them go. Usually the indicator for me is if I feed our baby and he continues to be hungry straight after nursing… just generally not satisfied with nursing. Usually I get the idea within the day and from one day to the next they have tried their first foods.
Now I know magazines will tell you to start with a little rice cereal and I can NEVER understand this. Why would I place something with nearly no nutritional value into your babies tummy when I could be packing it with milk… it is like taking the good stuff out and replacing it with almost nothing!!!! Then on from rice cereal you can try pureed vegetables. Now I am all for squishy vegetables to try, but seriously what would I feed my child in the back of beyond where I couldn’t get hold of a masher… well then I would feed my child something off my plate. And that’s exactly how we get going.
Usually our babies sit in a parents lap at meal times anyway and at this stage he gets a little something off our plate to try and to play with. I do not have a jar of food that he has to consume or he won’t get into university - yes marketing can be quite intimidating!!! But just a taste of whatever is suitable off our plate. Seriously if there is nothing suitable and healthy enough for your baby on your plate then you beed to examine what you are eating.
As for drinks, like juice and baby tea’s and water – well my kids have none of that. If they are thirsty they have milk from their mother person. Once they are over a year I may give them water to drink, usually by then they want what everybody else has. My kids hardly ever drink juice I would much rather they ate a piece of mango than drank some mango juice. So they all drink water when they are thirsty.
So here are se7en things our young man is eating: I keep all his food plain – no condiments, and if we eat something like lasagne then I make sure we have a salad with it that he can pick from. I also cut his food into strips, it is easy for him to hold onto and munch his way down.
- Sweet potato wedges.
- Slices of mango.
- Tomato – de-pipped. He loves this, quite simply his favorite!!!
- Butternut, whenever I have the oven on I toss a butternut into the oven and roast it and then just feed him straight from the butternut shell at the next meal.
- Cooked carrot sticks – he loves these – we all do!
- Broccoli trees.
- Pepper slices.
- Could I have a huge hooray for the humble banana… Easy to transport and easy to make into long slivers to grasp or scoop it in with a spoon.
and the se7en + 1th thing…
Otherwise he is not unable to find things he likes to eat on his own… he discovered a chillli out the back door and was quite mad to part with it!!!
He also discovered spinach on his own… yummmm…
Now you know what a young hood eats in our family – it really is no effort to have him “join the menu!!!”