JUDGEMENT-FREE POST: Please note that this not how you *should* do things. This is just a window into how I did things, and I relied mostly on my instincts. Do what feels right mama. *Should precedes shame* so I strongly encourage you not to *should yourself*! Parenting is hard enough as it is. You’re doing great!!
We started solids with Baby H at about 5.5 months. Prior to having a baby I was fairly strict on the “wait til 6 months” approach, and then as I’ve learned with babies, you really have NO idea how things are going to go, until you get there. So when she was clearly ready, we started!
There is a lot of discussion about which is better, purees or baby-led weaning. In my experience, you need to trust your instincts! We started with purees because historically, moms would have likely chewed the food before giving it to the kid, and purees mimic that (as does chewing the food, which you can totally do). I also really wanted to get some of the important nutrients missing from my milk (iron, zinc) into her, so I didn’t want to rely on her getting it in her mouth on her own! Not to mention food waste. We spend a pretty penny on our food, and I hate unnecessary food waste so having her throw food all over the place kind of makes me cringe. Luckily the dog helps out there, which makes me feel less stressed about it! So we started with purees of real food (thinned out with bone broth or breastmilk) increasing the thickness of the purees as she developed her eating skills!
Why I Didn’t Do One Food At A Time
First of all, this makes for an incredibly bland diet. It kind of makes sense to me that if we want to develop a robust palate in our kiddos, we need to give them interesting foods with lots of flavours!
But more importantly, we have a relatively short window before kids enter their neophobic phase. Often at 2, kids become less likely to try new things – although check out Holistic Little Sprouts for great tips for working around that! If we try one ingredient per week, and you start at 6 months, you get maybe 26 foods in by the time they’re a year. Also, I don’t think historically mamas would have taken the time to make special meals for their kids.
So instead, I made lovely flavoured foods – food that we would also want to eat! I made sure she had liver or salmon, or at least egg yolk, most days, and other than that we played around with fun-flavoured soups that I made for the whole family!
Three Meals at the Table
Part of what we want to teach her, is that meals happen at the dinner table with family. For that reason, we don’t feed her and then eat ourselves. And we don’t wait to eat dinner after she goes to bed. We all eat together. At breakfast and lunch, at least one of us eats with her as well. When she was just starting solids, we gave her liver or salmon at one meal, and breastmilk popsicles at the other two. Making sure she was always at the table with us for meal time.
Chicken Liver Pate I like this recipe because it doesn’t use garlic or onion, which may upset a baby’s belly in the beginning. I modified to use bone broth instead of cream, coconut oil instead of butter, rosemary instead of thyme, no allspice because I didn’t have any, and a gala apple instead of a green one!
Egg Yolk – I have nothing against a whole egg! But starting with purees makes a whole egg a little challenging. A hard boiled egg yolk, mixed with breastmilk turns into a great puree!
Salmon with Ginger & Orange I modified this recipe, using the juice of ½ an orange, and a piece of ginger pressed through a garlic press. Then pureed it with bone broth.
Carrot Soup with Cumin and Coriander (only used a bit of onion)
Spinach and Zucchini Soup (inspired by French Kids Eat Everything)
Pear and Leak Soup (inspired by French Kids Eat Everything)
Sweet Potato mashed with Bone Broth