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Baby’s Eats

After determining that our baby was ready, and that we were going to do baby led weaning, what were we going to feed her?  We had family friends look horrified when we said we weren’t going to feed her cereal for her first food!

Our doctor said some good first foods to consider were avocado or sweet potato.

We did a little of our own research, and at about 6.5 months old, sat her at the table with some avocado!

 

Hmm, what is this?

Hmm, what is this?

You're saying I can eat this?

You’re saying I can eat this?

Ok, I'll give it a shot

Ok, I’ll give it a shot

I'm not sure about this!

I’m not sure about this!

 

I don’t know if it’s just because she’s my kid, but I have about 50 photos like the ones above and I think they’re HILARIOUS!

 

But anyway, we went with avocado for her very first food because it a source of good fats, and it’s soft without having to prepare it, yet firm enough to grasp (we sometimes left the skin on to make it easier too), and we pretty much always have them in the house.

I forget the exact order we did foods in now, but basically we went with steamed vegetables.  We did carrots, green beans, sweet potatoes, broccoli…

 

Once we got established with those, we moved on to some fruits, then tried egg yolk, which unfortunately she had an issue with.

We decided to wait until she was over a year old to introduce her to grains.  I’ve read about how babies have very little amount of pancreatic amylase, which is used to digest grains.  That being said, I have friends who did give cereal as a first food and their baby seemed to tolerate it just fine.  For us, cereal wasn’t really a question as a first food though… we had eliminated processed foods from our diet, so why would we give our baby a processed food?

In addition, I was confident that she was getting all she needed still from my breastmilk, and that food was just “extra” at 6 months and for the next couple months.  There is also the phrase floating around, “Food before one is just for fun.”  I don’t agree with that 100%, because I think along with the solid foods she was learning skills, including fine motor skills and chewing.  That phrase does help relax you a bit though, if you are thinking your baby SHOULD be eating, but isn’t.  That’s another reason I loved baby led weaning, it worked on her time line!

Besides giving her “real food,” including what we were eating (assuming all ingredients had been introduced individually), there are a couple of other things we did:

  • Right-sized pieces. That meant, either small enough or big enough so that she wouldn’t choke.  For example, we would always cut grapes before giving them to her.  When we gave her cucumber, it would often be in large spears that she could grasp and gnaw on.
  • Careful about nuts.  A study published last year showed that introducing infants to peanut products before age 1 resulted in a reduction in peanut allergies (read full study here).   However, this is just one study, and Kevin and I personally think there are a lot more factors than just when nuts are introduced, so we waited until she was over a year old, and haven’t had any problems so far.  Another case of doing your research and doing what works for you!
    • We were careful, however, not to give her whole nuts, as she could choke on them.
    • We didn’t give her thick nut butter that could also be a choking hazard.  We would use it in our cooking, or thin it out with some almond milk or applesauce to spread.
  • Offer variety. We try to “eat the rainbow” so we offered Caterina a “colorful” diet as well.  Different colored fruits and vegetables have different phytonutrients.  When possible, we also offered variety in terms of texture.
  • Nix the sugar or salt.  For the first year of her life, I didn’t add salt or sugar to any of her food.  There’s just no need, since they may mask the flavors of the food you are giving, and they don’t add nutritional value.  (Note that honey should NEVER be given in the first year because of the risk of botulism).
  • Spices are ok!  Babies can have spices!  They are getting different flavors and spices from your breastmilk.  We treated spices as a “new food” though, with 3-7 days between the next new food.  We didn’t do overly spicy food, but who is to say other cultures don’t give their babies the option of taking a little hot spicy food from their parent’s plate?
  • Have fun with it!  We never forced Caterina to eat any food.  We wanted her to have a good food relationship.  When she was young and refusing food, we just let her sit and play with it (if she wanted).  Now, we give her enough different foods on the plate, so that she can pick what she wants.  We just made a great curry stew, and she didn’t eat the vegetables, but ate a ton of chickpeas from it. Some days she doesn’t eat much, and some days she surprises us with how much she eats!

green bean

* Note: The highchair we use and LOVE that brings her right up to the table, grows as she grows (up to 300 lbs!), and is ergonomically designed to provide comfort and stability is this this one
.

I’d love to hear from you!  What foods does your baby like?  Did you follow any baby food “rules?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 comments to Baby’s Eats

  • Caleb is on stage 2 baby foods and has been for a few months now. He loves almost any kind we give him but he HATES “real” food and only wants the puréed baby food. We try to give him tiny bites of food and he can’t stand it. I think he’s going to be eating baby food when he goes to college – haha! His doctor isn’t worried and just said to keep trying, so we will!

  • […] (EC). I went on to write my own posts about baby led weaning too!  Check them out here and here.  Although we didn’t practice elimination communication, we did cloth diaper and then potty […]

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