Feeding Olivia ‘real food’ felt like such a big milestone. And it was! But there’s a but. Something I wish I could tell myself 3 months ago? Just relax. Before we got started with solids I felt so much pressure. Pressure that I had to map out every new food (100 of them) before the first bite. I felt that I had to make everything from scratch AND that it had to match our dinner. There was pressure that it had to be perfect and that I had to document it all to share with you!
Are you laughing because I thought that perfectly mapping out a month of baby meals was possible? As any ‘seasoned’ first time mom knows, all plans must be flexible and nothing goes as planned.
Read on for some practical tips – along with Melissa’s feelings! – for what to care about and what to let go when you start solid food for baby.
Your Pediatrician Weighs In: Month 4
At our four month appointment, I was prepared for my pediatrician to talk about solids. I was also prepared for the conversation to be unhelpful. (Remember, this is why Dr. Maria and I started Fooblie in the first place! She didn’t have a trusted resource on food and nutrition to send parents to so we built it.) My expectations were met. In our after visit summary our doc shared a bunch of links from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Great stuff there, it just wasn’t helpful.
Did you feel underwhelmed after leaving this appointment? Did you feel overwhelmed because you didn’t have support? If yes, please check out Fooblie’s free resources on getting started with solids. Especially read the article on the best time to start.
When do you get started with solid food?
About 40% of parents in the US start solids too soon. Timing on when to start is really the first big contradiction between my professional and personal experience. Our pediatrician basically gave us the go ahead to start solids at that 4 month appointment. Wait, what?! Olivia was 4 months old! She already had good trunk control and was sitting on her own. Our doc said that Olivia just needed to show interest in food and then we could go ahead.
My professional brain was programmed to follow the international standards and rules set by the World Health Organization. They say no solids until 6 months!
Regardless of when you choose to start solids, at 4 months when you leave your pediatrician appointment, you don’t have to do anything about solid foods! Repeat! Just take it easy.
You can go shopping
One thing I did immediately after leaving this appointment was order a high chair. I had always been eyeing the Stokke Tripp Trapp. It’s beautiful and I love that it can grow with my baby. It will be her seat at the table until she’s ready for a big chair.
We went with a mint green one. I got a table top and a padded seat insert.
Due to the pandemic, Stokke’s supply chain is real slow. It took about 6 weeks for our high chair to arrive. I freaked out. I felt like a failure. How could I be this expert in child feeding and not be ready for her first bite? The chair ended up coming with plenty of time to spare.
Practice Baby Squats
You can play with your baby to improve their strength and coordination to eat. We did lots of tummy time and also helped Olivia sit up by putting her arms in front of her like a tripod.
Tips for parents with a 4 month old:
- Figure out what high chair you want
- Do baby squats
Olivia is Ready, Mom is Not: Month 5
When Olivia was 5 months I started getting lots of pressure to start food from my husband. We technically had the go-ahead from our pediatrician that food was OK. Plus, she was really starting to show interest in food. In his mind we were missing out on advancing her development. In my mind she was interested in everything and I kept hearing my old boss in my ear that it was too early.
One day I caved. Alex was ready to give her anything and I wanted to keep it safe (and I wanted to be in control!) I gave Olivia a finger-sized piece of flank steak for her to suck on while we ate. It was her first food. I felt guilty. My husband was so happy. Olivia really enjoyed it. It wasn’t a big deal.
Around this time we also started giving her flavors to explore using one of these teethers. She tried watermelon, cucumber and pineapple. I also put a banana in there and forgot about it and it turned brown. Yuck! It was messy and perfect for hot summer afternoons.
Tips for parents with a 5 month old:
- Keep watching for signs your baby is ready. You know your baby.
- You don’t have to start with boring old infant cereal, although it’s a good one to start with!
- Buy a teether so you can ease into the whole food thing with flavors. Choose the silicone kind over the mesh kind. It felt easier to clean.
Olivia food tracker:
- Flank steak
Time for Food! Month 6
We started feeding Olivia once a day about 10 days before her 6 month birthday. This month, my goal was to feed her once a day and to try one new food every day.
Some of my friends talk about how their babies show no interest in food. That wasn’t our experience. Olivia tried everything and loved everything – expect she maybe didn’t like pineapple.
What about peanuts?
After about a week of food, I gave Olivia a teaspoon of peanut butter mixed with half a banana and a splash of breastmilk. She had already had this before, without the peanut butter, so I knew she liked it. I was so nervous. I did it at a time when my husband was free just in case she had a reaction. We gave her one bite and then waited a couple minutes. I didn’t see any rashes or anything abnormal. She was actually pissed that I had stopped feeding her so we kept going. Now I try to feed her peanut butter in some form once a week.
We feed Olivia around 5:30 / 6 every day (well most days, sometimes we forget). If the food is messy I take off her clothes and she eats in her diaper. She always wears a cloth bib. It takes her about 5 minutes to eat and then it’s clear she’s ready to do something else. When she is done I take her to the sink and we wash her hands. Then, she plays for a bit and then we start the bedtime routine with a bath at 6:30.
I had no food plan, We just went with it
This month I did not try to map out anything special for her to eat. My ‘flailing’ actually worked out ok. We eat a good variety of foods so I was able to give her a new food every day just from what we had on hand. We also went on vacation and that made exposing her to new foods really easy (because I wasn’t cooking).
To make or buy?
I tried making pureed baby food once and it didn’t go well. More on that later. Most of the foods we either mashed into a puree, broke up in small pieces if it was real soft (like the size of a pea) or gave it to her the ‘baby-led-weaning’ way in the shape of a finger so she could suck on it. I also bought some pouches. Most of the pouches were meat-based because I wanted her to get iron.
Tips for parents of a 6 month old:
- Go on vacation and take advantage of not cooking. More tips here!
- No need to freak out. Just modify the foods you eat for your baby.
Here’s what Liv ate in month 6:
- Smashed banana with breastmilk
- Smashed avocado with breastmilk
- Apple sauce pouch
- Smashed banana with peanut butter (1x a week)
- Steamed broccoli pureed with chicken stock (homemade)
- Rotisserie chicken wedge (finger shaped)
- Costco hotdog +bun (supervised!)
- Granola smoothie (with strawberry, almond milk)
- Kale, apple, hemp seeds pouch
- Pizza crust
- Sweet potato, mango puree pouch
- Mango slice
- Chicken, carrot, pea pouch
- Rice / Jambalaya (Shrimp)
- Fish (Snapper)
- Fish (Ono / Wahoo)
- Green Beans
- Red Pepper
- Poached Egg
- Bircher muesli – milk, oatmeal, macadamia nuts
- Scrambled egg
How’s feeding going for you?
Shoot Olivia and me a note at [email protected] We’d love to hear how it’s going.