Today there is a lot of contradictory information out there meant to scare parents into selling them some program or book on how to correctly start feeding your baby solids. But do not panic, the truth is, babies have been starting solids for as long as humans have existed and it is really not that complicated. Here are a few popular “methods” used by most:
1. Purees or spoon-led weaning:
This can be started from 4 months, but make sure to get the go ahead from your pediatrician. You start by spoon feeding your baby smooth purees, whilst progressing to mashed and chopped textures over the months that follow before you think about introducing finger foods at around the 7/8 month mark.
2. Baby led weaning (BLW):
BLW is a newly popular way of introducing food to your baby that allows them to feed themselves from the very start of the weaning process, and allows them to explore solid foods at their own pace. You skip the purees and go straight for soft, solid foods (think: bananas) instead. BLW is introduced at around 6/7 months when most babies start to show interest in the foods that you’re eating.
3. The Mixed Method:
This combines both of the above, by beginning with spoon-led weaning and finger foods at the same time. This is great for parents looking to to feed their baby, whilst also encouraging their child to self-feed.
With Maxence we decided to use the mixed method, albeit a little more inclined toward BLW. The recommendation used to be to introduce one food at a time and wait 2–3 days before introducing another as a way to see if there was an allergic reaction, however, this is no longer the standard protocol.
I dived right in by blending one of my favorite smoothies consisting of several fruits and giving Maxence a few tastes with a spoon. Just like adults, babies have a liking for sweetness, and I wanted his first impression of food to be positive and fun. It was definitely entertaining to see his reaction to having something other than the taste of breastmilk in his mouth.
Throughout the next few weeks, I slowly introduced finger foods and mashed purees simultaneously. Some favorite finger foods were:
-soft sweet potato
-steam roasted butternut squash
Our family is plant-based so I also wanted to make sure and get some high-energy nutrients in by way of purees. Some favorite and easy purees that Maxence took a liking to were:
-Spinach, Potato, Zucchini and Almond Butter Velouté: (Dice 2–3 small potatoes and 1 zucchini and steam until soft. Mix in a blender with a handful of spinach. Add a heaping spoonful of almond butter and mix. Let cool and serve.)
-Sweet lentils with spices: Mix lentils in a blender with steamed zucchini, baby carrots, sweet potatoes and cumin and cinnamon.)
Don’t be discouraged if your baby rejects a food at first. You can reintroduce the same foods in a few days and within the next couple of months. Your baby’s palate is constantly changing and they may surprise you with a new love for the old food. Another technique is to also introduce that same food in a different way (eg: steamed instead of pureed).
For more easy peasy plant-based recipe ideas and information on BLW, download our easy guide here. And don’t hesitate to share some more tips and tricks below on how it went starting solids with your babe!