A “Solid” Introduction!

Some weeks ago, we officially started Lucas on solids. So far, it’s been a joyful little adventure and I’d like to share some highlights and tips/lessons learned for this “first month of first meals.”

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Recognizing readiness…

We knew Lucas was ready for solids because

  1. He started refusing  one bottle of breast milk a day – seeming uninterested
  2. He would watch us eat and make chewing motions while doing so. (Literally his eyes would go from sandwich to mouth and back again in curious anticipation)
  3. We cleared it with his pediatrician at our Month 5 visit

Starting on the right food I mean, foot…

A lot of sources will encourage parents to start with something bland to mix with breast milk like a baby cereal (Cerelac for example), or something sweet and palatable like apple sauce. But Jay and I wanted to start off immediately with vegetables – in part inspired by Bringing Up Bebe, but also influenced by our eating habits. We wanted to give him a head start on liking and getting accustomed to different flavors – particularly the flavors of natural, whole foods that are good for you. They say that what you develop a taste for as babies stays with you forever, so if you’re giving plain white carbs (cereals) or sugary foods  (yes, even natural stuff like fruits fit in here) right from the get-go, you are conditioning your child to have a preference for those foods. So, down the vegetable road we went.

We followed some basic rules care of Baby 411 and our doctor (and some Mayo Clinic research here and there):

  1. Steam/boil and puree food (one vegetable at a time) – keep separate
  2. When serving the food mix with breastmilk/formula until reaching the desired consistency (the first feed must always be a bit watery; feeds after can be like a slightly thick soup)
  3. If introducing a vegetable for the first time, offer only that for 3 days straight and observe (this is to check for allergies, and also get baby used to the taste)
  4. Feed only once a day (about 15 spoons per feed), in between two bottle feeds. Don’t bump a feed backward or forward in favor of the solids, baby should still be having around the same amount of milk. Why? Removing a milk meal in favor of a solid meal will cause a decline in these types of vitamins and minerals that are still essential to baby’s growth and may not necessarily be in high concentrations in the solids you are giving. (We feed Lucas his solids for “lunch” – usually around 11am.)
  5. Serve all meals with up to 2 oz (56ml) of water
  6. If you do give cereals, give a plain cereal that has no added sugars or salts, and has probiotics, DHA, and iron

LITTLE FACT: Baby’s natural iron stores start to deplete from 6 months onwards, so making sure they get a fair (not overkill) amount of iron-rich foods (like spinach!) from therein is a good idea. This is why it is advised for most babies to start solids by month 6!

So what did the first month bring Lucas’ tastebuds and how did he like them? Here’s a rough breakdown of the schedule by Day # + ☆ ratings out of a possible 5. 

  • 1-3: Squash
    • Baby Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 
    • Highlights:
      • Day 1: Ate out of interest, then stuffed his hand in his mouth after and whined worriedly like, “what have I done? I thought I was ready but I was wrong…”
      • Day 3: Ate out of love!
  • 4-6: Zucchini
    • Baby Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 
    • Highlights:
      • Days 1-3: Loved it all the way, from start to finish
  • 7-9: Carrots
    • Baby Rating: ☆☆☆☆
    • Highlights:
      • Discovered blowing bubbles with food in mouth. Made a royal mess everyday but ate (almost) all of it…
  • 10-12: Spinach
    • Baby Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 
    • Highlights:
      • Days 1-3: Loved it all the way, though we did have to mix it with zucchini to make it less watery.
  • 13-15: Sweet Potato
    • Baby Rating: ☆☆☆☆
    • Highlights:
      • Seemed to enjoy it in general but found it too sticky. Needed to drink often in the process. Ended up dilluting it quite significantly with breastmilk
  • 16-18: Sweet Potato + Spinach
    • Baby Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 
    • Highlights:
      • Days 1-3: Loved it all the way, from start to finish; we’d learned our lesson from the days prior and realized it would go well with a very water veg
  • 19-21: Green Peas
    • Baby Rating: ☆☆☆
    • Highlights:
      • Hated it at first. Only had 11 spoons two days in a row. It’s a bit grainy and the texture seemed new to him. By Day 3 he had accepted it and finished it up. Didn’t seem too happy about it though.
  • 22-24: Gerber Stage 1 Rice Cereal
    • Baby Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 
    • Highlights:
      • I suppose he likes it enough
  • 25-27: Zucchini + Green Peas + Carrots
    • Baby Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
    • Highlights:
      • It would appear he enjoys mixing his veg. Or maybe he just loves zucchini.

FUN ANECDOTE: Since starting solids, Lucas’ appetite has increased. I suppose the variety keeps him interested, and perhaps he’s in a growth spurt too. Prior to solids, he was having 28 oz (830 ml) a day, but skipping one meal sometimes (so only around 23-24 oz [approx 709 ml]). But lately he has been having 33-37 oz (975 ml – 1.1 L) of breast milk per day and 15 spoons of food! I’m pumping like crazy just to keep up!

So there it is. The first go at solids. Looking forward to sharing more soon. In the meantime, here are some clever hacks we’ve picked up over the weeks:

  1. Because we didn’t want to cook just half a vegetable at a time, we cooked several, pureed them, and then apportioned them into ice cubes which we froze, then popped out and stored in labeled containers.
  2. After week 2, we started mixing the vegetables he’d already tried to provide some variance (we would take one ice cube each and pop them in the microwave)
  3. Schedule baby’s daily meal right before his bath! I’m glad we did this from the start because if we hadn’t we would have had to adjust and make it happen at some point

Do share your own solids hacks and recipes if you have any!

One thought on “A “Solid” Introduction!

  1. Pingback: Solid Options: A quick overview of the 2 most popular “baby weaning” methods – It's Just Better for Every Body

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