I’ve wanted to share some thoughts on introducing solid foods to babies to share our experience and inspire other mums and dads on this wonderful journey. This first article will focus on the first few months of introducing solids (something between 5-12 months old), and I’ll share a few recipe ideas below.
As a frame of reference, I breastfed our baby boy exclusively for the first six months of his life, by which time we noticed he was starting showing interest for food we were eating and we thought he was ready to be introduced to solids. I delightedly started cooking him purées and compotes… but in all honesty, he wasn’t actually very keen in eating them! It took a couple of months for him to happily eat the food that we gave him, and it was interesting to see that he seemed to appreciate more anything on the sweet side of things such as sweet potatoes, butternut, beetroot, bananas and apples.
Because I chose to breastfeed him for the whole first year of his life (and still do to this day), breast milk remained his main nutrient intake and anything else was more of a discovery of taste.
We started introducing solids with sweet compotes and moved on to vegetables next. Each time, we introduced one ingredient on its own for three days in a row and saw how he reacted to it – some he seemed to love, others he would look at in disgust. One day we noticed red spots on his face after he ate aubergine purée. We tried it again another time and he had the same reaction so we knew we’d have to not give it to him again for the time being as he seemed to have a reaction to it.
Gradually, we moved onto mixed fruit compotes and mixed vegetable purées and had therefore the opportunity to reintroduce ingredients that he might not have seemed to like in the first place. I always add a spoonful of oil in his purée (we love this baby oil blend) before serving it, essential for brain development.
Around 8-9 months, we started introducing dairy with ewe’s milk and goat’s milk organic yogurts. Later (around 11 months), we introduced cow’s dairy too and our little man seemed to really like eating yogurt.
As for grains, we started incorporating them around 9 months with gluten-free grains to start with (brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth), which we blended in small quantities with his vegetable purées (I often used grain flakes for convenience).
Around 10 months we also gradually introduced legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and beans.
When Kai started having teeth coming through, he also loved ‘chewing’ onto a piece of food by himself and a ring of cucumber (amazing for soothing sore gums) or a piece of melon seemed to do the trick. Later on, we also gave him little chunks of bread, which he absolutely loves!
From a practical point of view, a saucepan and a stick blender are the main utensils that we’ve used (as well as a knife and chopping board, that is!), no fancy special baby cooking device required here!
Even if I know that freshly cooked food is the very best, I’ve often prepared a few portions at once (two or three usually) that keep well in the fridge, or that can also be frozen for later use. I repurposed a few small glass pots to keep his food in for when we are on the go and have to take his lunch with us.
We (almost) always buy organic and seasonal ingredients to cook with, and produced locally as much as possible.
I’ve combined a little list of fruits and vegetables that can be introduced to babies in their first few months of eating solids. Regarding fruits, a number of them are best firstly introduced cooked, I’ve specified it in brackets;
-Fruits: banana, avocado, apple (cooked), pear (cooked), quince (cooked), peach, apricot, melon, mango, plum (cooked), blueberries (cooked)
-Vegetables (cooked): carrot, sweet potato, pumpkin and squash, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, potato, courgette, beetroot, cucumber, peas, parsnip, leek, sunchokes
Finally, introducing solids to our baby boy has taught me to be patient and not get frustrated on days when he wouldn’t have any of what I had prepared. Infusing love into the meals you prepare for your wee one and taking pleasure in feeding him/her surely ensures a pleasant experience and optimal nourishment for your baby ;-)
Below you’ll find three easy recipes for little ones:
Butternut Purée – 2 Ways (roasted + steamed)
•1 small butternut squash or ½ large one
Steamed: peel, seed and cut the squash into small cubes. Place them in a saucepan and add a good splash of water. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 20-25min until the squash is tender. Blend with the water.
Roasted: Preheat the oven to 180°C. Peel, seed and cut the squash into small cubes. Place them onto a large baking tray covered with baking paper. Place in the oven for 25-30min until tender. Blend, adding a little bit of water if needed.
Avocado and Mango
•1 large avocado, peeled and stoned
•A splash of lime juice
•1 mango, peeled and stoned
•1tbsp melted coconut oil
Place all the ingredients into a jug and blend using a stick blender until smooth.
Apple and Quince Compote
•5 cooking apples
•1 large quince
Peel, core and cut the fruits into cubes. Place in a small saucepan with a good splash of water. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 25-30min until the fruits are really tender. Blend with a stick blender and leave to cool down before serving.
I would absolutely love to hear your stories about when first introducing solids to your little ones, so please feel free to share them in the comments box below!