Introducing solids to your baby is an exciting time! It's also a little daunting, even for second time parents, because it's means you have to do more than whip out a boob or mix up some formula to feed your baby. So don't stress and have some fun. It's the start of hopefully a great relationship with food and start to healthy eating habits for life. Feeding is one of the most important relationship building caregiving times that we have with our babies. It is one of the activities, like diapering, that Magda Gerber (RIE founder) called "wants something time." It's built in time that if we fully tune in during and give undivided, unhurried attention and love we are able to build a strong relationship of trust and attachment during what could be just seen as routine caregiving. It is not a time we rush through just to get to the next "fun" activity. It is a meaningful time all on it's own.
Here are some things that the Nichols' family does, based in large part of Noelle's doctor Dr. Buccholz at UCSF when she was an infant. (Note: What foods and how fast we introduce them to our Mighty Bambinis at school, is decided in conjunction with parents and each child's doctor's advice. But I wanted to share some resources I've found informative.)
1) Eating is a fun, important time to bond and recharge our love buckets. That means whether we're holding a baby or having a few eat with us in their own seats, we are fully present, making eye contact, and discussing what is going on now - foods they are trying, what we are doing, etc. This article on Janet Lansbury's blog has great insights.
2) Make it easy. What I do is make purees buy either steaming veggies or fruit on the stove, and then blending them OR using the Beeba Babycook to do both. Then I freeze them in ice cube trays and freeze them in labeled bags. That way, food is always ready and can be thawed quickly in individual portions for each meal. Usually I will defrost 1-2 cubes of 2-3 foods per meal.
Here is a good chart of what foods to introduce when:
3) Mix up textures with purees and baby led weaning foods after 6 months old. From my experience babies that are exclusively fed using baby led weaning try less variety of foods because they "choose" what to try at such a young age. Babies need to try a new food 10-15 times before they acquire a taste for a food so I find it helpful to use purees to introduce new foods. A baby does not need to eat a lot of something to develop a new taste for something. Also babies who exclusively baby led wean, are more resistant later to having someone feed them later on. So at each meal, I find it helpful to have some finger foods like peas, small bite size steamed fruits or veggies, or cheerios AND 1-3 purees.
4) Introduce utensils. You'd be surprised how early children like to explore how to use utensils. We even give Teddy a spoon at some meals now at 6 months old.
5) Don't forget the water. Is your baby pooping out turds? Check with your doctor, but maybe you need to give them some water, formula / breastmilk, or water down the purees.
6) Maybe try common allergen foods early. Please check with your doctor because individual children based on personal or family history should be more cautious, but my doctor actually shocked me when at my 6 month appointment he suggested that I go home that day and give Noelle peanuts. He said new research is indicating that withholding allergen food while breastfeeding and during early solid introduction, maybe be causing more food allergies in children. Here's an article with some info, but again PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR.
Here are some more resources for you!
Evelyn Nichols, M.Ed.