Introducing Solids To Baby

When Sophie was just shy of six months, we started introducing solids. Even knowing as much as I do about food, I still found this phase nerve-racking. I am writing this post because it's a topic I've been asked a lot about, but I want to caveat that if you've done things differently, please don't feel guilty. I know as moms we are all just trying to do our best and kids thrive on MANY different ways of eating (just like adults). This is simply our experience.

When I Started:

I wanted to hold off until six months so that Sophie’s digestive system was as mature as possible before starting solids. She was showing all of the signs (could sit up, was showing extreme interest, etc) so I started just before she was six months. 

By six months of age, Sophie had had two major rounds of antibiotics from a kidney infection she suffered close to four months. That, combined with being a C section baby, meant I wanted to do as much as I could to give her the best possible gut health. That factored in to my methodology with introducing foods. Below is a rough month by month guide - I should have written more down because in typical mom fashion, my memory is a little foggy on the exact timing of everything.

How It's Been Going:

Overall Sophie has been an incredible eater. Some foods she hasn’t liked the first time, but it can take up to 14 exposures for a child to like a new food, so if she didn’t take to something, I served it again a few days later and she would gobble it up. In terms of quantity, it's only recently (9 months) that she really started eating what I would call a lot. Previously it was 1-2 TBSP of food at a meal. (Now she has been known to down half an avocado in a meal!) I've been told when she hits the 'terrible two's' that things will be different, but for now I'll enjoy the good eater we have!

In my experience if she ever got really agitated in her highchair, it meant she was done or didn’t want that food. I tried to respect her cues as much as possible and got her out and ended that meal. Oh, and sometimes I just had to make eating a bit more fun and we played a game of peekaboo to get her laughing in her highchair (and then eating more)!

I used a number of resources in advance of feeding Sophie:

  1. Superfood Nutrition For Babies
  2. Sprout Right Family Food (started using a few of these veggie recipes at 8+ months) 
  3. Facebook Group - Little Warrior Nutrition *One caveat to this group is it’s extreme - a bit too extreme in my opinion (even for me), so please take it with a grain of salt and don’t feel badly if you aren’t following all the guidelines in it. I still find it useful though.

For the most part, everything I introduced in these early months was as nutrient dense as possible. Babies eat sooo little (at least Sophie did) that every morsel counts in terms of getting the nutrients they need!

Lastly, I had every intention of doing baby led weaning as I loved the concept (in theory) but after all of the gagging (often Sophie would gag so much she’d throw up which seemed very counterintuitive), we QUICKLY stopped that. At first I really worried Sophie would have texture issues since we were feeding her purées, but now that she’s almost 10 months I can say she’s happily eating more solid food with no issue. We just moved gradually from purées, to chunky purées, to small pieces of food.

Foods To Feed Baby at Six Months

I started Sophie with puréed chicken liver, bone marrow whip and bone broth for the first couple of weeks she was eating. I did this for a few reasons. Bone broth is incredibly nourishing and healing for the gut and chicken liver is one of the richest sources of iron that exists. It’s also an excellent source of zinc (which babies need lots of) and vitamin A. Bone marrow whip is also high in iron and also tastes darn delicious and it helped make the liver more palatable. 

How To Make Bone Marrow Whip For Baby

Bone marrow whip is really intimidating the first time to make and then you realize how easy it is!! 

  1. Look for marrow bones from grass fed cows. 
  2. Roast them in the oven around 375-400 for 30 minutes on a baking sheet. 
  3. Scoop out the gooey insides of the bones (the marrow) and place it in a bowl. Save the fat that has come out as well and put it in the bowl too.
  4. Cool it in the fridge for about an hour. You don’t want it to be rock solid, but want it to be more solid than liquid.
  5. Using baking beaters, whip it until it almost looks like a thick whipping cream.
  6. Add a melted tsp or two to meals here and there for a flavour and iron boost.

**This keeps in the fridge for a good couple of weeks, or you can freeze it.

How To Make Chicken Liver Purée For Baby

I felt very hypocritical serving liver to Sophie when I had never eaten it myself haha! But, knowing how nutrient dense it was, I quickly got over that and also started eating it myself with this recipe which is TO DIE FOR. Here’s what I did for the liver and Sophie loved it.

  1. Look for chicken livers from organic pasture raised chickens, free of antibiotics. You will need to go to a specialty butcher for this.
  2. Bring a pot of bone broth to a boil in a pot (just enough to cover the livers).
  3. Drop the livers in and boil the for 6-7 minutes - until you cut through them and they are no longer red on the inside.
  4. Put the livers in a high speed blender (Blendtec or Vitamix) and add bone marrow whip and just enough bone broth to blend it into a puree. (Sorry, I didn’t measure how much bone broth).
  5. Freeze it in 2-3 TBSP servings. I bought a bunch of the tiny mason jars from Canadian Tire.

How To Serve Bone Broth To Baby

It took me a bit of time to figure out how to get her to actually get some bone broth. I tried in a bottle but when it wasn’t milk (like she expected), she didn’t want it. Eventually, friends recommended the Zoli Cup and it only took Sophie a day or two to learn how to get bone broth from it. We’re still using it for water and bone broth 4 months later. Highly recommend!

Why I Didn’t Do Fortified Baby Cereal

Put simply, doing a processed food as Sophie’s first food didn’t feel right given everything I believe in!! But, to give you a bit more information:

  1. According to a study by JAMA network, arsenic levels in infants exposed to white or brown rice were twice as high as those who didn’t eat rice
  2. At six months old, babies haven’t fully started producing all of their amylase (an enzyme) necessary to digest grains and grains can be harder to digest. 
  3. While it is fortified with nutrients, the form of iron is less bioavailable (or less absorbable) than meat sources.

Other Foods We Introduced Around Six Months:

After a couple of weeks doing bone broth, liver and bone marrow, we also introduced:

  • avocado
  • sauerkraut juice (tiny sips - like 1/8 tsp max - at the start of a meal)
  • soft egg yolk (Sophie was fine with this the first 5-6 times and then had severe vomiting the next two times we gave it to her, so we have stopped eggs!)
  • coconut yogurt (the Yoggu brand as it’s just 100% coconut milk and probiotic cultures)
  • coconut oil
  • squash
  • beef (puréed with squash)
  • lamb (puréed with carrot)
  • carrot
  • pumpkin seed oil

For high allergen foods (eggs) I did leave 4 days until I introduced another food to make sure there wasn’t a reaction.

Seven Months

Around seven months, we kept doing the same as six months, and then introduced the following foods:

  • yams
  • parsnip
  • prune
  • apricot
  • peach
  • apple sauce (which I now mix with the liver purée to make it more palatable)
  • salmon
  • cinnamon
  • chicken
  • beets
  • peanut butter
  • almond butter

Eight Months

Around eight months, we kept doing the same as six and seven months, but started making the purées chunkier and even started having chunks of regular (soft) food chopped small, and added:

  • steamed spinach
  • sauerkraut
  • sardines
  • garlic
  • onion
  • zucchini
  • shrimp
  • banana
  • sesame seeds
  • black beans
  • white beans
  • lentils
  • cod liver oil
  • hemp seeds

Some Recipes or Food Combos Sophie Loves:

  1. Chicken, parsnip, coconut oil and cinnamon puréed
  2. Lamb, carrot, bone broth puréed
  3. These muffins (without the maple syrup or choc chips)
  4. Yoggu yogurt with prune & apricot chunky puree (soak the dried fruit, then pulse in food processor), blueberries, cod liver oil and ground sesame seeds or hemp seeds on top.
  5. The carrot dip and the lentil dahl from Sprout Right Family Food.
  6. Gelatin jigglers from here.

What Her Meals Look Like Now:

In general, they are similar to the way Adam and I eat, just chopped up much smaller. For example, last night she had some of this bolognese sauce we made, with steamed broccoli and yam and parsnip mash. The other day for lunch she had sardines (yep!), steamed spinach, squash and avocado.

I hope you found this useful. Comment below any questions you might have on introducing solids to a baby!

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