It’s been a hot minute since I last wrote a blog post, but seeing as I am currently on a little holiday at the beach with Granny and have some extra hands, I’ve had a few moments to write this in between the general chaos of life with #twoundertwo.
As I did with Everly, we’ve done & will carry on doing a mixture of puree’s & baby led weaning, but as I really want to make sure that Aaron is getting loads of nutrition, we are doing more puree’s as opposed to him playing around with food. I do love the idea of ‘Food before 1 is just for fun’ but as you’ll read below, we have needed to really get into proper solid meals quite quickly, and mashing up stews and mixing lots of different food is the perfect way to do this.
So, let’s dive straight into sharing how Aaron’s journey to solids has gone so far.
First of all, I must say that looking back, I actually think that Aaron has been ready for real food for quite some time. I delayed it, because I started with Everly a little too soon, and I wish I had waited until she was 6 months old. Because of this, I thought waiting was the best way forward with Aaron. But, as we all know (but us moms don’t aways really internalise) ALL BABIES ARE DIFFERENT, and starting later with him hasn’t been the best thing for him.
For the last couple of months I have been a little concerned with Aaron’s weight gain, and decided to see the Paediatrician for his 6 month vaccinations (I usually just pop into a pharmacy and see the nurse for the routine jabs but this time I thought it might be worth seeing a doctor). While Aaron’s weight hasn’t dropped off, he hasn’t been gaining as much as he should be (according to his other measurements) and it seems something happened around his 3rd month, as that is when he stopped gaining weight well. I think what happened was a combination of the stress of having two little ones, Aaron stopped being a sleepy newborn and really started fighting his day time sleep, and the biggest thing for me, I think his nutritional needs were not being 100% met by my milk. In saying this, I don’t believe there was anything wrong with my actual milk supply or milk quality (something the Paed mentioned to be the issue…but something I don’t really think is an actual issue as I believe your body always makes exactly what your baby needs…but when your body makes breastmilk, it does draw from your own ‘supplies’, and so it’s always moms body which is left depleted as opposed to your milk). Anyway, her advice was to take better care of myself (no skipping meals…something I was doing not because I wanted to, but because I genuinely wasn’t finding the time to make myself food) and to get Aaron on to solids pronto. We had started him on solids a little bit here and there, but now I am fully into the swing of things and will share what, when and how we are going about it this second time…as well as sharing what you need to get started.
Recipe Books & Inspiration
These are my go to books for weaning advice, recipes & inspiration:
The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care by Sally Fallon and Thomas S. Cowan (slightly alternative ideas in here but I take what I like out of it and leave the rest)
Real Meal Revolution: Raising Superheroes Book by Bridget Surtees, Jonno Proudfoot, and Tim Noakes
Weaning Sense by Meg Faure & Kath Megaw
Real Food, Healthy, Happy Children by Kath Megaw
I used the first 3 books with Everly (Nourishing Traditions, Raising Superheros & Weaning Sense) and recently bough the Real Food, Healthy, Happy Children and it’s great too! From the titles of these books, you may have seen that we follow a slightly non-traditional approach to starter foods for baby. As with my daughter, we are be introducing Aaron to REAL food from the get go…this means no baby cereals, opting for egg yolk, veggies & iron rich meat. The ‘blandest’ food he gets that is the most like cereal has been oats, but I give this to him with lots of cream, cinnamon & fruit puree.
**NB I am not a Pediatrician, or a dietitian or any other form of the 'tion' family, so please use your mommy guy when it comes to food for your little ones. We also have no family history of allergies, and both Farmboy and I loosely follow a LowCarb/HighFat or Banting lifestyle and so my babies eat accordingly. If you are feeling nervous about giving your little one something I mention in this post, rather chat to your Doctor/Paed. I'm simply sharing what I do and what my little girl has loved eating, and what her brother now loves too. We follow the school of thought that encourages the introduction of ALL food groups before the age of one (this includes all allergenic foods from fish to peanuts to eggs). The only exception to this is raw honey. As for cow’s milk, I give Everly & Aaron full-cream dairy yogurt (preferably homemade), cream cheese, cottage cheese etc. Please listen to your mommy gut, and if your family has a history of allergies speak to your paed about introducing allergens.
Something to prepare food with:
While you can absolutely use a pot to steam food & then a hand masher, I am all about time saving gadgets. We have both the Philips Avent Combined Steamer and Blender and the Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender (this was sent to me to review when I started solids with Everly) and I’ve loved them both. I’ll eventually get around to doing a comparison of the two, but they both have pros and cons and so I use them interchangeably. Both of these awesome gadgets steam & blend food, making preparing your little one’s meals a piece of cake.
Something to store food in:
I use ice trays to freeze pureed food in once it’s been steamed and blended. Then once frozen, I pop out the cubes and put them into little zip lock freezer bags, label them, and then pop them in the freezer. I find ziplock bags take up less space in the freezer, and help keep things nice and organised.
These pastel coloured ice trays are from Plastic Land, and I use the Woolies mini ziplock freezer bags to store the cubes in.
Something to sit in:
We have a few different things that we used with Everly that we are now using with Aaron. You don’t need to have all of these, or even any of them, but this is what we have used and found worked well for different places & traveling:
High Chair (the plastic Little One from Game is wonderful! Super easy to clean and it’s neat and tidy)
Bumbo (we don’t actually have a Bumbo, but I do have the Baby Throne potty haha which works just like a Bumbo so this gets used often when Everly is using the high chair)
‘Counter/Table’ chair from Safeway - we use this when traveling and it works like a bomb. It’s similar to the ones that restaurants usually have.
Bouncy chair - this is what I used when we first started as Aaron spent a lot of time in it anyway.
Something to eat with & eat out of:
I’ve used a mixture of Tommee Tippee Essential Food Pots & their Pop Up Freezer Pots that I was sent to try when Everly started solids. These are great for freezing food in, as well as serving out of.
Avent breastmilk storage post (these are the BOMB!) I still use these for storing Everly’s food when we are out and about, and they hold a lovely sized portion too. I bought mine at Clicks, but you can buy them at BabyCity and Dischem too. I have the Avent Manuel breastpump, so I use these pots all the time, not just for food.
Munchkin White Hot Spoons are the perfect size for little mouths (Everly still uses them) and are soft tipped too. They also change colour to show when food is too hot. We have used these for years and I love them! I bough mine from Mr Price home.
Then I also use any and all small glass/ceramic bowls at home to heat the food up in/serve out of…so no need to buy any thing fancy, you can make do with what you already have at home.
Tommee Tippee Magic Mat which keeps bowls from being flung off the table with it’s lovely suction base.
Once Aaron gets older, we will use the Tommee Tippee Bowls which are also great for putting snacks in and you don’t have to worry about them shattering when they get thrown off the table.
Something to keep baby (relatively) clean:
I LOVE these long sleeve bibs from Trendlings, and used one for Everly (she still uses it even though it’s getting a bit small for her) and now Aaron has one too. They just help moms (if you’re anything like me) with the anxiety that comes with baby led weaning and food going here, there and everywhere. While food still ends up in places you didn’t think possible, these bibs take care of most of the mess.
Trendlings also sell wet bags in matching prints! Wet bags are basically waterproof bags for storing wet things (like cloth nappies when you are out and about, or even swimming cozzies). I’ve got the matching wet bags in the feather print, and the polar bear print.
But, I also have a stack of regular fabric bibs on hand too. These get REALLY dirty and stained, and so I just keep a pile of old ones near the high chair to grab for meal times.
Aaron’s current (rough) milk & food schedule at 6.5 months old:
6-7am wakeup & breastfeed
+-9:30 am breakfast (oats/egg yolk & veggies/liver & veggies)
nap (breastfeed on wakeup)
+-1pm lunch (pureed stew/veggies & meat followed by some yoghurt & nut butter/fruit puree)
nap (breastfeed on wakeup)
+-5pm supper (pureed stew/veggies & meat followed by some yoghurt & nut butter/fruit puree)
6pm bath, breastfeed, bed
plus one or two night feeds depending on whether he is super grumpy/teething/grouchy/missing his mommy
So, Aaron has +- 5/6 milk feeds, and then 3 solid meals in 24 hour
Weaning your baby
All of the books I posted above have great guides & ‘meal plans’ for starting solids, and how you go about it is up to you and your baby. Lots of moms like to add in one ‘thing’ at a time for about 3 days to see if baby has any reaction to that food, others go right on with adding mixes of food from the very beginning. A few things to bear in mind when starting solids (and to encourage you that you aren’t doing anything wrong):
There WILL be LOADS of waste in the beginning! Think about it, your baby has had nothing but milk/formula for his whole life, and now you’re suddenly giving him something new. Aaron took two weeks of pulling his nose up at everything , and then suddenly it was a light switch went on and he is devouring anything and everything I can throw at him.
Some babies need longer than others to get used to solids, and that’s okay. Listen to your baby, and watch for their signs of being full/not being interested.
Follow your baby’s readiness. I don’t think Everly was quite ready for solids when I started with her (just over 5 months) but looking back, Aaron has been ready since about 4 months old. Try not to compare (as hard as it is!!!) and remember that your baby has their whole life ahead of them to eat, so don’t rush them if you aren’t showing any interest.
Some foods take time to get used to. Keep offering the foods that your little one turns their nose up at, it can take up to 10 introductions of certain foods for baby to get used to it, and to realise they do actually like it.
You don’t have to follow any set rules for starting solids. Some moms like the idea of baby led weaning and hate the idea of preparing purees. Other moms are scared of the idea of their baby chocking on food and so like to go the puree’s route. Follow your gut, and do your research. Find other moms who do things the way you would like to do them.
Enjoy the journey! It’s a really exciting & new journey for you and your baby (not matter how many times you’ve done it before). Relax and have fun with a whole new world of flavours, textures and smells for your little one.
More posts on Starting Solids
Please feel free to ask any questions you might have on starting solids. I love hearing from you, and always reply to all comments posted.