Solid food for babies usually begins around six months. I noticed that our first daughter at five months old was making more chomping and smacking noises when nursing. She also started to take a lot of notice when we were eating meals. After consulting the only baby book I had, “What to Expect The First Year” (Eisenberg, Murkoff, and Hathaway), we took the plunge into giving “solid” food. There are many great tips and advice in “What To Expect….” We pretty much followed its guidelines, along with suggestions from friends and family.
All the food I made was boiled and then pureed into a smooth paste (adding water as needed). When it was feeding time, the book recommended adding breast milk to the food to make it mushy. As the food combinations got more complex (rice, chicken, peas), I added water to make it the right consistency.
At first all the foods were like runny soup. By 12 months there was more texture, like mashed potatoes, and by 15 months food was chunky.
Below is the food diary I kept. Sunday was the beginning of a week and I only wrote down the days that we added a food. For any days in between, we were feeding things that had worked previously. For example, by week six my daughter was having oats for breakfast, and lunch and dinner was a combination of two or more of rice, sweet potato, yam, peas, avocado and poi.
Week 1 (six months old)
Monday: Rice cereal (store bought), 1 tsp mixed with breast milk.
Wednesday: Rice cereal. Accidentally made too much (1 Tbsp with breast milk and water) and baby ate the whole lot!
Monday: Oatmeal, cooked. Added water to make it runny.
Wednesday: Brown rice (I cooked my own), pureed to a very smooth consistency. Added water at feeding time to make it runny.
Saturday: Sweet potato, boiled and pureed adding lots of liquid.
Monday: Brown rice with sweet potato, pureed together adding liquid.
Saturday: Yam, boiled and pureed adding lots of liquid.
Sunday: Avocado and poi. Huge success and a even bigger mess!
“Poi is a Hawaiian word for the primary Polynesian staple food made from the corm of the taro plant” (from Wikipedia).
Week 5 (seven months old)
Sunday: Peas, cooked and pureed.
Thursday: Pumpkin, cooked and pureed.
Baby gets super constipated and has hard, ouchy poos. Wakes up in the night with pained cries and we don’t know what’s wrong until the morning when we discover she has pooed little rabbit pellets and has fissures (small cracks on her anus). She is not happy! Call the pediatrician and they say, “She needs more liquid mixed with the food.” They recommend to only breastfeed until everything goes back to normal.
Friday: Breast feeding only.
Saturday: Poo back to normal. Pumpkin finally goes through!
No new foods, just sticking with foods above.
Sunday: Banana, mashed.
Thursday: Chicken, cooked, pureed and added to rice mush.
Week 9 (eight months old)
Sunday: Corn and cottage cheese. Baby loved cottage cheese.
Tuesday: Pear (very ripe), scrapped and mushed. Yum!
By eight months I stopped taking notes because I was confident that our baby was getting a wide variety of nutritious foods, no food allergies appeared, and generally she was happy with the daily routine.
Every couple of weeks I’d cook big batches of rice, peas, corn, sweet potato, etc and freeze everything in ice cube trays. It seemed like most of my day was about preparing food or thinking about the next meal. I can say that even now, as my girls are all much older, so much of life seems to be about food (the preparation, the feeding, the cleaning up!).
The blog entry, ABC easy as 123, gives more specifics on food preparation, type of foods and combining foods for a meal.
Note: our first daughter stopped breastfeeding on her own around 10 months. There were a few days when she literally would just turn her head when we’d go to breastfeed. It became clear after about a week that she was finished with me and more interested in food. Our twins also stopped breastfeeding on their own around 8 months.