I want to start out by saying that when it comes to starting your baby on solid foods I would first talk to your pediatrician. We choose our pediatrician because their views are in-line with our own and we trust them to advise what is right for our baby.
When our daughter Olivia approached six months I was so excited to start making her baby food. I was in a Baby Group here in Los Angeles, so I had received some really great information on starting solids and a friend of mine gave me some information written by one of the top children’s nutritionists in the country. One of the things my baby group teacher told us was to be patient and to go through the fruits and vegetables one at a time. This is a much longer process but its how you can determine if your baby has a bad reaction to anything.
When Olivia turned six months old we started the day as usual with her morning bottle, then when she woke up from her nap we gave her half of her second bottle and then some rice cereal (we used Earths Best, directions are on the box). We just made a few tablespoons and she only took a few bites, we couldn’t really tell if she liked it or not but in my experience I have come to learn that when you introduce new foods its not that they don’t necessarily like it, its unfamiliar to them because they have never had it before. Once she turned her head away, the feeding session was over and we gave her the rest of her bottle.
I read a lot about this subject before I started feeding her solids and learned that all babies are different and ready to eat solids at different times so you have to be patient and if your baby isn’t interested or gets upset then stop that session. Never try to get them to eat if they are unhappy. The rest of the day we continued her bottles as normal. The next day we did the same thing again and added a night feeding of rice cereal. You skip the first night so you can make sure they don’t have a bad reaction or are allergic to that particular food. We did this for 3 days and then moved to the next rice cereal, which was the oatmeal and repeated this for 3 days and then went on to the next, which was multi-grain and did that for 3 days. Then we started the next day by adding our first vegetable to the rice cereal, which was purred green beans, which she loved. We repeated this process and went through all of the vegetables one by one, doing it the same way we did with the rice cereals, start in the am and skip the first night, if there are no problems or bad reactions the next two days, do morning and night and then on day 4 start a new vegetable. Some people don’t like this process because it takes too long and they like to mix foods but this worked well for us and I wanted to see one by one what she liked, disliked and if she had a bad reaction to anything. I was also told if you start with vegetables first then go to fruits they are more likely to prefer vegetables. Of course I don’t know if this is true but Olivia is almost three years old and from day one until now she loves green vegetables and doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth. Now I do want to say I was very lucky with Olivia she was and is a terrific eater, every stage of eating was easy with her, which brings me to my second daughter Jordan that has been quite a different experience!
When our second daughter Jordan turned 6 months old I was once again excited and ready to start making her baby food and thought it would be just as easy as it was Olivia. When I first started and gave her the rice cereal she just pushed it away and turned her head. I was very patient and tried again the next day and the next day and so on. She was not interested in the least bit. I then tried the oatmeal rice cereal and it was the same, NO interest. This went on day after day with all three rice cereals so I assumed she just really didn’t like it and thought when we moved to purees it would be so much easier. I started with green beans just like with Livy and she ate a few bites but that was about it. Day after day I would spend up to 30 minutes just being patient and sneaking in bite or two here or there and every feeding session was always hit or miss and mostly a miss. Occasionally she would eat the full amount but it was rare. She was still getting her regular bottles everyday and I read a lot about how that is still their main source of nutrition until they are a year old. She was also healthy and growing and I reported all of this to our pediatrician so I knew I had nothing to worry about. Once we got to finger foods things got a little better but she would mostly only eat Cheerios, she loved Cheerios! I don’t even think Olivia has eaten a whole box in her life time but with Jordan I give her a piece of steamed broccoli and she would have a bite or two then I would give her Cheerios and she would eat the entire amount. When she turned 10 months everything changed, the baby who has eaten almost nothing for the past four months now loved food! I gave her some small pieces of roasted chicken and she ate every single bite. Chicken, lentils, avocado, cheese, green beans, asparagus. Three meals a day she eats everything and happily. I didn’t do anything different, I was just patient and didn’t let it stress me out. I’m not sure if it’s because she was teething (she got 8 teeth between 5-10 months) or she didn’t like puréed foods or being fed or maybe she just wasn’t ready for solids until now. Whatever the reason it doesn’t matter because she is happily eating now and I can take a sigh of relief.
A few tips that have been helpful with both of my girls is give them their breast milk or formula at the regular times (check with pediatrician for amounts) try and schedule your meal times, give water in between meals with snacks and give it to them in a sippy cup (I like Zoli cups the best because they are easy to hold and don’t leak. You can get them on diapers.com) Try the same foods over and over again.
As far as when to introduce what foods we followed a chart that was pretty conservative, I would ask your pediatrician as they should have some sort of hand out.
One final piece of advice I would like to give is introduce your child to new foods, people are always amazed that Olivia loves salmon and pesto pasta and its only because we feed her what we eat. Of course she likes mac & cheese and chicken tenders but we don’t limit it to just that. I don’t feel there needs to be kid food and adult food, your kids will like all kinds of food if you expose them to it at a young age.
Good luck and try not to stress out too much!