Babies are a world of experiences. Every month something new happens and routine needs to be changed. When I finally had a “well” established breastfeeding, it was already time to start giving solids. It was super exciting to think on my baby eating for first time but that new task stressed me out the first few weeks… I mean, it was easier to just take the breast out. In this post I would like to share some thoughts about the transitioning to solids experience.
After reading a lot, I decided to start introducing solids by following Baby Led Weaning method. It’s bennefits captivated me:
-It lets the baby discover flavors, textures, colors, smells by his own.
-Early discovery of likes and dislikes.
-Develops and improves coordination and chewing.
-it allows the integration lf the child to the fanily’s diet since they all sit together to eat the same food.
When my baby was ready, we didn’t start doing BLW exclusively. My friend and babysitter, was scared about it, so while she would mash the food I would give it in strips. I could have started serving the food and waiting on her to pick it up by herself, but instead I gave it in her hand. She figured out in about a month how to get it from the table anyway. She is 8 months now and she fights with me if I try to feed her. She is also now learning how to use the spoon. Check out the following video, so much ability for such a small person!
A couple of tips:
A. Food needs to be cooked until it is very soft.
B. It is important to trust in the skills of the baby: some times she gagged and of course that scared me a lot. In a certain ocassion she also threw up a small piece of watermellon that she couldn’t chew very well. Those things are going to happen and it is important to trust in the baby’s instinct and skills. They are going to try to spit it. However, it is also important to know first aids. First aids should be known anyway when having children around. To trust in the baby means also to trust in their self-regulation and do not obligate them to eat if they don’t want anymore.
Some other thoughts about transitioning to solids:
1. Juices and broths, yes or no?
Neither juices or broths are the most nutricious foods for babies. Juice has less fiber than the whole fruit and broths have less vitamins than the meat or vegetables itselves, but my baby loves them… what to do?
Well… sometimes we just have to stop wanting to have everything under control, stop trying to be perfect, experiment, be free.
2. Made at home, is just better:
I am a terrible cook. It is very hard for me to be able to prepare 5 meals a day. My husband seems to be better at it, but still, we don’t have the best habits and we usually eat out a lot… or we use to. Since the baby started this whole new process, we started feeling obligated to cook. Of course it will be easier to give her packaged food and ignore the amount of preservants and sugars on them. But from going to the supermarket, cooking and finally seating and eat together, has become an habit that we have started loving. We usually cook and freeze. It will be lovely if we could eat fresh everyday but at least is made at home: healtier, economical and made with love. My mom use to say she would demonstrate the love she had for her family when she had a hot meal prepared for us. Now I understand it.
Cooking is the best gift you could give to the ones you love
3. Careful with forbidden food and alergies
Initially I followed the recommendation of trying one vegetable or fruit for 3 days. Except from very specific foods, babies can pretty much eat anything, eggs includded. My baby only developed a little rash with bananas after the 5th time we gave ot to her. I don’t try foods for 3 days any longer, but if we give her something new, we try it to be the only new thing in the day. It is important to make a checklist with the pediatrician about forbidden food.
4. Milk is the main food until a year old
I heard many times that babies start drinking less milk after 3 months old. Well… that didn’t work in my case. My baby eats and half hour later is ‘asking’ for milk. She is 8 months and still drinks milk 7 times during the day. Even though she has food hours, she doesn’t have milk hours. I believe in nursing on demand, if she asks for it is because she needs it. Milk is the main food until a year old according with WHO.
5. A couple of nice articles to have.
Baby bullet. This product has a blender, small containers and a tray. What I love from it, is the accesories. We cook and then keep the leftovers in small portions in the containers avoiding the use of plastic bags. We use the tray to freeze broth. If we don’t have time to cook during the day, at least baby will be fine, we just take out and heat.
Infantino squeeze station. This other product makes my life easier and that’s why I love it so much. I make smoothies and put some in her bottle, some in baggies in the freezer and some in my bottle. When we are running in the morning to be on time at work, I take out the baggie and snack is ready. I reuse the bags as much as I can by cleaning them with warm water.
Little by little we are adapting to this whole new experience. My baby is exactly like her mom and dad. She loves food and people that enjoy good food, is probably the most happy people.