I have received many, many requests for a post about how solids are going for us, what I’m feeding Finn and baby led weaning. I haven’t written about it a lot because I think that how and what you decide to feed your child is a personal decision, and I also don’t want to come across as trying to be an experienced voice in the matter. I am very much following my intuition, learning by trial and error and leaning on some resources that seem to jive with my style.
I got a request from one reader that said, “Baby food info! We all know you’re not an expert but just want to know what works/worked.”
So as long as we’re all on the same page that this is the blind leading the blind…I’m happy to give you a peak into our journey into solids. Needless to say, this is going to be a 100% baby-focused post so you have been warned!
DECIDING WHEN TO START SOLIDS
Finn’s pediatrician gave us the okay to start cereal and purees at his four month appointment if we wanted to but left the choice up to us. Tanner and I talked about it and both decided that we wanted to wait until six months. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding until six months and we also felt that developmentally, Finn wasn’t quite there yet. He wasn’t interested in sitting or sitting well independently/unsupported. There were other factors that also played into our decision. Read this and this for a deeper dive. I hesitate to even share these two links because I don’t want any mom to think I hold judgement for starting prior to six months. It’s just what we decided was right for us.
I 100% support parents making the decision that is best for their child and lifestyle. I have quite a few new mom friends who did start solids around 4-5 months and it has worked really well for them.
DECIDING TO FEED FINN “REAL FOOD” OR BLW STYLE
Tanner and I had quite a few conversations when I was pregnant around our thoughts/beliefs about childhood nutrition. Again, the details aren’t important but we talked about our childhood relationships with food, what we liked and didn’t like about our parent’s approach to food growing up and the things that were important to us. Mostly, we wanted our child’s diet to be based around real, fresh, healthy food but without any crazy restrictions and with a focus on intuitive eating.
We talked through the approach of feeding babies real food/what we were eating instead of “baby food” and decided that made the most sense to us. My goal is to never become a short-order cook (someone remind me that I wrote this when I have a picky toddler…haha) and it seemed like a good foundation to do real foods and versions of what we were eating from the get go.
That said, we’ve been totally open to a mixed approach and have tried feeding Finn some mashed and pureed foods, he just isn’t crazy about the texture. Again, if you decide that traditional cereals, baby food, pouches, etc are right for your child and your family, there is ZERO judgement coming from me.
We were super casual about starting solids once he hit the six month mark. We tried to give Finn something once a day but sometimes skipped a day or two if he just wasn’t seeming into it. We also learned really quickly that Finn did best with solids earlier in the day. Once it got anywhere close to bedtime, he was too tired to have the patience for it.
Finn was slow to embrace solids. I tried not to stress about it since I knew that most of his nutritional needs were being met by breastmilk and that it was all about exposure. It also felt counter-intuitive to force it on him. I tried to give him a lot of things that he liked, even if they weren’t “perfectly well rounded” in the nutrition department just so that he would start to enjoy the process of eating food. We did a LOT of toast strips in the early days. Haha.
Also, one of my dearest friends has four little ones and she reassured me that hers didn’t get “really serious” about solids until about 9-10 months.
PACED INTRODUCTION + ALLERGENS
We decided not to do the whole thing of introducing foods one at a time and waiting a few days in between. That’s also hard to do when you are running two different households. We did our best to communicate to each other what he was eating and what he’d tried but we gave each other free rein to make decisions on what to feed him.
We also decided to introduce allergens early and some of Finn’s first foods were eggs, dairy and peanut butter (of course). I’m happy to report that we seem to have no food allergies and he’s had all of the common allergens. Fingers crossed that sticks.
SOLIDS AT NINE MONTHS
Finn is right at 9.5 months now and I would say that in the last month things have really clicked with solids. He’s eating three meals a day (most days unless we just get massively off schedule or he’s overtired at night). He also seems a lot more interested in sitting in his chair and the whole experience in general.
Even though we are giving him three meals a day, how much he eats during these meals can vary wildly. Sometimes he cleans his tray, other times he just plays with the food. I took the Feeding Littles Infant Feeding Course and they stressed that letting babies play with the food is an important sensory experience for them and that it’s good for them to interact with the food.
I also always give water with his meals. I use this 360 sippy cup and we also work on open cup drinking. It took him a couple of months of practicing to get the hang of the sippy cup but he’s doing it on his own now!
I do want to note that one thing that has really helped us with solids is that we eat together. I sit right in front of Finn while he eats and usually have a meal too. I model taking bites and chewing and talk to him about what we’re eating and how good it is. He gets so excited and mealtimes are full of bouncing in the high chair, laughter, shrieking and smiles.
Oh and the dogs go outside or get put in another room while Finn is eating. They can’t keep their noses off of his tray and Finn thinks it’s so funny to put his food in their mouths. 🙂
WHERE WE ARE WITH NURSING
Finn is still nursing 4-5 times a day…upon waking, before naps, before bed and usually one or two other times. He drinks somewhere between 24-32 ounces a day. The plan is to continue breastfeeding through the age of one as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. I feel grateful that we’ve made it this long, especially given the logistics of it all. We’ve made it work but I will not be sad to see pumping go when it’s time. That said, I’m not planning a hard cutoff at age one but we’ll definitely start reducing feeds and moving in the direction of weaning.
Whatever “method” we’ve cobbled together for solids and breastfeeding seems to be working. We had Finn’s nine month well-child appointment yesterday and he’s right where he’s supposed to be on his growth chart.
Okay…I’m 1300 words deep here. Part two of this post will be photos of Finn’s meals and what he’s been eating. I love getting ideas from other bloggers and Instagram accounts so I hope that you’ll enjoy that post! Let me know if you have any other requests for it! I’ll also provide more insight on the Ikea high chair in that post. I’ve gotten a little too long-winded in this one!
Would LOVE to hear your experiences, insights, etc on solids with your children. I know so many other moms find it helpful to read through the comments.