Introducing Solid Foods: A Baby Food Guide

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The idea of introducing solid foods to your little one is exciting! It does not have to be a daunting process. It’s actually fun and easy!

introducing solid foods
stock image | introducing baby to solid foods

It’s been about a year since I introduced my baby to solid foods, and it has been an incredible journey. My son has a wonderful relationship with food! I hope to help you and your little one accomplish that relationship!

Deciding store-bought or homemade when introducing solid foods

When it comes to introducing solid foods, you have the choice of starting off with stage 1 store-bought food or making homemade baby food. (Or both! Do what suits you and your baby’s needs.)

Whichever way you choose, just remember that it is important to talk to your child’s pediatrician and to listen to your instincts.

Deciding to Baby-Led Wean or to Spoon-Feed when introducing solid foods

BLW (baby-led weaning) is a feeding method that allows babies to explore their food at mealtime and feed themselves. It encourages oral development, a healthy relationship with meal times, and gets around the need to puree foods. Most babies are, on average, able to start BLW at around 6 months of age. 

Some babies, however, may be ready as early as 4 months old and are not yet ready for BLW, so spoon-feeding with purees is the way to go. My little one was ready at 4 months old, so we started to spoon-feed him purees.

Over time, we incorporated BLW with spoon-feeding. It’s what works for us.

What you need

  • A high chair or booster seat
  • Bibs or a smock
  • Baby safe plates and/or bowls
  • Baby safe cutlery 
  • Patience

Prepping 

Stage 1 Baby food in a jar/container

  • Just open it up and help your little one dig in!
    • Be sure to pay attention to storage instructions and how long the food is good after opening
    • Don’t get discouraged if your baby doesn’t eat much. This is a whole new world of flavors and their horizons are being broadened. 

Homemade Purees

  • Purchase fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, simple grains, and plain meat
  • Boil or steam foods to cook and soften. 
  • Add cooked foods with water used to cook to a blender and puree until smooth  consistency without any chunks
    • You can add a touch of breastmilk or formula to the mixer so your baby tastes something familiar
  • Pour out 1 – 2 oz portions of puree into separate containers and let cool.
  • Help your baby dig in!

Baby-Led Weaning

  • Purchase fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, simple grains, and plain meat
  • Boil or steam foods to cook and soften. 
  • Cut food into easy-to-grab strips or shapes (like french fries) to make it easier for your baby to grab. 
  • Place a small portion on a plate, serve to your baby, and enjoy watching your little one eat!

Storing and Reheating

Most foods can be stored in the fridge for 2 – 3 days and in the freezer for up to a month. It is recommended to freeze portions separated from each other to make grabbing and going easier.

You can reheat your baby’s food in a bottle warmer, a bowl of warm water, or the microwave. 

I personally chose to reheat my son’s purees in a bowl of warm water, then stir the food to distribute any heat. I avoided microwaving and using hot water in the beginning because 1) I used breastmilk in the mixture and 2) I did not want to denature or ruin any nutrients in the food. 

Special Notes on Introducing Solid Foods

  • When introducing solid foods, stick to introducing 1 ingredient at a time. 
  • Feed the same ingredient for 3 straight days as it helps your baby enjoy new flavors. Additionally, if your baby has a true food allergy to anything, you can more easily rule out what they may be allergic to. 
  • Avoid adding any salt, sugar, or seasonings in the beginning. You may add seasoning, later on, just make sure they don’t have any added salt or sugar by checking the ingredient list. 
  • Once you get to 6 or 7 months old, you can mix previously eaten foods with new foods to introduce your baby to more dynamic flavors.
  • At about 6 months old, your baby should be able to drink water. My son enjoyed drinking out of a Munchkin Weighted Straw Cup.
  • Once the food is heated or warmed, it is best not to store it in the fridge or freezer again.
  • Don’t worry if your baby doesn’t eat much. Their little tummies are tiny, so just offer smaller portions.
  • Babies tend to push things out of their mouths with their tongues. It doesn’t necessarily mean they dislike the food. It’s just a natural reflex called the tongue-thrust reflex.
  • Stage 2 foods, or foods typically introduced after 6 months of age, have a thicker consistency. 
  • Don’t be scared to introduce common allergen foods, but do also listen to your instincts and your child’s pediatrician.
  • After a while, you don’t have to puree everything unless that’s what your baby prefers. Just make sure foods are cut properly to avoid choking. 
  • Avoid honey, especially during the first year of life.

Solid Foods to Introduce 

This is a guideline for what to introduce to your baby and when. This is the approximate order of food I introduced to my son throughout his first year of life, as I wanted to feed him as many things as possible.

4-6 months

  • Baby rice cereal
  • Peas
  • Green beans
  • Carrots
  • Yellow squash
  • Zucchini
  • Sweet potato
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Peaches
  • Applesauce 
  • Pears
  • Pumpkin
  • Oatmeal
  • Chicken
  • Turkey

6-8 months

  • Rice 
  • Barley
  • Broccoli
  • Mango
  • Beets
  • Turnips
  • Parsnips
  • Butter
  • Oils (olive, vegetable, etc. used in cooking)
  • Eggs
  • Blueberries
  • Greek yogurt
  • Chia seeds
  • Strawberries
  • Red beans
  • Raspberries
  • Cottage cheese
  • Flaxseed
  • Chickpeas
  • Sour cream
  • Black beans
  • Quinoa
  • Cheese
  • Peanut butter
  • Almond butter
  • Pecan butter
  • Walnut butter
  • Kiwi
  • Cucumber
  • Pickles
  • Potatoes
  • Grapes (without skin)
  • Prunes
  • Apricots

9 – 12 months

  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Tomatoes
  • Saltwater fish
  • Freshwater fish
  • Shrimp
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Any veggie
  • Any fruit
  • Cooked pasta
  • Shredded meats

Not a complete list, but this is a guideline to give you an idea of what solid foods to introduce to your little one.

3 thoughts on “Introducing Solid Foods: A Baby Food Guide”

  1. This is a great list! For my baby, I introduced the fruits and veges first, then added in the more complex flavors afterwards. There were some that my baby didn’t like, but I think persistency is key. I just kept trying and my baby finally accepted some of the flavors eventually!

  2. Victoria Prasad

    This post brings back so many memories for me!! My kids are 19 and 17 now but I remember this stage of their lives like it was yesterday. They loved sweet potatoes!!

  3. My second has been on solid for over a year. However, I remember when I first introduced him. He rejected the idea; kicking against it vehemently, but all that is in the past now.

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