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Introducing Solids – Part 1: How We Transitioned Baby to Family Food by 9 Months


May 26, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Food & Recipes


Introducing Solids | Baby & Beyond

A few weeks ago I posted a couple of pictures of my 14 month old self feeding and joining in on family meals. Soon I got requests from other moms asking me about what all I feed my baby, how he started eating family food so soon and how I taught him to eat on his own. I realized that many parents are apprehensive about this phase of introducing solids to the baby, so I thought about sharing our own story.

 

This post is the first in a multi-part series on our journey introducing solids to Baby N and focuses on how we transitioned him to family foods by 9 months (family food here refers to the food we as adults eat, served without salt and sugar to the baby).

 

There is a lot of confusion these days with terms such as “Baby Led Weaning” (BLW) vs “Traditional Weaning”. I did not strictly follow either one. I went with what felt right for us, based on the cues given by Baby N and the guidance of our pediatrician.

 

I am no expert. I have been researching a lot (refer footnote) and mostly learning as I go. So I will try my best to avoid preaching what you should and should not do. Instead I will only share what we have done and our experiences, successes, failures. I hope you will be able to take away from it to help your own journey.

 

Why I Said “No” to Runny Purees, Juices & Daal / Chawal ka Paani:

First of all let me explain why I said no to purees. Remember we are talking about introducing solids, not liquids. Babies do not need to be given runny purees, watery soups and juices or ‘daal ka paani’ (lentil water) / ‘chaawal ka paani’ (rice water). These are lower in nutrition, fiber and caloric content. Also any additional liquid fills up the baby’s stomach, reducing the appetite for breastmilk / formula which should be the primary source of nutrition up to 1 year.

 

Infants can eat semi-solid food right from 6 months onward. (In fact if you were following BLW, you would skip semi-solid altogether and directly offer finger food.) Their gums are hard enough to chew. By giving purees, babies tend to get used to simply swallowing and will not practice the chewing motion at all. This could possibly delay them eating solids (refer footnote).

 

Here is the difference between pureed and mashed: Puree is liquid – smooth and runny, with no lumps. Mashed food is semi-solid – lumpy or chunky, but soft enough to be chewed with the gums. For example, if you stew an apple and then squash it with a fork / spoon / hands, that is mashed, whereas if you blend it in the mixer, that is pureed. The rule I followed is, if it is soft enough for me to mash between my thumb and forefinger without much effort, then it is soft enough for my baby to chew. And Baby N started getting his teeth only at around 10 months I can vouch for the fact that he was able to eat without teeth as well.

 

Further I avoided fruit juices since they are rich in sugar and lack fiber and pulp. Even at 14 months we only give fruits directly. I also avoided soup for the same reasons, though I admit I made an exception when Baby N was down with a cold. We all love a big bowl of warm soup when are unwell right! It’s just comfort food. Though I still made it thick and loaded with vegetables, and did not sieve the soup to avoid making it too thin.

 

I strictly followed the rule – no salt, sugar, honey till 1 year and avoided chilli as well. After 1 year I started adding a pinch of salt and chilli to his food, but still avoid sugar much as possible and have yet to introduce honey.

 

Making Baby Food Interesting:

This does not mean that baby food needs to be bland. You can use a variety of spices to keep it interesting and allow baby to explore different flavours – cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger, garlic,  cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaves, star anise, curry leaves, pepper, cloves, basil, thyme, oregano, etc. The more tastes and textures babies is exposed to in the first 2-3 months of started solids, the faster they are likely to transition to family food.

 

First Foods for Baby N:

If it is all too confusing, here is a list of some of the first foods I offered Baby N. Feel free to use this for inspiration, but do remember to introduce any new food in small amounts at a time and follow the 3 day rule with all new foods to watch out for any allergic reaction.

 

6-7 Months:

Vegetables – Steamed and mashed beetroot, doodhi (bottle gourd), carrot, potato, sweet potato

Fruits – Stewed and mashed apple, pear. Mashed banana, papaya, chikoo

Porridge – Oats, ragi cooked with water and 1-2 tbsp milk (thick consistency, not runny). Added powdered dry fruits one by one.

Khichdi (dal with rice / oats / daliya) – Cooked whole rice without grinding or mashing. Only made sure the rice is soft (overcooked if required)

Suji (Semolina) – Upma with steamed vegetables or seera with stewed apple

 

7-8 Months:

Wheat – Chapati, potato paratha

Milk products – Curd, homemade paneer (cottage cheese)

Vegetables (by 8 months I started cooking vegetables in tomato-onion gravy as we usually do for family food) – Spinach, methi (fenugreek), brinjal, beans, ladies fingers, cauliflower, broccoli

Fruits – All the above fruits now served without mashing, only cut up into bite sized pieces

Finger Foods – Steamed vegetables, idli, oats dosa, daal dosa, french fries (cooked on pan or baked), tikkis (cutlets) with potato and beetroot / broccoli / peas / paneer, roasted makhana (fox nut)

 

Eating Chapati (Roti / Flatbread) & Palak Paneer (Spinach Gravy with Cottage Cheese Cubes) at 8.5 Months

 

9-12 Months: transitioned almost entirely to family food minus salt, sugar, adjusted for spices to his taste

Fruits – Musk melon, watermelon, figs, grapes, mango

Pasta – Whole wheat or semolina pasta cooked with tomato and basil sauce

Egg – Omelette, scrambled egg (I know many people introduce egg right from 6th month onward. We did try once earlier but it did not suit Baby N. Our pediatrician was of the opinion that we should wait for the weather to cool down a bit, which was around the 9th month in our case)

Chicken – Minced chicken gravy

Introducing Solids | Baby & Beyond

Meal at around 11 months: Minced chicken with Peas in Tomato Gravy, Steamed Vegetables & Mashed Potatoes

 

Note: as I mentioned earlier, I am no expert and this is what I followed for my baby with my pediatrician’s guidance. Please ensure you consult your own pediatrician before starting.

 

The second post in this series talks about how we create a healthy and pleasant mealtime environment so that Baby N can enjoy food and the entire meal experience. Read here.

 

Footnote: WHO guidelines state: “Infants can eat pureed, mashed and semi-solid foods beginning at six months. By 8 months most infants can also eat “finger foods” (snacks that can be eaten by children alone). By 12 months, most children can eat the same types of foods as consumed by the rest of the family…Evidence from several sources (Dewey and Brown, 2002) indicates that by 12 months, most infants are able to consume “family foods” of a solid consistency, although many are still offered semi-solid foods (presumably because they can ingest them more efficiently, and thus less time for feeding is required of the caregiver). There is suggestive evidence of a “critical window” for introducing “lumpy” solid foods: if these are delayed beyond 10 months of age, it may increase the risk of feeding difficulties later on (Northstone et al., 2001).”

Comments
  1. Zainab said on June 19, 2017 1:00 pm:

    I remember I was super excited when the solos were introduced!
    Good post and pics 🙂

  2. Prisha Lalwani said on June 19, 2017 1:31 pm:

    I followed pretty much the same strategy and indeed this works great!!

  3. syeda Fatima (Hyderabadimom) said on June 19, 2017 4:46 pm:

    This was very enlightenining. My son has just started bhis 5th month. And my daughter who is 7yrs now was a preemie, so this is the first time I am delaing with a full term baby. I have bookmarked this post for future reference. Can you do a more detailed post on how many times a day you fed your baby in the 6th month, and how much milk he consumed etc. I prefer to take advice from moms who are in the zone rather than from those who were new moms decades ago.

    Thank you 🙂

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 21, 2017 11:24 am:

      Sure Syeda. You can also connect with me on FB/WA any time.

  4. Moina said on June 19, 2017 5:46 pm:

    This is so informative.. I have a 7 month old and this is really going to help.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 21, 2017 11:23 am:

      Glad to hear that. All the best!

  5. Bushra said on June 19, 2017 6:20 pm:

    very useful post clears many doubts and guide to great diet for baby after all experience that counts a lot

  6. Bushra Khan said on June 19, 2017 7:34 pm:

    My youngest started eating solids early and didn’t want any baby food. So she started eating whatever I had, regular food!

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 21, 2017 11:23 am:

      That’s great. That is exactly why we should follow the baby’s cues.

  7. Srishti said on June 19, 2017 8:18 pm:

    Gonna share it with my sis!

  8. Monika Sehdev said on June 19, 2017 8:51 pm:

    Introducing solids is such a task .. loved your post ..

  9. Sana said on June 19, 2017 11:57 pm:

    That’s how I transitioned my son.

  10. Afsha Galar said on June 20, 2017 12:28 am:

    That’s a great post for first time moms !! Very detailed and informative post

  11. Elina Dawoodani said on June 20, 2017 12:47 am:

    These are some great ideas. I’ll have to pin it or save it to come back and read again when BabyM is 9 months old

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 21, 2017 11:21 am:

      Sure Elina, though the foundation starts right from 6 months itself.

  12. Kavita Singh said on June 20, 2017 4:50 pm:

    Beautifully written and informative too. Beautiful pics. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 21, 2017 11:19 am:

      Thank you!

  13. Pradnya said on June 21, 2017 12:47 am:

    This post will really help..thanks for sharing my baby is 10mo.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on June 21, 2017 11:19 am:

      Happy to help! Good luck.