How I have successfully introduced solids to my babies

A few weeks ago, when Rosie turned five months old, we made the decision to slowly introduce solid food into her diet. I’m not going lie, I felt a tad emotional at the thought of her tasting something other than my breast milk for the first time.

Having gone through this with two children in the past I feel confident and comfortable with the decisions that I am making for Rosie. I wanted to document my experience in the hope that someone might relate, and my words might even lend a helping hand. I would like to note that this blog post outlines our journey with solids and is not general advice. I am simply relaying research I have done for my own needs and expressing what has worked for us. Please take the parts that you think will work for you family and adjust what will not. Also always consult your health care practitioner before starting solids. None of the brands noted in this blog have paid for inclusion, I am just sharing them because they work!

When we started:
Ari and Chloe both started solids at 4 months (or 17 weeks of age.) Ari took to it with the first mouthful and didn’t look back, and by six months of age he was eating three meals a day. As a baby Ari was a big eater and he is the same now. Chloe however wasn’t really interested, and quite honestly when I look back, I should have given up and waited another month or so. I think I persisted in false hope that she would sleep longer during the night, but that wasn’t the case and shouldn’t have been my reason to continue. In my experience introducing solids is a much smoother and enjoyable time if the baby is actually interested and ready!

How I knew Rosie was ready:
She started to grab at my food, gets excited when she sees it and honestly seems to know what to do with it! At five months old she is simply tasting foods and breast milk is still her most important source of nutrition. My milk has all of the vitamins and minerals that she needs at this age, and we are just exploring food. When she turns six months old, we will very slowly increase her food intake.

From my research I have found these signs that a baby MIGHT be ready for first tastes, however, please consult your health practitioner before starting.
– noticeable increase in irritability between feeds.
– usually sleeps well at night and during nap times but is waking earlier and earlier.
– chewing hands excessively.
– displaying eye to hand co-ordination.
– trying to put things in his/her mouth.
– shows a clear interest in food.
– has good head and neck control and can sit upright when supported.
– opens their mouth when you offer them food on a spoon.

Foods I avoid:
– adding salt to food.
– adding sugar to food (I have a funny story which contradicts this though which I will share soon on Instagram!)
One of the reasons why I don’t add sugar to food is so that they don’t favour sweet and decline vegetables. I also make sure that I offer a balance of fruit puree and vegetable puree, so that she doesn’t become inclined to only enjoy the sweet flavours. I have some tasty sweet and savory combination recipes linked in the download box above.

Preparing food at home:
It is easy to make your own baby food at home and I am going to tell you a few things that can help. Here is my basic process for preparing puree:
– Prep: wash the fruit/veggies with water. Peel and chop into smaller pieces. I remove any blemished fruit, pips and seeds.
– Cook: cook the fruit/veggies by steaming, boiling or roasting. You’ll know it’s done when the the food is soft and tender. I like to use a fork to test this. If it goes in easily, I know it’s done. Let cool.
– Blend: place cooked fruit/veggies into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth (or the consistency you desire), adding liquid (water, breast milk or formula) as needed. Another option is to use a stick blender.

How to make your food preparation life REALLY EASY!:
To make my life SO MUCH easier I am going to be getting a Food Mill from Kids Me Baby. It is a total solution of making healthy baby foods from start to finish. From steaming to blending all in one handy jar, making it easy to prepare fresh and healthy foods for babies. It has four major functions being; steam, blend, baby food warmer and defrost.

What I do for storage and reheating:
– I batch cook to save time and store in purpose created baby food containers .
– I defrost overnight in the fridge and use within 24 hours.
– When I reheat I do so thoroughly.
– I don’t reuse food that she doesn’t eat.
– I don’t reheat food.
– If I am freezing my baby food, I don’t add the breast milk (for consistency) until it is defrosted, and Rosie is eating it. That way I don’t have to worry about breast milk being contaminated during the freezing and heating process.
– I always label my stored food, so I don’t forget what it is and can figure out what Rosie enjoys.
I am quite particular with this until 6 to 7 months.
TIP: You can save space and food storage trays by transferring the cubes food to freezer bags once they are frozen through. You can purchase reusable bags that are freezer safe and non-toxic 

Cereal options:
Cereals are a great way to start your baby on solids and a very common option. In fact Ari and Chloe’s first tastes were both baby rice cereal. For this I recommend Bubs Organic Baby Rice Cereal. It is made in Australia from pure organic rice and enriched with vitamins and minerals and is a great option for bubs 4 months+. Each pouch makes 12 delicious bowls with easy preparation. They also have a Baby Banana Rice Cereal which is suitable for age four months. As well as four other porridge and cereal options which are perfect once babies are six months and older. They all contain no nasties, no pesticides, no GMOs and no artificial flavors or preservatives.

How we started:
I started by offering small amount of puree after her lunch time breast milk feed. Rosie is still on a routine so this fits in between her morning and lunch naps. As I said I always offer her breast milk first as this is her primary source of nutrition. I do her solids in a highchair and always have everything ready to go because once she sees the food, she is keen! I have her bib, bowl, spoon and a fresh, damp cloth for cleaning her. The first time she saw food on a spoon I found that she opened her mouth for it! However, I believe some babies need the spoon to be put into their moth and scraped along the roof of it and this should encourage them. Rosie just sucks the food off. She isn’t having much in one sitting, I would say no more than a tablespoon. After a couple of weeks, I looked to move onto a second small meal of the day. I do this once she has had her night-time feed. So, after her bath I will give Rosie her bottle of expressed milk, then some puree and then she will be breastfed to sleep in her room before being tucked in for the night. I do this because again I want to make sure that she is filling up on as much breast milk as possible before giving any food. At this point I don’t want the puree to be taking away from the breast milk. Eventually we will then move onto a third meal of the day which will be breakfast, once I see that she is taking two meals a day well and starting to get hungry between her morning milk feed and lunch feed.

I started off by introducing small amount of various organic fruits and vegetables one by one. To prevent a sweet tooth, I try for more vegetables then fruits. I start with one and then introduce something new every 2 or 3 days, so that if Rosie has a reaction or an upset tummy from a particular food item, I know what it is. Some great first foods are organic aby rice, pear, apple carrot. sweet potato, potatoes, green beans and zucchini. Then moving to parsnips, mango, leaches, broccoli, avocado, barley, peas and cauliflower. I don’t push her I just feed her what she wants. If she spits food out, I know that it doesn’t mean that she dislikes the food. She is simply learning what to do with it and exploring this new thing called eating. I can tell them she he finished though as she stops opening her mouth or turns her face. Whereas when she is hungry, she opens her mouth when I put the spoon in front of her and even sucks the puree off like it is my nipple. Her current favorite is banana and blueberry.

Once she is seven months or older and has tried a variety of fruits and vegetables, I will look to add some meat, fish and other proteins like lentils into her diet. I will also look to add bit of carbohydrate like baby pasta and bread when she is ready. I will be sure to update you as we work through all of her tastes. When Rosie wants to hold a spoon or food, I will let her. I also allow her to very carefully suck on whole pieces of food like watermelon. This is great to do using a mesh feeder. We will gradually move from having pureed food to mashed, then whole pieces of cook fruit and vegetables, and finally on to uncooked fruit and then finger foods like toast.

Products I recommend:
Waterproof Snuggle Hunny Bib from Love Mila – Not only is it cute but its big and leaves no mess behind on Rosie’s clothes.
Silicon Bib from Lluie – Super soft and comfortable around baby’s neck, with a pouch to collect dropped food.
Foxx and Willow Silicon Bowl and Spoon from Love Mila – Made from high quality, food grade, BPA free silicone that is dishwasher safe and microwaveable.
Collapsible Snack Plate from Lluie – Convenient and mess-minimising portable container. You can collapse it down flat making it perfect for adventures.
Foxx and Willow Suction Plate and Fork from Love Mila – A sweet looking plate that can’t be knocked onto the floor!
Bear Plate from Lluie – Deep plate with a suction base to prevent spills. Microwave, oven and dishwasher safe.
Freezer Pods from Wean Meister – These are actually amazing. A tray of pods that you can freezer your puree in and easily pop it out to heat and serve.
Sippy Skillz Cup – A must have from 6 months plus to make sure that baby is drinking enough water.
Spatula – Soft and flexible tol for mixing your tasty creations.
Food Feeder Max from Kids Me Baby – Enables babies to try self-feeding in a clean and hygienic way.  
Oral Care from Kids Me Baby – From silicon finger toothbrushes to easy hold sets.

Meal time when out and about:
For mealtime on the go I highly recommend Bubs Australia Certified Organic Baby Food. I have been giving their products to my babies for over four years now, as their ingredients are 100% certified organic. Their recipes were developed by nutritionists and chefs, and taste tested by real Australian Mums and their bubs. Bubs has two purees labelled suitable form four months of age and multiple for six months plus. You can purchase them for $1.50 from their website or 6 for $6 or find them at Chemist Warehouse online and nationwide. Their flavours include:
Blueberry, Banana and Quinoa
Strawberry, Pear and Quinoa
Berry, Banana and Burcher Muesli
Sweet Potato, Carrot and Pumpkin
Pear and White Grape
Banana and Apricot Power Porridge
Super Vegetable and Rice Congee
Sweet Corn, Pumpkin and Chia
Mango, Peach and Banana
As you move towards 7 months Bubs have some really great snack options for on the go that are great for independent feeding. You can find their snack range here.

Drinking water:
We start to offer little sips of water at ‘mealtimes’ once we start solids.

Oral care:
Don’t forget to brush your little one’s teeth twice a day or after each meal when they start to come through. We start off with a silicon finger brush that I put on my finger and into their mouths.

Discount codes:
SWEETLIFE – Wean Meister – 25%
SWEETLIFE – Love Mila – 20%
SWEETLIFE – Lluie – 10%

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I hope that this has be helpful as you move towards starting your journey into solids. It can be fun, messy and get ready for those happy smiles when your baby tastes food that they love. Be sure to download my recipe guide for 20 Tasty Puree Recipes!

Lots of love!

Disclaimer – As always please remember that I am not a midwife, lactation consult, nutritionist, doctor or any other medical expert.  I am just a Mother expressing her journey and opinions.