Since starting Maia on solids (and to be honest, since I started Aria on solids almost three years ago), I’ve received countless messages asking how to start your baby on solids. Where to start? What do you need? How do you know when they’re ready? Well, I finally sat down and not only wrote this blog post, but also filmed this YouTube video, can you say “productive AF”?!
Make sure to read all the way to the bottom of this blog post for a giveaway and some discount codes!
Before we begin, here’s a little disclaimer: I am not a medical professional by any stretch of the imagination. This blog post and YouTube video is our experience of starting solids with our girls, and the way that best suits our family, it is not the only way to do things. If you have any concerns, it’s best to contact your doctor or midwife.
Right, now that that’s out of the way, let’s jump right in:
How do I know if my baby is ready for solids?
It’s a bit of a tricky one but there are some signs to look out for. I also think that a mother’s intuition plays a big role; you know your child, you know their habits, and you know when something is up, trust your gut. We knew Maia was ready to start solids for a few reasons; she stared at food obsessively and was really interested in it, she started to wake up at night because she was hungry and she didn’t stretch for as long between day time feeds. To test the theory, one night I put a little bit of food on her lip and she licked it up, full of joy, the girl was ready!
Here are some other signs to look out for:
– Baby can hold their head off their chest
– Baby can sit well with support, eg propped up in the high chair or being held at the waist
– A keen interest in your food, wanting to grab your food, etc
– Not being fully satisfied with only milk feeds, getting fussy, etc
– Is between 4-6 months
Starting solids can be quite overwhelming and so I would highly recommend doing some of your own research and reading up. My personal choice is Weaning Sense by Meg Faure and Kath Megaw. Not only does it explain starting solids and how to introduce solids to different personalities, it also has a huge recipe section for each stage that your babe will go through. I still use some of the recipes today for Aria so it is definitely a worthwhile investment!
How do I start?
Once we decided that Maia was ready to start with solids, I referred back to the Nutripeads Weaning Guide. I don’t follow this to the letter but it was great to jog my memory and like I’ve mentioned, Kath Megaw is just brilliant!
We started Maia on butternut which we blended really smoothly. For days 1-3 she only had one meal a day, on days 4-6 she had two meals a day and from day 7 onwards she has had 3 meals a day. Initially all of her food was super smooth but after a week or so, I started to allow a bit more texture slowly but surely.
After Maia had been on fruit and veggies for about 2 weeks, we started to introduce protein as well as give her a variety of different foods and textures in one sitting. It’s very important that you do the same protein 3 times in a row to rule out any allergies. New studies also show that allergens should be added early on so whip up some scrambled eggs and stir in some nut butter into fruit purees, just remember to do this during the day so that if there is a reaction, you’re all awake for it. In terms of what a typical meal for Maia looks like, I give her a fruit and/or veggie, a protein and a healthy fat for lunch and dinner, and breakfast is organic baby cereal.
It’s also very important to remember that at the beginning of starting solids, food is not there for nutrition, your baby will still rely completely on their milk feeds for nutrition. As they eat more food, they will start to drop some milk feeds but they are still very important!
How do you prep baby food and store it?
I covered this topic in a YouTube video where I take you into my kitchen where I meal prep Maia’s food for the week. Give it a watch and let me know what you think!
What equiptment do I need to start?
Here’s a list of everything that we use for our solids journey (everything is linked):
Twistshake 6-in-1 Food Processor: I like to keep things to a minimum in our home, I don’t like having one hundred and eleven different appliances or gadgets, but I also like to keep life as easy as possible which is what the Twistshake Food Processor has done for us. Honestly it’s a game changer, it steams (two batches at once if you want!), purees (at different consistencies), sterilises, warms up, keeps food warm and descales itself! It comes free with two food pouches so that you can make food for on the go, and I still use it to make Aria smoothies. Its an all round winner.
Twistshake plates and bowls: I like these for three reasons (besides being dishwasher safe); they come with lids which makes storing left overs that much easier, they stack securely on top of each other, and they click into the Twistshake Click Mat.
Twistshake Click Mat: Although Maia doesn’t knock her bowl or plate off the high chair on purpose, it does sometimes take a tumble. The Click Mat has been so helpful; it suctions to the highchair surface and the Twistshake bowl or plate literally turns and clicks into it. Even Aria has tried to defeat the Click Mat and she can’t, woohoo!
Twistshake feeding spoons: These have worked really well for us and I like that they come in a pack of two with one of them being a bit smaller for when your baby first start solids.
Weaning Sense book: Just take my word for it, it’s brilliant!
Oh Baby baby food: These are absolutely brilliant for on the go. I keep a stash in the freezer and if we are going out, I literally chuck one in my handbag with a feeding spoon and bib. By the time Maia needs to eat, it’s defrosted (if it isn’t you can just run it under some hot water or pop it in the microwave) and I literally feed her out of the sachet. These will be your saving grace when you realise that you’re out of your homemade baby food and because they are made with fresh, high-quality ingredients and superfoods, no preservatives, no additives and no added sugar or salt, your baby is still getting all of the good stuff and none of the nasties. There are also vegetarian options available if you don’t eat meat or are Halaal or Kosher.
Formula dividers: For me, this is the best way to store Maia’s food in the fridge, you’ll see a lot more about how and why in the YouTube video.
In terms of bibs, we are just using the run of the mill ones but I have been eyeing out these long sleeve bibs from Trendlings because Maia is a bit of a messy eater and is wrecking more clothing than I’d like to admit.
When it comes to a highchair, you really don’t need to spend a huge amount of money. We bought one similar to this one from Kids Living when Aria started solids over three years ago and it’s still in perfect condition.
Your questions answered
I answered majority of your questions in the first half of the blog post, but here are a few more:
How do you prepare meat so that it’s smooth?
I don’t try to make meat smooth, I quite like that it has a texture to it, it’s really good for Maia’s sensory development. I blitz it with my Twistshake Food Processor and it goes relatively smooth but it definitely isn’t a puree. Initially when introducing a meat to Maia, I mix it with a smooth puree.
Which fish is safe for baby and when should I introduce it?
We have already introduced fish to Maia as part of her protein and used salmon, I followed a recipe from Weaning Sense and this was the fish that they recommended but I am sure that there are many others.
What are your thoughts on baby led weaning?
I think it’s great for some babies, but my two girls have enjoyed traditional weaning. That being said, from about 5 or 6 months, after I have fed a meal, I put down some food on the high chair for Maia to explore, so I do dabble in baby led weaning to a degree. Types of finger foods I typically give: pawpaw, droewors, teething biscuits, dried fruit, etc.
How do you feed solids if you are out and about?
This is where the Oh Baby food comes in so handy. Like I mentioned earlier, I just pop a sachet of food, a spoon and a bib into my bag and I’m set!
Why didn’t you start with rice cereal?
I just personally prefer to start with something more nutrient rich, like a veggie.
Our dogs are basically vacuum cleaners so they are super helpful, haha! Try to get a highchair that has quite a large tray so that food doesn’t land on the floor too much. The Twistshake Click Mat that I mentioned earlier also helps and I am pretty confident so will the long sleeve bib. And just keep a lot of wipes on hand, it’s a messy business I’m afraid.
Giveaway and discount codes
I’ve got two great discount codes for you to use
1. Oh Baby: receive R50 off your first order with the code MM&OB. Shop over here
2. Twistshake: receive 5% off your Twishshake order with the code MM_TWISTSHAKE. Shop over here
And now a giveaway! Win a copy of Weaning Sense for yourself and cook up a storm for your kiddies. Here’s how to enter:
Giveaway closes on Wednesday 24 July 2019 at 8pm. No spamming please, you will be disqualified.
*Discount codes are affiliates