David has been eating solids for almost three months now and I’ve been keeping track of all our food adventures. As a first time mom, I was completely overwhelmed with all information you can get both from people and from the internet. There is a trend (yes, trend, because it changes all the time!) to breastfeed exclusively until 6 months of age. On the other hand, even our paediatrician recommended introducing foods earlier to avoid allergies and to prepare the baby for the change. Once again, I needed to listen to my instincts and watch my baby’s reactions to food.
How did I know he was ready as early as 4 1/2 months? It was quite easy actually. I started noticing he always fussed and cried when he saw me eating. At first I thought it was because my attention was elsewhere, until he started reaching out and grabbing my food, putting it to his mouth. This was the turning point for me, when I decided to give it a go. When I look back now, he was very hungry even before that, not really satisfied only with breastfeeding. He was observing us while we ate or cooked. He also wanted to sit up, although he actually wasn’t strong enough yet. And he was waking up hungry during naps and at night. This were all tiny sings that he was ready. But I guess I wasn’t. I wanted to have a bit more of those special breastfeeding moments with him (not that I don’t still have quite a few of the on a daily basis).
So let’s talk about his first bite of solids and what he ate in the first month. Like I said, he was 4 and 1/2 months old at the time. It was a very tough day, he was fussy and hungry all day long. So I called Matej and quickly discussed with him the possibility, he just might need more than milk. We decided to give it a try. So I started cooking some carrots, pureeing them and adding some of my breastmilk to thin it and add some known taste to it. And like I said – he was cranky, hungry and sleepy, a recipe for a disaster. To my surprise, he was curious and very careful, but he loved it. He managed to eat a small spoon of puree before deciding it was enough and wanted milk. I didn’t force him, I knew it was going to take some time. Next day he ate some more, and the next even more. But it took a whole month before he was satisfied with only solids for a meal and no breastfeeding at the end.
In the first 5 weeks we were introducing one vegetable at the time for 3 days, to detect any possible allergies. Starting with carrots, zucchini and avocado. Next it was banana, butternut squash and sweet potato. And lastly mango and cucumber as finger food. As we like to spend a lot of time exploring Dubai, we decided to combine baby purees and BLW method (Baby Lead Weaning), since we can always bring or get some veggies or fruits wherever we are. The BLW method is a good way to keep your baby busy, while you’re eating. A simple piece of cucumber saved us a lot of nerves.
Above you can find a sample menu for the first month with basic recipes. Keep in mind that breast or bottle feeding should stay the main source of food. One meal a day is enough to get started, especially if you begin as early as we did. But again, listen to your instincts and your baby. I would recommend to start introducing in the morning “snack” meal. Breakfast should still be milk and it should stay like this for quite some time. In the mornings babies are less fussy, eager to try new things. You could start by breastfeeding and than solids, but I wanted to fill him with solids, so he would wean himself, when he was ready. And don’t worry if you skip a day! David had a bad reaction to vaccination, so he was back to only breastfeeding for a few days after. And it happened once or twice that we stayed out longer than intended so it was easier to breastfeed. Again, relax and trust your judgment, you are the one who knows the baby!
Yours truly, A.