Starting Solids

Baby First Food

Whenever I ask anyone about when to start Amalia on solid foods, I get the same answer: Between 4 and 6 months. Well that’s a pretty long stretch! She’s currently 4.5 months and my gut says she isn’t quite ready yet… And one thing I’ve learned as a mother so far is to always listen to your gut.

This is our plan as of now…

Note: Please remember that I’m not a pediatrician, I’m just sharing my own personal experience. Everything I’ve written has been run by, and approved by, Amalia’s doctor, which you should do for your babies as well!

When: At Christmastime when she’s 5 months old.

What: Anel and I have discussed this ad nauseam with each other, our pediatrician, friends and family and finally settled on what we both felt was right: Sweet potato. We (and our ped) both wanted to start her on a vegetable that’s easy to digest as opposed to cereal. We want her to eat “real” food from the get-go.

Going slowly: I’m pretty sure most moms know this by now, but they tell you to only introduce one food at a time to test out of the baby is allergic to it or not. So we’ll give her sweet potato for 2-3 days, then add in avocado which will be her second food.

Seasoning: My 7-year old (half) brother Jackson is the best eater I know. When he was 4, he was dousing his food with hot sauce, drinking green juice for a snack, and eating every cuisine from Thai to Indian food. I asked his mom what her secret was and she said seasoning his food from the beginning. If you give your baby avocado, put sea salt on it! If you get them used to bland foods, that’s what they’ll want to eat going forward. Instead, make their food taste good to you.

Healthy fats: I thought for sure when I asked Amalia’s doctor about cooking her food with butter, ghee, or olive oil, she would say not to do it. My more holistic friends swore by it, but it made me nervous. Turns out,  I was wrong! She explained that babies need a lot of fat in their first two years, and it’s perfectly safe (and healthy) to give them good fats from the beginning.

Thoughts on rice cereal: I feel like among the moms I know, there is quite a divide on whether or not to feed your baby rice cereal which used to be the go-to for first foods. When we asked our ped about it, she said she definitely wants us to mix in baby cereal with whatever fruits and veggies we decide to give her because it’s fortified with iron (which babies need to grow strong brains!), but prefers oatmeal to rice cereal because it’s easier for babies to digest.

Products for feeding: My grandmother bought us the Oxo Sprout high chair for Christmas (in white/navy) and we’re getting Amalia used to sitting in it, so she knows that it’s a safe place. So far she loves to play with her toys while sitting in the chair. I also have a Beaba Babycook to make some of her food myself. What else do we need?

Ok so here’s what I’m asking you today. If you already have an older baby/child, when did you first feed them and what was their first food? If you have a little baby like Amalia, when/what are you planning  to feed them? 

Reminder: Mom talk is made up of shorter posts where I share a “momproblem” I’m having and ask for your advice. The idea is that all moms can benefit from the comments below! Have an idea for mom talk? Send it my way:

Image via Babycenter.

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  1. Leah said:

    I have an 8 and 3 yr old – I started them both at 6 months (as they were BF) and I started them on the grains first (Rice/Oatmeal), and then moved to the veggies. Green, Orange, Yellow. However, I like the plan you have outlined and the spice/butter points. My first is a bland eater as I kept her on pureed food for the regular duration period. My second, after I introduced her to all the foods, I started giving her whatever we were eating just cut up in small pieces. She is such a better eater! Love your posts!!

    12.6.17 · Reply
  2. Libby said:

    I started my son at 6 months old. Actually 6 months and 1 day. I think he would’ve been okay at 4 months, but he was perfectly happy with breastmilk and was growing fine. I started him with baby oatmeal, which he loved. Then i moved on to pureed veggies and fruits. I would just feed him one time per day in the beginning with the same food for 3 days. I primarily tried to introduce veggies over fruits. I made all the baby food and then would keep what we would use for 3 days and freeze the rest in little oxo containers. It was actually a lot simpler than expected, and it is suppossed to be more cost effective, but I never really tested that out. I did use a little seasoning, but not a ton as we don’t eat with a ton of seasoning. My son is now 17 months and he is a great eater. He loves anything seasoned witt the everything bagel seasoning from trader joes. I know eventually his appetite/taste buds may change, so I am still trying to get all the veggies in him!

    This is a great resource:

    12.6.17 · Reply
    • Libby said:

      oh and he loved baby mum mums. those were his “dessert” or “snacks”

      12.6.17 · Reply
  3. Megan said:

    I have an almost 8 year old and almost 2 year old twins. All three were hungry early on, so they all started solids at 4 months. We started with sweet potatoes and then peaches and then carrots and then apples. I always rotated a vegetable then a fruit. Rice cereal is the easiest to digest at first, but then I moved to oatmeal as they got older. All three of my babes were amazing eaters early on and would eat anything I put in front of them. I always seasoned things and didn’t hold back from flavor (except for the hot stuff) and gave them whatever my husband and I were eating for dinner. But as they get older, they change. They go through food stages and refuse to eat something they ate the day before. To put it simply: eating is a crap shoot! Do what works and just figure out the best course for your baby as you go along!

    12.6.17 · Reply
  4. Jessica Morrison said:

    The best advice from our pediatrician I thought really took the pressure off when trying to decide when the right time was. She just kept telling me that it doesn’t matter if they don’t do it the first time. Try it at four months and if they aren’t loving it, try again at five months. Both of mine started it around five months. We started with fruit or vegetable flavored cereal and I think that helped when we started with the real food. Personally tho, I think it sounds like you’ve got a terrific plan all ready! New milestones are always so exciting!

    12.6.17 · Reply
  5. Ashley said:

    I started my 2.5 year old on pureed veggies when she was exactly 6 months old. She was growing fine and didn’t need to start any earlier than that (though I think 5 months is totally fine as well!). My second daughter is 4.5 months old and we’ll probably start her sometime between 5 and 6 months. We have the Baby Bullet and I used to puree fruits and veggies in batches, then freeze them in Oxo ice cube containers (and then store the cubes in big ziplock bags). It worked great! Much less wasteful than the pouches in the beginning, because the cubes are small, and you can mix and match the different cubes. My daughter hated rice cereal and I didn’t really feel like it had that much nutritional value, so we gave her oatmeal once a day at breakfast. She loved the Earth’s Best banana oatmeal that you can get at Whole Foods.

    My one piece of advice would be to not get too hung up on the early eating influencing her diet in later years. I honestly think, as some others have said, that it’s a total crap shoot. My daughter ate everything as a baby and now, as a 2.5 year old… let’s just say it changes almost by the day. I have tried everything to get her to be a good eater (and thought it would be super easy a la Bringing Up Bebe!), but kids are kids. Or more specifically, toddlers are toddlers. Some days she’s great and others she just isn’t. It used to really upset me, especially when I had cooked something for her, but now I just try not to get hung up on it and live by the mantra that if she is hungry, she will eat. We encourage her to try new things but try not to harp on it too much if she is resistant. Good luck!!

    12.6.17 · Reply
  6. Abby Walker said:

    It sounds like you have a great plan! I have one tip to add. The entire time I was pregnant, I swore up and down my son would be able to eat any and everything (I thought I knew soooo much). I ate very well, ate natural and whole foods, went by the book when it came to diet. Fast forward to starting solids…I gave my son some food that had quinoa in it. 15 mins later he was screaming, gasping for air, had a rash all over, mucus coming out of his nose….it was terrifying. Turns out he has an allergy (he’s also allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, ugh!). I called the pediatrician absolutely frantic, and she said to give him a small dose of children’s Benadryl and wait on the phone with her to see if the symptoms subsided. Thank God I already had some in the house. Within 5 mins, his symptoms started to go away, and I made an appointment that day to have him tested for food allergies since he had such a strong and quick reaction. Moral of the story, have a children’s antihistamine handy just in case, God forbid, your little one has an allergy. Good luck with solids!!! It’s a fun, messy, exciting process:)

    12.6.17 · Reply
  7. Kellie | The Book Hive Blog said:

    I honestly do not remember the time frame- it’s such a blur! I will say that from experience it’s not always controllable how good of an eater your child is. Our first was a champ & ate everything but our second…. not so much. We didn’t do anything different & we are firm believers in our children eating what we eat but he just has other ideas. He’s not even 2 yet, so we may have a long road ahead of us!

    So at the end of the day do your best but also don’t stress that what you do now will determine everything. Raising a child is a long process so I think it’s more about establishing habits over a long period of time & managing the smaller struggles. And adjusting to your child’s temperament.

    Seriously, I could not have had two more different experiences with my kids as babies!

    12.6.17 · Reply
  8. Lillie said:

    It’s been awhile for me, but my sister has just gone through this herself. First of all, don’t rush and don’t get your expectations up. I thought that first feed was going to be such a big deal, but more got spit out than swallowed. Learning to eat takes time. I love what you said about seasoning. I sure wouldn’t eat an avocado absolutely plain. Rice cereal made my youngest projectile vomit after the next breast feed Every. Single. Time. And finally, I get this from watching my sister, after you have her doing well with “baby food” and have gotten several in rotation without any problem – leave the advanced “chunky” baby food behind and feed her what you are eating. I am amazed at the things my niece has been eating since moving past the thin pureed stage.

    12.6.17 · Reply
  9. Hadley Stigliano said:

    We started around 4.5 months – I was so nervous for some reason but my daughter loved solids right from the start! Two things my dr told me that was helpful that maybe you’ve already heard: always feed bottle/nurse first, then solids, and that some baby’s take a few days to get used to food, and some take a few months so don’t push it if they don’t like it, its just learning how to use their tongue and swallow in a different way!

    We started with sweet potato, avocado, and bananas. Somebody gave me the cookbook from and I lived by those recipes for months until she was eating real foods. Good luck!

    12.6.17 · Reply
  10. Lisa said:

    Some unsolicited advice, but look into baby lead weaning. People swear by it and say it also saves them time because you don’t have to puree all the foods. It’s also supposed to be a good method for letting kids eat based on their own hunger cues and also helps them with hand eye coordination.

    12.6.17 · Reply
    • haikuanthology said:

      I don’t have kids, but we had three friends who had babies at the same time. The child who did baby led weaning had really incredible hand eye coordination by the time she was a year old.

      1.11.18 · Reply
  11. Elizabeth said:

    My daughter was born at the end of May, so we are going through this now. We started multigrain organic cereal with her the day before she was 4 months old. (Pediatrician later told us that we should have done a single-grain cereal in case there was an allergy so we would know what she was allergic to – but she was fine). We mixed it with some breastmilk. Honestly she was not a huge fan. Then we tried sweet potatoes (loves them), banana (just mash it up, so easy – sometimes I add some cinnamon – agree with what you said about spices) and rotated those for a few weeks. Since then we’ve added in: peas, pears, apples, butternut squash, zucchini, carrots. All of these have been made in the Beaba and it’s amazing! We make a big batch and then freeze the purees in ice cube trays. Once they’re frozen we pop them out and put the cubes in a ziplock in the freezer. For many weeks she would eat about one cube at a time so the portion was perfect, now she will usually do 2. They will defrost overnight in the fridge, or in the microwave for like a minute or so on medium power. I just started mixing the cereal into the fruits to up the calories (she’s a little peanut!). (I say “we” make the food but actually it’s my husband; since I have been exclusively breast feeding, he is now so excited to have a part in feeding our baby and has totally taken control of this.)
    We have also started to give her some “real people food” – a piece of toast with butter (totally agree with what you heard about fat) but she basically just sucks the butter off the toast and then makes a giant mess of the bread; a little bite of meatball (loved it!); some peanut butter off my finger (loved it!); and cod – we flaked it up so it was in really small pieces (loved it). I’m hoping I will have an adventurous eater. We just went to the pediatrician yesterday who said no honey and make sure whatever we give her is not a choking hazard. She suggested adding now: yogurt (full fat, not sweetened), scrambled eggs, and “anything you want to puree” – although I definitely have limits, sorry there will be no pureed ham for my baby girl!
    Overall we’ve had fun with eating. She slowly got used to the spoon and the way food feels in her mouth. I keep hearing that at this stage it’s more about introducing the baby to the spoon, foods, high chair, etc. than how much they actually eat. As soon as she loses interest in the meal, we stop.
    Anyway, that’s just my experience, from about 6 weeks ahead of you. Good luck, have fun, and don’t stress too much, whatever decisions you make will be right for your family!

    12.6.17 · Reply
  12. Kaitlin said:

    We waited until my daughter was 6 months old and sitting up well, even though she was super interested in food from very early on. I really wanted to be sure her gut was ready for solids. We didn’t spoon feed or do purees, but started with soft fruits and vegetables (I think avocados then sweet potatoes were the very first). We also didn’t do rice cereal at all, and held off introducing grains in general, because the nutritional value is fairly limited, and grains are hard for small babies to digest. We do make a point of giving her iron rich foods, eg, lentils, spinach, beef, salmon, etc, and definitely lots of fats! Between 7-8 months I started offering 3-4 different things at each meal, and typically try to make sure she’s exposed to a variety of flavors and textures. She’s 11 months old and is so far a terrific eater. (Hoping this keeps up through toddlerhood 😉 )

    It sounds like you have a great plan, and I think Amalia already has an advantage because you have a healthy diet to begin with! Just sharing what we did in case she doesn’t love purees and you’re looking for other options.

    12.6.17 · Reply
  13. Ashley Rapp said:

    We waited until 6 months. There was too much going on with breastfeeding when she was 4 months and I just wasn’t ready. At 6 months, she loved it. We started with pureed kale and spinach in a food feeder (similar to the below) which helped with her coordination and independence. I was told that by starting with less sweet foods, that babies will have better pallets later. So far (she’s 18 months) she’s an awesome eater so maybe it’s true? I like the seasoning idea too – I think your stepmom is definitely onto something!

    Good luck!

    12.6.17 · Reply
  14. Abby Dixon said:

    We waited until 5months 3 weeks! Sadie didn’t quite seem ready before then. We also started with sweet potatoes and use the sage spoonfuls containers. We actually make Sadie’s oatmeal too. We use gf rolled oats and cook then purée them! Sadie loves avocado but it gives her the runs and a rash on her bottom. Always look out for the tushy rash because it could be an indicator of an allergy or sensitivity! We plan on retrying avocado in the new year since she loves it and it’s a great source of MUFAs. She loves oatmeal, yellow squash, zucchini, sweet potato, bananas and avocados so far! Just enjoy this time – it is So much fun!

    12.6.17 · Reply
  15. Morgan said:

    We first fed my little boy around 5 months. It’s amazing at first that they take such small bites but the entire experience is new to them. They are not only getting used to a different taste and texture but also their ability to use their tongue to eat. We started with avocado and did sweet potato and other low allergy risk veggies first. We also did oatmeal too because it had Iron and eventually when he was eating real meals it was a great breakfast or snack. Once you start to mix purees Pinterest has so many great ideas on different yummy combos. Don’t forget you can add things like cinnamon or pumpkin spice or other spices to your purees to keep it interesting for them. You need a REALLY good bib because it will be messy. Get one of the rubber ones on amazon from either baby bjorn, or summer infant. They really help contain the mess and are so easy to clean! Good luck and have fun!

    12.6.17 · Reply
  16. Anne Fahlgren said:

    My daughter was way into food early, so we started around 3.5 months because she was grabbing at food on our platesOur first food was pureed sweet potatoes (well actually it was hummus that she licked off my husband’s finger, but that doesn’t really count). I ended up mixing a lot of our purees with quinoa as a way to get protein and iron. Some of our favorite purees in the beginning were lentil/green pea (the peas add a touch of sweetness), chicken/apple, and sweet potatoes. We also took a bit of a baby led weaning approach as well and gave her lots of small bites of just about anything she showed interest in (we have no history of food allergies in our family). Around 6 months, I started roasting huge pans of carrots, sweet potato, parsnips, etc and letting her feed herself cubes of that. Our go to breakfast from 6-12 months was oatmeal mixed with plain greek yogurt and pureed berries. She loved it! Our daughter is now 6, and will eat anything (raw oysters are her favorite!). There is no special planning around her, and we can eat at all of our favorite restaurants with her because we never need a kids menu. A lot of that is luck, but I think part of it was feeding her all kinds of food.

    12.6.17 · Reply
  17. Ellen Piccolo said:

    Neither of my kids were interested in solids until after six months. My son didn’t consistently have them until almost eight months so don’t stress if she doesn’t seem interested right away!

    Neither my daughter or son had much of an interest in baby oatmeal. We opted for a lot of “real” food as well. If you find yourself short on time, my kids always enjoyed the Beechnut and/ or Earth’s Best organic baby food and when she gets a bit older, food pouches are a lifesaver, especially on the go! There is a good variety at Whole Foods.

    We also have the Oxo tot high chair and we love it. In addition, invest in some silicon bibs (we ordered ours from Amazon). They are a breeze to clean up and don’t get moldy, as a lot of bibs do.

    Good luck!!

    12.6.17 · Reply
    • Katie said:

      I second the silicon bibs! Love that they can just be rinsed between meals and placed in the dishwasher every night. We started foods at 6 months (also sweet potato as a first food) and we used the same few bibs until he was over 2 years old.

      12.6.17 · Reply
  18. Elizabeth said:

    I have four kids (12, 10, and two 7 year olds) and we followed similar approaches with all of them to introducing solids. For all, we basically followed their cues to drive when we introduced them and not setting a particular time or age. All of them were between 4-5.5. My husband and I are pretty laid back so there was not a huge plan in place and I I honestly can’t remember what foods were first but likely banana, avocado, sweet potato, and squash were the likely culprits. A word to the wise, just like many of kids’ habits and attributes like sleeping are the luck of the draw rather than due to parenting, eating is also that way. I have 2 amazing eaters and 2 not-so-great eaters. Clearly, we did not do anything dramatically different with any of my kids (especially the twins). I did season food although I am not a fan of salting things given that it is not the healthiest eating habit to develop so I lean towards more flavorful things. Good luck — this is a fun, discovery stage so try to enjoy it and let your baby have fun with it as she experiences it her way.

    12.6.17 · Reply
  19. Monica said:

    We started solids at just about 4 months because my daughter was showing signs of interest and grabbing at our food at meals! Her first food was oatmeal made with breast milk. We did baby led weaning and it really worked out great! If you haven’t heard about it, I’d recommend checking it out. She’s a toddler now (2) so can be picky at times but is overall a very good eater.

    12.6.17 · Reply
  20. JRB said:

    I’m currently reading “French Kids Eat Everything” and this plan sounds a lot like what is discussed there. I’m still a month away from giving birth (I’m clearly an over planner), so I can’t speak to personal experience, but I’m planning on buying a couple of baby cookbooks (this one looks good:

    12.6.17 · Reply
  21. jennie lopez said:

    Be gentle with yourself and Amalia anytime you start something new. You can follow all the “rules” in the book and online and Amalia will end up doing what she wants and what’s right for her. (I know this because we have followed so many sleep rules right from day one, and my 20 month old is still up at least one night per week, babbling in his crib till he falls back asleep. So much better than in the early days, but work still to go.) If she’s a picky eater it’s not because of anything you did or didn’t do. Picky eaters aren’t made, they just are.

    Alllll that disclaimer aside, we started at about 5.5 months. Would have started at 5, but we had a big vacation coming up, and didn’t want to begin something that was brand new and then uproot our little guy to a new place, with a potential for diaper and spit up disasters. So I’d say if your routine will be more or less normal for a couple of weeks, that’s the time to start. We started with broccoli and it was so funny. He didn’t like it at first, but I think he just wasn’t sure about it because it was so different from nursing. The more he took little tastes of food here and there, the more he opened up to solids, and now he’ll eat almost anything. May the ride be just as smooth for you. Sounds like you have a great plan in place.

    12.6.17 · Reply
  22. Meredith Miller said:

    This brings back so many memories! I remember being terrified to introduce solids. Thankfully, my son (now 20 months) did really well and took to just about everything we tried with him. One piece of advice I was given that has always stuck was “food before one is just for fun”. Amalia will still get most of her nutrients from breastmilk or formula. So don’t stress too much. Make it fun and see what she likes! I agree with your doctor’s recommendation on oatmeal. We used that as the cereal of choice and really only used rice if stool was loose. Sweet potato, peas, pears, carrots and apples were the most popular purées for us. Enjoy, it’s a fun stage!

    12.6.17 · Reply
  23. Caitlin said:

    Ooh… Also, puréed zucchini was a huge hit in our house.

    12.6.17 · Reply
  24. Sarah said:

    My little one is 18 months old, I started introducing solids at 6 months (she was exclusively breast fed until then) I never did give her any baby cereal/ oatmeal and we never had an iron deficiency problem. She also hated the texture of baby food so that was fun. We have always seasoned her foods (like your half brothers Mom) she drinks my daily harvest smoothies all the time (I’m lucky if I get any) and pretty much eats everything we eat and we are big on seasonings! I went with my gut and waited to introduce solids. She wasn’t really that interested until 7.5 months!

    12.6.17 · Reply
  25. BRN said:

    Amalia will love sweet potatoes! A perennial favorite. Have fun!

    12.7.17 · Reply
  26. Jess said:

    My little is 13 months old and after some research, I started her on organic oatmeal, for similar reasons like what your peditrician recommended – I wanted the iron but also to make sure she segued into eating food ok! I did avocado next but she wasn’t really interested in picking up food for a while – we lived on purees for what seemed like a long time and then one day she decided she wouldn’t accept a spoon of puree and has been on solids ever since – it was totally 100% her decision. I have her in daycare now, so I think seeing other babies eating solids inspired her but I’m sure that can also come from watching her parents eat! Good luck! And side note being that I’ve slowly learned not to stress about these milestones and changes, they usually help guide you when they’re ready!

    12.8.17 · Reply
  27. Amy said:

    The best advice I got for starting solids was to start with the solids in the morning for “breakfast” so that if for some reason it upsets her stomach or she has a reaction to it, you’d have the day to work through it (as opposed to starting with “dinner” and then being up all night with a sick baby or worrying about having to contact your pediatrician). I know there’s this notion that it will “fill her up” before bed, but it seems like she’s got the whole sleeping-through-the-night thing down already 🙂

    12.8.17 · Reply
  28. Christia said:

    My daughter is almost 3.5 now and eats just like your brother, but it was a slow process! A lot of that comes later on in the earlier toddler years when they start to refuse certain foods or not eat much at all – and learning the importance of continuing to offer them ALL foods regardless. Using positive language when it comes to addressing the food, letting them see you eat it too and offering to have them try it, etc. If they say no, that’s ok. Try again tomorrow/next time. So not to jump ahead from where you are right now, but in theory the first several months until she’s 1, as others have mentioned, is just ‘for fun’ no matter when you decide is right for her to start. Encourage her to use all of her senses to explore food – smell, touch and of course taste. And part of that is getting messy and that is ok! You want to make eating a fun and pleasurable experience from the get go and not put any pressure on it (for her OR yourself!) My daughter initially had a more pronounced gag reflex when it came to food textures, or the size of foods, and part of that I learned is physiological as their mouth is still developing and how they have control over their tongue as they physically learn how to eat and swallow. She still will smell things first before trying them as that just seems to be her first sense she prefers, but 9/10 will try whatever it is we’re offering! I also recommend the silicone square ice cube trays if you’re going to make her food – you can make big batches of purées at once and then freeze them and they easily pop right out into baggies! Then when you’re making her food, you can mix and match flavors. I also mixed pumped breast milk in with a lot of the purees just so I knew she was getting that extra nutrition. So if you’re going to make batches of food, might be a great day to use what you pump to mix and freeze in the purees. The book Superfoods for Babies was awesome for giving insight into when it’s most safe and developmentally appropriate to introduce different foods and good recipes.

    12.8.17 · Reply
  29. Jeanie Marie said:

    We stared with unsweet Apple sauce, formula milk and oatmeal mixed (big hit) then sweet potatoes and avocado too! We switched from rice to oatmeal from the first to second child and noticed a huge difference. Oatmeal being the clear winner on the tummy. For when older the mum mums are the best thing for teething babies to chew on, they literally melt. My 2 year old still loves the strawberry ones!
    I liked starting solids, it’s fun to see what their little personalities like and dislike!

    12.9.17 · Reply
  30. alex said:

    I’m dying to start solid foods but also feel my 4.5 month old is not ready. The doctor’s only argument for starting before 6 months was so we can talk about it at our 6 month appointment. So, we’re waiting for now but will probably start before 6 months as well. I was thinking of avocado THEN sweet potato. I never thought about the seasoning aspect; that’s so interesting and I think we’ll try that too!

    12.16.17 · Reply