Mason starting solids was actually something I was not overly excited about to begin with. I think in a way I felt it was the first big step in him no longer being a tiny little newborn and I wasn’t really ready to accept that. I also felt a little uncertain on where to even begin with the process and knew that I wanted to give Mason the best start to his solids journey as much as possible.
Exclusively breastfeeding also made things so easy so the thought of throwing solids into the mix felt like so much more of an effort – yes I do sound lazy ha!
When my friend shared with me her knowledge on Dr Julie Bhosale I instantly became interested. I purchased Julie’s book – The Nourished Baby. Our antenatel group was then lucky enough to have Julie come and do her starting solids talk with us at one of our homes. Meeting Julie was wonderful and it immediately made me relax about the process we were about to embark on within our family. There are so many conflicting views and opinions out there about starting solids and I’m no way going to say one way is right over another. What I personally wanted though was to follow a research and evidence based approach. I knew I wanted to make my baby food from scratch and I wanted to have some knowledge around what was going to benefit my baby. Dr Julie Bhosale ticked those boxes for me.
Before I carry on, if you wish to look into Dr Julie herself and hear about her ways around starting solids or even what she recommends for a toddlers diet then click the link below. It will take you to her Facebook page.
With a full day tour coming up including a couple of locations around NZ this is an opportunity to come and hear her speak. I’m not much of a reader so hearing what she had to say in person was wonderful. In saying that though she has written her book so well where you can just flick to whatever section you need at any time. I have also put the link to her Auckland full day tour below, if you head to my Instagram you can go in the draw to win two tickets to any of her tour locations!
Where we began
Right before we left Birthcare with Mason we attended this ‘going home’ talk by a lactation consultant. Amongst a range of things she talked about Baby led weaning and instantly Nathan fell in love with the concept. Especially the idea of one day giving our child a chunk of steak to munch on. I myself also loved the concept but I knew I wanted to approach it in the safest way possible. When attending the talk of Julies I was delighted to hear she was all for baby led weaning too but she recommended doing a balance of it alongside puree.
As I said above what I wanted most out of this solids journey was for Mason to have the best start at it. I wanted him to getting the best nutritional value out of food and to not just steam ahead. We chose to follow the balance of BLW and puree to ensure Mason was getting to experience food in whole form, which I personally believe is so important (especially when it comes to fussy eaters and children having the independence of feeding themselves).
As his 6 month birthday approached I started collecting equipment to begin and although I had been feeling quite overwhelmed with it following The Nourished Baby book helped a lot. As a personal preference I like to follow a guide and although I trust my gut majority of the time, I find having something to refer to and backed with evidence made me feel ready for what we were about to embark on.
Pumpkin was on the agenda first! The way we have approached it is by slowly introducing foods to Mason at a time. Always individually first and then slowly increase it by adding it into the previous foods he’s tried. Bang on six months we sat Mason in his highchair and gave him a whole raw pumpkin to explore. We then gave him a chunk of cooked pumpkin in a silicone feeder and then tried him with some puree. He kept dropping the pumpkin on the floor, he took two very small mouthfuls of pumpkin off the spoon and then rejected the rest and screwed his face up as he ate from the feeder. It wasn’t really the success we were hoping for – ha.
I knew I wanted equipment that was going to make this journey as easy as possible. I did not want nor did I have time to be in the kitchen all day slaving over a hot stove putting so much work into boiling and prepping baby food.
As soon as I heard about the AVENT combined steamer blender I knew I was going to need it. Took a little to convince Nathan but once we got the opportunity for a really good deal on the price we lapped it up and have not regretted it.
The machine steams the food for max 20 mins and then as soon as it’s done you flip it over and blend. It’s that easy.
For storage trays, plates, bowls and cutlery I wanted to find silicone/wooden based materials as much as possible. I wanted to avoid plastic where I could. For my purees I have loved using the Haakaa and Munch silicone freezer trays. With them both being two different sizes its given me the option of various portions. I often use the Munch tray for pumpkin as I use this as a base food and then the Haakaa tray for the extra ingredients that I add to the pumpkin.
Trying a couple of different styled spoons Mason has loved the Munch silicone and wooden styled spoon the most.
It’s quite round and wide but Mason hasn’t had any issues with that due to him having a decent sized mouth – ha!
When it’s come to taking food out on the go the Generation three silicone baby bottle has been brilliant. With the spoon attachment it allows me to put Masons warmed puree into the bottle and when we are ready tip, squeeze and out it comes.
I also bought a Skiphop insulated jar as this can hold a larger amount of food and keep food either cold or warm for longer.
It’s also going to be extra handy as Mason gets older.
I have also purchased a silicone/wooden mushroom bowl from Haakaa that I hope for Mason to use more once he’s feeding himself and got gifted some Bambeado silicone feeders. Our weighted straw bottle is from B.box.
Week by week guide, allergies and where we are at one month in
One thing I love about following Julies – The Nourished baby book is that she makes it so easy to understand and follow. I didn’t want to shock Masons gut with all this food at once and I wanted to provide him with the foods that were rich in iron first as things with sugars in them (even if they were natural) could wait. I also wanted to take it easy to ensure his stomach could handle it and especially was cautious of allergies. Julie has included a week by week guide within her book and this has been fabulous for me. It’s taken the stress off having to think about what foods I wish to introduce when and makes me feel confident in what I am providing for Mason.
Over the first two weeks you literally introduce just one kind of food per week. I decided to do this for a week and then from there have introduced a new food every couple of days rather then weekly. My main reason for choosing to do this is purely because I wanted Masons gut to be able to properly digest the food it’s getting.
Julie speaks lots about introducing as many different types of nutritious and healthy foods before 1 years of age as once they hit that milestone they begin to get fussier and are more likely to reject new foods. One thing she does recommend doing (and I suggest looking into the evidence around grains) is holding off on grains until over one which is what we are doing. Other then holding off on fruit for a wee bit longer we are introducing it all from veges to meats and even seafood!
Allergies are scary to me so I have definitely been cautious on approaching this one. I have been one of those crazy mothers looking at their child for a solid 15 minutes double checking he doesn’t look any different then what he did a minute ago.
Theres a lot of importance in checking and identifying any allergies as early as possible so during weeks 3, 4, 5 Mason is trying peanut butter, egg and fish! So far no allergies which is such a relief.
Now we are one month in Mason is thoroughly enjoying his solids. We started with just having solids at 10am every day. Before a milk feed so he wasn’t to full to enjoy the solids. Now at the end of the month we have just started dinner as well and its safe to say Mason is loving it and eating so much. Its been such a great month and I have actually loved this part of my motherhood journey. Yes I was dreading it a little as it all just seemed a little to overwhelming, I pretty much knew what I wanted but where to begin just didn’t come naturally until I stumbled across Dr Julie.
So far Mason has tried in this order pumpkin, kumara, steak, spinach, peanut butter, carrot, broccoli and white fish.
I haven’t followed Julie’s ways to a T and I would say to any mum out there do what feels right for you. I am though using Julie’s ways as a basis and always referring back when I feel I need too. I’m taking it slow on introducing fruit and am definitely keen to hold off on the grains until over one. I don’t plan on giving any pre packaged baby food at all. Only if I was literally in an emergency situation which would very rarely happen. It scares me the amount of sugar is in these and how processed they are.
Masons fav foods so far are pumpkin and fish and he absolutely loves BLW. He tries so hard to pick food up with his fingers and if I am holding the food brings his mouth down to try and grab it from me. When I give Mason whole foods like this I also steam them until they are soft and then roast them in the oven so they hold together. If it’s steak I pan fry it in chunks.
I truly believe in providing Mason with the best diet and aspire for him to be someone who loves food and will eat almost anything! I cannot wait to see how he goes with the new foods that await.
If you have any questions at all, I’m happy to chat.