So here we go again... second baby ready to start the adventure of eating solids. As a parent this can be the most exciting to start out, but then can become one of the most frustrating times in babyhood.
Let me start with my first tip... don't stress too much and be flexible! My greatest advice for parents is that this entire journey from start to finish is all about the victories and failures. There will be things that work and don't work and sometimes you'll have to combine and tweak things to work for you and your family! There's no "right" way that fits every family, so find what works for you!
1. Puree's vs. Baby Led Weaning
When we had Winslow we didn't know any other way to introduce foods to her than giving her purees. They tell you to first start with oatmeal and then one by one introduce all the other fruits and vegetables. I decided early on that I wasn't going to spend a ton of money on food that I could make myself and I knew would have just food in it and not the extra stuff. So i purreed and steamed and froze everything.
When my second daughter was ready to begin eating solids thats when I found out about Baby Led Weaning. It was such a paradigm shift from what and how I was told babies should eat. It took a lot of research and tons of questions, but in the end I'm so glad we tried it. Although VERY, VERY messy, it is way easier to feed them because you don't have to fight over trying to shove a spoon in their mouth! We are doing the same thing with Aubrey now and my only complaint is that she's so used to feeding herself that its like fighting an animal when we are out in public and I try to spoon feed her mac n cheese.
Baby Led Weaning by far is my favorite because it just makes sense. The whole premise behind this idea is that babies can and will learn to feed themselves. At an early age they teach themselves through practice and play on how to chew and swallow. They learn textures and most importantly learn to tell you when they are full.
Another thing that Mom's usually ask is when will baby be ready to eat solids. When we had Winslow, we were advised to begin spoon feeding her oatmeal at 3-4 months. But when I started researching baby led weaning they suggested you wait to feed baby food until they are 6 months or can hold their head up well and sit. So for the last two babies, thats what we did before we fed them any food. I think it was a great sign to know whether or not they were ready for food!
2. Feeding Gear
As you begin its important to make sure you have the right tools as well. It will get really messy! One of my favorite brands for finding simple and cute feeding gear is Bumkins. They have everything you could possibly need from splat mats, bibs and dishes for your little one. I personally love the Bumkins splat mats and bibs, we use them for every meal. They are easy to wash off and they don't cost a fortune!
Another great product I found was the steam bowl from Olababy. When we took our most recent trip to the East Coast I still wanted to make Aubrey fresh food instead of buying a ton of pouches and obviously I couldn't pack my food steamer and processor. So I brought along the Olababy steam bowl. All you need is a pot with a lid and water. Put the steam bowl in boiling water and steam your food like normal. It made our trip so much easier and made me feel good that I didn't have to compromise on nutrition.
Of course don't forget your most important gear of all... THE HIGH CHAIR! There are so many great options to fit different styles and spaces! One of my favorite chairs has to be the ikea high chair. It easily fits into any design space and is super easy to clean! I even heard recently of a mom who takes hers apart and fits in conventionality into her dishwasher! TOTAL WIN! There are so many great highchairs that can adjust and grow with your child as well. For a great list with some amazing feedback head over to my friend Bloom and Bundles blog! There are some great options she lists out.
Now that you know how you want to introduce foods and you have the gear you need, the next step is you need to make an action plan of what you want to start feeding your little one. The most popular and easiest foods to feed them in the beginning are avocados, bananas, sweet potato, squash and oatmeal. My favorite combination is definitely avocados and bananas!
There are also so many great books out there with recipes and tips for when baby has his/her first foods. Definitely check those out for some great inspiration, or head over to Pinterest of course!
Today there are also a lot of companies popping up that will ship you pre-made food. Raised Real is a great option if you want to skip all the meal prep. Every month they provide you with 20 meals, which doesn't seem like a lot, but actually it is more than enough! We got our shipment in the beginning of the month and still have plenty left over that we haven't used yet. All their ingredients are fresh and great combinations of food ensuring that your little ones get a good mix of nutrients. I even found myself copying their food combinations in my own meals! Raised real also provide cards that breakdown all the nutrition facts you need to know. I think the best part about this company and what sets them apart from others is that they allow you to make the decision of how you want to feed your baby. Their food doesn't come in purees so you can decide whether to puree or not. And an added bonus is they can ship you their own food processor as well! They really do give you the tools you need to get the job done!
I know that starting this journey can be a little hectic but I hope this helped to get you started in the right direction!
Love you Mama!