This post is sponsored by NutriBullet.
The Simple Guide to Starting Solids
There are so many fun firsts that happen in baby’s first year. First smile, first steps, and one of my favorites, baby’s first taste of solid food.
Around 6 months of age, you should begin looking for signs that your baby is ready to start solids.
You will want to begin your baby’s new food journey with Stage 1 purees. These are single-ingredient purees that are very thin in consistency after being watered down with breastmilk, formula, or water.
You will want to be sure to follow the 4 day rule when it comes to introducing new foods to baby.
Making your baby’s food at home has so many benefits. Not only is it simple and inexpensive, but it also ensures that you know exactly what is going into your baby’s food.
Signs your Baby is Ready to Start Solids
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests starting your baby on solid foods between 4-6 months. During this time, keep an eye out for the following developments from your baby as they are a sign that solids can start being introduced:
-Can sit upright and hold his or her head up
-Can turn head away from your breast to show they are done eating
-Baby has at least doubled their birth weight
-Baby seems interested in what mom and dad are eating
-Baby can bring an object to his or her mouth
-Baby seems consistently hungry after breast or bottle feeding
Remember, a baby’s digestive system is not mature enough to handle solids before 4 months. Always consult with your baby’s physician before starting to introduce solid foods.
Preparing Stage 1 Baby Foods
Once your baby has shown all the signs that they are ready to begin solids, it’s time to start preparing stage 1 baby foods.
Stage 1 foods are single-ingredient recipes that are often a very liquid consistency. There’s a good selection of foods that are great for a baby’s first bites:
-Brown Rice Cereal
When it comes to preparing your baby’s meals, we suggest making them at home. With the right tools, it is quick, easy, and very inexpensive to make healthy meals for your little one at home. More on the tools we use in our home below.
The 4 Day Rule
Before we jump into how to make your own baby food, we need to talk about the time frame of introducing new foods to your baby.
New food should be introduced to baby every four days (or longer) in order to track any reactions your baby may have to the new food. By waiting at least 4 days, you have the chance to monitor reactions, rashes, or concerning changes to baby’s stool.
For example, if you introduce carrots to baby on Monday, you do not want to introduce any new foods until Friday or later.
Selecting the Best Ingredients for Your Baby Food
When it comes to selecting the fruits and vegetables that will go into baby’s food, organic is best. By selecting organic foods, you are keeping harmful chemicals such as pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and dyes out of your baby’s system.
Look for foods that have the USDA badge. To receive the USDA badge on their food, it must be made with 95% organic ingredients, meaning no pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or dyes.
The 5% remaining in the ingredient list can be made from non-organic foods, but only those on the approved list.
Starting solids is a big step for baby. Here’s a quick list of supplies to have on hand to make sure you are setting baby up for success:
-Silicon Bib: one guarantee with babies and their first few months of solids: it’s going to get messy! A good bib is a must-have. We prefer silicone bibs because they are easy to clean.
-Baby Utensils: When it comes to baby spoons, we have always preferred white-hot spoons. These spoons will turn white if the temperature of the food is not safe for the baby. As for bowls, we love bowls that have a suction cup on the bottom to help keep things from getting too messy.
-Floor Cover: Even with our suction up bowls, things still get messy, which is totally to be expected!
–NutriBullet Baby Bullet: A staple for any parent who makes their baby’s food at home! It’s a complete pureeing system with all the storage needs as well. When making large batches of baby food, you can utilize the batchbowl, which makes enough for multiple servings. However, if you are just wanting to whip up a quick, single-serve meal, you can use the short cup. The NutriBullet Baby system also comes with dial-date storage cups that help identify the day of food preparation. The silicone freezer storage tray is great for long-term storage. (we also love making yogurt-based popsicles in the freezer tray as well! Get the recipe in our free cookbook below!)
NutriBullet Baby Turbo Steamer: While microwaving baby food may seem like the best route to defrosting baby food, it can actually be very dangerous! Thawing frozen purees in a microwave can lead to hidden hot spots in baby’s food caused by uneven heating. The NutriBullet Baby Turbo Steamer heats in an even manner, meaning no dangerous hot spots. You simply add a cup of water to the steamer, place your frozen baby food in the tray, cover, and cook according to the quick guide.
You still want to ensure food is completely cooled before serving to baby.
The NutriBullet Baby Turbo Steamer also doubles as a sanitizing tool for pumping and bottle parts.
Highchair: A high chair is a must-have when it comes to feeding baby. While there is a large selection on the market today, we suggest finding one that is easy to clean, safe for baby, and fits your family needs in terms of size, price, etc.
Preparing, Storing, and Thawing Baby Food
When preparing baby food, you always want to ensure all fruits and vegetables are thoroughly washed.
Harder fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, carrots, and broccoli will need to be steamed and softened before they can be pureed.
As we mentioned earlier, the NutriBullet Baby Turbo Steamer is one of the best tools available when it comes to preparing baby food. Steaming fruits and vegetables is as simple as adding water, adding fruits/veggies, and setting the timer in accordance with the NutriBullet Baby Turbo Steamer guide.
Once your ingredients are softened and ready to puree, simply add them to the NutriBullet Baby Bullet and blend until it reaches your desired consistency.
Freshly made foods can be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within 2 days.
This is where the NutriBullet Baby Bullet short term storage containers come in handy. They have a date-dial which allows you to set the date of preparation so there is no confusion on when the foods need to be consumed by.
For longer storage, use the easy pop freezer trays. Simply place fresh purees into the trays and freeze. Once frozen, move to a freezer-safe zip lock baggie. Be sure to label the bag with the date of preparation. Frozen purees are good for up to 3 months after preparation.
We suggest the NutriBullet Turbo Steamer to thaw and heat frozen purees. Using a microwave can cause uneven heating and create hot spots within the baby food. Using the Turbo Steamer ensures even heating. You should always check the temperature of the puree before serving to baby.
Tips for Serving Success
Try to set up baby’s first bites when he or she isn’t too hungry. If baby is too hungry, he or she could become easily frustrated with the new way of eating.
Some pediatricians suggest stopping half-way through a daytime breastfeeding session and transitioning to the high chair to start the solid feeding. This way baby is still focused on eating yet not too hungry.
Babies have what is called a “tongue thrust reflex”. This reflex causes babies to push any unknown or unwanted liquids out of their mouth with their tongue to prevent choking. This reflex disappears between 4-6 months of age. If your first attempts at feeding do not go smoothly, try again in a week or so.
At the end of meal time, throw away any excess food. You do not want to store any food that has come in contact with baby’s spoon, mouth, or hands.