I have a new friend in the house. He’s 6 months old, and his name is Armin. He smiles all the time. How can a person smile this much? When I pick him up from the crib in the morning, he smiles. That makes me smile. When I leave him on a blanket in the family room and glance over at him, he smiles. That makes me smile. When I put him down to bed at night and tuck his little body into his sleepsack, he smiles. That makes me smile!
No, it wasn’t always like this. But now that he’s 6 months old, we’ve hit the sweet spot: my favorite age of all ages. I love babies, and when they can smile and coo, but can’t talk or walk, I’m in heaven. Maybe I shouldn’t say that, but it’s the truth. I’m in heaven.
And recently, we’ve reached my favorite milestone: Armin is eating solid foods! It’s the moment I’ve been waiting for. But first, I had to determine if Armin was ready was ready for a “real meal.”
Is Baby Ready for Solid Foods?
- Can he sit up without much support?
- Has he lost the tongue-thrust reflex? Does he know not to push solids out of his mouth?
- Does he stare you down and eye your food, seemingly eager to partake in mealtime?
Check, check, and check. At about 5 ½ months, Armin was ready for solid foods. I knew it during the many meals I would try to eat my dinner while holding him on my lap. My husband would watch his face and tell me that every time I shoveled a spoonful of food into my mouth, he would eagerly open his.
I took a few days to mull over a very exciting decision for me: what am I going to feed him first? My gut told me he would like prunes (dried plums). They puree beautifully, they’re rich in fiber, they’re naturally sweet, and something instinctively just told me my little Armin would like them. I pureed some prunes with water in my blender until it was a really smooth consistency. I sat Armin in the high chair, got my tools ready, and had a blast!
Things You’ll Need the First Time You Try Solid Foods:
- Old clothes, or he can go topless. (This is not the time for his Sunday best.)
- Baby food (whatever you decide to use), portioned into a small bowl. I start with 1 teaspoon, and see how things go.
- Baby spoon
- Damp cloth or napkin to wipe baby’s mouth
- Video camera. You won’t want to miss capturing his expression the first time he tastes food!
- Smile! Keep your face and voice positive, no matter what funny faces he makes when he tries the food!
- Make sure he is hungry, but not starving. The first couple of times I serve solid foods, I feed the baby a few ounces of breast milk/formula, feed solids, then finish with milk. That way he’s not starving and angry (or too full) when you’re trying something new.
Armin ate like a champ. He absolutely loved the prunes! He opened his mouth wide every time I brought the spoon close to his mouth. I would smile at him, and he would smile back.
Since our first adventure, Armin’s enjoyed steel cut oats, banana, butternut squash, sweet potato, avocado, carrots, peas, pear, and even cauliflower! I’m using the recipes from our upcoming cookbook, “What a Good Eater!” and so far, every meal has been a huge success! Armin’s food is homemade, easy to prepare, and nutrition-packed. And even though he made the most awful faces when he tried the pear and the avocado, I don’t plan on giving up. Research shows that it can take a dozen times before a baby becomes familiar with a food and begins to acquire a taste for it!
Like most parents, I don’t have time to cook much during the day, so I prefer to make 2-3 meals at a time in bulk, store the leftovers in small airtight containers, and refrigerate or freeze them. That way, his baby food is ready when I need it, and I only have to prepare his food about one to two times per week. This week, I plan to mix some of the pureed prunes or pear into his oatmeal for a breakfast delicacy (perfect for either an old man or a baby!). Thanks to the prunes or pear, he’ll have the added benefit of assured bowel regularity!
I love to stroll through the market, eyeing the produce section and deciding what interesting vegetables I can prepare for him next. As I do so, a feeling of excitement overcomes me. And when I shovel food into that cute little mouth of his, my eyes well up with happy tears.
That makes me smile.
*For updates on the release of the “What a Good Eater!” cookbook, sign up for the newsletter here!
- Is Your Baby Ready to Eat Solid Foods? What a Good Eater Podcast - July 23, 2018
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