Introduction to Solids: Baby Food Special

Feeding babies is equally exciting and daunting. Mothers often face several challenges when it comes up feeding their little ones. So I’ve jotted down a few points which I hope you find useful.

Once the baby reaches the 6th month mark, you get a green signal from the paediatrician to start with complimentary feeding, because now, milk alone is not sufficient to meet his growing requirements. But is it just the age that determines if he’s ready for it or should we be looking for more signs? Yes, you’ll have to tick-all-the-boxes before you put that first morsel in his tiny mouth. 

(Being a nutritionist and a mom-blogger, I often get many requests to share about child nutrition and also few insights on complimentary feeding; so here’s my quick attempt at it for you)

1. What are the signs you should be looking for which indicate that your baby is developmentally prepared for solids?

  • Can sit without support
  • Has started to develop pincer grasp, which means he can hold things between his thumb and forefinger (first finger)
  • Has lost tongue thrust, which means he won’t push out solids from his mouth when given
  • Shows interest in food and is willing to chew
  • Suddenly has an increased demand to breastfeed- an indication of increased appetite. (Not a clear indicator though since teething, growth spurt, cold etc. can also show the same consequence)

2. Getting the equipments ready

The list is endless, but if I had to mention a few essentials, they would be: a high chair or a booster seat, bibs, sipper cup, small spoon that can be preloaded and given and a plate with some depth.

Click here to see a comprehensive list of items that you’ll need .

3. How to feed?

I opted for ‘combination’ method- i.e. a mix of Traditional feeding and Baby Led Weaning. I’ve jotted down a blog post on why I chose this method. Click here to read it now.

4. How to practise this method?

Step1: Make the baby sit on the booster seat/high chair

Step 2: Place the BLW food (ideas are mentioned below)

Step 3: Allow the baby to pick up the food, explore, inspect and eat on his own. Keep supervising.

Step 4: There’ll be a lot of mess and to be honest, there’ll be more food on the floor than inside the mouth, which is absolutely normal

Step 5: Get to traditional feeding- ie. spoon feeding to fill the nutritional gap

5. Points to remember

  • Never force feed
  • Don’t try variety of foods at once. Let the baby understand the taste of each food. Variety often confuses them
  • Follow the baby’s cues. If he is not showing interest in food, it simply means he is full and doesn’t want more. Especially while following BLW, you can wait for 10 mins and if he’s not picking up anything to eat, you can try another time
  • Avoid salt and sugar until 1 year of age. Their kidneys are not very developed and it’s better to keep it easier for them to function well. Children don’t need salt for taste. Essentially, at this age, it’s important for them to understand the unique flavour of each food item.
  • By the time the baby is 1 year old, h age should be able to eat from the same plate as yours- with all the seasonings and spices like you do.

6. Quantity and the number of times you need to feed

  • Initially, the baby might just take a spoonful a day, which is again very normal. Gradually, his appetite will increase and it’ll be evident from his intake
  • Still, I’ve jotted down the number of feeds a child requires at different ages. Also, each child is different and so is his eating pattern. He might eat a little more than mentioned, which is alright too:
  • 6-7 months: 1-2 solid feeds a day
  • 8-9 monts: 2-3 solid feeds a day
  • 9 months to 1 year: 3-4 solid feeds a day

7. What to feed?

I knew you were waiting for this! So here we go! I’ve listed a few ideas that I’ve been trying and obviously you can get experimental and try many more.

6-7 months:

At this stage, there are two things to remember. One, give simple (and healthy, ofcourse) carbs that are easy to digest and two, don’t give a variety. Infact, you can repeat the same food for three days and then try something else. This will also help in ruling out allergies, if any. Note: you don’t have to give Dal water or rice water like it was a norm earlier- all the nutrients are lost in the process and there’s barely anything that the baby gets from it.

BLW ideas:

  • Stewed Apple
  • Stewed pear
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Boiled sweet potatoes
  • Stewed carrot
  • Stewed pumpkin
  • Banana
  • Papaya
  • Muskmelon
  • Chickoo

Traditional feeding ideas:

  • Ragi porridge
  • Tomato and beetroot purée
  • Dal boiled and blended
  • Muskmelon juice
  • Puréed potato

8-10 months:

At this age, it’s best to give a combination of foods and also help the baby hold the spoon and feed herself.

BLW ideas:

  • Idli pieces
  • All seasonal fruits
  • Mildly seasoned kebabs/tikkis like mashed corn and potato kebab, spinach, potato and mashed peas kebab etc
  • Chapatti/ Aloo or cauliflower paratha
  • Steamed veggies
  • Boiled egg yolk

Traditional feeding:

  • Khichadi with curd
  • Mixed pulses dal with rice
  • Curd with chapati
  • Soups
  • Ragi porridge with a combination of fruits
  • Mixed fruit smoothies
  • Spinach/fenugreek dal
  • Mashed potatoes and veggies with rice
  • Scrambled egg yolk

11-12 months:

By this age, the child can start to eat pretty much everything that adults do. There should ideally be less of spoon feeding and more of BLW at this age. Some ideas are:

  • Pancakes, dosas and chillas
  • Stuffed Parathas with curd
  • Uttappa
  • Poha
  • Regular gravies with rice
  • Pasta
  • Khichadi
  • Noodle soup

These are some ideas I could think of. You can always follow what’s given culturally. Just make sure to avoid a few food items like:

  • Salt and sugar
  • Seafood
  • Honey
  • Egg white
  • Peanuts
  • Dry fruits
  • Raw veggies
  • Undercooked non-vegetarian foods
  • Foods that can cause chocking like popcorn, large chunks of soya etc
  • Sweets, chips and other junk items

Hope this was helpful!

So comment below if this article helped you and share with your friends who might need. Also, if you’ve got more ideas and inputs, feel free to share below.

Written by,

Elina Dawoodani Wadia

Nutritionist and Lifestyle Coach

Mumbai, India

12 thoughts on “Introduction to Solids: Baby Food Special

  1. Superb! I was so waiting for this..
    but I have one question, during BLW, it’s so dangerous and risky having the baby gulp a chunk in one blink of an eye! Once she had a big bite of stewed apple ( I just turned to take the napkin) and fortunately I happened to see it and remove it immediately from her mouth..
    also, initially she used to have good solid feeds with more interest but now she seems to be less interested! Why would that be?

    1. Yes, one has to constantly supervise while practising BLW. Hence I just allow her to self feed for a couple of minutes to get a hang of it. Then I feed her.
      What’re her age btw?

      1. She is 6.5 months old.. paediatrician has asked to introduce moong dal khichdi to her and continue until she turns 7 months old. Initially she used to have sufficient amount. But lately, she just refuses after 3-4 spoons.. what do I do?

  2. Great post to pop up on my reader. I’m glad you wrote this. I’m also dong a combo feed. Just couple of view points: 1. All products except honey and too much sugar are fine in BLW. Even nuts & egg whites are great. I grind nuts and mix with oats or khichdi etc 2. How can I promote self feeding of rice, poha etc? He just bangs on them (11 mo) so I’m having to spoon feed such foods

  3. My little one is going to be 6 months soon and I had a million questions in mind on what to do and how to do. You have beautifully answered all the questions I had in mind plus more. Thank you so much

  4. Hi, this article is very very helpful. Thank you. I wnated to ask at what time of the day should solids be given at 6-7 mnths??

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *