We started solids with Emilia! I don’t know who was more excited, me or Brian. I know that breastmilk is recommended for the entire first year of a baby’s life, but I stillI experienced a moment of sadness when I realized that starting solids would probably mean a gradual reduction in breastfeeding, but it just reminded me to treasure every moment I get to spend snuggled with her while she nurses.I did some research into starting solids but not my usual in-depth study and planned to follow our pediatricians instructions to begin her with rice cereal since it’s the least allergenic, then move to green veggies, all other veggies, then fruits, then mixes, as he recommended. Thankfully, my quick research into organic rice cereals returned that one of the more popular organic rice cereals had the highest levels or arsenic. So I picked up some non-organic Beechnut brand rice cereal since it had the best rating on Goodguide and also grabbed some Gerber organic and Beechnut oatmeal.
We started Emilia on the rice cereal on September 1st, a few days after her 5-month birthday, but quickly transitioned to the oatmeal for the next feeding since the arsenic issue worried me. I mixed the cereals with breastmilk to ease the transition but forgot that I’d done it when Brian and I sampled the rice cereal; it was so sweet! E’s facial expressions as she tasted it were hilarious but she wouldn’t quite open her mouth at that first feeding. She was hesitant but intrigued. We only fed her a few mouthfuls, but it was fun. Brian took a quick video and of course, there are lots of photos.
Since then, over the past two weeks we’ve done oatmeal mixed with breastmilk every day or so in the morning or around lunch, slowly changing the consistency to be less liquidy. By this past weekend, E was opening her mouth to accept the spoon and saying “Mmm, mmm” as she ate for Brian.
Today, (September 14), I fed Emilia her first vegetable —organic green squash— and she absolutely LOVED it. I just steamed it then pureed it in the Vitamix. She said “MMM, mmm” after every mouthful, it was the adorable. I’d wanted to start her on something a little more flavorful, like asparagus, but decided on squash this morning for some reason I couldn’t name. I was so thrilled with how well our first veggie experience went, I smooshed a little of the banana I ate after I fed her and let her eat it off my finger. (Shhh. Don’t tell daddy that mommy is totally doing whatever she wants now.) Emilia was thrilled as she tasted it. Baby girl is enjoying solids as we anticipated!
After doing a little more research on solids tonight, I learned that squash (and banana coincidentally) are two of the five best beginner solids. Squashes are monosaccharides and easy for babies to digest, as opposed to the more complex polysaccharides found in those other foods. They’re a great source of carbohydrates as well as loads of vitamins. And with their electrolytes, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, bananas are another great option for beginner solids.
A few things I’ve learned:
- Not to do feedings in the morning when milk production is best. Better to offer solids in the evening when production naturally slows.
- We’re “introducing” solids, not feeding a meal. The point is to get Emilia used to new tastes and textures, not force-feed a specific amount or try to “fill her up”
- Breastmilk is still #1 as far as nutritional needs for the first year; solids should be a supplement, not vice-versa
- Begin new foods in the morning
It’s been fun so far but I know we have a long way to go. I think I’m going to make a chart in excel to track what we’ve tried so far and what is up next.