Jessica Siegel's Healthy Family Blog - Gelson's


A Year of Solid Foods


I’ve recently had several questions about what solid foods should be introduced at different ages and stages of readiness when babies first start eating table food.  It’s been two years since Little J started solids, so the details are a little fuzzy in my mind.  Luckily I have been writing about feeding my daughters for the last five years and have detailed notes that I can refer to and share with other parents.  If you or someone you know is in the process of introducing new foods to their baby, this post that reviews Big J’s first year of solids can serve as a helpful guide to age-appropriate foods and textures.  Keep in mind that the texture notes are just recommendations, and you need to carefully observe your child and use your judgment based on their swallowing ability and readiness for more challenging textures, since all kids develop at different rates.  Also, note that although I waited to introduce more allergenic foods until closer to 12 months because of my own history of food allergies, current recommendations say that you don’t need to wait.  Talk to your pediatrician if you are concerned about food allergies.

Although it seems like just last week that I was excitedly stirring breastmilk into mashed avocado for my baby’s first food, it has actually been a year since I started feeding my daughter solids.  Many of my readers with babies have recently started solids and are asking for information about the order in which solids should be introduced.  Although many pediatricians now say that “anything goes” at six months, I still believe that slow and cautious is the best approach.  Why rush solids when your kids have the rest of their lives to eat?  I followed my allergist’s timeline for introducing solids because I was concerned about food allergies.  Remember that even if you are not concerned about allergies, it is still important to introduce new foods one at a time, in the first half of the day for three days in a row.  Keep in mind that in the first three or four months of introduction, solids are just for fun.  Breastmilk and/or formula are your baby’s primary source of nutrition throughout the first year.  The solids are for helping establish trust and a good feeding relationship with your child (start practicing Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in Feeding now.  This is the time when babies learn about taste, textures, colors, temperatures, and eating from spoons, hands, and cups.  Relax and have fun.  I made most of my own food and tried to use mostly organic foods that were in season, but you don’t have to. 

 Here is the schedule and foods that I used:

6 months (thin purees of vegetables, fruit and rice cereal): avocado, butternut squash, carrots, sweet potato, green beans

7 months (thicker purees): rice cereal, asparagus, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, prunes, bananas, pears

8 months (lumpy purees, more challenging textures; quinoa, oatmeal): apples, blueberries, kale, beets, peas, quinoa, artichokes, kiwi

9 months (finger foods; shredded or grated apple; beans, protein—I didn’t do chicken or beef, but now is a good time): mango, apricots, red cabbage, Swiss chard, raisins, lentils, celery, red beans, spaghetti squash

10 months (olive oil, soy, egg yolk, wheat, other grains): olive oil, oatmeal, tofu, cucumber, split peas, cherries, egg yolks, multi-grain cereal (wheat/spelt and barley), turkey, more mixed foods

11 months: chicken thighs, steak, bread

12 months (dairy, tomatoes, berries, citrus, egg whites): yogurt, cow’s milk, cheese, tomatoes, strawberries, tangerines, quiche, egg salad

15 months (processed nuts (not whole), seeds, fish): almond and hazelnut crackers, pistachio gelato, peanut butter, almond butter, hummus, seeded bread, salmon, tuna, granola (with sunflower and pumpkin seeds), scallops