L’s Solid Food Timeline

Hey there, Mamas!  I have received a ton of requests for this, so here it is: L’s solid foods, in order of appearance (plus my logic behind the introduction).  (See this article to see if your child is ready for solids, and this one for some general tips on first foods – plus some foods to postpone or avoid all together.)

L's first bites!

L’s first bites!

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ recommends baby cereals first, followed by meats.  This is to supplement baby’s iron and protein intake, as growing babies need more of these nutrients than breast milk alone can provide.  Then, they recommend vegetables and fruits be added in.  After 6 months, and once some previous foods are tolerated, yogurt and cheese can be added to baby’s meal rotation.  (Note: Cow’s milk should wait until after your baby turns one, as early introduction can be hard on the developing kidneys [too much protein] and can cause anemia and even intestinal bleeding.)

Keeping this in mind, we started with the tried and true rice cereal.  Rice cereal is a great choice because it has a low risk of allergy and is easy on baby’s stomach.  Next was chicken.  I wanted her to have at least two cereals and two protein foods before we started with vegetables or fruits, so that she wouldn’t get burnt out on the same foods over and over.  However, I did find it weird giving my baby meat (although I’m not sure why, as we aren’t vegetarians).  Chicken just seemed like the most “mild” choice.  Oatmeal was L’s third food (which she loved) – again, this was the baby-cereal version, although now she eats oats in solid form.  We rounded out the initial grains-and-protein introduction with garbanzo beans.  {I remember a relative asking what foods she had tried, and when I told them, the relative was shocked: She likes garbanzo beans?  The answer was: not really, although it varied from day to day.  🙂 }

Next we added veggies to the mix.  There is no concrete recommendation about which to add first, but we chose vegetables so she didn’t get so used to the sweet taste of fruit before she had tried plenty of savory foods.  Sweet potatoes were first on the list.  This may have been her favorite food!  Carrots were next, and we threw black beans into her rotation as well before heading to fruits (they went over much better than the garbanzo beans).

L chowing down on some black bean and sweet potato patties.

L chowing down on some black bean and sweet potato patties.

Her first fruit was applesauce.  Most of the other purees I made at home, but I did buy store-bought applesauce.  I was sure to check the ingredients to make sure no sugar or sweetener was added (only apples and water in ours) – I wanted her to taste the actual food!  Prunes were next to help with some of her – ahem – digestive issues.  Those were another pre-made item.

Finally, we made it to her first “Big 8” allergenwheat.  If your family has no history of food allergies (which we don’t, thank goodness), there is no reason to delay introduction of allergenic foods (check with your pediatrician or personal RDN for recommendations specific to your baby, especially if your family does have a history of food allergies).  In fact, early introduction of allergenic foods may actually reduce food allergies – more on that in a different post.

We followed that up with green beans, pears, and bananas.  Our next potential allergen was whole-milk yogurt, made with cow’s milk.  However, cow’s milk allergy (CMA) is unlikely in breastfed infants, so that eased me slightly.  CMA is most likely to appear soon after cow’s milk formula is introduced, and is unlikely to appear after 1 year of age.

Broccoli and peaches made an appearance before we tried allergen #3, peanuts (in the form of Bamba – again, more on this in another post).

For each of these foods, we followed the three-day rule, which is simply waiting at least 3 days between the introduction of new foods.  This can help you determine if your little one is having a reaction to a specific food (especially those prone to induce allergic reactions).

Where We’re at Now

After the peanuts, I stopped recording each food item.  She was taking solids so well that I didn’t really see a point in recording it further.  However, I was sure to watch her after a new food, especially an allergenic food.  Fortunately, at 16 months, we haven’t had any scares (knock on wood).

In my opinion, she is a great eater!  We receive a lot of comments on how she eats EVERYTHING and how much she eats.

We tried to let her self-feed (read: finger foods, like these cookies, these ravioli, and this casserole) as much as possible so she can continue to regulate the amount she’s eating to maintain her own hunger and fullness cues.  We did/do our best to provide wholesome foods that are similar to (or a modified version of) what my husband and I like to eat.  We figured, that way there may be fewer battles at meal times when she’s older.

Hope this is helpful, Mamas!  Let me know:  What was your baby’s first food?  Did you make your own food or use store-bought?  Do you consider your child a picky eater?

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