A few people have asked me to do a blog post on how we introduced solid foods to Eleanor, and an update on how her eating is going…so here ’tis!
As Eleanor is quite the big bubba (9lbs born and always on the 98th percentile for height and weight) we decided to offer her food at around four months old. The current recommendation from our Maternal Child Health Nurse was anywhere between 4-6 months, I was fully prepared for her to not be interested and to just try again at a later date, but at four months and two weeks old we offered her some rice cereal mixed with breast milk…
She pretty much opened her mouth like a little bird from the get-go. Turns out? So ready for this food business! The rice cereal seriously lasted about three days before I ditched it – it is pretty hard stuff for their little tummies to digest and was giving her some troubles. Next time I would skip any sort of rice/baby cereal and just offer pumpkin or pear as a first food, this is what we went to next. I’d been warned that apple, potatoes and banana could cause constipation, so we avoided those for a few weeks whilst Eleanor adjusted to eating solids. She began DEMOLISHING steamed pumpkin and sweet potato though, like some sort of Olympic sport!
I used a stick blender a few times, but honestly just mash some things with a fork! Eleanor has never been fussy with the consistency of her food, although I know some babies are. I also don’t warm things up all the time for her now, whereas I used to because I’d heard they can get fussy about that. But honestly? They’re probably fussy because they’re just used to it! These babies are such creatures of habit. So sometimes Eleanor gets cold pumpkin, sometimes warm. Her fruit is never warmed anymore.
Pear has been her staple go-to fruit, she loves it and it helps with any constipation. I stewed up about 4-5 pears at a time and freeze it, I’ve always got little tubs of pear in the freezer if I need it. To begin with I only offered Eleanor one food at a time, as is always suggested, but really after a week or so of this feeding her solids business I really threw the book out the window and just started smooshing whatever veggies we had left over from our dinner together for her and offered it to her. Broccoli, zucchini, carrot…
Her sleeping at the point of her starting solids was a bit haywire, I’m not sure if this was because she had tummy pains or if it was totally unrelated to her food. I started mashing her veggies with prune juice, or stewed some whole prunes up and put that with pretty much every meal. It seemed to do the trick and help her out a lot.
Cheese has been added a few times to her pumpkin/broccoli/sweet potato meals, just tiny little chunks which melt when I heat it. Overall I am very ‘whatever’ about what Eleanor eats these days (to a certain extent!) but one thing I have been pretty pedantic over is not heating her food in the microwave in plastic. She always has a crockery bowl (a Bunnykins of course!) and I’ve found the Heinz soft tip spoons to be the best – they’re just the right size and pointy shape at the end. Eleanor has always been open mouthed and wanting more, I’ve never had an issue with her tongue thrusting or refusing to be spoon fed, although I know this is a common problem. She did try and grab the spoon and do it herself to begin with, which is great really as she is keen to learn to do things for herself, but we developed a little system where she grabs hold of my pinky finger of the hand holding the spoon and guides my hand to her mouth. It’s our little system of just enough help from her to think she’s doing it herself, and enough control from mummy to not get food everywhere!
For those who have asked, here is what Eleanor (at about 5-6 months old) would eat in a day:
Breakfast: 1 whole weetbix mixed with either boiling water or warm milk and a few chunks of mashed banana or spoonfuls of stewed pear mixed through. Followed by 6-8 tablespoons of yogurt (all natural, full fat, usually pot set) also mixed with either banana or pear. A rusk with a bit of peanut butter on the end.
Lunch: About 6-8 tablespoons of mashed sweet potato/pumpkin/broccoli/carrot/zucchini, mixed with prune juice and/or small amount of cheese. Followed by 6-8 of yogurt and fruit (sometimes mashed up mango through the yogurt).
Dinner: Same as lunch usually.
I always offer Eleanor a breastfeed shortly after she wakes up from sleep. In the months of 4-6 months old this was in the morning when she woke for the day, after a morning sleep, after a midday/afternoon sleep and then she often has a late afternoon sleep to get her to dinner/bath/bedtime. I was finding though that offering Eleanor a milk feed after her late afternoon sleep was becoming unnecessary as a feed/solids/feed going to bed was a bit much to fit in to her. So if she woke hungry at around 4.30 I would give her solids dinner then. At around 6 months old though Eleanor was able to stay awake and active for longer period (2+ hours) so has started to drop her afternoon sleep. I generally feed her breakfast/lunch/dinner about 30-60 minutes after her breastfeed. At the 4-5 month old stage Eleanor wasn’t too fussed about missing meals, especially if we were out during the day she would miss lunch often, she was still content to just be breastfed. Now at 6.5 months old I’m finding the breastmilk is simply not enough for her needs, she gets ‘hungry’ very soon after a very big breastfeed. She needs her food too!
Now Eleanor is almost 7 months old I am offering her finger foods, have introduced meats, eggs, rice, lentils and couscous. But that is perhaps another blog post for another day, another chapter in ‘Eleanor Eats’!