Several people have asked me recently about what food exactly we feed Mark. I haven’t blogged much (or at all) about Mark starting solid food. I did with Ellie (you can find all those posts here) but somehow, so much of Mark’s first few months has escaped me. Anyway, one thing I did manage to do was to keep a running list of [mostly all] the different kinds of food that Mark has been eating and in roughly what order we introduced them to him.
So, if you’re interested in Baby-Led Weaning (and you should be if you’re not! :)), here is the list of food from Mark’s first couple months of eating (in roughly chronological order) to give you some ideas:
- sweet potato (roasted)
Mark tries sweet potato (and solid food) for the very first time (at 6.5 months)!
- zucchini (roasted)
- potato (roasted)
- yellow plum
- chicken (baked and grilled)
- fig (fresh)
- black beans
- eggplant (roasted)
- eggs (scrambled)
- apple (raw)
- salmon (grilled and canned)
- pepper (cooked and raw)
- onion (cooked)
- flounder (fried)
- ground beef (souzoukakia, which are Greek meatballs)
- black bean sweet potato burgers
- cheddar cheese
- beet (cooked)
- sweet corn (on cob)
eating corn on the cob (at 7.5 months), with only two teeth!
- kohlrabi (sliced really thinly)
- fennel (sliced really thinly)
- pork souvlaki
- butternut squash
- spaghetti squash
- lamb (slow roasted)
- peanut butter
- carrot (grated, raw)
- radish (grated, raw)
- cabbage, roasted
- (and there’s more but I stopped writing them down awhile ago so I don’t remember!)
Some notes on this list:
1. We tried solids with Mark at 6 1/2 months and he cried whenever we put him in his chair. So we stopped and tried again at 7 months and then he seemed ready to dive in.
2. We don’t follow any of the introduction rules for foods. So we certainly do not wait 3 days between each new food and we also don’t worry about introducing more than one food at a time. We don’t really have any family history of allergies (other than one cousin with an allergy to sesame and a grandmother allergic to shellfish) and so we just watch carefully whenever we give him a new food (or foods)
3. There is some controversy over giving eggs to kids under one. It used to be thought that the egg white protein could be aggravating to the stomach. When Ellie was starting solids, our pediatrician told us not to worry about it. So Mark has scrambled eggs for breakfast every morning, just like we do and he hasn’t had any trouble.
4. What is [perhaps] conspicuously missing from this list is any grains. I’ve read in a few places (such as here) that because babies do not produce the necessary enzymes to digest carbohydrates until around age one, there’s no reason to feed them to babies. It’s also a good discipline for us because it’s far too easy to just throw some bread on the tray and consider that a meal. Not feeding grains helps me think more about how to provide the food that Mark’s body really needs for growing up strong. We’re not super strict about this. He’s certainly eaten crumbs off the floor containing grains! And the sweet potato burgers that I linked to above have oatmeal and millet in them, which I didn’t remember until after he’d eaten them. But, probably 99% of the time, he’s grain-free. He eats black beans and lentils a couple times a week too. We’ll introduce grains slowly after his first birthday.
5. Yes, he’s also eaten tahini and peanut butter. With Ellie, our pediatrician told us that the new wisdom is that introducing those earlier rather than later is actually better for preventing allergic reactions so that’s what we’ve done. He doesn’t eat very much of either but he has had them.
6. The only food rules we follow strictly are no honey before age one and no shellfish before 18 months (and I think even that one is up for debate). Pretty much “no honey before 1″ is the only one that I’ve heard of every pediatrician talking about!
7. Also, you may have noticed that bananas are missing from this list. We don’t buy bananas (here’s why) but also, when Ellie was a baby, someone told me that all babies HAD to eat bananas and so I had to feed them to Ellie. And, as my mother may attest, when someone tells me that I HAVE to do something, my tendency is to say, “OH YEAH?!?!?!? Just watch me do the opposite!!” and so on principle, Ellie didn’t taste a banana until she was close to two. And guess what? She’s a happy, thriving 3-year-old so I guess there wasn’t any harm done! (There’s really nothing wrong with feeding your baby a banana of course, but because our family doesn’t eat them, I don’t see any reason to buy some just for the baby. Plus they can be constipating.)
8. Generally speaking, we just feed Mark whatever we are eating. The only thing I worry about is limiting his salt intake. I’m less picky about it now that he’s getting a bit bigger but I still try to limit him to only one food per day that has salt in it and I don’t give him much of it. Also, if he has a food with salt in it, I try to make sure he drinks water.
9. Speaking of drinking water, if a baby is allowed to nurse on cue, then he doesn’t really need to drink water (at Marks’s age). (This is not true for formula-fed or schedule-nursed babies.) So although Mark is learning how to drink from a glass, just like Ellie, we don’t worry too much about how much he’s drinking in any given day. We also don’t give our kids juice until they’re much older so he hasn’t had juice. (We really only drink apple cider in the fall/winter and occasionally orange juice as a treat. Juice is generally just a treat/luxury for us.)
10. We try to eat seasonally so you’ll see that Mark has only had summer and fall fruits and vegetables. He’ll have to wait until next spring for peas, strawberries, and asparagus. Those were among Ellie’s first foods but she was born three months earlier in the year than Mark was and so starting eating in spring, rather than the middle of summer!
11. Here’s one more reason to love feeding your baby this way: IT’S SO EASY!!! I throw some food on Mark’s plate and then I pretty much ignore him for the rest of the meal, unless I need to put more food on his plate. We all feed ourselves at the same time and it is lovely. I highly recommend it!