Happy. Healthy. Southie.
Supportive and non-judgmental advice from SBCHC's health experts.
Starting Solids Primer: Part 3
By: Jocelyn Guggenheim
In part 3 of our Starting Solids series we have ideas for which foods are good to start with whether you’re offering purees, doing baby-led weaning, or providing a combination.
Starting at 6 months:
1 meal per day
When parents/family are also eating
Excellent first foods:
- Sweet potato (baked in logs or baked and pureed)
- Avocado (cut into wedges or pureed and mixed with water, breast milk or formula)
- Pear (soft slices or pureed)
- Zucchini (baked in logs or steamed and pureed)
- Banana (cut into log or pureed with water, breast milk, or formula)
- Infant cereal is optional, if you do choose to offer it I recommend oat cereal over rice cereal. It has more fiber (is less likely to constipate babies) and doesn’t have the potential risk of arsenic exposure that has been found in rice cereal.
- Start a sippy or children’s straw cup with water. This is mostly for practice as babies this age put everything in their mouths but over time they will start actually drinking water. Water is safe to give children 6 months and older.
Continue with fruits and veggies until baby and parents are ready to add food that have more substance and/or foods that could potentially cause allergies
Between 6 and 7 months with medical ok add:
- Small tastes of peanut butter (spread in thin layer on soft foods like banana log or added in small amount to purees)
- Small tastes of whole milk plain yogurt (spread in thin layer on soft foods like pear wedges or spoon fed)
- Small tastes of egg (baked in an omelet and cut into small log or scrambled and mixed into puree)
- Soft/defrosted frozen berries cut in small pieces or pureed
2 meals per day
When parents/family are also eating
Add more complexity to meals and start finger foods
- Purees can have more texture to them or move to Stage 2 foods for premade options
- Continue soft solids
- Sweet potato with turkey, cinnamon and nutmeg pureed with water as needed for texture
- Zucchini with eggs and black pepper pureed
- Chicken and green beans pureed with garlic and onion
- Whole milk plain yogurt with fruit puree
- Oatmeal with peanut butter and fruit puree
- Lentils with sweet potato and cumin purees
- Soft ground meat cooked with veggies and mild spices
- Turkey/chicken/beef meatballs with veggies
- Whole grain veggies muffins
- Any meats can be shredded or ground for soft finger foods
- Any nut butter spread on soft fruit, soft bread
Move to 3 meals per day and continue with more texture in purees and more finger foods
Some children will reduce their milk intake around this time, this should never be forced, children will nurse for shorter time, show less interest in bottles or not finish bottles
Breast milk and/or formula provides the majority of nutrition until 12 months old
4 meals per day
5 meals per day
These meals should all be nutritious. I avoid calling them snacks because our culture tends to snack on processed/poor quality foods. Any snack could be a meal to a child so all food offered should be nutritious and the type of food we would offer at a meal.
Snack/meal ideas as purees are less frequently desired:
- Fruit/veggie smoothies
- Soft cooked whole wheat or whole grain pasta mixed with veggies/shredded cheese/beans
- String cheese with fruit
- Cheese and whole grain bread/crackers with minimal salt (check out 100% pumpernickel bread for an easy to chew sandwich that packs well with cream cheese, avocado or nut butter spread between layers)
- Multigrain muffins with veggies baked in
- Freeze dried fruits (strawberries and blueberries are easiest to chew). These are a great substitute for puffs or yogurt melts with either have very little nutrition or a lot of sugar
The first year of eating is all about infant getting used to different tastes and textures. You want to avoid salt and sugar as much as possible but should not avoid a variety of flavors, spices and textures. You can always add these to premade baby food as needed, I always recommend tasting jars of baby food before/while you feed them to your baby to ensure the food really tastes like what it contains!
And remember to look to healthy options the rest of the family eats with the goal that everyone eats together by age 1. This way children aren’t eating “kid food” which tends to be salty, processed and low in veggies and fiber (think chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese). Making healthy foods for kids can be a great inspiration to start the whole family on a healthy eating routine! Looking for more info? Make an appointment with our nutritionist or your child’s pediatric provider!