What’s on the menu?


It was good to read Tamking11’s take on “Feeding the Masses”.  It is a relief to know feeding your children can be a struggle for everyone, and that even if your kids are somewhat fussy about food, they turn out ok.

When to Start

As with everything baby related, there is so much information and differing opinion on when is a good time to start on solids.  Over the years, advice has changed, but most recently 6 months seems to be the magic number – early enough to help satisfy up their growing bodies’ needs, but late enough to prevent onset of allergies.  Many sources also say that it is possible to start as early as 4 months if your child is showing signs of interest or needing extra feeds, although some are adamant about not before 6 months.  I did, however, recently come across a forum where mothers were starting their babies on crushed up rusks in milk at the 12 week mark which tends to go against what all the health professionals recommend.  There is also the theory that formula fed babies should start earlier than breast fed babies, at around the 4 month mark.

We decided to start our daughter on solids at four and a half months as she was showing a lot of interest, and opened her mouth if food was put near it.  It has been a gradual process of trial, error and persistence.  Sometimes she eats well and other times she doesn’t – hard to say if it is due to the type of food being served, where she is sitting (bouncer, play seat or lap), time of day, her level of tiredness or proximity to a milk feed.

When to Feed

The majority of reading suggests it is best to feed solids after a milk feed.  The reasoning for this being that at this early stage babies get nutrients from their milk and so it is best not to fill them up on solids before milk.  We wondered if this made much sense given the baby might be too full up on milk to want to try the solids at all.  Plus sometimes she would go straight to sleep after a milk feed so the timing would not work out at all.  I was glad to see this exact issues is covered by Robin Barker in Baby Love who suggests not to feed straight after a milk feed except in certain circumstances.  As a results I have completely relaxed on this issue, and just feed her solids when it fits in the day regardless of when the last milk feed was.

We started off with small meal a day, moving to two meals a day at the 4 week mark, and have recently moved to 3 meals a day at the 6 week mark.  I tend to find that she feeds best at the last meal of the day, around 5-6pm.

What to Feed

We started off with rice cereal.  Easy to prepare, nutritional and fairly bland.  Mixed with some expressed milk it made for a familiar taste for baby.  The first couple of days she was a little unsure and did not eat much, but by the third day feeding was a little more successful, and rice cereal remains one of her more favourite foods.  At the moment, we are trying to get her used to taking formula from a bottle with little success, but we have been able to mix it with rice cereal for one of her daily meals to get her used to the taste.

Next we tried mashed potato and then several purees of the milder vegetables, trialling each for a few days before moving on to the next.  I had heard that it can be better to start with vegetables rather than fruit because if a baby gets used to sweet tastes it may be harder to go back to the savoury tastes.  I should not have worried as we have since had much more success with the savoury than sweet.  Mixing the new vegetables with rice cereal or previously accepted vegetables has been a good way to introduce the new foods and keeps it interesting.

So far, here is what we have tried:
– Vegetables: Potato, carrot, sweet potato, broccoli, pumpkin (preferred roasted rather than steamed), zucchini, parsnip (no luck with this so far)
– Fruit: Pear (took several goes, and blending with rice cereal or other vegetables helped), apple (initially no success probably due to the use of Granny Smiths, have since used Royal Gala with more success, a friend also suggested adding a touch of lemon juice to cut through the sweetness, my mum suggested adding sultanas to take away the tartness), avocado, banana (hated it!)


I borrowed Feeding your Baby and Toddler by Annabel Karmel from our local library, and found it to be a great source of information and ideas.  I definitely plan to purchase one of her many books to help with our future food adventures!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. caspette
    Mar 16, 2011 @ 22:10:19

    Annabel Karmel has some great books I have one that does babies to toddlers. Really good.

    I must admit like everything else with babies there is huge pressure on what people think is the right thing.

    My little guy is not a huge eater. Also he is pretty random with how much he will eat, time of day doesnt seem to matter or type of food. Though he does enjoy fruit puree best. At the moment throwing food over board seems to be his favorite thing to do with food.

    Good luck.


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