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Starting Solids

by Kathryn Funk

Around 5 1/2 months I began baby Selma’s journey into her predestined life as a foodie. By that point she was sitting up by herself and had begun showing interest in solids. I opted for the “BLW” (baby led weaning) approach which is all the new rave. I found this to be most natural and in all actuality as old as time rather than a new style to feeding babies. Furthermore, I believe babies should eat what you’re eating as a family.

Starting solids was the milestone I was most enthused about, and I had been researching since pregnancy. I couldn’t wait to get beautiful, functional eating essentials. I purchased a gorgeous coral colored Stokke Click highchair which I absolutely love. I found it to be more budget friendly than the more popular Tripp Trapp, and I preferred the sleek version of a classic style chair this model offered. The tray removes easily and the chair then slides perfectly up to the table.

For eatery I bought Avanchy wooden plate and bowl with suction plus spoons. For drink ware I highly recommend the EZPZ Tiny Cup to everyone! It is weighted to help keep it upright, it’s beyond adorable, and most importantly it will help teach baby how to use a real cup which is said to be best for the development of their mouth muscles, directly related to speech. This cup also gives them a lot of independence and self control, so strip them down to their diaper and let them practice away at perfecting their holding and drinking skills. You will be so proud when they begin to use this cup by themselves! Additionally, I have a set of Munchin 360’ cups. I have made a habit of only using the Tiny Cup in the highchair and the others for when we are out and about for a sip of water between meal times. I am currently awaiting a pack of stainless steal cups with straws, I am a bit late to introduce a straw cup at 11 months, but I haven’’t dwelled on this since baby Selma is using the tiny cup. Overall the eatery purchases can be minimal when starting out, then add as you go if/when you need. I picked up a set of forks along the way as well, and have recently ordered a snack tumbler. I plan to invest in more cute eatery closer to 18-24 months.

Bibs! With my first daughter I rarely used bibs, they seemed to just be one more thing to wash. The bib market now has totally improved. Bibs are silicone so they rinse right off and they have a pouch! A pack of these bibs are essential. Originally I bought one Mushie bib which I did like at first, but after purchasing pack of two OYOY bibs I realized the Mushie is too stiff. It’s good for the very beginning, but once baby gets more adapted to eating it is preferable to have something more flexible. Plus the OYOY bibs can be rolled right up for easy carry in the diaper bag.

Final note of eating essentials: Eating with babes is messy, invest in a wipeable mat (we love gathre’s vegan leather) to place under the highchair or get a dog.

Now the important stuff… Eating goals and expectations. My goals were:

  • As much exposure as possible
  • Create a fun, calm, no pressure eating environment
  • Establish healthy eating habits off the bat
  • Introduce her to 100 different foods by 12 months.
Set reasonable expectations and be patient, this is a journey for baby and mommy, allow it to be fun and stress free.

How is it going? I got very lucky in many ways, and I was prepared. All of my goals have been met. We surpassed 100 foods around 8 months and I eventually stopped documenting. Eating is a happy, stress free time for us. The best advice I could give is to always be calm, especially if going the BLW route. Gagging is normal, don’t panic. Don’t become frustrated about anything involving eating. Baby picks up on your energy. Try not to make too big of a deal of things in a positive way either, but still make it fun and encourage. Eat with baby! This is so vital. Baby wants to do what you are doing. Eating with baby effortlessly imitates proper table manners and eating skills, which are important life skills. What’s better? When you eat with baby you’ll be more conscious of your own healthy eating. Treat them as another person at the table by eating alongside them and casually talking to them, “isn’t this delicious?,” “I love beets,” “you’re eating so well.” Help them when help is absolutely needed, otherwise let them explore the food and their utensils.

There are some amazing instagram accounts about feeding babies. Many provide meal ideas, while some teach tips and tricks. I incorporated a collage of things I had read along with my parents own tricks to raise non-picky eaters. My mother always said “you do like it, maybe you just don’t like it in this particular way, so try it another way next time.” Words of wisdom proven to be true.