Introducing a baby to solid foods can be challenging, even without being limited by dietary restrictions. For Sweet Girl, the first food we gave her was mashed avocado and she took it like a champ. Ate all of it, just gagging a few times. It was a short lived success, though. After one experience with purees, she decided she didn’t need to try them again. We tried several more times, with little to no success, until we finally decided to try out finger foods. I had heard of Baby Lead Weaning, which basically means giving your baby finger foods from the get go, but I am no expert and the concept made me nervous. After talking to a few moms who had some BLW experience, my husband and I decided to give it a try. I think we started with some soft avocado slices, in which Sweet Girl was very interested. She didn’t eat much at first. Instead she tasted a little, working on her pincer grasp, and explored different textures. Over the next few months she became more coordinated and began to eat more of the food we offered to her, even eventually eating some purees.
Once we got past her initial aversion to purees, I didn’t find it very challenging to start Sweet Girl on solid foods, and may not have done anything differently even if we did eat dairy and soy. We chose to wait until Sweet Girl turned one to give her gluten as well, and again did not find this to be terribly difficult. In this post I will share with you some of the foods that worked great for Sweet Girl as she was learning to eat solids. Please keep in mind that we chose to start her on finger foods, but just about any of these things could have been made into purees if that is the route you choose.
Very First Foods:
As I said, we probably wouldn’t have done anything differently even if we did eat dairy and soy, and we chose to start with fruits and vegetables. They are so easy to make, tend to be gentle on baby’s belly, and can be made as both finger foods and purees – there really is no reason to spend the money on jarred food. You will notice, this first list is not very long. As I said before, at first she didn’t actually eat much food, so we repeated a lot of the same foods until she got the hang of it. Then we started to add in more things from the second list. Here are some that we started with:
- Ripe Avocado Slices
- Raw Banana Pieces
- Cooked Carrot Sticks
- Cooked Chick Peas (I removed the skins at first)
- Baked Sweet Potato Pieces
- Cooked, cubed butternut squash
- Cooked Broccoli Pieces
Later finger foods:
- Whole O’s Cereal (Nature’s Path Brand)
- Freeze dried fruit (cut-up at first)
- Cooked Ground Beef and Turkey
- Puffed Rice Cereal (Nature’s Path Brand)
- Other sliced fruits: peaches, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, mandarin oranges, etc.
- Gluten Free Pasta
- Other cooked beans
- Lightly cooked carrot sticks with hummus
- Scrambled Eggs
I was pretty paranoid about allergic reactions and even just foods that Sweet Girl didn’t tolerate well, so we always introduced foods one ingredient at a time. This is obviously not a comprehensive list of all foods that we have ever given sweet girl. We continued to add foods into her diet as she was ready, and now she eats just about everything that we do.
My advice about introducing solid foods to a baby is very similar to my advice about making a significant diet change – keep it simple. I recommend starting with fruits and vegetables, whether you do purees or not, and just gradually adding more and more foods. There are plenty of options to feed a baby or toddler that are dairy and soy free. I hope this list provides a good starting point, if you are struggling to know where to begin. I would love any other suggestions that others have to share!