Per doctor recommendation, we decided to introduce solids to the boys when they turned 6 months old!
Like everything else I do for the twins, I did some research to figure out how to go about doing this thing. Everything we do is new to me since I am a first-time parent and I don’t have too many mama friends. I try to just figure this all out on my own with my own research.
How to know when your baby is ready for solids!
- has interest for your foods. My boys began to have major staring issues when we would eat anything. They would also open their mouth if we tried to brought a food item to their mouth
- can hold up head pretty well. I remember we would always carry the boys by supporting their head, but at one point we stopped doing that because they could do it on their own.
- can sit without support. Sitting without support means without a support chair without you helping your baby or without any other props to hold up baby. Sitting without support was the recommendation per doctor, but I don’t always follow everything our doctor tells us. Our boys weren’t quite sitting without support when we started solids, but they did just fine and were able to swallow without choking on anything. However, I really do believe that you should use your own discretion and follow what you think is best! We also used the bumbo floor seat in the beginning. The chair provided them with some support. My boys were able to sit independently for about 30 seconds to 1 minute at 6 months then were able to sit unsupported for a longer duration at 7 months. Please note: there are some safety things to remember with the bumbo floor seat, such as baby should always be supervised in it. Don’t walk away from baby while he/she is sitting in it. Don’t place baby in bumbo on a table or adult chair as they can fall over. Also I hear some people are against it for the fact that babies don’t need to “learn how to sit” with a bumbo seat they will eventually do it on their own according to their developmental growth. Personally, I always supervised my boys when they sat in it, we rarely used it other than for feedings and like most Korean families we used it briefly on top of a table for their 100 days celebration. Totally up to you and always do what YOU think is best for your child and family lifestyle because you are the mom/dad and you know what’s best for your child(ren).
Which feeding approach to take: Rice Cereal, Purees, Baby-led Weaning, or All of the Above?
Our pediatrician’s recommendation
Different pediatricians will have different opinions and from my own research there are different ways to introducing solids to your baby. While I hear some doctors recommending parents to start on rice cereals, our doctor recommended we start with pureed vegetables and pureed meats due to it being able to provide iron and zinc–all the necessary nutrition needed to nourish a growing baby!
What different articles say
When I looked this up, some people are suggesting to start with infant rice cereal and move up to multigrain cereals. Some people don’t start with meat purees due to not being to digest it well.
Others don’t do any purees at all and go with baby-led weaning, which is pretty much is no purees from the get-go. You just go ahead and offer baby a regular food, instead of a mashed mix of meat and veggies (which can look gross and unappetizing according to baby-led weaning articles). You can give baby an avocado wedge or pieces of banana or something soft. With this approach, it would encourage and teach baby to self-feed, self-monitor food intake from the start. Even if the baby gags, it would be okay as long as they’re not choking because it’s a natural way to learn to break down foods before swallowing. However, with this method I needed to be prepared for a warzone as it gets messy pretty quick! Babies are messy–it’s just how it is, but if you’re okay with mess and opportunity to teach then definitely, give it a go!
What we decided to do!
Okay, so here is my opinion and what we did. Just note, I think so many families do it different ways because, again, you know what is best for your child and family lifestyle and personal opinions. There might be other caregivers or day care centers you have to keep in mind who need to be comfortable with your feeding approach. Or you might be raising a toddler along with your baby. Or you may have an extremely busy schedule because of work or whatever else. Or it can just be a personal choice on your own judgment call. So do what works best for you! For us, I just took the word of advice from here and there and combined it to what I call combined homemade purees plus organic baby-led weaning. I really don’t know how many other people do this, but it’s what worked for us!
For our situation, you have to realize we have two babies to feed. I had to decide whether I wanted to and how I would prepare for two as well as my family.
For homemade purees, I had to consider the extra work I would need to put in to prepare these foods. I would buy organic veggies and meat in bulk and take 1-3 days to prepare and store: refrigerate for the following 3-5 days and freeze for the month. I had to take the to wash, chop, cook, and blend the food for the purees in our beaba dual babycook. It would be stored for refrigeration for consumption for the next couple days or frozen for easy preparation for next feedings! And I had to do this for 2 babies, which means double portion of everything. We actually ended up getting a deep freezer for that extra storage space. (It actually became super helpful in storing other freezer things for more quick dinners for us)
Baby led weaning means that YES baby will learn how to self-feed and I do believe it’s a great option for feeding, but it also means they will make a giant mess. And by that, I mean giant mess times two, because of course, everything is always times two for us. I would need to plan to clean up mess for two, which means cleaning hands/face/hair, their plate/bowl/tray, their high chair or floor seat, the area around where they’re sitting. In addition, I would need to be prepared to change both their clothes and possibly even giving a quick sink bath, if necessary. My boys differed in that, Owen was always a great eater with his milk so it was no surprise that he focused on trying get his food to his mouth as soon as he saw his food. Wyatt, on the other hand, enjoyed food as an opportunity for sensory play and would smoosh everything in his hands and wipe food off the tray, and then touch his hair or his brother’s hair. He especially loved the feel of avocado being smashed between his fingers.
With all that said, I also had to consider my mom and aunt who watches the boys 3 days/week. I am so grateful they can do this for us so that I can attend school and work, but I wanted to make sure they were comfortable with feeding plans. They were, to no surprise, were not open to the aftermath of babyled weaning. They were fearful of the choking hazard and for the massive cleanup afterwards.
Therefore, I decided to let my mom and aunt feed the boys with 100% purees, while I probably went back and forth from purees to table foods for baby led weaning.
6 Month Food Repertoire
As mentioned previously, we began solids a little bit before 6 months! Well, they were 5 months and 3 weeks to be exact. I did 1 ounce of rice cereal mixed with breastmilk for about 1 week. They consumed it so quickly that I realized I just need to move onto veggies. And just as I mentioned earlier, I would probably skip the rice cereal and go straight to veggie and meat purees for our next baby! But I would also mix in rice cereal with any purees to thicken it.
At 6 months and 2 weeks, I began offering water in an open cup. I offered purified water as well as korean barley tea. I bought 3 different sets of water bottles to test out which type of sippy cup they would prefer. We tried the spout cup, 360 cup, and straw with weight and without weight. They were able to drink from all of them, but preferred the straw cup the most.
In the first month of starting solids, my boys tried purees of the following foods:
- rice cereal
- barley cereal
- oatmeal cereal
- sweet potato
- green bean
- butternut squash
- peanut butter
- oregano (spice)
7 Month Food Repertoire
At 7 months, we added fruits and additional foods to their repertoire! This is also when I began baby-led weaning. My boys were able to grasp small items, which means they were able to pick up food items and bring them to their mouths! I began with easily mashable foods like avocado and banana and made sure they were cut in smaller pieces.
In addition to our 6 month food list, here are additional items that we added to our list during that month!
- greek yogurt
- cottage cheese
- chicken tofu scramble
- korean rice porridge
- korean seaweed soup
- chicken quesadillas
- shrimp rice balls
- brown rice
- white rice
- tofu (fried and cooked in soups)
- cinnamon (spice)
- parsnip (spice)
- cloves (spice)
- thyme (spice)
Foods from 8 months to 1 year
By end of 7 months, I began offering pretty much anything and everything, except whole milk, honey, and spicy/salty/sugary foods.
By 10 months, I completely stopped offering purees and was only giving table foods and Korean-styled meals in soups and rice mixes. I offered the following types of Korean foods:
- rice with curry with beef or chicken, carrots, mushroom, potato, onion
- rice with seaweed soup
- rice with avocado and sesame oil
- rice with egg and sesame oil
- rice with egg and avocado
- rice with soybean paste soup (dwenjangjjigae) with beef, zuchinni, tofu, mushroom, onion
- rice with white fish (tilapia filet)
- rice balls with roasted seaweed and shrimp
- fried rice
Pretty much, Koreans are rice people! We just can’t live without it! I also found my boys love love rice so much! They definitely prefer these rice mixes over anything else! I’m pretty positive already that they will like my kimchijjigae in the future as well! It’s too spicy for a baby so we will hold off on that till later.
I continue to try to offer new foods as I research different baby/toddler food ideas, but now we definitely more comfortable with feeding and have a good idea of what the boys prefer, which foods are easier to feed, which foods are more or less messy. Depending on the circumstance, I will feed them as needed.
This means if we don’t have much time and need to be out of the house and somewhere else, I know to not go into baby-led weaning and offer something more simple and less messy like pancakes or quesadillas. If we have all the time in the world, I give them a new food to try, offer utensils, or offer the messiest of foods like letting them feed themselves yogurt with a spoon or even letting them mash their avocado or banana to their heart’s content. If we are on the go, I definitely opted for the purees in food pouches or jars. I would take the homemade food pouch/ jars if I knew that they would eat it within the next hour or so. I would take the store-bought food pouches/ jars if we were planning to save it for later in the day. Since they are no longer on purees, now I take something like pb&j sandwiches, strawberries, yogurt melts, and crackers. I would also pack a tupperware bowl of mixed rice, but I would make sure that they are fed by us, instead of allowing them to try using their own utensils. If we are at a restaurant, I also try to remember to tip a little extra since we make extra mess on their floor.
My boys are 11 months and 1 week, but I am continuing to try different things and will probably continue to into the end of their first year and in their toddler years! I’m so thankful that they are both such good eaters and love to eat! Happy eating to all the babies learning how to eat solids and good luck, mamas! You got this!