Introducing Solid Foods: Stage 1 Strategies, Baby Food Recipes, and more!
Introducing solid foods to your baby is an exciting time for any parent. Watching a child’s face light up over a new favorite food will bring a smile to every face. There is something so fundamental about sharing a meal with loved ones...it is a profound experience that many families are excited to share. That being said, Stage 1 of introducing solid foods should be handled carefully.
In Stage 1 of food introduction, babies are introduced to one food at a time with several days of space between each new addition. The foods they are given should be easily digestible and low on the allergy scale. Things like sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and bananas are all great to start with. When it comes to Stage 1 food introduction, there are generally two schools of thought: purees and baby-led weaning. We summarize both below and even include some Stage1 baby food recipes!
Keep in mind that babies need to get nutrition from breastmilk or formula for at least their first six months of life. The World Health Organization recommends that infants start receiving solid food in addition to breast milk at the six month mark, but the Mayo Clinic notes that babies can be ready for complementary foods as early as 4 months. Before diving into the strategies and recipes we have here, we recommend that you speak with your pediatrician about the best time to start introducing solid foods to your little one.
Introducing Solid Foods with Purées:
This is the first school of thought on food introduction, and it is what most people think of when they think of “baby food”. A puree is nothing more than a solid food (usually a fruit or vegetable) that has been cooked and then blended into a smooth, creamy consistency. Stage 1 purees should be thinly pureed and strained until the food is thin, runny, and easy to swallow. Parents who choose to go with this method spoon-feed the puree to their child in order to get them used to the flavor and variety of solid foods, while monitoring their intake and feeding their children themselves. Fans of this approach cite safety as the most significant benefit. The consistency of puree reduces the risk of choking and spoon feeding allows parents to keep a close eye on potential allergic reactions.
Here are our favorite Stage 1 baby food recipes for the puree method:
Ground Oats. This recipe involves a little bit of prep, but is good for introducing a new food group to your little one. I prefer Oatmeal over rice cereal as it has more nutritional value.
Banana Puree. Bananas are sweet and delicious, and easy to mash-up! Some pediatricians don't recommend starting with sweet fruits first as this may sway your child's taste bud towards sweet flavors only!
Our favorite puree feeding accessories:
Anjie + Ash Silicone Bib. Silicone is safe for babies and easy to clean. Plus, this bib is designed to catch every drip and dribble before they wind up on your baby’s lap.
TeetherPop for Purées. When your little one is teething, something cold will feel really good against their sore little gums. Plus, this is a great tool for teaching self feeding. So why not kill two birds with one stone and feed them a purée while giving them some relief?
Whalelove Baby Food Maker. This machine will do it all. It steams, grinds, and purées. With this baby on your countertop those Stage 1 baby food recipes become a lot less intimidating.
Introducing Solid Food with Baby-Led Weaning (BLW):
Baby-led weaning is the other school of thought on food introduction. With this method, the purée stage is skipped all together and your child is empowered to feed themselves soft, baby-safe finger foods from an early age. This method absolutely cannot be started until your child is 6 months old. Fans of this method feel that it helps children to develop fine motor skills, learn to self-modulate their hunger, and develop independence. Plus, it saves mom and dad the time and trouble of making purées for every meal! Most Stage 1 foods still need to be cooked until soft, so some of our favorite recipes for this method are listed below.
Here are our favorite Stage 1 baby food recipes for the baby-led weaning method:
Oatmeal cups. This is a great snack for the whole family! Start with the base recipe and then add in finely chopped toppings as you introduce new foods.
Scrambled eggs. Creamy protein. What could be better?
Sweet potatoes. Delicious, nutritious, and a great Stage 1 food to introduce.
Our favorite puree baby led weaning accessories:
Anjie + Ash Silicone Bowl & Spoon Set. This is a great way to introduce your baby to self-feeding. The bowl has a suction cup on the bottom that keeps it in place, and the spoon is designed to prevent gagging and doubles as a teether.
Bumkins Splat Mat. Baby led weaning is a messy method, so catch all of your baby’s fallen food on this waterproof and washable floor mat.
So no matter which method your family decides to go with, remember that what you feed your little one today sets them up for a healthy future. Enjoy Stage 1!