Happy Baby Eats: First Solid Foods and Beyond for Baby and Toddlers

As I mentioned in an older post, I strongly believe that women should eat all kinds of food during pregnancy (except for the foods that experts and Mayo Clinic warn against, such as unpasteurized dairy products and juices, raw seafood and meats, and unwashed fruits and veggies). Exposing the embryos and fetuses to all types of nutritious foods will more likely prevent allergies than cause them. Eat like our ancestors! They weren't picky eaters!

Peanuts, gluten, dairy, eggs... "American kids have higher allergy risk" and "food allergies are a Western epidemic." Avoiding these food groups while pregnant, mothers may be doing their unborn children a great disservice. Likewise, when mothers are always sterilizing their homes, run to the doctors for antibiotics for mere sniffles, and are overly protective of their children (OMG dirt!), their children end up sicker (asthmatic, poor immune systems, poor digestion, etc...) But I digress, once again.

When Phil was around five months old, we introduced "solid" foods to him. He didn't have more than one to two teeth then, so we couldn't really give him chunky, harder foods. Up until Phil was 13 months old, he was drinking 20-25 ounces of breast milk on top of eating food from five months onward.

Here's what we started with month to month during his first year of life:

Five Months Old:

  • Rice Cereal mixed with breast milk (can also use water or formula). As this tastes like the milk that baby is used to, it's easy to introduce and transition toward for baby's taste buds!

  • Home-made congee (or juk) which is rice porridge. My mom added in dried scallops or dried shrimp for flavor. You can soak white or brown rice in water, then boil it with more water than you would when making rice regularly to make a thick liquid porridge.

Six Months Old:

  • In addition to the above mentioned foods, we added softened bananas, mushed up yams and sweet potatoes, and avocados. We began to introduce very soft meats (mashed up and ripped into very thin meat shreds).

Seven Months Old:

  • We introduced Phil to soft rice, soft meats, and soft cheeses, and steamed fish. We also introduced him to yogurt.

Eight Months Old:

  • We did not go with processed baby foods, no matter how organic they claimed to be, because they were always loaded with sugars and sodium. We sliced and diced up softer fruits (apples, pears, mangos). Phil's teeth were coming in very quickly!

Nine Months Old:

  • We introduced more seafood, giving him diced up shrimp and lobster, fish belly, and tastes of crab. He also ate whole wheat cereals. Every now and then, we gave Phil a taste of peanut butter, starting with very little. (Just a bit on our fingertip, and rubbed on his lips.) Phil had no known allergies then. (He still has none.)

Ten Months Old:

  • Phil continued to eat eggs. Now we fried eggs with olive oil. We also made him small sandwiches with cheese. He was also eating boiled carrots and other veggies. Diced up broccoli and mushrooms.

Eleven Months Old:

  • We continued to be adventurous. Phil basically began to eat what we ate, but in smaller portions, and with less flavoring. He loved pizza, pastas, and fried rice. We also introduced Phil to my favorite fruit, the pungent durian!

One Year Old:

  • By the time Phil was one, we had taken him to different restaurants. He had his first taste of sushi (avocado, sweet potato, and California rolls).
Phil at Brabo (Old Town Alexandria, one of the best restaurants in town)

Phil at Brabo (Old Town Alexandria, one of the best restaurants in town)

Now that Phil is two, he eats out with us at least once a week. When we're on trips, he eats out every day. He's quite a foodie with ZERO food allergies. Recently, we took him to his first "fancy" restaurant for dinner (Brabo), and he behaved like a gent! He had a grilled chicken sandwich and Belgian frites! Check it out!

Phil's palette developed in utero. I was not a picky eat and tried to eat everything that was nutritious (as long as I could keep it down, girl here vomited everyday for the first three months of pregnancy!). I can tell that Phil likes the same foods as my hubby and me. He could also eat spicy foods! Hot and sour soup is one of his favorite dishes! He also loves soup dumplings and Italian food (like mommy), and rice dishes just like his daddy!

 

As long as the food is nutritious and safe for your child to eat, go for it! Allow your child to be adventurous and experimental, and reap all the benefits of real and good foods!

After all, happy babies are well fed babies, and foodies and gourmets start young!