Today was a very special day, a day that I’ve been thinking about for a long time and also preparing for it. Being a mum and a dietitian, I want to get it right. My main objective is to get my baby to try a variety of foods during his first year of life, because this is when they are more likely to accept new foods.
After reading some pages of the book “How to Wean your baby”, Charlotte Stirling-Reed, I got all I needed to start my baby’s weaning journey! It took me some time to really understand if my baby was ready to start eating. I was waiting until he was 6 months old (exact) to start introducing foods. But I know that some babies are ready earlier, from 5 months. So I paid more attention to his signs of readiness, he was looking at me when eating and showed interest, sometimes he would chew and drool on an empty month! He was strong on his neck, being able to support his head, and recently started to be able to sit with some support, he has been sucking on his toys and fingers, and the most important reason that got me to get started earlier was that I was breastfeeding constantly (more frequent than before), specially at night, he was waking up every couple of hours, while before he would sleep 3 to 5 hours throughout the night.
So, about 5 months and 3 weeks old, on the 1st of August 2022, Adam tried food for the first time! The whole episode took about 6 minutes and happened so naturally! I plan to introduce 10 different foods for the first 10 days. I got a calendar, and decided which foods to offer each day, based on the recommendations of the child nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed and also according to which foods are readily available at my local market. The plan is to start with puree vegetables, especially those that aren’t so sweet. As babies already have a preference for sweet foods, it will be beneficial getting them to try the bitter and not so sweet foods first, so the likelihood of them liking vegetables is higher. After the 10 days, I will introduce vegetarian proteins, fruit, animal proteins, etc. And I will also gradually offer different textures, instead of puree, I will mash it with a fork.
I planned on a calendar the first 10 days, as shown below, to get a visual image of how the weaning will look like.
In terms of equipment, I got:
The day before I went shopping for the first 10 days and chose the vegetables according to the plan.
The first vegetable was courgette. I choose this vegetable as my baby’s first food because it blends very well, originating a creamy and smooth puree. And is not too bitter or sweet.
To prepare the courgettes (2 small courgettes), I washed it very well and peeled (you can leave the skin on, if you want, as it blends well). I cut into finger sizes, and cooked in a pan with a lid on and little water. The ideal, and going forward will be to steam the vegetables to reduce vitamin losses. After 10 minutes, the courgette was cooked. I took some to blend in the smoothie maker and kept some as a finger food, to demonstrate to the baby how the food looks like in its original form. If you offer finger food to the baby, make sure you can squeeze the food between your fingers.
After that, I served about 3 tablespoons of courgette puree in the plate accompanied by 2 pieces of courgette finger size. And kept the rest in a glass jar in the freezer, labelled with the date and its content.
I sat the baby for the first time on his high chair, he seemed comfortable. I put his bib around his neck, prepared the camera, and started by taking a spoon of his food to check the temperature and to show him how to eat, and telling him how “yummy” it was. He seemed very interested and wanted to eat. So I gave him the first spoon, the facial expression on his face was priceless! He seemed surprised by the texture and taste, frowning, but not rejecting the food and wanting more. I gave him some time to get used to his new and very first food! And when he was ready, I gave him a second spoon. I didn’t fill the spoon, just a tip of food, as his mouth is very small. He seemed to like it and wanted to eat all of it, but I didn't feed him all the amount that I prepared, because I wanted him to also drink milk after. I showed him the courgette in finger food and offered to hold it, but he didn’t show interest. The same happened with the spoon, I tried to get him to hold it, but he didn’t want to. I also added a few drops of breast milk to the puree on this plate, to get him some familiarity with the flavour.
At the end, I gave him an applause, showed happiness, and kissed him, telling him that I’m so proud of him!
Day 2 Broccoli
Today, Adam tried Broccoli pure for the first time! When I was preparing it, I noticed that broccoli is a lot more dry than courgette, so I added some breast milk to help it blend better and some cooking liquid from the broccoli. I used the smoothie maker and also the hand blender, to make sure I got a very smooth texture. I also presented the broccoli florets in little pieces. They were very soft, suitable for finger foods, in case the baby wanted to pick them up and eat them.
Adam was looking forward to his meal, after sitting him on the chair, I gave him the spoon and he started playing with it. Then, I ate a little bit of pure broccoli in front of him, and then fed him with the spoon. He made the same facial expression of eating something strange at the beginning (as yesterday), but wanted to eat more and more and quickly! He didn’t pick up the broccoli florets, but at some point, he put his fingers in his mouth, and was moving his hands alongside the spoon in direction to his mouth. Broccoli has a stronger flavour than courgette, I didn’t expect he would eat it. But I was wrong! He finished the broccoli puree and started crying. It looks like he wanted more food, so I breastfed him.
Day 3 Avocado
I cut a ¼ of the avocado and mashed it with a fork with breast milk. I tried to use the smoothie maker and hand blender and both didn’t work. So I continue mashing it with a fork and spoon. It wasn’t a completely smooth texture, but it was the best I could do. I also cut two pieces of avocado into finger size, leaving a little bit of the skin in one of the tips, to be easier for the baby to grab.
Adam was ready and looking forward to his meal. He liked it, but at a certain point started crying and wanted to get out of his chair, so I continued feeding him on my lap. He still didn’t hold the spoon of the avocado fingers.
Day 4 Potato
I cut a medium size potato into finger size pieces and steamed it in the pressure cooker for 10 minutes. After that I took some to the plate, added breast milk and mashed very well with a potato masher. I kept some mashed potato in small glass pots in the freezer, and served 2 full teaspoons in addition to two potato finger foods. He tried to grab the potato, but it fell. He ate all of it, and still wanted more food, so I fed him courgette pure that I had in the freezer. This wasn't part of my initial plan, which is only to feed him 2 teaspoons of new food for the first 10 days. He ate all of it and then I breastfeed him.
Day 5 Green beans
I washed the green beans very well, removed the hard string and cut both end tips. I steamed the green beans in the pressure cooker for 10 minutes, removed most of it and added it to the smoothie maker with some breast milk. It blended very well and the texture was very soft. I served 2 full teaspoons and kept the rest in the freezer. I served the pure with 2 pieces of green beans. Adam was already crying because he wanted to eat. As soon as I fed him the first spoon, he stopped crying and was accompanying the spoon with his left hand. He also hold the spoon with his left hand but let it fall, so I continued feeding him. He also grabbed the green bean and tried to eat it, but it fell. When the food was finished, he started crying for more. I then breastfeed him.
Day 6 aubergine and potato fingers
Aubergine is one of my favourite vegetables. I washed and cut the aubergine in half, lengthways and baked it in the oven for 40 minutes at 200C. Then, I scooped it out and blended it into a puree, without adding any liquid. With the other half, I made a babaganoush for us (recipe below).
I served the aubergine puree with batata fingers.
Adam loved the aubergine. He tried to eat the potato fingers, but he squeezed it so hard and fell on the floor.
Dia 7 Carrot and potato
From today on, I will be serving a new vegetable with an old one (a vegetable that the baby tried before).
I washed, peeled and steamed the carrot and blended them without adding any liquid. And then I served it with mashed potato with breast milk that I had in the freezer, and some carrot fingers.
Adam ate all of it, only leaving one carrot finger behind, he still has difficulties eating with his hands.
Day 8 Spinach, courgette and potato
I cooked frozen spinach in a pan for about 10 minutes, and blended a portion without adding any liquid. I then served it with courgette puree and potato fingers. He ate all the spinach and courgette. Again, he tried to eat the potato fingers, but I was afraid that he would bite a big piece of potato. Most of the potato fingers fell on the floor.
Day 9 Yellow pepper, potato and spinach
I steamed the yellow pepper, and blended into a very smooth pure. It wasn't necessary to add any liquid. I served it with spinach pure and courgette pure. He ate all the pepper and almost all the spinach, but left most of the potato. Anyway, today I served the biggest portion so far.
Day 10 Cucumber, carrot, courgette and potato
I washed, peeled and cut the cucumber into smaller pieces and blended in the smoothie maker. Cucumber is very watery, so the texture was more liquid than previous food purees that I did, but had some bits of cucumber that didn’t blend.
I served it with yellow pepper pure, carrot mashed, courgette mashed and potato mashed. I used a fork to mash the vegetables. This meal had different textures... and for the first time, Adam had a small gag reflex. I know lots of these episodes will come... but It felt scary. I started to think that I should learn how to assist a baby in case of choking. And a friend of mine recommended this video for me to watch.
I will continue documenting the next days of weaning and publish another article later on.
On my instagram page, you can view all videos of the first 10 days of weaning.
These first 10 days of my baby's weaning went much better than I expected. I thought the baby would be more resistant to food. Because I know it's normal for babies to take their time to learn to eat and get to know food. Adam proved to be very ready for weaning, not rejecting any food and always wanting to eat more. He shows signs that we can progress to two more meals a day. It should be noted that every baby is different! Some babies may not show interest for the first few days and may not want to eat. Don't be discouraged, it's perfectly normal. Keep going, and offer a variety of foods daily, I recommend a different food a day, in the initial phase.
If you need help introducing your baby to food, I recommend consulting a dietitian. She can help clarify all your doubts and make you feel more confident in this very important stage of life for your baby.
Book a free 15-minute initial telephone consultation now, clicking here to find out how I can help you.
Joana Jardim, UK Registered Dietitian and Mum of a little boy
Hi, I'm Joana, a Portuguese registered dietitian in the UK. I am passionate about helping others achieving their health goals.