I am not by any means an expert on baby food or toddler food, but I thought I’d share our experience for those that were interested.
Our objective was to never be perfect with everything but try to choose the healthiest foods all the time, avoid unnecessary unhealthy foods and ingredients, and to not teach our little one disordered habits or build anxiety around food. This is why I don’t feed her “paleo” or even “gluten free”. She hasn’t shown any sensitivities around any food so far so why exclude foods? I don’t want her thinking any foods are taboo or exclude foods when they work fine for her. Obviously I focus on meat, veggies and fruit first but if she eats peanut butter and jelly or mac and cheese sometimes I’m okay with that 😉
We started giving her bone broth around 5 1/2 months. This was her baby first food besides breastmilk. I made bone broth by putting old chicken or beef bones in the crockpot with onions, garlic, apple cider vinegar and water and letting it cook for 24 hours. She was not a huge fan and she would always make funny faces!
The purpose of bone broth is to strengthen the gut a little in preparation for real food!
After she had bone broth for 1-2 weeks then we started with vegetables. Butternut squash was her first food! Then we did peas and then cooked and pureed liver and other meats. I tried to focus on meat and especially liver because babies around 6-8 months are losing their iron stores. They need extra iron, especially if they are not having a prepared baby cereal, which is what most doctors will tell you to feed them for first foods. I just figured vegetables and meat were a better choice for us. She ate the liver right up! Might as well get these good foods in while she has no idea any different!
Then I would make different purees for the sitter and for during dinner and she would eat basically one frozen puck of baby food for dinner. At first she just ate dinner. Then I started with giving her sitter lunch around 7 months too. I used this silicone tray to freeze foods!
I also used this website, Baby FoodE a lot for different puree recipes! It’s great! And many of the recipes are very tasty!
Obviously we also used pre made pouches a lot especially when I sent food to the sitters. Although I got this pouch maker set last Christmas which was awesome. I could make homemade baby food pouches and send them to the babysitters which seemed easier than using the frozen pucks.
Moving to real food
We started giving her actual chunks of food starting around 8-9 months. Avocado at first (she would literally eat a full avocado a day if I let her, she hates it now though), then banana, chunks of squash and pieces of ground or slow cooked beef and pork, eggs, chicken (her fav) and flakes of pouched salmon from vital choice.
We also introduced sardines at this point! They are great for vitamin D (especially since she is not getting cows milk), omega 3s and calcium! She wasn’t really a fan when she started them but she loves them now.
We also started this baby cereal at around 8-9 months for breakfast. I went back and forth about when to introduce gluten, looked at some studies and then decided on this cereal.
She loved it! So around 9 ish months I started giving her some for the sitter for breakfast, along with lunch as well. We also introduced peanut butter at this time.
Toddler meals and beyond
Around 11-12 months she loved beyond purees completely and now eats chunks of food. She eats mostly everything now, except we do try to prioritize healthy proteins and fats and avoid sugar. I don’t feel the need to let her have unhealthy sugar laden and processed food especially since she has no idea about it anyway.
Now for breakfast, we usually have one of the following:
- whole grain or sprouted wheat toast with peanut butter or jelly
- pre made muffins
Lunch is usually a protein paired with a carb and fat:
- leftover protein from dinner
- cheese sticks
- she is OBSESSED with olives
- cubed sweet potato
- peanut butter and jelly
- healthy lunch meat
Dinner is whatever we’re having- as long is it’s a healthy protein! Her favorites include chicken, fruit, ground beef and burgers, olives, and noodles.
Snacks- we used to do puffs but then I stopped buying them to force myself to get better options:
- Dried fruit (available at Aldi’s!)
- Fruit cups
- Whole apples
We also at this time (16 months) nurse 3-4X a day still. When we started solids I ALWAYS made sure to nurse before I fed her to prioritize breast milk over food. I stopped paying so much attention to that around like 9-10 months.
Some other great resources are:
Please leave your questions below!! Affiliate links are in this post.