Since I started serving Avery solids a few weeks ago, I finally know what I was put on this earth for – to feed my child. Wait, that sounded a little obvious. Yes, obviously I am her mother so I am here to feed her, but feeding her solids and finding creative and delicious ways to serve her food is a new driving force in my life. As soon as I started feeding her solids, I became more creative with our meals. I started spending time at the bookstore to get inspiration from different types of cuisines, I started planning out weekly menus for our house, and I started writing down all the different foods I wanted her to try. I want Avery to experience the excitement of food, the joy that it brings to people, the tastes and textures that come from every different type of food. And I want her to know how to cook as she grows. I want her to see me in the kitchen, slicing and seasoning and tasting, and then I want her to be able to do the same for herself as she gets older. Food is everything to me. It’s health, it’s happiness, and it’s family. And now she is on her way to experiencing that herself. And I believe I was put here to help her find her way with food.

Depending on what source you read, many people start feeding their baby solids at 6 months. Based on the American Academy of Pediatrics, you can start your child on solids between 4 and 6 months, as long as they can sit upright and hold their head up. We decided to start feeding Avery solids a little after 5 months. At that time, she seemed super interested in food, started reaching for our fork or grabbing something off the table to put in her mouth, so we just went with it! I may not know a ton about raising babies, but I do know what excitement for meals looks like, and she was definitely excited.

I had read a lot of different things about baby led weaning, even before I gave birth, and felt drawn to it. Simply put, you’re following your baby’s lead when it comes to feeding themselves. Instead of spoon feeding, you let them get after it on their own. And that’s exactly what we did! We put food on her plate, handed her a spoon, and let her experience the food however she wanted to! I downloaded the Solid Starts app so I could better understand how to properly prepare some of the different foods and then I started introducing foods that I felt comfortable with and excited about.

The Solid Starts app is SO helpful because you can quickly see how to introduce and prepare certain foods, what foods are age appropriate, allergies, recipes, and more. It’s such an awesome resource, especially when you’re first starting and maybe a little nervous about it. My favorite part about the app is that it has a food tracker so you can see what foods you have served, any reactions they have had, and foods they have loved. Some people start with single food meals, but I started with multiple and it worked great for us! Here’s what some of her first meals looked like:

Mashed carrots + ghee

Cauliflower + parsnip mash

A piece of well cooked steak

Mashed black beans + avocado

Salmon + puréed delicata squash + ghee

Sweet potato spears + large piece of chicken

Steam broccoli + canned sardines

Egg omelet + plantain spear

Baked turbot fish + puree green peas

Oatmeal + prune purée

Zucchini spear + chicken liver pâté

Steamed asparagus spear + crème fraîche

Yogurt + puréed beets + steamed carrot

Oatmeal + macerated blueberries

Babaganoush + salmon

Goat cheese + acorn squash + mashed artichoke hearts

Those are just some of the simply meals she’s eaten so far! I serve her meals mostly in a small bowl with all the foods touching so she gets used to that instead of expecting none of her foods to touch. Then I load up an easy-to-grip spoon and hand it over to her! She takes it away from there! She will squish a lot of the food between her fingers and feed herself, while also using the spoon. We load up the food as needed, but we mostly just let her do her thing! She has seemed to love everything except for an egg and spinach frittata so I will have to try that again in the future!

Something I’ve shifted gears on is feeding Avery beans and grains. I noticed that anytime she ate beans, she got a little fussy pretty quickly. I had a follower who reached out to share her own experience and grandmothers knowledge, sharing that babies don’t have the digestive enzymes to break down legumes and grains until the age of 2. I’ve seen mixed opinions on this when I’ve searched online and the Solid Starts app seems to promote both of these foods for 6 months and up, so I can only speak from experience….when we cut out beans and grains, the fuss went away and she became much more regular. I personally thought introducing foods early on would help the risk of allergies, but they just seem to rough on her gut at this point. I’ll definitely be introducing them later on, but staying away from them for now!

Something important to remember is that babies Avery’s age are still getting all their nutrition from breastmilk or formula. Food is just more of an added bonus and sensory experience. So I still breastfeed her exactly the same throughout the day and then we also give her a bottle of pumped milk while she has her dinner. Another thing we do is we always eat with her. That was something that was very important to me when I first started serving her solids – I wanted her to SEE us eat and have us eat as a family. But I quickly figured out that cooking an entire meal for us by 5:30pm just wasn’t going to work, especially because then we couldn’t take our time with eating dinner because we were paying attention to her and/or needing to get her in the bath afterwards. So instead, I began making starter solids for us to eat with her then we eat dinner once she’s in bed. Here’s what our schedule looks like:

5:00pm – prep starter salad, prep Avery’s food, and chop any veggies we will eat at dinner later on

5:25pm – set the table with salad bowls, salad, and silverware

5:30-5:40pm – serve Avery her food + bottle and sit down at the table to eat our salad with her

6:00-6:15pm – clear the table and then give Avery a bath

6:30pm – one of us puts Avery to bed and reads her a few books while the other one finishing cleaning up

6:45pm – finish cooking dinner and eat just the two of us

This schedule has really seemed to work well for us and I’m happy to know she’s still able to eat with her family while she’s experiencing new foods, tastes, and textures. Below I’ll link a few of the items that have really helped us, but one of the main things is the high chair catchy that attaches to our highchair (link will get you 5% off your purchase). It catches any food she tosses onto the ground. Not only does it save us a mess, but then the food can be served to her again or we can save it for later instead of it going to waste!

One other thing I’m paying attention to when serving Avery foods is seasoning her food. Just like everything else out there, there are a lot of differing opinions about salt. For me, I still salt her food because salt is flavor, but I don’t served her foods that have already been salted. For example, when I serve her sardines, I buy the unsalted canned sardines. But I will add some salt myself along with different seasonings that I would use on my own food. Whatever I think would taste delicious, I do for her! This is a personal preference and everyone will be different with serving their own child salt, but I feel comfortable with it. She’s experienced turbot fish baked with herbs and lemon, sweet potato spears baked with onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika, and she has loved salmon that was topped with homemade herb butter. Herbs and spices make food so much more enjoyable and I want her to experience that herself!

Hopefully this post was helpful if you’re starting your little one on solids soon! It has truly been SO fun and I’ve loved every second of it, and luckily Avery has, too! You can follow along on Avery’s food page for more meal ideas and different resources I’ve found helpful!

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  1. Sheila H says:

    She is the cutest thing ever. My boys are teenagers now but I always tried to feed them when and what we were eating and they are not picky. I think that helped develop their eating habits. We love a variety of proteins and vegetables. I do wish I had had some of those cool accessories to help with dinner time; A trash bag on the floor was my food catcher 🙂

  2. Karrie Wilson says:

    I can’t even tell you how much I love the solid starts app. Jenny Best is an angel. I have a 2.5 year old and he will still try anything and it was such a resource when we started him on solids. It gave me so much confidence with choking vs gagging and we always have meals together. It’s also helped us have the tools to handle a toddler! We now have a 6 month old and I’m SO excited to do it again. Love seeing your sweet girl eat all that yummy food.

  3. Julie says:

    She is so adorable! And this is interesting and fun to read about! Thanks for sharing ❤️ You’re an awesome mama!

  4. Susan says:

    Julie, I just love what you’re doing with Avery, and I don’t even have kids nor do I have any younger sibs or toddlers in my life experience.
    And I’m loving all of the shots with her hair gone wild and food splattered everywhere.
    What a chill little baby and such cool parents — especially since from shots of your home, you both appear to be such tidynics and minimalists otherwise.
    So many parents make everyone eat “what the kids are eating”, but IMO you’re doing what SHOULD be done…teaching this darling girl that food-wise and otherwise how to live in an adult-focussed world (but of course still letting her be a child).
    Love, love, love it, kudos! And yeah…like I said, no experience here, but there’s no way I’d give a baby her age legumes (other than the fresh green variety). Now there’s a thought…I wonder if you can get your hands on some fresh green (not dried and rehydrated or canned) garbanzos this time of year?…they’re yummy more like peas. And when you do start with beans, I’d suggest garbanzos or lentils…least problematic type I believe due to digestibility.

  5. Nicole says:

    So cute! I followed Megan Garcia for a lot of tips of first foods, which is where I got the idea for fish roe. Vital Choice has really great salmon roe that all three of my kids loved as babes and it was great for their pincher practice! She also has an awesome recipe using bone marrow.

    Good job mama exposing Avery to all those different tastes and textures, especially the herbs! My oldest’s favorite food from 6 months to about 2.5 was beef liver pâté I made with a ton of butter, bacon and onions. I’d get the strangest stares when I pulled out little mason jars of it out in public 😂 but your kids will be adventurous eaters and have healthier brains and bodies! Well, until they go to school and are surrounded by endless junk but hey, you just feed em good when you can!

  6. Lonna says:

    I would reccommend holding off on any grains (even oatmeal – think paleo ;)) for at least a year and start with egg yolks, stewed meat – gf beef, etc., fish eggs, and liver – they can absolutley have well cooked vegtables with plenty of gf butter, but the easiest for them to digest are eggs and meat proteins. There is an amazing book that I used 10 years ago, but it is now out of print. Super Nutrition for Babies: The Right Way to Feed Your Baby for Optimal Health by Kelly Genzlinger and Katherine Erlich
    I hope that helps. <3