Baby's New Menu

Updated on November 28, 2006
J.B. asks from Cleveland, OH
11 answers

My daughter is 17 weeks now, exclusively breastfed and she's grown like a weed! Because she's in the 90th percentile for her height, the doctor has OKed us to start slowly integrating solid food into her diet. She eats 5-6 oz. of breastmilk every 3-4 hours. We've been adding a tsp. of rice to two of her bottles for the last 10 days and she loves it. Where do we go from here? Can you recommend any good websites or books where I can find some guidelines on how much milk she needs for her weight and when to integrate new foods? Thanks for your help!
One more thing - we're big on organics and planning on skipping those jars and instead make our own baby food. What are some good recipes?

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answers from Columbus on

I started my kids no sooner than 6 months, however we never did "baby foods" or "jarred foods"... we just did table foods. Easier, cheaper, no "weaning", etc. There's nothing you're eating that baby can't.... enjoy, experiement!

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answers from Dayton on

Babies love LOVE mashed sweet potato. Sweet potato/banana/avocado gives them healthy fats. Of course every baby is different but offering a variety of foods helps them develop tastes for healthy foods.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends that solids are not introduced until 6 months of age - for a variety of reasons supported by research and statistics. Starting solids at 4 months is an out-dated recommendation. I do not know of any research that supports any benefit to putting rice cereal into a bottle. One of my best friends is a family doctor and she has said many times that doctors have to spend so much time in medical school learning about illness and medicines that they spend virtually no time at all on well-baby stuff, especially breastfeeding and nutrition. They just pick it up "somewhere" - you just hope they get it from a good source!

Is one of the reasons you want to introduce solids early because you are having trouble pumping enough milk at work to keep up with her increasing demands as she grows? That is a common challenge for women who work. A lactation specialist (look one up in the phone book under breastfeeding or lactation specialist, or google one for your town on the internet - you can also look one up at or give you advise on keeping your milk supply up to her demands increase.

Dr. William Sears publishes a series of books on pregnancy, childbirth and children. He actually does have really good advice, including infant nutrition and making baby food - check out his book "The Baby Book" at a bookstore or your local public library.

Another fun book for making your own babyfood is "Super Baby Food." There is also a website. She really gets into it, but you can take what you want. She has some great ideas and suggestions.

Best Wishes and enjoy your baby!


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answers from Tampa on


You really should talk to your doctor about putting the cereal in your daughters bottle. One of the main reasons for starting babies on cereal is so that they can learn to chew and swallow things other than liquid. When the cereal is mixed with breastmilk, there is no chewing involved and no muscle training either.

Earth's Best makes some yummy organic jars and cereals. If you do decide to make your own, buy a food grinder to make it easy on yourself. Also, don't use fresh carrots, beets, or spinach because the nitrate levels are too high. The jarred ones are fine to use though.

Have fun!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

I agree with not putting cereal in a bottle. Unless she has trouble sitting up, I would give it to her by spoon. My son couldn't eat it thinned out. I gave it to him about as thick as oatmeal. If she can handle that without gagging, great, but you can always thin it to the consistancy she is comfortable with. It's much less messy, as well. Also, I was always told to introduce veggies before fruits. Fruits are sweet - a dessert- and a lot of babies find it hard to eat veggies after such a great sweet treat. I have worked in childcare for almost 9 years and this is what they have always done, too. This is where I turned for advice when I nedded it most. Good luck and I hope this is helpful.



answers from Cleveland on has some good information.



answers from Cleveland on

i'm sort of surprised that your doc recommended you put cereal in the bottle. we started duncan on very very thin watery cereal with a spoon at 2 1/2 months, and he did quite well. just make sure your little one can sit supported and has good head control.
we started with rice cereal, and also use oatmeal cereal. i think there's a barley cereal or some other grain, too. those are the easiest to thin out for a beginner.
at about 4 months with the docs okay we started on the orange veggies, and some fruit. what i do is, steam or boil the veg, and then put it in a food processor. use some of the water you cooked with to thin it out and then put it in ice cube trays in the freezer. that way you can make a bunch and save it. also, we only give one new food a week, so we can watch for allergies.
i was sort of scared of home-made carrots, but as some mamas on here were good enough to point out, the chances of your baby getting nitrate poisoning are very very slim.
a good website that was recommended to me was they have lots and lots of good articles (including one on homemade carrots) and TONS of recipes. but really, just cook the food with a minimum of light heat and water to preserve the nutrients and process it.
i spend about $5 a month on duncan's food. and we've done carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, peaches, plums, pears, and rice and oatmeal cereal. we tried banana but i didn't have any extra milk around and they turned into a sort of marshmellow-y mess. next we're doing some greens--peas, green beans, you know.
it is a ton of fun to feed a little one, but it is also a BIG mess. so be ready with lots of paper towels.
hope some of this helps!
congrats on your lovely baby! enjoy her!



answers from Cleveland on

as a mother of four i have been told several things about starting solids, i have found through my experience that it is best to let your baby tell you when they are ready. my youngest started solids at 11 weeks when i was in the hospital because of major surgery and she refused to take a bottle as she was exclusively breastfed. now my youngest is 8 1/2 months and is just not starting solids. i do agree with others about putting cereal in the bottle. try it on a spoon, that will tell you if she is ready to start solids. but you have to remember formula or breastmilk is suposed to be a baby's main nutrition until they are 12 months old. if she will take it off a spoon then you can slowly introduce solids. to make sure she gets all the fluids she needs have her nurse or take her bottle first, then offer solids ( she will be more willing to take them if she isnt starving and fussy) and also because solid foods have less calories than breastmilk or formula. and you can offer juice diluted 50/50, with my two youngest i only gave them juice in a sippy cup. you can find a great one at walmart with a soft spout, i believe it is made by Nuby. but always remember your doc can only go on an average. your baby will always be the only one to know when they are ready. just be patient and keep trying.

babyfood recipes,

the easiest i have found is applesauce, i made mine in a crockpot, just peel, quarter, and core the apples, put them in a crockpot with about 1/2 cup water,on low heat and let cook until mushy, then put in blender or food processer, i then put mine in ice cube trays and froze them, then you can put into a storage contaner until ready to use, each cube is one ounce.

check out there are recipes and other tips about starting solids.

Good Luck



answers from Cleveland on

I think someone may have mentioned this as well, but is a great resource. I made baby food for our daughter and it was simple - I even work full time. I made a weeks worth on the weekend. Buy ice cube trays, and use a blender, thin the veggie/fruit as needed with milk/formula/water and freeze. I believe each ice cube slot is about 1 oz of food. You amy want to start with introducing Rice and or Oatmeal not in the bottle for a few weeks first, then veggies. Good Luck, and I would trust that your Dr. is recommending what is right for your daughter.



answers from Cincinnati on

Its ok to add rice to your daughters bottles. It just helps her go a little longer in between eating. But you should start to spoon feed her. Start with the stage one foods. Its all trail and error on what she likes and doesn't like. The way I did it was I brought one of everything. I just slowly introduced new things to him. But careful, at how fast you move at giving new things. If there is a reaction then you will know what caused it. I don't know of any books off hand, but you can go to google type in diets for infants and it will give you a ton of helpful things to look at. It will also give you books that you can purchase for useful resources. Good luck and hope this works out.



answers from Cincinnati on

I agree with the other moms who are kind of confused as to why your doc would recommend starting your young daughter on rice cereal in a bottle(???). That seems like outdated information to me... a lot of more recent info is available on starting solids that conflicts with giving rice cereal in a bottle (trust me when I say your breastmilk is far more nutritious for her right now than is rice cereal in a bottle!). Instead of watching your daughter's weight and recommending solids based on that, there are specific signs that show your baby is developmentally ready for solids - is your daughter doing most of these?:
1) Baby can sit up well without support.
2) Baby has lost the tongue-thrust reflex and does not automatically push solids out of her mouth with her tongue.
3) Baby is ready and willing to CHEW (not suck cereal out of a bottle).
4) Baby is developing a “pincer” grasp, where he picks up food or other objects between thumb and forefinger. Using the fingers and scraping the food into the palm of the hand (palmar grasp) does not substitute for pincer grasp development.
5) Baby is eager to participate in mealtime and may try to grab food (not just your spoon or napkin - the actual food) and put it in her mouth.

Unless your doctor is also a board certified lactation consultant (so MD *and* IBCLC), a specialist in breastfeeding medicine, or is a trained & current La Leche League Leader, I'd be pretty skeptical about the solids advice he/she gives to breastfeeding moms. While pediatricians are well trained in many areas, sadly breastfeeding and infant nutrition are not a significant part of their medical training, so I always proceed with a little bit of skepticism and a lot of my own personal research. Your milk is the *best* thing to give her right now - better than cereal or organic baby food (she is just 4 months old, right?). Here are just a few of the breastfeeding resources I've found and freqently use when I have a question on breastfeeding, introducing solids, etc. - each site has a little box that allows you to search on a specific topic (like "solids"):

Kellymom (

La Leche League (

Ask Dr. Sears (

Dr. Jay Gordon (

When you do start solids, it's best to start with whole foods like: bananas, avocados, sweet potatos, apples, pears, peaches, apricots, peas, etc. As far as making your own recipes, it's really as simple as just buying organic produce (fresh or fresh-frozen), steaming it until tender, and then mashing it very finely (like banana or avocado) or pureeing it in a blender (like peas) w/ some of the cooking water to make it a smooth consistency that's good for your daughter. You can freeze the food in ice cube trays (cover w/ a freezer bag or plastic wrap to keep out freezer taste), then store the cubes in a freezer-safe container. Just grab a cube, let it thaw (or help it thaw, but make darn sure you stir it well and test it first to make sure it's a safe temperature!!!), and offer a little bit to your baby on the tip of your clean fingertip. :)

Just to give you a sense of the very wide variation of solids readiness, my two babies were both offered solids at 6 months, but neither of them were interested until 8-10 months old. One got 8 teeth BEFORE 5 months old (yes, 8 teeth), crawled before 5 months old, sat sturdily by himself by 6 months old, and was cruising on furniture and had a decent pincer grasp by 7 months old, and he is now almost 10 months and in the past month just started to truly *want* solids on a regular basis. The other got her first teeth at 6 months old, sat well on her own by 4 1/2 months, crawled at 5 1/2 months, cruised well by 9 months, walked at 11 1/2 months - she wanted solids in earnest at about 10 months. I have a friend who's son did not get teeth until AFTER his first birthday, and he was completely uninterested in solids until then. He has always been a very sturdy child, and breastmilk did him quite well for the entire first year of his life (we're talking rolls of adorable baby chub). There will also be babies who are truly ready for solids at, say, 5 months. But I'd argue that the range lies somewhere in the middle of 5 months and 13 months. ;) Watch your baby girl - you will know when it's time! Trust your mothering instincts (this will be true for many, many situations as your daughter grows up)!!!

Congrats on becoming a mother to a sweet baby girl! You know your daughter better than your doctor, better than anyone, does - so watch her for the developmental readiness for solids, and you and your girl will both know when the time is right. :)

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