by Justine Deputy
I am a planner. I like to be organized, educated on my decisions, and probably use google way too much. Starting solids was no different. Because I work so closely with moms and babies at The Birth Center and with Balanced Breastfeeding, I often thought about many decisions before even becoming pregnant. (I may be a little pregnancy and baby obsessed!) I had always assumed I would do Baby-Led Weaning (BLW). In pregnancy and for most of the first six months of my son’s life, I leaned more towards a combo of BLW and purees. I took Katie’s Starting Solids course, which provided a ton of great information. Then close to the time I planned to begin solids, I read a book and watched some YouTube videos that encouraged me to plan to do BLW.
I have been lucky to be able to meet my son’s nutritional needs with breast milk up to this point, although he is on the borderline of being a slow gainer. He is an itty bitty between the 1st and 5th percentile just like his mama as a baby. But, he has always stayed there, just enough to keep us comfortable. One of Katie’s invaluable recommendations in the Starting Solids course is to avoid a strict BLW approach for the slow gaining baby. I remember her saying this, but until I started giving solids the comment didn’t mean much to me. After a week or so of BLW, I continued to read more and reviewed my notes from Starting Solids. The recommendation to avoid strict BLW for a slow gainer now meant a lot more as I had a better understanding of how much my son was really taking in through BLW. I switched to purees to increase the amount of food he was consuming, and I am so happy I did. I know breastmilk and/or formula are the primary source of nutrition at this age, but I don’t think my guy would have gained a full pound between 6 and 7 months without all these yummy purees!
In the first couple months, BLW is a lot of experimenting with the tastes and textures of food. Some food may make it into their mouth, but usually minimal amounts are consumed. For some babies this method works great, but not for all. The slow gaining baby will benefit more from spoon-feeding in the first couple months. A combination of offering nutrient dense foods and spoon-feeding allows baby to eat most of the food you give him increasing the amount of nutrients baby receives. Don’t worry; your baby can still play with food. Just today I fed my son avocado mixed with breastmilk while he practiced picking up peas. He didn’t get any of the peas into his mouth, but he enjoyed picking them up and trying!
Nutrient Dense Foods for the Slow Gainer
|Food||Age to Introduce||Notes|
|Whole Milk Yogurt||6-8 months||Lots of vitamins and minerals, good source of protein.|
|Greek Yogurt, Whole Milk||6-8 months||2x the protein and half of the sugar when compared to regular yogurt.|
|Avocado||6 Months||Source of good fats and lots of nutrients.|
|Sweet Potato||6 Months||High in nutrients. Bake in skin to retain nutrients.|
|Pumpkin||6 Months||Good source of protein.|
|Egg Yolk||6-8 Months||Boiled egg, nutritious, good source of fat, protein, and vitamins|
|Olive Oil||6 Months||Good fats.|
|Coconut Oil||6-8 Months||High in good saturated fats. Make sure to use virgin coconut oil.|
|Butter||6-8 Months||High in fat.|
*Tip: Puree foods with breastmilk, butter, or an oil rather than water to increase nutrition content in the food.