First BLW meals - what foods to start with, what to introduce to infant's diet
If you already know what BLW is and when you can start introducing new foods into diet, it's time to put theory into practice.
What to give for the first meal?At the beginning we serve "safe" vegetables, ie those that very rarely cause an allergic reaction and are fairly easy to digest by the infant's digestive system. It can be pumpkin, zucchini, carrot, potato. Vegetables are served cooked, preferably steamed, because then we lose the beneficial nutrients in the least amount. On the other hand, cooking in water is faster. I cooked some of the vegetables in water (for example, a carrot, which takes a long time to cook, or potato). However, I tried to steam most of them. Especially vegetables that cook quickly, like zucchini or broccoli.
Can you start expanding the diet with fruits? Theoretically, there are no contraindications, but it is better to start with vegetables. If the infant first tastes the fruit, it may later be difficult for him to accept the taste of vegetables.
What if the fruits are hard and our child does not have teeth yet? I solved it just like with vegetables - I cut fruits into smaller pieces and slightly steamed them until they were soft enough for my daughter to deal with them without any problems.
When introducing new foods to the diet, it is best to do it gradually, that is, to introduce a maximum of one new product at a time. We give this new product for 2-3 days and we observe the child for any allergic reaction.
I started to expand my daughter's diet when she was 5.5 months old. Everything indicated that she is ready for it, so I did not wait for the 6-month boundary to be reached. It happened at the turn of July and August, so there was a lot to choose when it comes to fresh vegetables and fruits. I am lucky that the in-laws have a vegetable garden and a lot of fruits, so I was sure that what I give to my child is organic and comes from a trusted source.
Initially, for about three days I served a boiled carrot. Then, for the next meal, I served a boiled potato. After a few days, zucchini went into action. And so for about three weeks. The next new products that I started to serve were fruits. I started with apples.
Below you can see how I expanded my baby's diet, what products I introduced and how I prepared them. The list is divided into product types (vegetables, fruits, other), and the order of products is chronological.
I cut the carrot before boiling in water to smaller parts to speed up the cooking time. Medium-sized carrots lengthwise in half and large carrots along four parts. Then I cut into pieces of such length that they would be easy to grasp with a hand (about 4 cm). Pieces should be of such length that when caught in the hand they slightly stick out of the fist. That way the baby can hold the vegetable with whole hand and still has a sticking out piece to bite on. For the first meals I've over-cooked the carrots to make them softer (the child had no teeth).
I started giving carrots when my child was 5.5 months old.
After some time, I started to add a little butter to the water boiling carrots. From my mom-in-law I learned that the addition of fat allows to better absorb vitamin A. Besides, such carrot with butter tastes good :-)
Before boiling in water, I also cut the potato into smaller pieces, for example into slightly thicker slices. After cooking, I cut the slices in half or with a larger potato - on the bars.
- Zucchini and squashes
First, I cut a piece of vegetable about 4-5 cm long. Then, after peeling, I cut lengthwise into four or six pieces (in the case of small vegetable), or eight (in the case of a large zucchini or squash). If the vegetable had large seeds inside, then I cut the middle. Sometimes I left seeds if they were soft. Vegetables were bolied on steam. You have to be careful not to overcook, because they cook quite quickly. There is a lot of water in zucchini and squash - overcooking these vegetables makes it difficult to hold with the unskilled hands.
I prepared the aubergine steamed in the same way as zucchini and squash.
I usually torn off broccoli florets in a way that they still had some stalk. Then I cooked them on steam. If the pieces were large, I cut them in half. Broccoli must be supervised so that they do not get too overcooked - they cook quickly, besides they retain the most nutritional values with short cooking.
I cut the whole pumpkin into strips about 1 cm thick and peeled them from the skin. Then I cut the strips into four identical pieces (in the case of a smaller pumpkin) or six (for a larger pumpkin). Then I cooked them on steam. Pumpkin cooks quickly, so you have to be careful not to overcook it.
I cut the beetroot into slices about 0,5 cm thick and cooked it in water. Unfortunately, it did not really work out (vegetable was quite hard and lost color), so boiled beetroots were not often on the menu :-)
- Parsley and celery
I prepared the parsley in the same way as the carrot - first cut into suitable pieces and then boil in water. Often with the addition of a little butter and together with carrots or other vegetables.
I cut the celery on about 0,5 cm thick slices, then on the bars and also boiled in water.
My mom-in-law (which was the main vegetables supplier then) was initially surprised that I want to give the baby such products "without anything". But daughter did not spit them out and was curious about their taste :-)
Tomatoes are among the relatively sensitizing vegetables, but I could not refuse to give them to my daughter, because my mom-in-law grows the best tomatoes in the world :-) Fortunately, the daughter didn't have any allergic reaction. And tomatoes could be served round and round, she loves them to this day.
I did not serve fresh tomatoes, but made a sauce. I peeled fresh tomatoes from the skin, removed the stalks, cut them into smaller pieces, and threw them in a pot to boil. I added some olive oil and basil (fresh or dried). I served the sauce with a spoon. I began to serve tomatoes prepared this way, when the child was about 7 months old.
- Baked vegetables (e.g. carrots, parsley, celery, potatoes)
After 7 months I decided to experiment with baked products. I sliced the vegetables in the same way as for cooking, then slightly pre-cooked them and put in the oven for several minutes. Until they were soft enough, but not yet seared. I usually slightly drizzled vegetables with olive oil and sprinkled them with spices such as lovage, marjoram, basil, oregano or thyme.
- Sweet potatoes
I began to serve sweet potatoes around 8 months. I had no contact with this vegetables before ;-) It turned out that my daughter loves them. Sweet potatoes were cut into slices about 0,5 cm-1 cm thick and cooked by steam. You have to be careful not to overcook the sweet potato, because it cooks quickly. After cooking I additionally cut the slices in half. I also baked sweet potatoes in the oven (without prior cooking). Before baking I cut them into thinner slices and add a little olive oil and spices (sweet pepper with lovage tastes great).
- Green beans
I gave green beans a few times - I decided to use the gifts from my mom-in-law's garden. I peeled of the sip and cooked the beans on the water. I served the small ones without cutting and the larget ones cut into pieces about 4-5 cm long.
I started to introduce fruits about 3-4 weeks after the first vegetable meal.
I started with apples. My daughter did not have teeth yet so I cut the apple into smaller parts to make eating easier. Small apple for quarters or six pieces, bigger for eight or more. Then I cooked the pieces on steam for a couple of minutes, until the apple was not so hard to bite.
I introduced banana right after an apple. I cut the banana along four parts. Then I cut about 4 cm pieces and served them fresh.
I introduced avocado together with a banana. I served it fresh. First I peeled it from the skin, then cut into a bit thicker stripes (easy to grab with the hand).
- Nectarines and peaches
I started giving nectarines when my daughter was 6,5 months old. My parents have a tree with nectarines in the garden, so I decided to give these fruits while they were still fresh. I peeled the nectarines from the skin and divided them into eight or more pieces. So that the slices were not too thick, but also not too thin. For a toothless baby, I steamed fruit for a few minutes, to a sufficient softness.
I also had raspberries delivered by my in-laws from their garden :-) I served raspberries fresh in whole or I added it to the apple&banana mousse and served such mousse with a spoon.
Pears were prepared in the same way as apples - I cut peeled fruit into quarters or more parts (depending on the size of the pear) and cooked them lightly on steam to make them soft.
Melons began to be served around the 7th month. Melons were cut into slices of about 1 cm thick (or slightly more), then I cut off the skin and a hard part near the skin, and then I cut each slice into four equal parts. I steamed them for a few minutes to soften them a little.
My baby girl tried the first kiwi after the 8th month. I peeled the fruit from the skin, then cut it into eight pieces and served it freshly. Note - the kiwi should rather be soft and sweet, because the child will probably not like the sour, unripe fruit (or maybe? ;-)
I introduced rice at about 6,5 months. I slightly overcooked the rice to make it more sticky and easier to grab in the hand. Currently, I often serve different dishes with rice and also feed with a teaspoon, for example when I prepare a risotto. It's best to buy organic rice.
All kinds of groats have quickly joined the menu (before the end of the 7th month) and are still on our menu. Mainly millet groats and buckwheat, sometimes also barley. You can serve it without any other ingredient or use it for a variety of meals - chops, meatballs, dishes with sauces, pies, baked goods.
I introduced the first bread when the child was approaching the age of 7.5 months. The sandwich was with egg paste (yolk & olive oil). I usually cut a slice of bread into smaller cubes, so that the child could take single cube in hand. My baby girl also loved to get a slice or a heel of bread and crumple it :-) After some time, I also served bread with butter (at least 82% fat). The most important thing is to buy good bread from a reliable source. You can also bake yourself. Preferably you should choose white bread, because multigrain or wholemeal may be too difficult to digest.
Introducing eggs started with the yolk. I cooked hard-bolied egg, then I took out the yolk and prepared the egg paste - yolk with the addition of olive oil. I used such egg paste for bread. The first time I gave yolk, the child was approaching the age of 7.5 months. Whole eggs entered the diet a bit later - when the child was 8 months old. I used whole eggs for a variety of baked goods and for steamed meatballs.
We started to use following spices quite quickly: dill, parsley, sweet pepper, basil, lovage, oregano, thyme. A little later, the pepper was added in a small amount and also garlic, added to tomato sauce or used for marinating turkey.
- Shop snacks
In fact, the only snack I bought for my child was corn crisps for babies. You can buy them in a health food store or in supermarkets in the infant food department. My toddler loves to munch them. So far (almost 15 months) this is one of the favorite snacks and basically the only one from the store.
Soups were served sporadically and most often they were: pumpkin-cream soup, vegetable broth, tomato soup on vegetable broth. After some time, we also cooked a turkey-based broth. I added pieces of bread or pasta to soups. Broth is also useful as a base for making other dishes (risotto, sauces, etc.).
At first, I served home-made pasta of my mom-in-law, usually with soup or tomato sauce. When my daughter was 8 months old, she tasted the first spaghetti pasta with tomato sauce (with garlic and more herbs).
As my husband is a home-made pancake master, they could not be missing from our menu. We started serving pancakes when our baby was approaching the age of 8 months. Instead of sugar, we added mousse from dates. We made pancakes mainly from wheat flour, but also from rice flour or with the addition of amaranth flour. We tried to fry pancakes without fat (almost). We fried the first pancakes in a pan slightly sprinkled with oil and we ate them ourselves :-) And when the oil got mostly into the first pancakes, we fried pancakes for baby. We usually cut the fried pancake into smaller pieces, for example squares 2x2cm or larger.
The first contact with meat was at 7.5 months. It happened that we were at the family-in-law, where one of the dishes was a duck. The child was so interested in it that we could not refuse to serve at least a small piece. It tasted very good. Then there was a small break in eating meat. The next meat meal - steamed turkey - took place after the age of 8.5 months.
The first fish (trout) was introduced when the child approached the age of 8 months. The fish, which first marinated in dill and a small amount of lemon juice, was prepared by steam. In the next meals we often added fish to various kinds of meatballs. With the fish it is very important to fill it accurately from all bones. This can be done when the fish is raw, or after cooking while chopping (if you need chopped fish for your dish).
- Natural yogurt
Dairy was introduced after 8.5 months. I served yogurt with a spoon, enriching it with fried fruit (jam without sugar) or simply with fresh fruit. My daughter did not exactly like the taste of yogurt itself, so it was not a frequent meal. We used yogurt as an addition to pancakes, baked goods, etc.
- Baked goods
After completing about 8.5 months, various types of baked goods were introduced - fruit & vegetable pancakes, muffins, cakes and cookies (eg with banana, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato). I usually used gluten-free buckwheat flour, wheat flour or popping from amaranth for baking.
Apart from being a master of pancakes, my husband is also a pizza master, so we could not miss it on the menu. In the beginning, the pizza was, of course, heavily trimmed - a cake smeared with tomato sauce plus some additional ingredients like peeled and finely chopped, fresh peppers or blanched and chopped spinach leaves.
This is more or less how introducing new foods to my baby looked during the first 3-4 months. Apart from ingredients I mentioned on the list, other foods can also be introduced to the infant's diet.
I tried to use mainly organic products, with a known source of origin (mom-in-law :-). If you do not have access to your own or grandparent's garden, it is good to buy products from organic farming, not containing harmful pesticides, fertilizers and so-called chemistry. Such products are much more valuable and richer in nutrients.
And how you beginnings look or looked like? :-)