Our little Addie is almost six months old and over the last few weeks has started becoming super interested in our food. I can’t believe she is at the age for solids! Everyone tells you that time flies, but I never really understood until I was experiencing it for myself. I did a lot of research prior to introducing solids and this week we started! From my research I decided we would follow a baby vegetable-led weaning process which is where vegetables are introduced first, rather than the traditional sweet fruits. We’ve had a successful week and here is our experiences from our first week of baby vegetable-led weaning!
Why Vegetable-First Baby Weaning?
From my research I found that babies are born with a sweet tooth, which is pretty convenient given their first food for the first six months of their lives is sweet milk or formula. Weaning is a really important time for introducing your baby to new tastes, textures and flavours.
Studies have shown that introducing vegetables first, instead of the traditional sweeter, fruit-first methods, may actually be a really good way to help babies accept vegetables better! It also shows that the main predictor of fruit and vegetable intake throughout life is how much you enjoy these foods. Babies and children are known to not like vegetables and so I wanted to give Addie the best chance at learning to enjoy these foods by introducing them first! I was surprised to hear that the World Health Organisation has actually placed low fruit & vegetable intake in the top 10 of mortality risk factors for middle and low income countries.
The general consensus was to offer single tastes of foods for a few weeks and then start to mix up the flavours and add more variety in. One of the most important things is repeated exposure, so whilst they may not like spinach the first time, if they are offered it multiple times over time then there is a good chance they will learn to like it. Infants are supposed to readily accept new foods and with repeated exposure and no pressure placed on them, they will learn to like new foods.
My plan is to spend a couple of weeks focusing on baby vegetable-led weaning leading up to Addie turning six months. I’ll then (once I’ve recevied advice from my GP and community nurses) start to introduce fruits, foods that are high in iron and potential allergens. I’m hoping down the track to do a combination of purees and baby led-weaning, but in these early days I definitely just want to stick to purees whilst Addie gets used to foods and I get more confident feeding her.
How did I prepare for Vegetable-First Baby weaning?
I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of baking and cooking. I generally do the healthy, quick weeknight dinners, whilst Dan on the other hand enjoys spending hours in the kitchen on a weekend whipping up a gourmet Masterchef-quality meal. Once every few weeks I will spend half a day in the kitchen and meal prep/batch cook like a crazy person because I enjoy having healthy but pre-prepared meals and snacks in the freezer for when life just gets a bit crazy. We also keep some convient frozen products in the freezer such as frozen fruit for smoothies, frozen vegetables for dinners and products from Suprima Bakeries which are just delicious!
Over a few days I prepared the purees by chopping, steaming, blending and then freezing into ice cube trays. (each ice cube was a heaped tablespoon of puree). Once frozen, I popped them out of the trays and put into labelled silicone bags and into the freezer. In my typical fashion of batch cooking & prepping, I think I’ve made enough vegetable purees to last months! haha
Our First Week of Vegetable-First Baby Weaning
Addie’s first ever food was a broccoli & apple puree. To make the puree I chopped up and then steamed one small green apple with a full broccoli (including stem). Once soft, I pureed in the Nutribullet with a few tablespoons of water from the steaming water. Whilst I am primarily introducing vegetables first, the majority of recipes I read online did combine broccoli with either apple or pear and I believe it is because the broccoli itself wouldn’t puree all that well without the second ingredient.
Addie had SO much fun with this puree. She seemed to enjoy the flavours and ended up COVERED in it. I’m not sure how much actually went in, but she seemed to enjoy the whole experience which I took as a big win!
Day two was a spinach & kale puree. I bought a 300g bag of spinach and kale from the supermarket, steamed it for a few minutes before blitzing it up in the Nutribullet. I didn’t need to add any additional water to this puree.
I didn’t have high hopes for this combination as spinach and kale are both bitter vegetables, but she absolutely LOVED it and couldn’t get enough! It was so messy but she had the best time and I was stoked that she loved it! What a great start to our vegetable journey.
Day three was a cauliflower puree. I chopped up the cauliflower, steamed it and then blitzed it in the nutribullet with a bit of water from the pot I used for steaming.
The cauliflower definitely went down well, it pureed up like a dream and was probably the least messiest of all the veg!
Day four we introduced one of my favourite foods – Avocado! I scooped out 8 avocados and blended them with a dash of boiled water to get the right consistency.
I tasted the puree myself and it did taste a little strange with no lemon or feta which is how I usually have it. Addie didn’t mind the avocado but it definitely wasn’t her favourite of the week. It’s full of great fats and super healthy though, so I will definitly keep offering this one to her!
On Day 5 we had a zucchini & potato puree which was made up from 3 zucchinis and 1 small potato (skin left on everything). Again, we just chopped and steamed before blitzing up. It didn’t require much water to be added as zucchini is super watery!
This was definitely the favourite vegetable of the week! Addie honestly could not get enough of it and I’m glad she loves zucchini as we always have so much success with growing zucchini every year in our veggie garden.
Day six was butternut squash. To make this puree I chopped the squash in half, scooped out the seeds & pulp, then baked with the cut side down for about 45 minutes. I then scooped it all out of the skin and blitzed it up with a tiny bit of boiled water.
How did our first week go?
I’m stoked with how our first week went!! I honestly didn’t expect it to go as well as it did and she loved the majority of the vegetables! I’ve just been giving her 1 tablespoon worth around 5pm before her bedtime bottle around 6:30pm and that seems to be working well. I’ll chat to the community nurses about when to increase to having breakfast & lunch solids too, but for now I’m just really happy with how our first week of baby vegetable-led weaning went!
If anyone has any further tips or advice, we would LOVE to hear from you!
DISCLAIMER: Just a quick note to mention that we aren’t medical professionals or nutrition experts, we’re simply sharing our experiences and recommend you do your own research & consult with your own medical professionals in regards to introducing foods to your baby.
This post was written in collaboration with Suprima Bakeries.