What Can My Baby Eat? (6 Months)

I get this question a lot. It also looks like, “Is this suitable for a 6 month old?”

They are totally valid questions. I asked them, too, back when my big baby was a littler baby. It just doesn’t make sense to give your 6-month-old (6mo) a steak with mashed potatoes and green beans, does it? But alas… it IS okay. For most, though, that isn’t a comfortable idea.

“What can my baby eat? She’s 6 months.”

First, congratulations on your baby! And welcome to the world of solids. For me, it was bittersweet. While I’m still nursing now at 14 months, I was ONLY nursing back then. And it felt like that relationship was going to change (it did, a little). For others, it’s a big exciting milestone. Maybe you are ready to jump in, head first.

You can read a lot more at the ABOUT page at the top. But the basics are this:

  • no added salt or sugar
  • no whole nuts
  • no honey in any form
  • grapes (and cherry tomatoes and other similarly-shaped firm foods) should be cut in half lengthwise

Those are the basics.

[When should you start solids? First, wait until 26 weeks if you can. Some babies may be ready before then, but don’t mistake putting things in their mouth for being ready for food. At that age, they put everything in their mouths! Second, your baby should be able to sit up fairly well, unassisted. If you were to put him in a chair/booster seat, would he sit up confidently? If not, wait a week or two until that happens. And third, does your baby bring objects to his mouth? If he can’t find his mouth at all, he may not be ready for solids just yet!]

Here are some foods that are also common concerns:

  • milk – Before a year old, don’t offer milk as a beverage. But you can cook with it. You could even make smoothies with it for your baby. It’s best to use whole milk or goat’s milk because they’re more fatty, like breastmilk. What a lot of mothers choose to do is mix breastmilk into a smoothie instead of offering whole milk. Conclusion: Milk is okay except as a beverage.
  • cheese/yogurt – Same as milk, although I can’t imagine you would offer cheese as a beverage 🙂 …. We use cheese a lot. Cheese is usually salty, so you don’t want to overdo it. 
  • meat – There’s no reason you shouldn’t give meat to your 6mo. Just make sure it’s fully cooked. If you prefer your steak to be medium rare, you need to be sure the sliver you give to your baby is cooked all the way. Other than that, beef and chicken are great sources of protein and iron. Most babies are not going to bite off and chew through beef or chicken. It’s just too tough, and they most likely only have the front teeth. That said, just sucking and gnawing will release some great flavors and juices, and those juices contain lots of nutrients! Conclusion: Don’t fear meat! Just make sure it’s fully cooked.
  • fish – Fish and fish products are totally fine, but just like with meats, be sure they are cooked through. Many folks wait until a year to offer shellfish, but that’s an allergy issue. If there’s no history of allergy, go for it. I wouldn’t offer it more than once a week, though. Conclusion: Fish is okay to dish as long as it’s cooked!
  • bread – Grains are tough on new tummies (even adults can’t process large doses very well), so keep it light on the bread. A little slice of toast is fine, but I wouldn’t offer bread every day at every meal. Conclusion: Bread is okay in moderation.
  • pizza/hamburger/this thing I’m eating – If it’s salty to you, it’s likely too salty. Give a pinch if you’d like, but I wouldn’t give a 6mo a slice of pizza. A hamburger, done well, is fine! It may have a pinch of salt, but as long as it’s cooked through, go for it. Think through what might be a choking hazard in your food. If there’s no honey, whole nuts, whole grapes, or loads of salt/sugar, then it should be okay as a bite or two. As a rule, though, I wouldn’t offer takeout food (or frozen dinners) very often. (See my personal note at the bottom!)
  • peanut butter – I’m talking more in depth about this tomorrow, but the short answer is that peanut butter is fine. (Creamy not crunchy) If your baby’s siblings or parents have a peanut allergy, you may want to hold off for a while. The other concern with it is that peanut butter is super sticky! If you give too much at once, it can be a challenge for your baby to move it around in her mouth! Conclusion: Outside of allergies, peanut butter is fine.

 

Later today, I’ll post another commonly asked question!

Is there another food you’re not sure of? Just ask!

 

(My personal note: Once I got really into solids and baby led weaning, I was very conscious of what we were eating. I wanted to offer the baby a variety of fruits and vegetables, so we started buying new fruits and vegetables, trying new recipes, and making sure to eat a little better. Baby led weaning has helped ME to eat healthier overall!)

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Sugar-Free Blueberry Muffins

sugar free blueberry muffins baby led weaning

I made these today for the first time. So yummy! I found a recipe on Allrecipes.com, but I tweaked it so it didn’t have added sugar. You could easily make it dairy-free by swapping the milk with almond milk. Gluten free? I’ve never made anything with gluten-free flour, but I would assume you just swap the regular flour for the GF kind.

I bought some fresh blueberries and was really craving some blueberry muffins. Go figure. It’s weird though… I do NOT like blueberries: just blueberry muffins! Anyone else like that? I love bananas but not banana bread (or banana-flavored stuff).

Moving on…

For this recipe, you’ll need to get some flour, apple sauce (unsweetened), milk, baking powder, salt (just a tiny amount), 1 egg, cinnamon, oil (I used veggie), and fresh blueberries. I also used some nonstick spray for my muffin tin. 

I made a grownup version that had some sweet crumble on top: for that, you need cinnamon, sugar, flour, and melted butter. I’ll show that at the very end.

sugar free blueberry muffins baby led weaning

Dump all of the ingredients, except for the blueberries, into a bowl. Stir that with a spoon.

sugar free blueberry muffins baby led weaning

sugar free blueberry muffins baby led weaning

Add the blueberries and gently stir them in.

sugar free blueberry muffins baby led weaning

I decided to scoop about 1/4 cup at a time and pour that into each muffin cup. 

sugar free blueberry muffins baby led weaning

sugar free blueberry muffins baby led weaning

sugar free blueberry muffins baby led weaning

sugar free blueberry muffins baby led weaning

Now, if you want to make a grownup version, you will melt some butter, then stir in a little cinnamon, sugar, and flour. I didn’t measure… I just scooped a little bit of each!

sugar free blueberry muffins baby led weaning

sugar free blueberry muffins baby led weaning

sugar free blueberry muffins baby led weaning

Use your fork or fingers to sprinkle some of that mixture onto some of the muffins BEFORE you bake them. I put it on 6 of them.

sugar free blueberry muffins baby led weaning

Bake them at 400F for 20-25 minutes. It took me 22 minutes for them to be perfect. But your oven may be a little different than mine.

sugar free blueberry muffins baby led weaning

I cut mine open and spread a little butter on them. Yummmmm!

sugar free blueberry muffins baby led weaning

 

Here is your printable recipe!

Sugar-Free Blueberry Muffins
Yields 10
No added sugar in these delicious blueberry muffins
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
22 min
Total Time
27 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
22 min
Total Time
27 min
For the muffins
  1. 1 cup (or more, depending on your preference!) fresh blueberries
  2. 3/4 cup flour
  3. 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  4. a pinch of salt
  5. 1 tsp baking powder
  6. 1 tsp cinnamon
  7. just under 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  8. 1 egg
  9. 1/4 cup milk
For the topping
  1. sugar
  2. flour
  3. cinnamon
  4. butter, melted
For the muffins
  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
  2. Mix all but the blueberries in a bowl.
  3. Gently mix in the berries.
  4. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray.
  5. Pour the mixture into the tins, about 1/4 cup at a time.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through.
For the topping
  1. Melt a little butter.
  2. Mix in a sprinkle of cinnamon, sugar, and flour, to make a paste.
  3. Sprinkle it on top of a few of your muffins BEFORE baking.
Notes
  1. Like most baked goods, these should be just fine in the freezer. You'll want to let them cool completely before transferring them to a freezer bag or airtight container. They hold up well in the fridge for a few days. Serve the regular kind to your baby as is. I eat mine with the topping and with a little spread of butter!
Baby Led Weaning Ideas http://www.blwideas.com/

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Our Meal Routine

Our

If you’re just starting out with baby led weaning, the actual process of preparing the food, setting up the meal for the baby, cleaning up, and all of that can be a little bit confusing. It took a long time here, but we finally figured out a system that works for us!

I want to share that system with you. I don’t have a set schedule for my baby. But when I decide we should have a meal, here is how it goes!

1. Prepare the food. 

Since my baby is mobile now, this can be tricky. I stick leftovers in the oven with a timer going. But if I’m cooking, I have to monitor the baby every minute or so (he loves climbing the couch these days). If he is really getting into “trouble”, I hold him while I cook. I do not cook things that can pop and hurt him (like, I wouldn’t fry bacon on the stove while holding him).

2. Put together baby’s tray.

Once the food is ready, I put together Alexander’s tray so it can cool down a little. Then I take a picture of his tray, for the blog. And I set it aside.

3. Make my own plate and drink.

Alexander’s tray is set aside, and I make my plate and drink. I leave it in the kitchen. If I put it on the table, he will likely go and mess with it! 

4. Set up the baby station. 

We don’t currently have a dining room table. So I sit at the coffee table, and Alexander sits in a booster seat on the floor next to me! I lay down a big blanket to catch food that is tossed around. I put the booster seat on the floor. Then I sit Alexander down and pop his tray in place. 

5. Get my plate.

Once Alexander is “restrained”, I grab my own food and have a seat. I leave him unattended for about 5 seconds. He doesn’t normally eat at first anyway; he just checks out what is on his tray. 

6. Clean up my plate.

I always finish eating before Alexander. I take my plate and glass to the kitchen, while he is still “restrained”.

7. Clean off Alexander.

Alexander is a mess. He usually doesn’t have on any clothes (except for a diaper). I pick him up, leaving his seat and tray, and I clean him off in the kitchen sink. Then I use a rag (or paper towel) to dry his hands and mouth.

8. Pick up food crumbs that are not on the blanket. Grab the seat, tray, and bunched-up blanket and clean up all of that.

I clean and dry the tray, wipe down his seat, and just shake the blanket off in the sink.

 

If you’re new to it, that process may be really helpful! Once we move (next week!), I may have a new system in place because we will have a REAL TABLE (!!) and a high chair (!!). But the basic idea will stay the same: Make baby’s plate then my plate…clean my plate then baby’s plate.

Let me know if you’ve got questions! Leave a comment below OR send me an email (check out the CONTACT page at the top).

Here’s a recap:

A Mealtime Routine

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Dried vs. Fresh vs. Powdered

Sometimes a recipe calls for chopped onions, and you’ve only got onion powder. Or maybe it calls for parsley flakes, but you only have fresh parsley. Most of the time it’s okay to substitute one for the other, but how do you know how much to use?

I put together some information for you. Save the guide below as an image on your phone (or computer desktop) for quick reference! It’s also available, at the end, as a PDF so you can download and print it out!

Chile and Pepper

Believe it or not, some babies like spicy foods! It’s all an experiment. I wouldn’t put a spicy dish in front of my baby, but you could offer something a little hotter than “bland” to see what sort of reaction you get. If baby doesn’t mind it, or goes for more, try something hotter in the future. (For the record, my baby has tried a few spicy things and totally freaked out. We’ll try again in the future, but for now, he does not like the heat!)

Of course, not all chiles (or peppers) are that spicy. In fact, your classic bell pepper (capsicum), after the seeds are removed, is not hot at all (as I’m sure you know!). 

Not all chili powder is created equal. Some have more than just chiles, including added salt. Make sure to get the kind that says some sort of “chiles” as the only ingredient. Also, chile flakes (red pepper flakes) can be very hot, depending on the age of the chiles used. So if you sub fresh chiles with these flakes, be very cautious. Put a tiny amount at the beginning of cooking, taste throughout, and then modify as needed. Remember: YOU CAN ALWAYS ADD MORE LATER! 

I couldn’t find specific information about ratios for fresh vs. dried chiles. Here’s more information about the different versions of chiles!

Onion

Sometimes swapping onion flakes or powder for fresh onion is your only option. (And if you don’t have any powder of flakes, then you’ve got to use fresh!) Of course, something that calls for fresh onion is usually best with fresh onion. But that doesn’t mean you’re totally out of luck. 

The rule of thumb is this: 1 small onion = 1 tablespoon of onion flakes = 1.5 teaspoons of onion powder

Garlic

If you’re anything like me, garlic or garlic powder is in almost all the savory dishes I make. Most of the time, I use a garlic press and mince a garlic clove or two as needed. But if I’m in a rush or just want a hint of flavor, I’ll sprinkle some of the garlic powder I have instead. You can also substitute garlic with chives or shallots or onions! It’s not quite the same flavor, of course, but if you’re in a pinch, you gotta do what you gotta do. 

The rule of thumb is this: 1 clove = 1 teaspoon chopped garlic = 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic = 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder = 1/2 teaspoon garlic flakes = 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic = 1/2 teaspoon garlic juice (Source)

Herbs

There are a ton of different herbs out there. Some can be substituted with their dried counterpart pretty easily, but others are tricky. Let your dried herbs soak in some water to rehydrate them before putting them into your dish. If you’re using fresh herbs, put them in just before you’re done cooking so that the flavor is stronger. If you’re using dried herbs, put them in at the beginning so the flavor has a chance to build.

Here is a great summary of different herbs and how they compare to their dried counterparts.

The rule of thumb is this: 1 tablespoon of dried herb = 1.5 tablespoons of fresh herb (and add more as needed since you can’t take it back once you’ve added it!)

One quick extra note about herbs: Check the expiration dates on your dried herbs! While they won’t go bad — as in, they won’t harm you — the flavor is worthless after a while. If the color has faded, the flavor probably has, too. Try crushing the dried stuff between your fingers to see if it still gives off an aroma. If it doesn’t, or if the aroma is faint, I would toss the container and get some more!

 

As I mentioned, here’s a quick chart for you that may be helpful in the future! I would just save the image on my phone!

DRIED

(CLICK HERE to download a printable version.)

Do you have any others to add?

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Easy Chocolate Pancakes

3

I made these pancakes several times this week and last week. There’s no added sugar (okay technically I add chocolate chips to my own, BUT the baby’s version doesn’t have added sugar). There is cocoa powder, which means there’s a tiny bit of caffeine. Read this post I wrote yesterday about caffeine!

In today’s recipe, it calls for 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder. It makes 6 small pancakes. According to Hershey, 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder has 8.4 mg of caffeine. Divide that by 6, and each small pancake contains about 1.4 mg of caffeine. My son ate just under 1 pancake, so it’s no concern to me!

So… onto the recipe!

It’s SO EASY.

First, the cast of characters: You’ll need 1 banana, 1 egg, and 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder. You’ll also need a little butter for the skillet (or cooking spray, if that’s what you prefer). I also added some chocolate chips to my own. You know what would be great?? Peanut butter chips. Oh my. I may have to go find some.

Oh, wait! Maybe I could put tiny pinches of peanut butter into each pancake as they are cooking! 

Onward! Tomorrow, I will try this. Mmmmm.

1

Next put all of that into a blender and blend it for a minute, until it’s nice and smooth.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.39.52 PM

2

By the way, when we move (in a week or so), we are getting a food processor. I’m soooo excited.

Okay, next you’ll heat a bit of butter (I use about half a tablespoon) on low heat. If it’s too hot, then the pancake gets dark on the outside and stays too soft inside. Wait until the pan is hot and then pour your mixture on. I made two small and two large. The small ones were plain, and I added chocolate chips to the large ones.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.40.07 PM

I made a bit of a mistake this time around….I had the pan on the lowest possible setting instead of the next one up, like I normally do. So they took forever, and they didn’t look all that pretty. But they tasted great, and they look… acceptable. With a little brightening of the image, you almost can’t tell! *wink*

Here is your printable recipe, if you’d like it:

Easy Chocolate Pancakes
Yields 6
A flour-free, easy chocolate pancake that uses just 3 ingredients.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 banana
  2. 1 egg
  3. 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. butter, to heat in the pan
Instructions
  1. Blend the banana, egg, and cocoa.
  2. Heat a skillet on low with a little bit of butter.
  3. Pour the mixture into 6 small pancakes (or you can make 2 big and 2 small).
  4. Flip once after 3-4 minutes.
Notes
  1. You can add chocolate chips to the "grownup" version!
Baby Led Weaning Ideas http://www.blwideas.com/
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