Introducing solids to your baby- the German way
In Germany there is detailed mealtime schedule that can be used to slowly introduce solids to your baby.
Babies develop very fast in their first year. On or around the 5 month your baby will be ready to start eating solids.*
The concept behind the schedule is to increasingly introduce solids (on month by month basis), replacing one milk-feed after another.
- Step 1: Starting with the lunchtime feed, introduce vegetable puree for one month.
- Step 2: In month 2, replace the afternoon feed with fruit and cereals-puree.
- Step 3: In month 3, replace the evening feed with milk and cereals-puree.
- Step 4: In month 4, replace the morning milk-feed with fruit and cereals-puree.
This graphic shows you what I mean:
|solid food schedule|
|steps||daytime||meals||No. of milkfeeds|
|1||lunch||vegetable-puree||5 or 4|
|2||afternoon||fruit-cereal puree||approx. 3|
|3||evening||milk-cereal puree||approx. 2|
|4||morning||milk-cereal puree||approx. 0-1|
The schedule above displays the ideal scenario, as breastfed babies normally need more than 4 milk-feeds a day, but this is what you are aiming for.
Step I – introduce lunchtime puree
In Germany the tradition is to get your baby started on solids, with single vegetable (I highly recommend parsnips). Start by giving your baby parsnip puree each lunchtime during week 1. After week one start to add potatoes or pasta before including meat in the third or fourth week.
Usually babies take just a few spoonfuls in the first week, so you have to breastfeed/give bottle after the puree.
The lunchtime feed can be replaced when your baby doesn’t need milk two hours before and two hours after giving the puree.
Once the feed is replaced start to introduce new vegetables (zucchini, fennel, sweet potato, squash, carrots), but introduce them gradually. In order to introduce new food types, wait at least three days after each new food (this will help determine allergic reactions to particular food types).
Tip: Add a spoon of rapeseed oil to your purees for a better vitamin- intake and to help your baby’s digestion.
Step II- introduce afternoon puree
Before moving onto Step 2 of the ‘German Way’, your baby should be familiar with the experience of eating solids and taking food from a spoon. Therefore replacing the afternoon and all subsequent feeds will gradually become much easier. By this point you don’t need to breast or bottle-feed again after the afternoon puree (if your baby likes the puree).
Suggestions for afternoon mealtimes are a cereal-fruit puree. Baby-rice, Spelt and millet are good choices for small baby’s digestion. Apple and pears can be used for the puree in the first weeks, before the introduction of other fruits.
Step III- introduce evening puree
Cereal- milk puree is suitable for evening-meals.
Baby-rice is a good choice in the beginning. Mix the baby rice with formula or cows-milk (as far as I can say introducing cow-milk is a big topic and worth another article. You will therefore have to decide which milk is best for your baby**).
Step IV-introducing morning puree
You can use the same ingredients as in the afternoon feed.
Of course it is possible to modify the daytime meals- if it’s easier for you and your family to eat the vegetables-purees on evenings- do so and feed the cereal-milk puree for lunch.
If these four meals are not enough for your baby; you can bottle-feed in the morning before the morning meal.
You can also add a second cereal-fruit puree in the morning and one in the afternoon. Once the baby gets older you can start to give snacks instead of puree (fruits in pieces, spelt-sticks, rice-waffles and so on).
*The WHO recommends that babies be breastfeed exclusivley for at least six months, though parents will attest some babies are ready to eat solids earlier.
Also babies need breast-milk or formula at least until the age of 1.
**If you want to introduce cow-milk before baby’s 1st birthday take it slow, if you want to add 200ml milk start with 150ml water, 50 ml cow-milk and replace it slow step by step)
-Nicole Wahl, mum to one gorgeous baby boy
German Ex Pat living in London