It was 2:45am. My twins, 6 months old at the time, were asleep, as was my 3 year old. Yet I had been up all night, scouring the Internet for information on how to introduce real food to my babies.
Into Google I typed basic questions like, “When can my babies eat eggs?” and “Can a baby eat steak?” “What are the best foods for 6 month olds?”
Never in one place, the Google results led me on an endless scavenger hunt, down rabbit holes and back out again. Most of the websites I found locked the information I needed behind a pay wall, while the websites that offered free information lacked organization, credibility, and sources. I was tired and I was frustrated. How is it that so much information exists for breastfeeding but so little for introducing food to babies?
Solid Starts was born out of necessity.
Ingredient by ingredient, I started documenting what I learned about introducing babies to real food. I consulted pediatric feeding experts, allergists, doctors, nutritionists, and occupational therapists and read every book on feeding babies there is. Soon I had an encyclopedia on my hands with detailed information I knew would benefit other parents.
The Solid Starts team now consists of passionate parents like me, feeding therapists, swallowing specialists, pediatricians, an allergist, pediatric dietitians, lactation consultants, and a brilliant nutritionist. It is the only comprehensive multidisciplinary team in the baby food and feeding space. Yet every expert opinion and point of research is filtered through the lens of a parent.
I had a choice when I started this adventure: I could lock our First Foods® database behind a paywall, or I could share what I had learned with all the other tired parents out there in need of immediate answers. I chose the latter. Because finding quality information you can trust on introducing food to your baby shouldn’t require a degree in investigative journalism.
As you will see, at Solid Starts, we advocate for an approach that we named #FingerFoodFirst. Based on a method called “baby-led weaning,” FingerFoodFirst involves letting go. Letting go of the impulse to control every spoonful and letting go of the expectation that you should make one meal for your baby and another for everyone else.
While I believe that letting babies feed themselves with their fingers can yield immeasurable health, psychological, and developmental benefits, every baby is different. Adapt as you see fit for your family’s needs and your family food culture.
–Jenny Best, founder, Solid Starts