New Dad Diaries 26: The First Supper




Chronicling life as a new father to his beautiful firstborn child – daughter Thea – Chris Kerr’s goal is to provide all men experiencing fatherhood for the first time with some invaluable tips and tricks as they are learned – the hard way. This week – Thea hits a big milestone – eating solid foods for the first time…

In 1495, Leonardo da Vinci began what would become one of history’s most influential works of art – The Last Supper. In 2023, Thea Joy Molly Kerr created her own masterpiece – a concoction of green, orange, red and purple splats across our walls, floors, table, carpet and even her dad’s previously clean shirt, in what is now fondly remembered as, ‘The First Supper’.  

That’s right – six and a half months into Thea’s life and we are at the point of introducing her to solid foods. Until now, she has had a diet of milk marinated in milk with a side of milk sauce but tonight, for the first time, she is ready to try real food – albeit a very mashed up version of it. The experts call this significant milestone ‘weaning’.  I think that’s mainly because it rhymes with ‘cleaning’ – and that’s all we seem to do now.    

In terms of what you need to know, here’s what my wife and I have learned so far:

Don’t rush things

Dads tend to be competitive. It appeals to us to be the first, fastest, best at everything and sometimes our kids get dragged into that. When it comes to weaning though, don’t rush it. There is a reason why major health organisations recommend waiting for six months. You will know your baby is ready for solid foods when:  

  • They can fully lift and support their heads for long periods (this is very important).  
  • They start putting everything and anything in their mouth.  
  • They stare at you when you eat, mimicking what you do and making you feel awful for daring to eat food in front of them. Thea has this nailed down.   
  • No amount of milk is satisfying them for long amounts of time.   

By the way, my baby is messier than yours. Not that I’m competitive.   

Do your research but don’t get stressed about it

Dads, I should have warned you long ago not to venture into the no-go zone that is a mothers’ online chat room. It’s not safe. If you manage to avoid the inevitable criticism of your particular style of fathering (“Why does he keep swinging her around his head when he is meant to be putting her to bed?” – Mrs Kerr, Cardiff), then you may get hit with the raging debates around the best type of weaning: baby-led versus spoon-led. It’s a war zone.   

So, which is best? I honestly don’t know. We settled on a mix – usually in the same meal. For example, we chop carrots into fingers and cook them so that she can feed herself (baby-led weaning) and we perhaps also puree an avocado or something to spoon feed her (spoon-led weaning). Both have pros and cons. Do some reading around the two and decide which approach you are going to take.   

How do you know it is working? Well, if your baby is continuing to grow then you have nailed it.   

Embrace the mess

Some parents have a romanticised view of weaning. They think it will be a calm, tranquil, bliss-filled experience where their baby accepts the food willingly and looks cute doing so. I am here to tell you it’s less like the picnic scene in The Sound of Music and more like the endless gunging on the 1990s TV show Noel’s House Party.  It’s less ‘Do-Re-Mi’ and more ‘everything-over-me’.   

Just surrender to the fact it is going to be messy. Don’t try and stop it; have a damage limitation strategy instead. Get a bib or a Bibado (these are amazing) to protect your baby’s clothes. Buy a tablecloth and place it under your baby’s highchair to prevent needing to hire an industrial carpet cleaner every week. And, if you can, sit far enough back that your clothes don’t get caught in the crossfire. 

The good news is that things will get better soon. OK, that’s a lie. They will get worse. A lot worse.  Why? Well, at some point pretty soon your baby is going to want to hold and control the spoon. I am at that point with Thea now and we have gone from Noel’s House Party to another of my favourite 1990s TV shows:  Bodger and Badger.   

Be patient and enjoy it  

Not long ago, I used to chow down my dinner in less than five minutes and get back to work. Things are a little different now. Since Thea joined us, I sit at the table for an average of 45-60 minutes per meal. That’s because it’s a big challenge for her to eat solid foods. There is a lot to process – the taste, the new textures and of course, the need to learn how to chew and swallow effectively so as not to choke. 

You are going to have to let them take all the time they need. If you are a busy man this may seem frustrating, so look at it this way. Feeding your little one is an incredible bonding experience. You get to meet her need for food (perhaps for the first time if your wife is breastfeeding). You also have her captive attention for the whole time, which as they grow older is increasingly hard to find. 

I can tell you that in the days since, we have had the most wonderful times at the table as a family. There has been connection, laughter, joy and a whole load of fun. That’s important, as the clean-up afterwards also takes a lot longer than it used to… 


Keep a food diary for your little one. It’s not uncommon for your baby to have a reaction – rashes, stomach upsets (you’ll soon know when you open the nappy) etc. If you have a food diary you may be able to spot the pattern. If you have any concerns, speak to your doctor/health visitor.   

Chris Kerr

Chris is a husband to Alicia and father to Thea, who is the subject of his columns on Fatherhood for Sorted.  In his spare time he works for a national law firm in an executive capacity and provides crisis leadership consultancy support for non-profits across the UK.  He attends Urban Crofters Church in Cardiff.  A keen weekend adventurer, Chris is regularly spotted in the sea or on mountains.

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