Introducing solids is an exciting and essential milestone; it's your baby's first step into the world of brand-new flavours and textures. Below is everything you need to know about recommended menu items and how and when to start baby food for a smooth transition.
When is your baby ready for solids?
Some parents go with the traditional weaning method (purees), some go for baby-led weaning, and some prefer both to avoid picky eating and mealtime tantrums.
Look for these readiness signs in your baby before introducing solids:
Your baby is six months old
Seem hungry after breast or formula feeds
Can sit with minimal assistance
Has good head and neck control
Can reach out and put their hands and toy to their mouth
Appears interested in food, easily opens mouth when you touch their lip with a spoon
Move food to the back of their mouth and swallow
Traditional spoon feeding - starting with pureed food
This technique is very popular and often recommended by paediatricians. It puts the parents in control of the feeding (holding the baby spoon and feeding the baby). Babies naturally mimic parents, so to avoid stress at feeding time, give one silicone spoon to your baby to practice feeding themself.
Begin with spoon-feeding one single ingredient food in a pureed form at a time first. This helps you to figure out if your child has any allergies.
It is important to wait for at least 3 days after introducing each new food. Before you know it, your little nugget will be on its way to enjoying lots of different foods and flavours.
Babies naturally mimic parents, so to avoid stress at feeding time, give one silicone spoon to your baby to practice feeding themself.
Texture of purees
Make a pasty mixture by using a blender and add breast milk, infant formula, or water to make the right consistency. Start with smooth, pureed food, then slowly introduce mashed or chopped food to add texture.
First solid foods to try
Steamed/cooked and pureed vegetables without skin & seeds like broccoli, peas, sweet potato, carrot, pumpkin, cauliflower, asparagus, etc.
Steamed/cooked and pureed fruit like apples, pears, apricots and peaches
Soft and smoothly mashed fresh fruit like mango, banana and avocado
Iron-fortified infant cereal or baby rice
Overcooked and pureed pasta
Cooked and pureed meat (without bones) like beef, lamb, pork, chicken, or fish
Whole milk yogurt
There's no need to add any salt, spices, oil or butter when preparing food for your baby.
Baby-led weaning - starting with BLW
With Baby-led weaning, parents go hands-off, and the baby takes the reign. This newer method discourages spoon-feeding and supports infants to self-feed from the very beginning and be in control of the entire feeding experience.
Unlike spoon-feeding, your little one has the choice to pick and explore all sorts of foods, grasp them, and after playing with them and eventually eat them.
How to get started with BLW?
Start baby-led weaning by giving your baby a variety of food that is soft enough to smush between your fingers. Cut the pieces of food into slices and batons, long enough to fit into your baby's hand with a little bit of sticking out for them to chew on.
You can cut the more slippery fruit into wavy shapes, making it easy to hold (such as mango, watermelon, rockmelon) or dip the pieces in baby cereals or biscuit crumbs.
Offer your baby a variety of foods over the week; use a silicon suction plate with divisions if you want to separate different foods. Let the baby touch the food with their cute chubby fingers, play with it and enjoy the taste.
Baby-led weaning first foods
Steamed and peeled slices of apple, peach and pear
Soft & peeled mango, avocado, banana
Steamed and peeled sweet potato, broccoli, carrots, and asparagus
Scrambled eggs and toast
Moist proteins such as fish, poultry, and beef
Every baby is different, and it's fun getting to know what sort of food your baby loves. If you opt for a traditional feeding method, finger foods are recommended to be introduced by the 8th month. It is also suggested you continue breast or bottle feeding your baby - in addition to feeding them solid food until they are one year or older.
Article supplied by Brightberry.