Starting Baby on Solids
It was a momentous day in our house on the first day of solids. Momentous for me – no one else really cared. “First, they start eating solids, next they’re going to university. How did it all change so quickly???????” Of course, it can be a lot less dramatic, but I am afraid you won’t bypass the mess. In all seriousness though, I loved this new phase. I am a terrible cook, but puree I can do so I finally found an audience for my kind of cooking. I took to the introduction of solids as I do to most things - I read, read, read, stressed and then just got on with it. I am so happy I stuck with all the healthy food information I read because I have two kids that love food – good food – fruit, veg, diary, meat, fish… All the good stuff. I am lucky to have great eaters but I also worked with them on it from day one. It’s the food they have known from day one. The old adage – start as you mean to go on – couldn’t be more accurate!
It is so quick and easy to make food for your baby at home. And you can make a stack of it and keep it frozen. It doesn’t take a lot of time and it is really easy to make delicious, homemade, nutritious baby food.
Starting Baby on Solids - When do you start feeding solids to a baby?
Your baby may start to show interest in what you are eating at around 4 months of age. Anywhere between 4-6 months of age you can start. Not earlier. Your baby should be able to sit upright in a supported chair. It’s important to start with solids at the right time, because they will need the nutrients for their development which they will not get from breastmilk or formula. The new textures and tastes will be good for them too, new ways to use their jaws and their teeth and gums.
Some babies will show definite signs of interest – they will try to grab food or open their mouths when you are eating. With mine, I started at 4 months with some simple food. Firstly, I did an arm test to see if they had an allergic reaction, and when fine, I gave them a little taste on a spoon. Have a camera ready – the faces they pull are classic. If in doubt check in with your maternal health nurse or doctor. And also, If you know that baby or someone in your family has a history of allergies you need to consult with your doctor.
Starting Baby on Solids - How do you start?
At first, you want to give the solid feed in addition to the milk / formula feed, ideal around lunch time. Bubs needs to be sitting when eating. Remember that at first, they are just getting used to new textures and tastes so start slow.
Start with something easy like rice based infant cereal. Try one or two teaspoons at first. As the days go on and the baby is taking some of the cereal introduce other foods such as apples, pears, sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin or zucchini. Watch for signs that they are full – they will turn their head away, close their mouth and push the spoon away. Let them go at their pace.
It’s a really big step so make sure that you explain to bubs what they are eating. Enjoy this new step together.
Starting Baby on Solids - Which food?
Once they are at 6 months, you can be adding avocado, mango, bananas, cauliflower, cheese, lentils, peas, fish and meats and more. Keep offering different types of foods, different taste combinations. The maternal health nurse is a great source of information of what will work for your bubs at what age. Plus, also there are a myriad of books that have detailed lists of different foods by age such a Baby Love and Save Our Sleep.
Things to keep in mind:
- Foods like onion, tomato, honey, garlic, beans, eggs, mayo, and a variety of other foods cannot be introduced as part of the early food routines
- Avoid fruit juices, salt and sugar.
- Water can be introduced after 6months, filtered or boiled only. Not tap water.
- After 12months your baby should be eating the same foods that the rest of the family is eating but either mashed or cut into small easy to chew pieces.
Starting Baby on Solids - How do you prepare it?
My method for food prep was done in advance. I would steam or boil the foods until very soft. At first, I was using a handheld blender to mash the food into a very smooth puree. Later, as bubs got older, I was hand mashing the old-fashioned way to introduce different food textures and have them chewing it. Mashing or pureeing well especially at the beginning reduces choking risk.
Rice cereal I would make as needed. The apple, pear, sweet potato, pumpkin purees I made in batches and froze them in ice trays. Once frozen, I would put the little blocks into containers with dates. I was warming them up in the microwave when I needed them. At first, I was only using one block but then as my girls ate more and more, I would mix the blocks together in different combinations. I did the same thing with chicken stock and soup I made. It’s a really easy way to always have food on hand - nutritious, no salt, no sugar, delicious and homemade.
On a last note, mess is inevitable. If you have a dog it will be really easy to clean up! It’s part of the process. Understanding the texture with fingers, holding food, spoons, sippy cups help with your baby’s fine motor development. Enjoy this time together.
Starting Baby on Solids - Tips for starting solids with baby:
- Start as you mean to go on - good homemade food as a priority
- Start between 4-6 months of age - not earlier and no later than 6 months unless directed by a health care professional
- Baby will need to be breastfed / formula fed until at least 12 months of age
- It’s important to start with solids at the right time, because they will need to nutrients for their development
- Start with something easy like rice based infant cereal, then slowly introduce other foods such as apples, pears, sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin
- Make the fresh fruit / veg purees in batches and freeze them in ice trays
- Avoid fruit juices, salt and sugar.
- Bubs will guide you to how much they want to eat, so let them go at their own pace in the beginning. Make sure you have different tastes for them to keep trying
- After 12months your baby should be eating the same foods that the rest of the family is eating
- Embrace the mess
Starting Baby on Solids - The Best Baby Feeding Products
Feeding time at the zoo has a new look. Make clean up after kids meal time easy with the We Might Be Tiny durable non-slip, silicone placemat. These are so cute that your kids love sharing their meal time with the Placie's. They come in various colours.
If its too much to clean by hand, simply put the Bear Placie™ into the dishwasher. The toxic-free silicone makes it the logical choice for the conscious parent who places trust in the highest quality food-safe products.
This sweet and innovative Snuggle Bib will keep mealtime mess to a minimum while making it fun and beautiful. They are great because after they eat you can just rinse them or wipe them down and they will dry on the rack. The catch-all pocket will mean less floor clean up as well! Great Size. Various designs and colours.
Everything you need in one box - the Love Mae 4-piece sets features wide-based cups perfect for miniature hands to hold, and a smooth, durable bowl with a suction cap. Various designs.
The We Might Be Tiny Stickie™ Bowls are ergonomically designed, a rounded bowl with an inbuilt suction base to hold the bowl firmly in place on almost any solid surface so that your mini-me doesn’t send the sticky mess flying across the table.
Raising an independent eater can be a lengthy and somewhat overwhelming process for everyone involved. Thankfully, there are ways to make your little one’s self-feeding journey that little bit easier. The We Might Be Tiny Feedie Fork & Spoon Set ticks all the boxes as a baby’s perfect first cutlery set made from highest quality stain-resistant silicone. Great for on the go or at home.
As your little ones starts to expand their food options and volume, check out the Stickie Plates. The We Might Be Tiny Stickie™ Plate puts your little muncher in charge at mealtime. Each toxic-free Stickie Plate lets you neatly portion your foodie creations in three sections. The come in various designs and colours.
The beautiful and elegant Leander Chair grows with your child from baby to adult. A chair for life, the Leander High Chair grows with your child from baby to adult. The chair weighs only 6 kg but can hold 130kg!