Different countries say to start solid food at different ages and this advice is often changing. This blog is not designed to be a rigid guide but instead it is here to help give you ideas and get you excited about introducing your baby to solids. You will know when it is time to begin introducing solids but key things to look out for are:
- Your baby can sit upright and hold their own head up well without support
- Starts to seem curious and interested in the food that you are eating
- Your baby has lost the ‘tongue thrust’ reflex – this means that if you put a spoon of puree into your babys mouth they wouldn’t automatically push it back out with their tongue
Another thing to remember is that milk (breast or formula) is still the main source of nutrition for a baby and can be up to the age of 12months. You can introduce cooled boiled water as a drink for your baby once they start solid food. It must always be freshly boiled water (not previously boiled) and should be left to cool then placed into a clean beaker or sippy cup.
Each post will be tagged with either ‘Stage 1’ ‘first tastes’ ‘Stage 2’ ‘Finger food’ and/or ‘family meals’. This will make is easy for you to navigate all the recipes and find the ones appropriate for you. There are also ‘helpful hints’ and ‘guides’ which you can search for too.
Stage 1 or First tastes are exactly that. Recipes for the first tastes of solid food. These will always be purees and are often single flavors which you can then mix and match. These are the foods to start with.
Stage 2 – once your baby has mastered swallowing purees and has been happily trying new foods for a few weeks you can start to try foods with a lumpier consistency. This helps your baby learn to swallow more effectively but also helps to increase the mastication/chewing motion of their jaw.
Finger food – at the same time that solid foods are introduced you’ll probably notice that your baby can both ‘rake’ items towards themselves but that they can also use their pincer grip to pick up smaller items and lift them towards their face. This means that you can also offer them baby friendly finger food and allow them to feed themselves. We mix both spoon feeding and self feeding but if you want to skip spoon feeding all together then read up on ‘baby led weaning/feeding’
Family recipes – these are recipes that can be adapted to suit all the family. It may be that parts of it can be used as finger food or that it is safe to puree or mash. It may also be suitable for a 12 month + baby to eat. It will always say in the recipe and will have an explanation of what to do.
To get prepared stock up on silicon ice-cube trays.You can then make a recipe or two and then freeze in mini portions. Once they are frozen pop them out into freezer bags and label the bags. In the morning you can take however many cubes you need out and leave them to defrost for lunch or dinner. Let them defrost in the fridge in a sealed container. Babies will eat only a small amount to begin with and then increase it as they want to. That is why ice cube portions make sense as they are easy to mix and match and quick to defrost.
You will also need:
Baby spoons – these are softer than teaspoons and gentler on their gums and teeth buds. We love these ones
Bibs – for obvious reasons. Buy bulk over cuteness, they see a lot of mess and carrot stains do not come out. We like these cloth ones as they can also be worn out and about but also these ones with sleeves
Sippy cup/water beaker – as you increase solids and especially once you add in proteins, you need to add in boiled cooled water to your babies diet. We love this rice cup for meal times and this bottle for on the go
You can introduce a new food into the mix every couple of days. And you can mix these foods once you know they are a hit. Sometimes your baby wont like a food or will love it one day and then hate it the next. DO NOT PANIC! I read somewhere that you have to try a new taste seven times in a positive environment until you know if you like it. Just keep trying and remember that cooked broccoli tastes different to raw broccoli that tastes different to roasted broccoli so don’t write a food off if it isn’t an instant hit. Babies often prefer sweet food to begin with so root vegetables and fruit are normally a good place to start.
Once your baby is managing to eat fruit, vegetables and cereals then you can add in proteins. These can be tofu, beans, lentils and pulses and meat. Go slowly as protein is harder to digest and needs to be given in small quantities to begin with.
Most importantly of all, have fun. There are no set amounts that your baby needs to eat, so let them taste and play and enjoy. As they become confident with food, let them get their hands dirty and feed themselves, experiment with tastes and spices. You are setting up their tastebuds for life.