How to introduce solids and what are the best types of food for your baby?
As a new parent, you may be wondering when and how to introduce solids to your young baby. After all, it’s a huge milestone in your baby’s development! Here we give 7 useful tips to help you on your journey.
Signs that it’s time to introduce solids.
There are several signs in your baby’s development which can indicate that he or she is ready to start solids. This is not an exact science and can happen anytime around 5-6 months. It’s not recommended starting your baby on solids before 4 months of age. Your baby should be able to sit upright and have good neck and head control. He or she should be showing an interest in food and will be reaching out to grab food items that you offer.
Should Baby Still Drink Breast Milk or Formula?
Breast milk or formula still play an important nutritional role in your baby’s diet up until 12 months. Introducing solids is an important way to get your baby interested and used to different textures, but cannot replace breast milk or formula at such an early age. Each baby will adapt differently to the combination of milk and solids, so you will have to experiment to work out what’s best for you and your baby.
Products that can help your baby in this process.
Introducing solids is going to be a messy process. It’s an important stage of your baby’s co-ordination development – just how does your baby get food into his or her mouth? We at Cherub Baby have a number of products to help you with the process. Check out our Baby Fresh Food Feeder or our Reusable Freeze and Squeeze Ice Pop Pouches these are just two options from our range of products to help you make introducing solids healthy and more fun.
How to introduce solids: food timing.
It will take time to get into a feeding routine when introducing solids to your baby. Most importantly try and have a relaxed environment, and keep calm no matter how much food gets thrown around. Start by introducing solids after your baby has been breast or formula fed. He or she will be calmer after eating something more familiar. Remember, introducing solids is a huge learning curve for your baby and the different smells, textures and techniques will take some getting used to. Try to introduce solids to your baby during family meal times as the family atmosphere will encourage baby to eat too.
Mealtimes routines should focus on trying to be calm; turn any loud music, the TV or any other distractions off. Use a high chair to secure your baby and try to get into a routine of breakfast, lunch and dinner, even if your baby doesn’t seem hungry at times. Never force your baby to eat. There will be good days and bad days at first, but rest assured your baby will progress. Start with cereals and purees, and slowly progress to different textures including pureed fruit and different vegetables such as pumpkin and sweet potato. By the time your baby reaches 12 months he or she should be eating the same textures as the rest of the family.
Apart from the obvious, salt, sugar and strong flavours, there are additional foods that you should avoid feeding your baby in the early days. A young baby’s immune system is still developing plus their digestive system cannot cope with certain foods. Avoid honey and raw egg products such as mayonnaise until your baby is at least 12 months old. Both can cause severe reactions. Avoid unpasteurised dairy products, tea, coffee, fruit juices and sugary drinks; a young baby’s digestive system cannot cope with these foodstuffs. And avoid nuts and whole grapes as these are potential choking hazards.
The advice here may sound a little overwhelming, but starting your baby on solids is a big step. Despite the odd frustration, you will find it rewarding too!