Starting baby on solid food usually comes with loads of questions. As is everything related to raising a child for that matter 🙂 As a person who like to spend time in the kitchen I was so excited to make my daughter`s first portions of real solid food. I chose to follow the traditional way of introducing solids- by giving her smooth purees. Despite everything I read about BLW (baby led weaning) and I just didn`t feel like the right option for my daughter. My approach was more traditional, yet offering delicious and exciting food. In this post I hope I can cover the entire subject, but if you have any questions please let me know in the comments section.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or nutritionist and my post is purely based on my personal experience at home!
WHEN SHOULD I INTRODUCE SOLID FOOD TO MY BABY?
The WHO is suggesting introducing solid food to your child between 4-6 months of age, but not before that. Bear in mind that the infant stomach takes some time to grow and be ready to digest something different than mother`s milk or formula. However it is important to look for signs whether your child is ready for solid food:
- Supporting her/his head
- Ability to sit in upright position
- Ability to move food to the back of his mouth and swallow it, instead of just spitting it out
- Double her birth weight
- Curious about your food, reaching for your plate and opening mouth when offering a spoon.
With my daughter I started solid food at 4 months of age. She was always drooling when we were eating and obviously curious about food. Important is also to start giving water to your child once he is eating solid food. Water help digesting and prevents constipation.
WHERE AND HOW TO START?
There is no strict way to do this. My advice is to start with root vegetable, steamed or boiled to very soft. Then blend until very smooth and add little bit of water or breast milk/formula to make it extra runny and smooth. You need very small amount as well as most babies will eat not more than a spoon or two at one feed. I started with half boiled carrot with added few drops of water to make it easy to blend. I also used normal hand blender and never had problems with it and find it very easy to use and clean.
Although you might get very excited about offering your little one new tastes every day, you need to be very careful and pay close attention for allergic reactions. Good start is to offer purees made with only one new vegetable or fruit at a time for 2-3 days, so in case of reaction you will know what caused it.
Signs of allergy are usually visible within minutes from feeding. Most babies can react with mild rash on the chest, mouth area and back. But if you notice vomiting, diarrhea of hives, call your doctor immediately.
Safe foods to start with are: carrots, potatoes, sweet potato, zucchini, banana, avocado, apple, rice, baby oats and cereal.
Important note: Starting baby on solid food, doesn`t mean you can substitute his milk with solid food! Breast milk/formula should be offered at least until his first birthday.
Always consider choking hazards, when offering food. If you think blueberries are too big for her, then mash it with a fork, or even blend.
Be adventurous, even if you are not. There is so much goodness waiting to be discovered for baby`s little taste buds.
Don`t be afraid to offer sweets (talking fruits of course). But keep in mind that sugar is hard to digest at night when we sleep, so fruits are good before 5pm.
Give new foods time. It is hard to imagine what is to try new flavors and textures every day! So let your child try certain foods over and over again and you will see how they will become her favourites soon.
Once again- water! Constipation is likely to occur when starting solid food, so make sure your little one is having plenty to drink. If your child get constipated offer rich in fiber foods to promote bowel movement.
HOW OFTEN TO OFFER FOOD
Despite most peoples opinion that food before 1 is just for fun, I disagree. Food should be taken very seriously if you want to have a good eater at home. When first starting solids, keep it to one meal a day. By 6-7 months increase to 2 and from there onward your child can have breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack. At around 9 months you can start offering dinner meals as well. I like to have the meals at certain time every day, so the child will have her routine.
You will need:
- small dishes and bowls (preferably plastic or bamboo, to avoid breaking into small pieces)
- a tool to blend food- I like simple hand blender
- storage containers – to keep food in the fridge or even freeze it
- plastic spoon and fork
HOW TO RAISE A GOOD EATER
I have one rule when comes to baby food- I wouldn`t serve it if I can`t eat it myself. Baby meal shouldn`t be gross and weird. It should be tasty, full with fiber and served worm. Let the child try and feed herself if she is interested. And don`t be afraid of the mess- it is part of the whole experience 🙂
THE BEST PART!
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