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Introducing solids - the best first foods for babies

27 Nov, 2023
Baby | Parenting

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

  • Overcooked pasta

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.

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