Weaning to solids is one of the most exciting milestones that your baby can reach, however it can also come with a lot of apprehension, especially if it’s your first time. The key thing here is to ensure your baby is ready for solids, physically. Your child should be able to support themselves and sit up on their own. Once they start showing you cues of their readiness, for example snatching food from your hands, you know it is time to make the introduction to solid food. But where do you begin?
There are two methods. The first being Purée food and the second is Baby Led Weaning. I did a combination of both with my two boys.
As soon as they were showing signs of readiness at the age of 6 months, I began by making purees of single vegetables and fruits at a time. Beginning with one meal time per day for a week and increasing this as you go on. The time you choose is also crucial, as they should be hungry. Therefore not straight after a milk feed, but alert enough, so not right before a nap.
There were definitely some flavours of first tastes that my children preferred over others but don’t worry, simply try that flavour again after some time. Kids have to taste a new flavour at least 10 times before they decide they like it, so don’t feel like your efforts are in vain.
Best First Food Purée Suggestions: https://www.justkidding-me.com/mealtime/cooking/beaba-babycook-book-my-first-meal-22424
Carrot, Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash, Pumpkin, Apple, Pear, Banana, Papaya, Peach, Mango, Avocado.
At the same time as introducing purees, I also began BLW by placing food morsels in front of my kids for them to explore. Be warned, it is a messy process and it may seem like your child isn’t actually swallowing any of it. But it is crucial in ensuring your child begins to have a good relationship with food, and encouraging them to experience new tastes and textures to play with.
Best First Food BLW Suggestions: https://www.justkidding-me.com/mealtime/bib-sets/skip-hop-zoo-fold-go-silicone-bib-16988
Soft ripe fruits like peach, pear, mango and banana, steamed vegetables like carrot sticks and broccoli florets, toast sticks, cooked pasta, fish.
Tip: Put a washable table cloth below the highchair so that any mess can be scooped up in a jiffy. Use bibs with catcher compartments or bibs with full sleeves. Better yet, if it’s Spaghetti Bolognese on the menu, have them only in their nappies and there will be much less washing up to do!
During meal times, regardless of whether it is BLW or puree, adult supervision at all times is crucial. Your full attention needs to be on that child and it is good to read up on first aid infographics, especially for choking, so you are confident in yourself and know how to act in the case of any such emergency. There are also some potentially high-risk foods that you may want to take extra caution when introducing it to your child in case of allergies or family history; such as milk and dairy products, eggs, peanuts and other tree nuts.
Also, make sure to have a sippy cup with water at hand and keep offering it to them between bites. This will reduce the chances of constipation as their stomachs get used to solid food for the first couple of weeks.
After First Tastes: https://www.justkidding-me.com/beaba-babycook-duo-online-only
Once your child is confident with the initial tastes and smooth textures, mix up a combination of fruits and veg and increase the size of lumps in their food gradually. From there, you can begin to start offering smaller portions or more child-friendly options of your own adult meals for them to enjoy alongside with you. If possible, do try to have at least one meal in a day where you eat together as a family, as this will encourage your child to eat more and taste new flavours in because they are seeing you do the same.
I hope this was a comprehensive and helpful introduction to how to wean your child onto solids, and has given you the confidence to begin this exciting journey with your child as they discover new flavours. Do share if you have any tips that you’d like to give or you feel I have missed out that may be beneficial to other Mamas going through this stage.
Disclaimer: Reader discretion is advised when following the above depending on your child and please consult a doctor or a paediatric dietician for any medical support.
Author: Zeyna Sanjania