Weaning your baby onto solids is both an exciting and nerve wracking experience. While it’s magical to see your tot eat food for the first time, you may also feel apprehensive about allergies, choking hazards and whether or not your baby is receiving enough nutrients. To give you a nudge in the right direction we’ve teamed up with Chirin Kawatmi, the founder of popular mum and baby subscription service, Mama’s Box. The Dubai-based mum-of-two is passionate about weaning and runs baby weaning cookery classes. On May 16th she’ll be running one of her seminars at our Al Safa Store, so in preparation for that we decided to pick her brains on how to introduce solids to your baby. Here’s what she had to say.
Which foods should I introduce to baby first?
Start with something like mashed avocado or baby marrow. Both are nutritious and are unlikely to cause constipation. Other options are carrots, rice cereal and sweet potatoes. It’s also important to begin with something savory. The reason for this is that baby will develop a preference for sweet foods, and if you start with something sweet, you may have difficulty introducing savory foods later.
When should I introduce meat into baby’s diet?
Your baby can eat meat that has been pureed to a very thin, smooth consistency as soon as he starts solids. However, my personal recommendation is that you introduce meat two months after you begin the weaning process. This way baby’s digestive system will have had time to adapt.
What are some foods I should avoid feeding baby during the first 12 months?
This is a list I recommend you print out and stick on your fridge. Then, when you’re getting creative in the kitchen, you won’t inadvertently include any ingredients that aren’t good for baby.
- Low fat foods
- Artificial sweeteners
- Unpasteurized cheese
- High-mercury fish, such as shark, swordfish or marlin
- Smoked or cured meats
- Cow’s milk
- Sugary treats
- Choking hazards such as peanuts
When is it okay to stop sterilizing feeding equipment?
My doctor recommended stopping by six months so that my babies could strengthen their immunity. However, each mother has to choose a time that she is comfortable with. If your baby gets sick often you may decide to continue sterilizing a little longer than six months. One thing to note, even after you stop sterilizing it is important to wash feeding equipment thoroughly and to sterilize everything once a month.
What are some things to bear in mind when weaning baby on a vegetarian diet?
During the first 12 months babies receive most of their nutrients from either breast milk or formula, however it’s also important to introduce tastes and textures during this time. Meat is a great source of protein, so if you want to raise your baby as vegetarian, you’ll need to compensate for that and include a good amount of legumes, such as beans, peas and lentils, into the diet, as these are all high in protein. It’s also important to check baby is getting enough energy and iron and not too much fibre. Vitamin drops, providing vitamins A, C and D, should be given to babies on a vegetarian diet.
Organic vs non organic?
There’s a lot of pressure on parents to cook with organic ingredients, and while this is great, it is also expensive and can push your grocery bill up considerably. Certainly there are benefits to going organic. For example, we know that feeding your baby organic food limits their exposure to synthetic fertilizers. However, if you don’t generally cook with organic ingredients at home, don’t go out of your way to cook it for your baby. The reason for this is that sooner or later baby will be eating the food you eat anyway.
When should I stop daytime bottle feeds?
Daytime bottle feeds can slowly be reduced once your baby is weaned onto solids. By one year your baby should be down to two bottles (or sippy cups) a day – one in the morning and one before bed.