The first year of a newborn’s life is full of many landmark events such as when they start to roll, laugh, crawl, and find many amusing ways to interact with the world around them. As a parent, these moments are full of laughs, tears, smiles, and frustrations, and no task captures these emotions more than when you start introducing solid food to your baby’s daily routine.
There is no real tried and tested formula, other than lots of trial and error to find a system that works for you and your baby. However, to get you started, we have prepared these quick tips on introducing your baby to solid food.
When to Start Introducing Solid Foods
When to introduce foods will depend on how your baby is developing, but in most cases, you can usually start introducing solid foods between four and six months.
But, before you start, you should make sure that your baby can sit up and has control of their neck without support. Also, if your baby is paying a lot of attention to the food you are eating, then that may be a sign that their body is craving nutrients they are not getting from milk.
What Foods Should I Give Them?
Once your baby is ready to make the step up to solid foods, they will need to be introduced to a variety of foods. At the beginning, focus on foods that will be easier to digest, such as fruits and vegetables which are pureed, mashed or cut into bitesize pieces.
Play around with different textures and colors to take advantage of your baby’s natural curiosity. Iron-rich foods such as meats and eggs should be introduced as soon as possible, as they really help with your baby’s overall development.
At all stages, you should be looking to introduce a varied range of foods to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need and don’t develop bad eating habits.
What Foods Should I Avoid?
For babies under a year old, you shouldn’t give them honey, as it contains bacteria which can be particularly harmful to them. Also, whole nuts, food high in salt and sugar, and food high in saturated fat should be avoided.
What About Allergies?
Allergies worry most parents, and there is usually a temptation to avoid introducing allergens until later on in the child’s life. However, we would suggest adding them as soon as possible to allow your baby to get used to these food groups and potentially avoid developing allergies.
Start by introducing a small amount of each allergen and monitor how your baby reacts to it. In all cases, wait a couple of days before introducing a new food group.
If your family has a history of allergies to specific food groups or you have any concerns, then ask your pediatrician for advice.
Now, Let the Fun Begin
Once you are ready to begin weaning your baby, you will need to be prepared to experiment and employ a lot of trial and error.
Take your time and make it fun, as it is an excellent opportunity for you to spend some quality time with your baby. Let them play around with the food and learn how to start using their mouths to chew.
As your baby develops, you can introduce a different range of textures and finger foods, but always make sure you carefully monitor them while they are eating to ensure they don’t choke.
And finally, enjoy!