Welcome to our summer blog, where we will be focussing the whole month of July on Baby & Infant Nutrition! We have a lot to cover, therefore we will be rolling these tips out over the next 4 weeks!
First up - How and when to introduce solid foods
Every type of food your baby eats will give them a range of different nutrients. Your baby will start to show signs when they are ready for solids, which is usually around 4-6 months of age, until then breast milk or formula provides all of the nourishment your baby needs. From 6 months baby will no longer receive everything he or she needs from milk alone, and this is when you need to introduce foods that contain iron, fat, protein, carbohydrates, calcium, zinc and vitamins.
What are the signs? Your baby will start to show head control, and sit up right, your baby will start to be able to move their tongue to the back of their mouth to help swallow foods, instead of pushing foods out of their mouths. Your baby may also start to show signs such as showing an interest in what you’re eating and the food around them.
So what foods do I try? Most infants start with pureed single ingredient foods with no added sugar or salt. You can also try mixing a teaspoon of one of the following foods with breast or formula; baby cereals, mashed or pureed fruits or vegetables.
Some of the top foods you may wish to try with your baby include pureed sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, banannas, peaches and pears, mashed avacados and blueberries, prunes, chopped fruits, and steamed broccoli. You can also puree meats such as chicken or turkey if you think your baby is ready.
It’s going to get messy, so have your camera or phone ready to capture those moments!
If your baby has any allergies, your Doctor may have specific recommendations, therefore you may wish to consult a health professional first.
So we have identified what foods to try, now we need to tackle how to introduce the solids to baby? For the first few feeds, try a couple of teaspoons of pureed food, using a soft plastic spoon, try giving this to baby before, during or after their usual milk feed. If baby doesn’t seem interested, that’s ok, you can try again the following day (this may take several attempts). This food will taste different to usual milk, so be prepared for baby to spit it out! Your baby may need time to practice keeping food in their mouth and swallowing. Gradually introduce solids one at a time over a week, before trying a different food. Slowly baby will get used to the new tastes and textures. Start with pureed food, and then move onto mashed food and small pieces of finger foods.
It’s important to take your time and don’t rush it!
Remember to identify choking hazards, make sure your baby is sat upright when eating at all times, offering one food at a time and chopping small chunks of food up, for example grapes, strawberries, and tomatoes. Foods to avoid include; nuts, sticky spreads and foods that could potentially cause baby to choke. There are certain foods which you shouldn’t give to baby until they are a year old, for example honey, cow’s milk or soy milk. Baby won’t be able to digest cow’s milk as easily as breast or formula.
A blender / food processor is now going to become your best friend! Enjoy experimenting with the foods and have patience, you may need lots of it! Let baby feed themselves, it can be messy but it’s all part of their development.
Check in with us next week for tips on weaning your baby from 8/9 months.
- Baby Centre
- British Nutrition Foundation