How to introduce solid food to your baby
Professionals agree that solid food should be added to your baby’s diet very slowly after the age of around 4-6mths, and with time (2-3 days) in between each new food.
It is a big deal when you first introduce solid foods to your baby, and to increase the chances of success, it is recommended to make this introduction when your baby is hungry, but not ravenous. I used to give Ariella a little bit of milk first to take away the hangries (hungry/ angry), then I would begin the tasting process with her.
As with any new type of experience, it is best not to introduce solid baby food when your child is sick, cranky or simply tired. Also, it is advised to introduce new foods early in the day, so there is time to watch for a negative reaction and seek medical advice if needed. Signs of an allergic reaction can include, but not be limited to, vomiting, swelling, diarrhoea, skin rash or trouble breathing. Introduce one food at a time and wait at least 72 hours (3 days), to see if there is an allergic reaction, prior to adding the next food.
Every baby will develop their own unique preference of foods, but it is your responsibility to expose them to a variety of flavours and textures.
Single grain-based cereals, such as rice-meal are a common solid baby food to start feeding to your baby (although personally I prefer starting with vegetables). Baby cereals are known to have high iron content, and they are easy for tiny stomachs to digest. They are easy to make, simply add breast milk, formula or water to the cereal prior to feeding.
Vegetables and fruits would be the next baby food to be introduced. Again, feed your baby one item at a time. This is the stage where you will be able to introduce a lot of different flavours, such as pears, carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, peaches, avocado and much more. We have a recipe book full of ideas available from here. You can easily prepare your own baby food that will be fresh, tasty, and it will have a higher nutritional value than store bought baby food.
In our household we refer to pre-prepared baby food as the “fast food” babies. It has often been heated to such high temperatures that a lot of the nutritional value has been lost. And sometimes they try to add it back in with additives, or add preservatives so that it lasts on the shelf longer. Meat and vegetable combinations are usually extremely high in fruit sugar, and although the sugar comes from fruit it still leads to a sugar high. With home made baby food you can choose the ratios of protein, fats and carbohydrates, you can ensure the ingredients are fresh and/or organic and you can be sure that there are no additives, sugars or preservatives. Home made baby food really is the best thing for your baby and it is extremely simple to make!
Your baby may turn away or reject a particular food, don’t let this discourage you and don’t push the matter, try again in a few days. Your infant may never like the taste of peas, or they may change their mind after a few tries. It is best to try each food at least 10 times and prepared in different ways (steamed, boiled, mashed, baked etc) before assuming that your child does not like a particular food. Additionally, children’s taste buds change over time so your baby may not like a food now, but give it a few months and they will change their mind!
Little Mashies reusable food pouches can be used at this stage to store or freeze baby food, and to take it with you when you are out and about so that you are able to feed your baby healthier home made baby food purees rather than buying the supermarket baby food alternatives.
Of course, this information is not intended to replace your doctor’s advice, as to what, when and how to introduce solid baby food to your young one. It is recommended that you consult with your own baby doctor.