Baby Food - When

 

When do you introduce solid food to your baby?


Starting your little one on solid baby food is a beautiful bonding experience, as well as a playful and messy one!

For many first time parents, this transitional stage can also be very confusing. There is so much conflicting information out there it is sometimes hard to work out which is the best way forward. No matter what type of feeding method you choose, there is no right or wrong way. Every baby and every parent is different so of course there will be different methods, food orders and procedures for starting solids. We have outlined some simple steps to follow, to get your baby on the right track for a lifetime of healthy eating.

It is recommended that solid foods should be introduced to your baby between 4 to 6 months of age. The rationale behind this is because the digestive system is totally developed by the age of four months, and after six months, a baby may reject the texture of solid food. This doesn't mean it is the only way though. Many mum's we have spoken to over the years have breastfed their baby for longer and started introducing solids later in their babies life. Ariella on the other hand was so interested in food and was never satisfied. I started her on solids at 4 months and she absolutely loved it!

So you see every baby is different and there is no right or wrong. Don’t worry, your baby will tell you when they are ready for solid foods.  Here are some tell-tail signs that your child is ready to move on from a liquid only diet.

  1. They can support their own head and neck.
  2. Their birth weight has doubled, or they have reached about 6.5kgs (or 15 pounds)
  3. They may attempt to reach for food from you or your plate.
  4. They are hungry more often.
  5. They will begin to make chewing-type motions, as the tongue and mouth develop with the digestive system.

From 4-6 months it is a time for introducing individual fruit, vegetable, and grain purees into the diet whilst your baby is still getting their nutrition from breast milk, or formula feeds. Usually this is done one food at a time, with a 3-day gap between foods so that you are able to notice if your baby has any allergic reactions to specific foods (realistically it is only one or two teaspoons of food and most of it ends up dribbling down their chin). Our downloadable food chart has a guide for introducing baby foods, and we also have designed a meal plan example for you to follow when introducing solid baby foods. Of course though, every baby is different so please consult your doctor for advice and guidance.

There are also some clear signs that your baby will use to tell you when they are satisfied, as each feeding session will vary.

  1. Baby will turn away from food.
  2. Become distracted.
  3. Refuse to open mouth and accept more food.
  4. Baby will physically lean back away from the food.

Our introducing solids guide is available from www.littlemashies.com/free and contains over 50 puree recipes.

Baby food chart 4-6 monthsFrom 6-8 months of age, purees can be mixed and you can get creative with flavours using herbs and interesting food combinations. You can also start to create a little texture by mashing some food and pureeing others. Little Mashies are most commonly used from 4-8 months to store baby food made in bulk and to transport baby food when you are feeding your little one out and about. You can also buy attachable soft spoons from any pharmacy that allow you to feed your baby straight from the food pouch.

Between 9 and 11 months of age, most babies are able to pick up objects, and this would be the stage that your baby will usually start to self-feed.  Soft foods that mash well are the best ideas for finger foods. You can cut them into strips so that your baby has something to hold onto. Feeding in this stage can be quite frustrating because often your baby is determined to be “independent”, however they are unable to properly feed themselves. This is usually the stage when your baby will want to hold Little Mashies, and start to feed itself.

Offer your baby a soft-tipped spoon or a Little Mashies food pouch to hold while you are feeding them.  This will not only help them learn how to hold the utensil, but will also keep them distracted, and from grabbing the spoon that you are attempting to feed them with.

From 10-12 months of age, your baby will be able to eat miniature versions of your food (as long as it is healthy). For this baby food stage Little Mashies reusable food pouches are often used for times when your baby is tired or grumpy, or when they are being fussy. It is also common for parents to fill their Little Mashies reusable food pouches with yoghurt or healthy smoothies for snacks on the go, as well as pureed versions of main meals if the child is having trouble consuming his or her food on her plate.