Introducing Baby to Solids

Introducing Baby to Solids

10 July 2023

No diet has been more obsessively studied, more fiercely controlled, or more anxiously stage-managed than baby food.

But remember mama, for the first six months, breast milk is all your baby requires to meet their nutritional needs, also, breastfeeding could continue for as long as mom and baby are willing. So, if you’re wondering when to start your little one on solids, well, most babies are ready to start trying at around six months, some may need a little more time. There are no hard and fast rules here.

In fact, baby will give you a few signs when they’re ready for solid foods: If they can sit up without support, can grab and put objects in their mouth, and open their mouth when food is offered, they’re probably ready to start exploring.

Today more and more parents are skipping the applesauce and mashed sweet potato and instead are opting a new feeding technique called “baby-led weaning” or BLW. Introduced in the UK a decade ago, BLW involves “squishy” chunks of food (such as soft, cooked veggies, cooked starchy foods like potatoes, rice or pasta, or soft-boiled meat … all in “squishy” form finger food) placed on baby’s highchair, allowing baby to grasp the food and feed himself. So, baby determines the pace and the amount of food they consume, basically, baby-led weaning puts baby in charge.

Research shows that the risk of choking is no higher with baby-led weaning than with traditional spoon feeding and is a great way for baby to discover flavors and textures at their own pace. Just as with traditional spoon feeding, your baby will continue to get most of their nutrition from breast milk or formula until they get used to solid food (usually around their first birthday).

Babies and toddlers need foods from all five healthy food groups – vegetables, fruits, grain foods, dairy, and protein. However, your baby won’t be eating food from all five food groups straight away. Think of what your child eats over a week, rather than a day. You decide what your child eats from the five food groups and your child decides whether to eat it and how much. Introduce one food at a time and take note of possible allergic reactions. Try not to serve the same foods every day and rotate favorite foods, thereby exposing them to the foods you want them to eat. Also mama, remember, never take your eyes of your child while he/she is in the highchair.

Depending on their age, size and activity level toddlers need about 1000 – 1400 calories a day, but trust your own judgement and your toddler’s cues to tell if he or she is satisfied. Don’t force him/her to eat or restrict the amount of food you allow them to eat. Start with a small serving and give more if they are still hungry. Nutrition is about averages. So don’t panic if you don’t hit the mark every day.  Talk to your pediatrician about which foods to start with if or whether you’re on the right track.

Mealtimes should be a happy time with lots of love and encouragement, so eat as a family whenever possible. Babies and toddlers learn to eat by observing and imitating other family members. It’s going to be messy!

Have fun!


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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