Plan to start your baby on solids
With a bit of planning, starting solid food should be an exciting time.
Its a huge step in a baby's life to start on solid food so it's important to do the ground work before you begin:
- The best time: choose a time to try solids when your baby is happy and awake, hungry but not starving. Many parents find lunch time is the best option.
- Position. UMany babies are not sitting well when solids are introduced so a highchair may not work. Other options include sitting her on your knee or put her in her pram at meal times. If you do use the pram, make sure that she is upright so that she won’t gag on her food.
- Cutlery. You can just use a good old teaspoon - or hunt through those gifts you got when baby was born as cutlery sets are a popular birth or christening gift! There are plenty of spoons available to purchase - many are softer and shallower than a teaspoon and may be more confortable for baby (and for scooping off the food that missed her mouth).
Our best tips when introducing solids
- Learning to eat can be a very messy and slow business – don’t expect your baby to have anything resembling table manners for a long, long time.
- Your baby will learn how to eat by touching her food and carrying it to her mouth using her hands – she’ll discover the texture and temperature of foods this way.
- Try to eat with her – sharing a meal together can be a really special time especially as they get older, It will also help your child develop good habits such as sitting down to eat and to try different things.
- Never leave your baby while she’s eating; she needs constant supervision as choking is a real risk.
- Don’t worry about how much or how little food your baby is eating – to begin with, her diet will still be mainly made up of milk. Try to take the long view and understand that she may take months before she’s eating what you would consider a meal.
- Many babies will reject a new food, not because she doesn’t like it but rather because it’s a new taste. Offer a new food multiple times before giving up on it.
- To begin with, solids should supplement your baby’s milk diet not replace it. Initially offer solids after a milk feed, or between feeds. Once she’s eating solids three times a day and is eating a good portion at each meal, you can begin to serve solids first.
Don’t stress! Most babies take to eating solids with gusto. If your baby seems to be a fussy eater, just keep offering it. You don't see many healthy teenagers still eating pureed food.
This article was written by Ella Walsh and adapted for Kidspot, New Zealand's favourite parenting resource for Early Life Nutrition.
Breastfeeding is best for babies and provides many benefits. Combined breast and bottle feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of your own breast milk. Always consult your doctor, midwife or health care professional for advice about feeding your baby. This post is part of the Early Life Nutrition story.