Getting started with introducing food to your baby
An exciting new transitional stage, but where to start with introducing food to your baby. Known as weaning or introducing solids, is where you begin to introduce your baby to new tastes and flavours aside of their usual milk feeds. Most babies will be developmentally ready by 6 months to start introducing foods.
The three signs to suggest you baby is ready to start are;
- Can coordinate their hand to their mouth
- Sitting upright and can hold themselves up, with their head steady
- The ability to swallow food
Why wait until 6 months?
The recommended age to start introducing solid foods is 6 months, this is based on physical development, gastrointestinal system, and oral readiness.
Breast milk and formula provide all the energy and nutrients they need up until 6 months.
* However speak to a health professional, such as your health visitor if you have any concerns about when to introduce solids.
Behaviours that are mistaken for signs of being ready for food:
The behavior’s below are commonly mistaken for baby being ready for food, but are typically just developmental changes.
- Wanting more milk feeds
- Change in sleep pattern
- Chewing their fists and putting more items in their mouth.
Getting started/ First foods:
When is the best time of day to start?
It may only be once a day your baby starts being introduced to food, however this will depend on your baby’s appetite and liking to trying new foods. Listen to their cues for when to offer food or when they have had enough. Find a time that works best for you and your baby. Remember this is a whole new experience and transition for you all and all babies will react differently, whether they take to it faster than others. Introducing solids may require you to pick up on signs of when your baby has had enough.
What food to start with?
Remember introducing solids means, food will be introduced alongside their usual milk feeds. In the early days this will not change the amount of milk they consume.
Start with single vegetables first. The less sweet versions of vegetables could be great due to the preference to sweeter foods and providing a range of foods. These may be blended, mashed or softly cooked sticks for them to hold.
Everyday will be different and that is okay, some days they may have more than others, or even moments of rejecting food that they just enjoyed the day before. Keep offering a variety of food and be open to the changes they go through.
Trying lots of new flavours will also take time to get used to, they may take a few times before finding a preference of particular foods.
Although they are trying lots of new foods, salt and sugar do not need to be added to foods, herbs and spices are fine.