We know introducing solids and weaning can be scary and exciting, that’s why we answered some common weaning related questions all parents have.
Is My Child Ready for Solids?
American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you exclusively breastfeed or formula feed for the first six months. At 6 months of age, your baby may be ready for solid foods. Look for signs of readiness such as being able to hold their head up, showing interest in food, and the ability to move food from spoon to mouth.
How do I Introduce Solids to my Child?
There are different approaches you can adopt when introducing solids to your child. Some parents swear by baby led weaning (BLW), while some are more comfortable with spoon-feeding.
Be prepared for your baby to be more interested in playing and exploring their food rather than actually filling up on it. Other common occurrences like sputtering food, gagging, and making faces are normal. Remember, most of the nutrients and calories your baby needs will be provided by breast milk, formula, or both. If your baby refuses or shows fussiness at mealtime, try waiting a few days or weeks before trying again. As long as your baby is happy and healthy with breast milk or formula, there is no need to rush into solid foods.
Sit closely with your child and show them it’s ok to feel anxious or scared by the different tastes and textures of food. Do not pressure them to finish a food. In the first few months of weaning, it’s best to focus on quality instead of quantity.
What is Baby Led Weaning (BLW):
Baby-led weaning is a a more recent approach to introducing solids. In baby-led weaning, your baby will skip pureed foods altogether. Instead, you offer your baby well cooked, soft pieces of food. Your baby works on transferring that food to his/her mouth by himself. By 6 months of age babies have a well-developed palmer grasp. Additionally, baby-led weaning can help your child build hand-eye coordination, pincer grasp, dexterity, and chewing skills.
With baby-led weaning, your child is in full control of how much they eat. Listen and look for cues that your baby is full. Do not force your baby to eat more once he/she is done.
Start by offering single-ingredient foods to your child one by one. Make sure all the foods your child eats are well cooked and can be mashed easily in between your thumb and index finger. Chop or shred veggies, fruit, and meat into bite-sized pieces. Avoid hard foods like chunks of uncooked veggies, hard fruit, popcorn, or sticky nut butter. These foods are choking hazards.
Watch closely as your baby explores and tries to eat. If your child gags, remain calm and address the taste or texture of the food. Choking is different from gagging. If your child is choking it means food is stuck in their windpipe and they cannot breathe effectively. It may help to take an infant first aid class just to be safe. To prevent choking avoid foods like grapes, hot dogs, popcorn, hard chunks of apples or anything hat is hard and coin shaped.
Introducing Solids by Spoon Feeding:
Spoon feeding is a more traditional way of introducing solids to your little one. Spoon feeding involves loading pureed food onto a spoon and bringing it to your baby’s mouth for him/her to eat.
Cook whatever fruit, vegetable, grain, or meat you decide on and puree it with breastmilk or formula. Start with single-ingredient purees, once your child has been exposed to a variety of foods, you can start offering various combinations of foods.
Which Foods can I Give to my Baby When Introducing Solids?
There are many options to choose from when figuring out which foods to offer your child. To start, some parents choose iron-fortified cereals while some opt for bananas or avocados. Whichever solid you opt for first is a matter of choice. Remember, the most important thing is to offer homemade or premade baby foods that are free from artificial flavorings, preservatives, and added sugars. For children ages 1 and onwards, try our DINO BARS for healthy, mess-free munching without having to worry about harmful additives.
Steam or poach foods without adding any seasonings or salt at first. Once your child is 7 to 8 months old, he/she can eat a variety of foods from different food groups. Grains such as oats, quinoa, brown rice, lentils are all part of a healthy diet. Dairy products such as low sodium cheeses and Greek yogurt pack yummy flavors and nutrients.
Does my Baby Need Water?
A common question parents have when they introduce solids is if they need to give their baby additional water or juice. Firstly, your baby is still getting all the fluid he/she needs from breastmilk/formula or both. This means that you don’t exactly need to give them a lot of water each time they eat something. Still, it’s ok to offer a few sips from a sippy cup, straw, spout, or open-mouthed cup if they seem interested.
Fruit juices, especially processed ones have high amounts of sugars, and shouldn’t be part of a child’s everyday diet. At 6 months of age, you can give your little one diluted fruit juice but doctors still recommend sticking to plain water. If you feel the need to give your child something other than water or breastmilk/formula, offer 1 part juice mixed with 10 parts water.
Good Eating Habits Start Early:
It’s never too early to enforce healthy eating habits. Make whole foods the biggest part of your menu from day one and offer a model example through yourself. Make healthy choices so your little one follows suit. Limit processed foods and snacks to occasional treats.
Make family mealtimes the most important part of the day. Don’t just focus on food, but also on making it a time the whole family sits together to share and talk to each other.
Encourage your children to listen to their bodies for when they are full and when they need more food.
Let us know what worked for you and your little one when introducing solids. Did you opt for BLW, spoon-feeding, or a combination of both? Join us on Facebook and Instagram today to find out about our organic fruit snacks. Check out our blog section for more parenting-related blogs like this one.