Your tot will most likely start weaning after their sixth month, to get more nutrients (for example iron, zinc, vitamins A and D) in addition to drinking milk.
SmartParents spoke to Meave Graham, paediatric dietitian at Child Nutrition Singapore, and Charlotte Lin, senior dietitian at the National University Hospital, for the best weaning foods to offer bubba.
Once your child is able to start taking solid food — especially if they are actively following your spoon/fork while you eat and making smacking motions with their lips — it is best to start them on homemade food instead of processed, store-bought ones.
Do not give them foods high in processed meats, sugar, salt and fats; you should also avoid the few (liver as the vitamin A content in liver is too high, bran, unpasteurised cheese, and so on) that might harm your little one. Instead, give them fresh foods that have been minimally processed as you want to ensure that they strong inside to experience more together.
"It is best to start them on homemade food instead of processed, store-bought ones."
Besides starting him off on rice cereal (which can be mixed with your tot’s favourite milk), introduce the suggested foods to your tot one at a time. Also, make sure to have short breaks between each new food item that you offer. Provide foods that feature a variety of flavours and not just sweet fruit and veg. This will expose bubba to the various food tastes and textures, so they will be more accepting of it.
Here are examples of best weaning foods recommended by Graham and Lin:
*Puréed cooked vegetables — potatoes, gourds, spinach, green beans and broccoli/cauliflower, as well as the ever-popular carrots.
*Puréed fruits — besides the usual suspects like banana and steamed apples and pears, offer papaya, watermelon and avocado.
*Mashed cooked fish or eggs.
*Mashed soft proteins like silken tofu and cooked lentils.
These foods are all healthy and contain important nutrients such as calcium, iron, vitamins A and C, B-group vitamins and other nutrients required for bubba’s development.
Read on to find out why you should persist even when your tot seems to reject the food you're offering...
Do not be discouraged if bubba does not accept the food straight away. “Initially, when solids are introduced, he may gag or push the food out with his tongue,” Graham says.
“This is not a sign that he dislikes the food ― it’s simply him getting used to spoon feeding — to the new mouth movements required, the new tastes and the new texture.
“Initially, when solids are introduced, he may gag or push the food out with his tongue. This is not a sign that he dislikes the food ― it’s simply him getting used to spoon feeding.”
“In time, he will learn to use his tongue to move the food to the back of his mouth and will accept the new tastes and textures. Expose him to each several times to promote acceptance."
Try introducing the food again if they first reject it. For example, if bubba accepts carrot purée but rejects pear purée, keep feeding them the carrot purée and bring back the pear purée every three days or so. You can also try mixing things up: For example, avocado with banana, rice cereal with broccoli, avocado with potato or rice cereal with eggs.
And be sure to thicken the puree after about 2 to 3 weeks to let your munchkin get used to the newer texture.
Meave Graham is a paediatric dietitian at Child Nutrition Singapore
Charlotte Lin is a senior dietitian at National University Hospital