Starting solids is one of the most exciting times in your baby’s life!
However, the introduction of new tastes and textures can also be stressful for both babies and parents, since you’re constantly worrying about whether he’s eating enough, or if you’re doing things “right”. Some prefer to start with puréed fruits and veggies, while others may want to take the baby-led weaning route. Whatever you choose, we’ve got tips on weaning your baby, plus, how to make the transition to solids a smooth one.
1. Mealtime = Playtime
Allow your baby to “play” with and explore his food while eating. Exploring different shapes and food textures is a great way to help him develop his hand-eye coordination and chewing skills.
You can even be creative with your plating ― pick brightly coloured tableware, like Philips Avent’s BPA-free toddler-mealtime set, to up the visual stimulation level during meals. Choose utensils that provide an easy grip for little hands, so your peewee can hold this spoon himself (it doesn’t matter whether he actually spoons food into his mouth) as he develops his self-feeding skills.
Milk feeds are still an important part of your baby’s diet until he’s a year old.
2. Give her a cold spoon
Feeding you baby can hit a roadblock, especially when her gums feel uncomfortable because she’s teething. "When my daughter is teething, she refuses to eat," says Tania Goh, 33, mum to Isabelle, 7 months. One way to help her soothe those sore gums, is by using cold spoons. "I keep spoons in the fridge. Then, when I use one to feed her, she happily takes it,” says Goh.
3. Keep up the milk
Milk feeds are still an important part of your baby’s diet until he’s a year old. It will be his main source of nourishment, so solids during the first year are only meant to complement milk feeds, not to replace them. With this in mind, you’ll also feel less anxious about the amount of solid food your baby is taking!
4. Steam the dish to ensure retention of nutrients
Steaming food is great for baby. This cooking method not only retains more original vitamins, minerals and enzymes, it softens the fibres of vegetables and fruits, making these more easy to digest for your little one, who is then able to absorb all the nutritional goodness easily.
Preparing fruit or veggie purées is a cinch when you’ve got the right tools. We suggest investing in a good steamer-blender, such as Philips Avent’s 4-in-1 healthy baby food maker, where you’ll be able to steam nutritious ingredients like apples, carrots and broccoli, then blend it to the appropriate texture with ease.
5. Combine finger foods and purées
There is nothing wrong with combining purées and finger food — don’t feel like you have to stick firmly to either baby-led weaning or the more traditional method of spoon-feeding. If your baby is eating carrot purée, give him a cooked carrot baton to play with, too. Discover the advantages of baby-led weaning here.
If your baby is eating carrot purée, give him a cooked carrot baton to play with, too.
6. Watch for fatigue
When it comes to feeding, it’s best to avoid introducing new foods when your baby’s tired or cranky. It can be easy to misread your baby's tired signals and think he's hungry, but you'll soon realise that if he's grouchy and refusing to eat, then it’s sleep he probably needs.
7. Know what to avoid
For babies who are just starting on solids, foods like pumpkin, avocado and carrots are great first-food choices. Click here for more nutritious food options for your baby. At the same time, do keep a lookout for allergies in your baby while introducing new solid food options ― so, be alert if your little one has any itching, rashes, vomiting, diarrhoea, and/or difficulty breathing.
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