We reveal the best time and ways to introduce your little one to solid foods
As your baby approaches the six-month mark, you may start to wonder when and how you should begin introducing solid foods to their diet. While the official advice from the Department of Health is to wait until your baby is six-months-old, some mothers may decide to start the weaning process earlier. Tell-tale signs that your little one may be ready to move to solids include: being able to remain in a sitting position and hold their head steady, co-ordinating their eyes, hands and mouth and gaining a healthy amount of weight.
As you may have already experienced with motherhood, everyone seems to have a ‘best way’ of doing things! However, the three most common options are: traditional weaning, baby led weaning and a mixture of the two. The most important thing to remember is that at this stage, your baby will still be receiving most of their nutrition from milk. Think about the weaning process of a way of introducing your baby to new textures and tastes – remember ‘food is fun until they’re one!’ Try not to focus on the amount your baby eats, rather it is about your baby becoming used to the idea of eating. If they don’t like it or aren’t hungry, simply try again another time. It is always helpful to eat with your baby or have your baby sit with the family for meals. And lastly, be prepared for mess. You’ll be surprised how one tiny person can cause so much chaos!
THE LOWDOWN: Traditional weaning (TW) involves spoon feeding your little ones with puréed food. It’s the method our mothers most likely used when we were introduced to solids. Think mashable foods such as avocado, sweet potato and butternut squash. Your new best friend? A blender.
THE BENEFIT: If you are nervous about the risk of a child choking and gagging TW is probably best. Your little one may love gobbling up baby rice and porridge, but try to introduce as many nutrient-rich fruit and vegetables as possible too – it might not be so easy to get them to eat their greens when they get older! Purees don’t have to be boring, you can flavour even the most basic mashed food with mild spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
THE LOWDOWN: BLW allows your child to feed themselves from the very start of the weaning process. If your baby has gained control of their pincer grip, you can bypass the purée stage and begin BLW. Think soft-cooked, semi mashed and manageable sized portions.
THE BENEFIT: No purées, no food processor, no separate meal. It allows children to explore and experience different foods and includes them in family meals.
Nutritious and delicious meals for children are easy when you have these books on hand…
CATHERINE McCord – WEELICIOUS
Designed for busy parents on-the-go, the actress, model and mother-of-two’s recipe book provides easy, fresh and fun recipes for adults and children of all ages.
LOUISE FULTON KEATS – COOKING FOR YOUR BABY & TODDLER
With a degree specialising in paediatric nutrition, Louise Fulton-Keats’ go-to book offers a comprehensive and informative guide on when and what to feed your baby and toddler.
ANNABEL KARMEL – 100 FAMILY MEALS
From healthy breakfast muffins to wholesome dinners, discover simple meal ideas for the whole family, from the UK’s leading children’s cookery writer
Words by Kate Curran