Introducing your baby to solid foods is an important milestone in their development. Document your baby’s milestones with a baby milestone blanket. This introduction, also known as complementary feeding or weaning, should start around 6 months old. What is important to remember is that your baby will still be getting most of the nutrition that they need from breast milk or first infant formula.
Though that will be their primary means of nutrition for a while yet, weaning around this age (give or take) can be key to setting up your children for a healthy life moving forward.
The reason why you will want to start around six months is that, until your baby is around six months, nutritionally everything they need can typically be found in either breast milk or formula. Mobility is also another consideration; at six months your baby has developed to be better able to cope with solid foods and are also more able to feed themselves.
The Signs It’s Time to Start with Solid Foods
There are three very telling signs that it’s time to advance from breast milk or formula only to start introducing solid foods.
- They can sit upright and hold their head steady on their own.
- They can accurately put items to their mouth.
- They swallow instead of spitting food out.
Chewing their fists, waking up more than usual in the night, and wanting more milk or formula are not signs that they are ready for solid foods but are just regular baby behaviour.
Your baby won’t need a lot of extra nutrition from solid foods in the beginning, and learning how to eat and adapt to new textures is a very important skill. Patience is key here, as it can take around 10 tries for a baby to get used to a new food, much less decide whether they like it or not.
Let Your Baby Participate
Touching their food, holding their food, and even using weaning cutlery are excellent ways to help your child learn and engage with their foods. What is the right age for weaning cutlery? From the start of weaning. While in the beginning, you will be the one using the weaning cutlery, you can graduate to baby-friendly weaning cutlery (that attaches to their high chair, so they cannot throw it on the floor) from Bibado to help encourage active participation during feeding times.
Slowly Upgrade Textures
From pureed food move on to new textures, like mashed foods or finger foods, and be prepared. Watching and knowing how to respond just in case your baby starts choking (which is different from gagging) can help both your baby and you.
Keep at It!
Being patient and introducing your baby to a variety of new foods that are healthy and do not contain salt or sugar (as these are hard for them to process) is key to success. The more you persist during this stage, even with foods that your baby rejected the first time, you can get them accustomed to a variety of textures, even if the taste isn’t for them.
If you feel like you want some extra guidance on how to start your baby on solid foods, you can always speak to a parenting expert for some advice.