Brought to you by Heinz
Starting your baby on solids is both an exciting time and a potentially stressful one, as you begin a whole new stage of parenthood and baby development. When you start to transition your baby to solid foods, you want to have the best start possible so the experience is positive for both yourselves as parents and for your baby as well.
There can be the frustration of getting more food on you or the floor, during those early days of introducing solids. You start to wonder if your baby is getting enough nourishment when hardly anything seems to end up in their mouth, while you battle a clenched jaw and crying.
And the big one – wanting to ensure your baby is getting a wide range of age appropriate first foods in their new expanding diet, prepared in a way that maximises the good stuff, with a variety of healthy foods. That’s a lot of pressure!
Suddenly you’re faced with the choice of homemade baby food or pre-packaged baby food, such as the Heinz baby range of steamed cooked baby food varieties. A combination of the two can have great benefits.
There is plenty you can do as a parent or caregiver to help transition your baby to solid food in a positive manner. Check out the tips below:
HOW TO TRANSITION YOUR BABY TO SOLID FOOD
When to Start Solids
Your baby should be around 6 months old when starting solids.
Before this time your baby will get all the nutrients they need from breastmilk or infant formula. Prior to this time, your baby’s digestive system is not yet prepared for solid baby food.
Signs your baby may be ready to start solids are when they begin to show interest in the food you are eating, they seem to still be hungry after a normal feed of milk, or they start putting everything in their mouth. They will also be able to hold their head up on their own and can sit with support, and will show a reduction in the tongue thrust reflex of pushing everything out of the mouth.
Improve your chances of successfully introducing solids with the following tips:
- Offer the first meal when your baby is not too hungry
- Make sure you are in a good mood. Your attitude and reaction can influence the experience for your baby.
- Remember introducing solids can be a very slow process. Be prepared so you have the patience while your baby learns.
- If heating the food, check the temperature and ensure it is served only slightly warm (not hot) or serve cool.
- First food consistency should be smooth and almost liquid and could almost run off the spoon. If needed, add water, breastmilk or formula to get the right consistency.
- Use a suitable spoon, such as a rubber covered baby spoon so it is soft on gums. A shallow spoon is also easier while baby is learning.
- Have your baby in a comfortable, upright position, such as a suitable supportive high chair or in yours or someone else’s lap.
- Put a bib on your baby and have a washer or wet wipes on hand to clean the mess. It will get messy!
- Start small. Your baby will unlikely require much when first transitioning to solids.
- Take cues from your baby through their reactions as to whether you continue to offer or if they appear to have had enough. They will likely show rather adverse reactions initially as they become accustomed to the texture and taste of solid food.
- It is recommended that first foods are iron-rich foods such as rice cereal fortified with iron, pureed meat, chicken, fish and legumes.
- You may consider starting with something blander, such as rice cereal fortified with iron, or a single vegetable puree. No salt, sugar or seasoning should be added to baby food.
- Foods can be introduced at a rate that suits the baby. You may consider introducing a single food every 2-3 days, this means you can watch out for symptoms of potential food allergies. This food can be combined with an existing food after it has been introduced, so you can begin to offer new combinations of flavour.
Like anything new, do not expect your baby to be great at eating solids straight away. For some babies, it may take longer than others. Our second daughter was very slow to get the hang of solids and it took months before she was actually eager for meal time. This could be frustrating at times but it is important to remind yourself they are learning something new, and everyone learns at a different pace!
Frequency of Solids
When first starting solids, one meal a day is adequate for babies around the 6 month stage until they begin to show more interest and eat larger amounts.
Between 6 to 8 months, increase your baby’s meals to 2-3 per day.
Between 9 to 12 months, increase your baby’s meals to 3 per day, with snacks in between.
What Should You Be Feeding Your Baby?
When it comes to providing your baby with appropriate first food, you can make baby food at home with a blender or food processor, ensuring the food is pureed completely, with no lumps. This is especially important early on. As your baby gets older, the food can have a thicker, coarser texture.
You will find lots of baby food recipes online and it is relatively quick and easy to create homemade baby food meals. Refer to your local health professional or government website for a list of recommended first foods and those to be avoided.
However, if you are unsure what to include in your baby’s early diet or if you do not have the time to make your own, you may decide to use pre-prepared baby food from the supermarket, such as the Heinz Baby range.
The range is made from wholesome ingredients, many of which are from right here in Australia, such as apples, pears and peaches from Golburn Valley and pumpkins from country Victoria. Their products are steam cooked and have no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, making them a great choice for babies starting solids.
There are a variety of baby food options available in the Heinz Baby range, which includes pouches, jars, and snacks to suit the different age stages for babies. The range includes different tastes and textures to suit babies different developmental stages, with products to suit babies from 4, 6, 8 and 12 months to take you from first solids to toddler foods.
To find out more about the Heinz baby range, you can refer to their website, where you will also find great baby food recipes to make at home, which allows you to have options to suit different occasions and lifestyles. Also be sure to follow their Facebook page to stay informed with all the updates and new varieties.
This post is bought to you by Heinz. All opinions and experiences shared are the writer’s.