Starting solids can be a daunting as well as exciting time for parents. Here are my top 10 tips for starting solids.
1. Introduce a wide variety of tastes
It’s important to introduce a wide variety of tastes to encourage a varied diet in the future. Babies sometimes make the funniest faces when starting solids and trying a new flavour for the first time, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they dislike it, so don’t let that put you off!
Reflect on your own relationship with food and that of other family members. Are there any aversions to certain tastes or textures? If there are any aversions, try to ensure that you continue to offer these tastes to your baby regularly even if they are not consumed by other family members.
2. If your baby doesn’t seem to like a taste, don’t despair
You may need to expose your baby to the same taste multiple times before they become accustomed to it. My youngest daughter wasn’t a fan of avocado when she started solids (which both my boys loved), but luckily we eat it regularly, so I would take a really small amount and offer it whenever we had it. She now loves avocado!
3. It’s ok to change your weaning method if you want to try another way
Reading my previous posts, you may have gathered that I am not a fan of a one-size-fits-all approach to parenting. There is no strong evidence that one way of starting solids is superior to the other. Feel free to experiment to find the way that works best.
4. Try to prepare homemade food over pouches and jars
You will find that jars and pouches of shop-bought baby food tends to be processed and super smooth. When I blend my home-made smoothies, it still doesn’t achieve the super smooth consistency of shop-bought baby food.
The 7m+ baby food and 10m+ are still not quite as textured as your homemade version may be. It’s important to move on to more textured baby food when developmentally ready to encourage chewing skills and avoid aversions to different food textures. Having lots of homemade food makes this transition easier than if a baby was to mostly consume the smoother consistencies of shop-bought baby foods.
5. Sometimes you need convenience, don’t feel bad about giving shop-bought baby food
I have heard of people being criticized by others for giving a single baby food pouch rather than purely organic homemade food. I loved making baby food for my children, but I also used an occasional baby food pouch here and there out of convenience too. The ingredients are listed on the back and are often very simple depending on brand.
6. Avoid eating in front of screens
Early on, I used to sometimes have the TV on, but I changed things when I realised how much focus was going on the screen and not on the food whenever the TV was on. Since then, the screens go off when it’s time to eat.
You may be more likely to overeat if you are focused on the TV whilst eating and miss cues that you are full.
We really enjoy eating our food together as a family around the table too and the children enjoy the discussions at the table.
7. Follow your babies cues. If they are full, then it’s time to stop feeding.
Responsive feeding is important to ensure that they can continue to regulate their appetite. You will see lots of cues to indicate your baby is full.
8. Don’t be afraid of mess. Learning to self-feed is a messy but important skill to develop
It may be tempting to feed baby yourself because they are getting food everywhere, but learning to self-feed is an important skill that takes practice. Eventually they will become better at being able to use a spoon, then a fork, and knife, but these skills need practice to get to perfection.
9. Familiarise yourself with choking manoeuvres, choking first aid, and CPR
I have mentioned before that I had to do rounds of choking manoeures for 2 of my children. It’s scary, but it’s scarier if you find yourself in that situation without a clue about what to do next. It’s always better to be prepared. Read my post on common food choking hazards.
Click the text to go to great video demonstrations on :
10. Have fun!
Babies can detect anxiety so try to create a relaxed environment around mealtimes. It can be stressful when you have prepared food that your baby seems to reject but it’s all part of the learning process.
Amal is a paediatrician and mum/step-mum to four wonderful children. She started MedicMum101 to share tips and experiences on all things motherhood. She enjoys writing about parenting, health, and wellness, as well as other life musings from time to time. When she is not working, writing, or running after the kids, you can often find her working on a new piece of art.