The Top 6 Questions Asked by Parents about Introducing Solids to their Babies
On this Page:
- When should I start introducing solids?
- What types of food should I give my baby?
- Should I do baby-led weaning or start with purees?
- How much solid food should my baby be having?
- When should I increase to two meals per day?
- How do I know if they have an allergy/intolerance to foods I am giving them?
1. When should I start introducing solids?
This is a question every new mum and dad will be asking themselves with a newborn baby. When should I start introducing solids to my baby?
For the first four to six months breast milk or formula provides all the nutrition your baby needs. After this, it’s time to start introducing solid foods to provide the extra vitamins and nutrients your baby needs to grow big and strong. Ideally your baby should be able to sit up almost without help and should be showing an interest in food. These are signs that your baby is ready for you to start introducing solids.
2. What types of food should I give my baby?
It’s very important that you continue to breast or formula feed while in the process of introducing solids and continue to do so until your baby is at least 12 months old. Solid food should be introduced slowly, one food type at a time. Start with baby cereal which is rich in iron and important for your child’s growth. Progress to pureed fruit and cooked, mashed vegetables like pumpkin, sweet potato or zucchini. Remember to make the purees as smooth as possible to start, you can gradually introduce different textures at a later stage. If you don’t have time to make your own purees then on occasion, consider buying purpose made baby food. Remember to keep it simple and don’t add salt, sugar or any other strong flavours.
3. Should I do baby-led weaning or start with purees?
Baby-led weaning is a relatively new concept which means skipping the more traditional spoon feeding by parents. Babies are introduced to soft foods they can grab and feed themselves. There is no scientific proof or study which says either method is better. Baby-led weaning works for some parents and babies but not for others. Do what works for you and your baby.
4. How much solid food should my baby be having?
Introducing solids will vary from baby to baby. Start by giving a couple of spoonfuls of solid food after breast or bottle feeding. Once your baby has accepted these one or two spoons then slowly increase to three or four. When they are happily eating you can start introducing solids at a separate time to breast milk or formula. Remember your baby is a little human being and they will eat as much as they want to!
5. When should I increase to two meals per day?
How many times a day are you breast or bottle feeding your baby? Introducing solids should happen when your baby is around six months old. When you breast or bottle feed, introduce solids with one or two spoons of baby cereal or puree. Your baby will let you know if he or she is hungry or not.
6. How do I know if they have an allergy/intolerance to foods I am giving them?
A young baby’s diet is a balancing act between providing breast milk and introducing solids. Breast milk or formula is still needed for the first 12 months to help build up your baby’s immune system and prevent allergies. However, introducing solids at the right time also plays a part in providing the extra nutrients your baby needs to grow and to prevent food allergies in later life. Keeping things simple and only introducing one food type at a time will give you a good idea of any baby food allergy or intolerance. Make sure you allow three days apart before trying new food types.
The transition of your baby moving from breast milk or formula to solids is an important developmental step, but most of all it should be fun too!