Introducing solids is one of the biggest milestones in your child’s life, and on your parenting journey – but it can also be an incredibly confusing time.
When should you start introducing solids? How do you know whether your baby is ready? What should you be feeding your baby? How often? These are all questions that many new parents are faced with.
However, what’s most important to remember is that every baby is unique, so there really is no right or wrong age to begin introducing solids. Just keep in mind that it’s suggested that you don’t start weaning before 17 weeks (or just over 4 months), as your baby’s immune and digestive system aren’t sufficiently developed before this time.
On the other hand, waiting longer than six months before weaning your baby could potentially lead to a fussy eater!
To help you out, here are a few tried-and-tested tips from Anna and Judi, the founders of Umatie – good food for little eaters:
Top 10 tips to wean your baby onto solids
1. Babies are most accepting of new tastes and flavours between the ages of 4-7 months
2. Babies are open to trying new textures between the ages of 7-10 months.
3. The period between 4-10 months is the ideal window of opportunity for exposing your baby to a wide variety of foods, tastes and textures. Somewhere between 17 and 24 weeks, you can start by giving your baby purées.
4. Steer clear of salt and sugar! Babies tend to enjoy the foods that they are exposed to most, so if very sweet or salty foods are introduced to them too early, they’re likely to find healthier food bland in comparison.
5. Keep store bought baby food in jars and sachets to a bare minimum – these are handy in a pinch, but they all taste similar and often have the same texture, which means that your baby is likely to get used to food tasting pretty much the same all the time – potentially leading to a picky eater later on!
6. Try a variety of fruits and vegetables – first on their own and then in combinations, so that your baby is exposed to lots of different tastes and flavours.
7. From 7 months onwards you can slowly start introducing more textured meals about once a day, with smoother purées in between. When introducing chunkier foods, it’s best to start off slowly: try adding some breast milk or cooled, boiled water to the meals to make them runnier, then gradually reduce this until your baby gets used to meals with a thicker consistency.
8. Start introducing ‘finger foods’ every now and then from 10 months onwards (however, don’t stop giving other meals as well!). Babies like to play with and experience their food – let them touch their food, mash it up between their fingers and generally play with their food! Yes, things WILL get messy, but this is part of the weaning process and interaction is very important. If your baby experiences positive meal times and enjoys exploring new foods, they’ll develop a healthy relationship with food and are likely to enjoy their meals even more!
9. From 12 months onwards, you can start giving bigger portions to your tot – but don’t force feed them if they don’t want to eat. This will only lead to a negative experience with food and may lead to fussiness in future.
10. If you don’t know where to begin or just don’t have the time or desire to turn your kitchen into a puree factory, sign up to a baby food service like Umatie who will deliver to your door a variety of healthy meals.
Not only do Umatie meals taste super yummy, but they have also been approved by a dietician that specialises in child nutrition. Umatie also provides a weekly meal plan to make life even easier – as these tell you exactly what to feed your baby and when and ensure your child’s meals are balanced and nutritious!