Introducing Solids

Introducing Solids

 

When does my baby start on solids? Is it four months or 6months? How do I know they are ready? What do I start with? How much should they eat? What if they don’t like it?

Moving to solids is a huge milestone for your baby and can create some anxiety in first-time parents. Before starting, make sure you have the right information and the best place to start is by speaking with your health care professional – GP, Paediatrician or your Maternal Child Health Nurse. They will have an abundance of resourceful information and first hand advice to support you though another parenting learning curve.

From a parent’s perspective, co-founder of Simply Goodness, Lynda has some good advice also:

When do you start solids?

It is normally recommended between 4-6months but this depends on both the baby and the parent. Some cues that baby may be ready is reaching for your food and watching you eat with heightened curiosity, but it really depends where you and your baby are at.

Whilst introducing solids sounds really simple, it does takes time and patience, my advice is as follows:

 Make sure baby and you are both calm and rested

  • Ensure you have time to sit down and feed – you shouldn’t be in a rush to be somewhere.
  • do it earlier in the day when you are both more rested / after a nap.
  • limit distractions (turn the TV off, put down your phone, be in the “now”).

Treat your first attempts at introducing solids as a learning activity

  • Expect that the first few bites will come straight back out again and it's possible not a lot will go down so you may need to feed after (breastfeed/bottle).
  • I would recommend starting with an apple, pear or pumpkin puree as they have high water content and are easier to swallow.
  • Eating with a spoon is different to drinking via a bottle/breastfeeding; it requires different placement of the tongue and a thicker texture to swallow so this needs to be learned.
  • You are also introducing a completely new flavour on baby’s tongue – something they have never experienced before so you need to give them time to form those new neural pathways.

Practice makes perfect

As this is a completely new learning experience, things take time to master. Think about some of the major learning milestones your baby has already moved through – learning to feed at birth, self-settling, rolling over, smiling – they have all required repeat attempts and practice and this is no different.

Volume, fickleness, finger-food and mess:

  • As your baby starts solids they may only eat a couple of teaspoons, but once they get the hang of things you will be faced with a high variability in intake. Some days they will eat what seems like more than an adult, and other days they will eat an expected amount for a baby their size. The important thing is to follow their cues.
  • Babies can be super fickle when it comes to food – this week they love broccoli and next week they are pushing it away. Tastes evolve, preferences change, and sometimes they just want something different so roll with it but remember to keep offering different textures, flavours and combinations to broaden their food vocabulary.
  • Finger food is a great way to get your baby chewing on food also and it helps build the muscles in the mouth for talking as well as working on their hand fine motor skills – all things we take for granted every day as an adult but things baby need time to master.
  • Finally the mess – it’s part of having a baby, try and see the exploration through touch as another learning opportunity – we now know that pumpkin puree is orange, it slips through your fingers and splatters on the floor when it falls from height but boy is it sweet and delicious!

 Online help

The raising children network is a great Australian government online resource for parents which has been my main go to site for fact checking and information as a parent. Happy feeding!