How and when to wean babies onto solid food.
The usual age to wean babies onto solids is 5 to 6 months. You know when they are ready – they certainly start becoming interested in what you are eating! Some parents are now finding their little ones are ready as early as 4 months old, but take things slowly and don't rush.
When it comes time to start feeding them solids, it is good to start with something simple like baby rice mixed with your breastmilk or formula. Fruit purees like mashed bananas and stewed apple are easy to knock up at home. When baby is settled on these simple foods I also recommend introducing vegetables early. It is thought that there is a ‘taste window’ between the ages of 5-7 months old. If you introduce a range of different flavours and textures to them early you have a much better chance of them not becoming fussy eaters later on. So start broccoli and Brussel sprouts early!
As for meat, start with steamed white firm fish, or chicken. The red meats can be a little chewy for young babies so these can be introduced in smaller quantities.
For a busy mum it is very easy to pre-make your baby meals by boiling up or steaming a variety of vegetables and then pureeing them before popping the mixture into ice cube trays. These can then be easily reheated in the microwave or saucepan.
Generally speaking babies like routine in all respects. Sleeping and eating in a routine way sets you up well for later on. When it comes to eating, feed your baby when you feed yourself – ie at set meal times – whenever you can.
I always recommend that babies aged 6 months onwards are fed three meals a day with a mid morning and mid afternoon snack and as their appetite permits. Babies are like all of us, they need nutritious, regular food and hydration to keep thriving.
I must also note that I don’t have anything against pre-made, shop bought baby food, however, it is imperative that you read the labels to see what is contained in the bottle or package as you do not want to be feeding your baby lots of sugar early in life.
Baby juices are not recommended as they can lead to tooth decay (even before the teeth come through).
I have found Annabel Karmels books and her new website to be hugely informative.