Introducing Baby to solids is often one of a mother’s top concerns, and yet, there really is no need to fuss! Follow this simple guide to help you out.
Most babies don’t need solids before six months. Remember, milk is food. If you offer your baby healthy foods and allow her to set her own pace, she’ll eat when she’s good and ready to do so – after all, she’ll be driven by hunger and curiosity.
Assess Baby’s readiness for solids carefully – age is an inaccurate indicator! Babies often show interest in Mom’s food when they’re ready to eat. Offer first foods between milk feeds, when baby is a little hungry but not ravenous and is in a good, inquisitive mood.
From 4–6 months
Remember, milk (preferably breast milk, but also formula) is the only food your baby needs for her first six months. If you do introduce solids earlier:
- Start with just a half a teaspoon of food between 10am and 2pm.
- Keep offering this food for the next week, unless Baby clearly doesn’t like what’s on offer –this may be a sign she’s not ready for solids or that the one on offer does not agree with her.
- Then, increase the amount to one full teaspoon of the same food daily. If two weeks pass without any adverse reactions, introduce one new food. Every week or so, offer another new food, but only four varieties in total.
- While most moms start with cereal, many babies become constipated, mucousy or bloated; yellow squash or a sweet fruit like mango or pear is best.
From 6 months
- Place about 4 cubes of a bright, naturally sweet food in front of your baby. You may need to help your baby to find her mouth at first, but this is part of the learning process.
- Baby can take food from your plate, so long as the food isn’t spicy, processed or unhealthy.
- Be guided by your child and common sense. Only introduce one new food at a time so you can easily identify the cause of any adverse reactions.
- Many babies need to wait a few weeks longer, until they have a few teeth, before being ready to eat.
Good starter foods
- Fruits; pears, papino, apples, avocado, mango, peaches. Grate or purée, but don’t cook them.
- Lightly steam or purée vegetables like butternut, hubbard and gem squash, pumpkin and carrots.
- As Baby grows, add potato, sweet potato, finely-chopped green veggies, and rice and maize cereals.
- Oats and wheat cereals should only be introduced after 18 months.
- Add sugar, salt or butter to a baby’s foods
- Give a heavy meal at night – supper should be at least two hours before bedtime
- Offer unhealthy snacks like biscuits, crisps and sweets
- Add cereal to Baby’s bottles
If your little one is thriving, her eyes sparkle and she is generally well, you have a clear indication that all is fine with her diet. Good job, Mom!