Growing up – Starting solids
At some point you will experience that awkward moment when your little one lick their lips as they watch you eat your food. If that day comes, and bub is 4-6 months of age well its there lucky day because you will be able to introduce some solids (and avoid the awkwardness).
Most heath organisations including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommend that for the first 6 months, mothers exclusively breastfeed their bubs and after this point introduce solids. The reason being is there is some research to suggest that the earlier introduction of solids in some babies before 6 months may trigger allergy development. However, these are only guidelines, so if you feel bub is ready for solids at any stage between 4-6 months and you are happy to commence them you can.
I introduced both my boys to solids at 4 months. To start, I sterilise all bowls and spoons for bub, so using a silicone or plastic spoon and bowl is best. I recommend using Avent Weaning Spoons as they have a long easy grip handle and are BPA Free.
For bowls I use Munckin Love-a-Bowls 10 Piece Set. These are also BPA free and are appropriate from 4 months of age, and each bowl has its own lid which is 100% spill proof, so they double up as a great travel container as well.
A good starting point is using a rice cereal. I use Bellamys Organic Baby Rice Cereal, which is safe to use from 4 months of age. It contains a prebiotic (GOS) plus added iron and vitamin C to support the growing needs of your baby. I start with 1 tablespoon of rice cereal and mix with 2 tablespoons of expressed breastmilk, however you can use formula or boiled then cooled water instead. It mixes really well to make a smooth paste which is easy for your baby to swallow.
From 6 months your little one can enjoy a greater range of foods, and they’re bowl and spoon no longer require sterilisation. Safe second foods include, cucumber, cauliflower, broccoli, cheddar cheese, full fat cows milk in cooking, yoghurt, mango, peach, melon and chicken as well as many more.Once bub is established on a morning and night feed of rice cereal, I start to introduce other appropriate foods as individual purees. Some great starter vegetables include sweet potato, avocado and carrots. Appropriate first fruits include apples, bananas, pears and plums. If you’re on the go or too busy to puree foods, Bellamys Organic offer a range of purees in pouches from 4 months of age. They contain no added sugar, are preservative free and certified organic so you can put your mind at ease that you are feeding your little one well. To sterilise on the go I use Munchkin Latch Steriliser Bags. Each bag can be reused up to 30 times each and kill up to 99.9% of common bacteria on bottles, pump parts and accessories and in as little as 90 seconds.
Remember to introduce foods one at a time, and they recommend no more than 2 new flavours per week. This also ensures that you know if bub doesn’t like the flavour of something or is allergic to an ingredient. Here are also some great websites with fantastic information to support you on your baby’s food journey:
- WHO Guiding principles for complementary feeding of the breastfed child: http://iris.paho.org/xmlui/handle/123456789/752 . If you’re after detailed, specific information this is the website for you. These guidelines give an extensive outline of recommendations for the introduction of solids to breastfed children 6-23 months of age. They also discuss when, where and how young children should be fed.
- Australian Breastfeeding Association: https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bf-info/weaning-and-introducing-solids/solidsconfusion and https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bf-info/weaning-and-introducing-solids/weaning . These websites provide a range of information on starting solids and weaning breastfed babies in a more concise format.
- ASCIA Guidelines – infant feeding and allergy prevention: https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/allergy-prevention/ascia-guidelines-for-infant-feeding-and-allergy-prevention . These guidelines are developed to outline practices that may help reduce the risk of infants developing allergies, particularly early onset allergic diseases such as eczema and food allergy.
- Kellymom – Starting Solid Foods: https://kellymom.com/nutrition/starting-solids/ready-solids-links/ which provides information and links to other websites about nutrition and food introduction in babies.
- Kidspot Kitchen: https://www.kidspot.com.au/kitchen/recipes/collection/baby-food-recipes with a range of yummy recipes for babies of all ages.