Last week I wrote a blog post on how introducing my two kids to solid foods impacted them differently in the long run. My first born, up until recently, has been the pickiest eater. We took on the challenge to re-wean her at the age of 7 and it was the best thing we ever did. Knox’s introduction to solids was a little more educated and he has always been an excellent eater.
Weaning technically begins with the introduction of solid foods, usually around six months. Just so you know, I am a firm believer in baby-led weaning. They will indicate when they are ready, and your mommy instincts will tug at you.
To me, introducing my kids to the big world of diverse food options, textures and flavours was extremely exciting. Their reactions, at times, were priceless and cause for much laughter. It was also interesting to get to know what tastes they liked and did not like, what textures freaked them out and how they responded to foods they loved!
So, what have I learned throughout the years?
1. You Will Know When Your Baby Is Ready To Start On Solids
Listen to your gut. According to the world health organization, it is best to introduce your baby to solids between 6 and 7 months. Starting too early can have a negative effect on their gut health and development if they are not ready, but starting too late has its own set of problems as well. Before 4 months, your baby’s digestive system can’t handle anything besides breast milk or formula. If you wait much longer than 7 months to start, or your baby may get so accustomed to her liquid diet that they lose interest in learning to chew and swallow solid foods. Tap into those mommy instincts… you will know.
2. Where Do You Start?
Most moms are unsure of where to start, which makes sense. There are so many options, and so many doubts that come with them. What about allergies? What is safe? What is not? You will always worry about everything – that is the price of motherhood. Slow and steady is the best game plan. By slowly introducing foods one at a time, you will have the ability to tell if your child has any adverse reactions such as an allergy, rash or diarrhea. Stick with one fruit or vegetable for about three days before moving on to the next. Research also suggests that repetition is a great way to get baby to accept the specific flavour. In other words: You may be able to avoid battles over eating vegetables down the road if you really give them the time to acclimate to the taste early on.
Some classic starter options include:
- Sweet potato
- Pureed peas
- Pureed baked apples
- Pureed bananas
3. Have Fun With It!
Those starter foods might sound boring, but you can still have fun in the kitchen while preparing them. I prefer to make my own baby food as I know exactly what I have put in it. You can get quite creative in the kitchen by steaming and pureeing your own baby food. You can even mix early foods with formula or breastmilk to help your baby warm up to the flavour. Making your own baby food is not always possible for everyone, but there are also quite a few store-bought options available that are healthy and nutritious. The Rhodes Squish fruit and vegetable purees are made of 100% fruit and vegetables and contain no additional sugar, starch, preservatives, colouring or flavouring. They are suitable for babies 6 months and up, and are a great option have around for outings or when you are in a rush. They have 16 flavours available – some plain, some combo’s. And have your camera ready for those adorable, messy moments.
4. If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try Again
Don’t ditch a new food if your baby winces after tasting it. Babies may need to try a food 10 times before accepting it, so offer it again several days later – or mix it with something you know he likes. A good trick is to mix it with a little bit of breastmilk or formula. The general rule is to retry a solid 5-10 times before giving up on it. Excitedly offering it again later, as if it’s a brand new food, will most likely get your baby’s attention enough for him to go for it.
5. Embrace The Mess
Weaning is a messy business. Get your bibs and wet cloths ready, but don’t be too uptight about it. It is a fun, sensory experience and will make for some adorable photographs to look back on later in life!
- sponsored by Rhodes Squish