When your baby needs more nourishment than breast milk or formula can offer, that’s when it’s time to start adding not so solid foods to your little one’s diet.
Babies typically start on solids between 4 and 6 months and it’s a crucial step for not only for your baby but for you as a parent as well.
Adding in nutritional variety to your baby’s diet isn’t hard. You just have to offer them a range of food from the five food groups right from the start. Healthy foods include a wide range of fresh foods from the five healthy food groups:
- grain foods –breakfast cereals, bread, rice, pasta, corn and so on
- dairy – milk, cheese, yoghurt and so on
- protein – meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, nuts and so on.
Each of the food groups provide different nutrients, which your child’s body needs for growth, development and learning. That’s why you need to ensure that they eat a range of foods from across all of the five food groups.
For baby, nutritional variety is on the whole a way for them to move forward and discover the world. By stimulating their taste buds, they can start building up their own list of food preferences. In general, the transition is well received if you do it with care.
For the parents, ensuring nutritional variety is a way of accepting that your baby is growing. The loss of this inter-dependent state is compensated by the act of transmitting a food culture, an education, a sharing of taste sensations and learning to discover who this little eater is in front of you.
Most of the time, either a paediatrician or maternal health nurse will help you set the pace at which you introduce solids.
The first solids that are introduced, need to be smooth in texture, a little sloppy with no lumps and mild in taste. Baby rice cereal is an excellent first solid food because of its smooth texture and high iron content. It easy to make, all you have to do is mix it with a little human milk, formula or cool, boiled water, presto and you’re done.
Other pureed foods such as vegetables and fruits can be introduced next, starting with approx. 1-2 teaspoons and then gradually increasing to 2-3 tablespoons, building eventually to three meals per day at your baby’s pace.
Traditionally, the very first vegetables to be introduced are beetroot, leeks, broccoli, carrots, pumpkin, squash, zucchini (without skin or seed), extra fine green beans, parsnips, pumpkin. To choose, stick with seasonal vegetables picked when ripe as they are richer in vitamins and minerals.
Concerning fruit, choose fruit which has a smooth texture when cooked and is more digestible. We want to avoid bloating and flatulence so that baby is calm but also in the hope that the intestinal transit is facilitated. Initially, we will not go towards exotic fruit and berries to limit the risk of allergy.
The earliest fruits are: banana, apricot, plum, nectarine, peach, apple and pear (skinless and seedless). Once again, prefer seasonal fruits, better in taste and for health.
When you are ready to transition your baby to solids you may want to consider the beaba Babycook®. It is a quick and convenient way to prepare your baby’s food and allows you to select the desired texture dependant on the stage of your weaning journey.
This device also helps retain all the food’s flavours and vitamins. You can add some of the water that the food was cooked in (rich in vitamins and minerals) to the meal prior to blitzing to desired texture.