Other than which foods to start and when, there’s some other useful information to help make the transition from milk to solids a much more relaxed and enjoyable journey for both you and your baby. Here are my top tips:
- When first starting a baby on solids, always offer them immediately after milk feed. Your baby won’t accept a new way of eating if he’s hungry. He hasn’t learnt yet that solid food will satisfy his hunger. Milk is his main source of nutrition and he will more likely tolerate a new food when his hunger has been satisfied.
- Be mindful that learning about food involves colour, texture, taste, temperature and smell. Your baby will quickly master the new skills of chewing and swallowing once he’s been exposed to, and becomes familiar, with these different elements.
- Your baby may reject new foods at first but with patience, perseverance and consistency a baby will eventually accept a new food. If your baby rejects a new food, leave it for a few days and then try again. It can take many times of offering before babies will accept certain foods. Rejection is usually because your baby doesn’t ‘know’ the food rather than he doesn’t ‘like’ the food.
- To start with, just offer a new food once a day. The best way to work out how and what foods to give is to follow your baby’s development. I break this process into 4 stages:
Stage 1: First tastes: smooth foods, around 6 to 7 months.
Stage 2: Learning to chew: soft lumps, around 7 to 8 months.
Stage 3: Self feeding: finger foods, firmer lumps, 9 to 12 months
Stage 4: Family diet with some changes, from 12 months onwards.
- Breast milk or formula is your baby’s main diet until he’s 12 months old. Cow’s milk isn’t suitable as the main milk source until he’s 12 months old. However, cow’s milk can be used in cooking and in small quantities from 9 months. You can also give your baby water in a cup from 5-6 months.
I hope these tips help you to understand your baby and his reaction to this new way of eating. Relax and enjoy this time of change. Remember, your baby will know what he is and isn’t ready for!