Weaning 101: 10 Tips for Trying Baby’s First Foods
Your baby’s first year is packed to the brim with milestones, from first tooth to first steps and of course, first foods! Once your little one reaches the 6 month mark they may be expressing some serious interest in solids, so when they’re ready how do you go about embarking on this new parenting adventure? With your Babycup First Cup at the ready to offer little sips of water along with meals, you’ll be all set to get started with these ten top tips…
The desire to get chomping is natural, but discovering how to do it like a pro is a learning curve. Your little one has only ever experienced breast, bottle or cup feeding, so starting on solid food is a whole new journey and one that may take a bit of getting used to. Because of this, it’s always best to start with soft, runny and quite bland foods. Mashed avocados are often a very popular creamy treat, and bananas can go down well too! But first foods don’t all have to be sweet and creamy. After a few goes, you can challenge your baby’s taste buds with some mashed or pureed carrots, broccoli, parsnip and more to start expanding their palette from an early age. This can help to nip fussy eating in the bud.
Take it slow
Because your baby needs to learn, it’s wise to let them take their time with eating. Sticking to one food at a time for two or three days on first attempts can also be very helpful when it comes to identifying any problematic foods. This is particularly important for babies with acid reflux.
Try Baby-Led Weaning
Baby-led weaning is great for many reasons. It allows your baby to practice their fine motor skills, it gets them used to feeding themselves, it sparks further interest in food and the act of eating with our hands actually triggers certain digestive enzymes (even as adults!). It’s fun too! And messy…very messy. Soft cooked sticks of broccoli, sweet potato and pear are a few things you could try.
It goes without saying really that, of course, your baby should never be left alone while eating. They’re still figuring it all out, so choking is definitely possible! Stay with them the whole time to keep a watchful eye on the situation.
Introduce a cup
When a baby starts to eat solids, it is very important to offer sips of water with all meals to help avoid the dreaded constipation. Using our Babycup First Cup is the perfect way to introduce your child to experimenting with drinking. Paediatric dentists and the NHS agree that using an open cup without any kind of valve will help your baby learn to sip and is much better for your baby’s teeth and oral development.
Quality over quantity
Getting some extra nutrients into their little bodies is essential for health and wellbeing but up to one year it is advised that parents continue to breast or formula feed, alongside food. This means that there’s not a set amount your baby has to be eating at any one time, under the age of one. Some days he might want a nibble here and there, others he may eat you out of house and home!
Read the cues
Your baby won’t overeat. Young children are usually very good at knowing when they are satisfied and they’ll let you know about it! If your baby is turning away from the food or spitting things out, they’re probably done for the time being. Or if they’re just not showing interest from the get-go, place three or four different healthy food items out so they can choose what they want.
Continue with milk feeds
It is recommended that parents continue to offer breast or formula feeds as normal up until the age of one. This is to be offered as well as solid food, and both together will form complete nutrition. Try offering milk feeds after eating though, rather than before, as otherwise your baby will feel full and less interested in solids.
Some gagging is normal
One thing that really upsets a lot of parents is the gagging that is so common when starting with solids. This happens because your child is learning how to deal with solid foods and regulate the amount of food they can manage to chew and swallow at one time. However, it is vital to recognise the difference between gagging and choking. According to the NHS website, if your baby is gagging:
- Their eyes may water
- They might push their tongue forward (or out of their mouth)
- They might retch to bring the food forward in their mouth or vomit
Read here for tips on how to identify and help a choking child.
As with so much of parenting, patience and perseverance is key. It may seem slow and hard at first, but before long your baby will be in the full swing of eating and you’ll all be loving it!