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Introducing Solids -tips, methods and inspirations

Introducing Solids -tips, methods and inspirations

Like sleep, introducing solid food is yet another one of those things about which there are many opinions and no ‘one true way’ of doing things. Here’s our quick guide to a couple of the options with some tips along the way:

Up until 6 months, babies usually are exclusively on a liquid diet of either formula or breastmilk. Once they reach 6 months, babies’ iron and zinc levels begin to drop and therefore additional nutrients from other sources (aka solids) are necessary.

Some babies show signs of readiness for sold foods earlier than others but the cues that your baby is ready are generally:

– Putting things into his/her mouth and making chewing motions

– Interest in food (i.e. grabbing food from your plate or ‘begging’ food from you or others)

– Increase in milk feeding

– Good head control and sitting well when supported

As mentioned, there are multiple opinions on how the introduction of solids should be done and this is as much a cultural question as it is one of parenting-style. Broadly speaking, there are two ‘schools of thought’: Puree or Baby-led-weaning.

The puree method is about offering your baby a variety of different pureed vegetables at their main meal and over the course of time, introducing new elements. In Germany, parents are encouraged to offer one vegetable (such as carrot) for several days, followed by other vegetables in the same pattern. The next level sees the addition of potato, then meat or fish. For other meals, the baby is offered first milk and grain porridge and then grain and fruit porridge. To drink, German parents tend to favour unsweetened fruit teas or water.

Aside from the time-consuming business of making your own purees, most supermarkets and drug stores sell ready-made puree in jars. A new concept from Babyviduals, pellets of frozen pureed, organic vegetables, fruits and meat. These are ideal if your baby doesn’t yet manage a whole jar of puree, as you can simply measure out how many Vidos you wish to use, which means less wastage.

Baby-led-weaning is a term coined by former health visitor and mid-wife Gill Rapley. It effectively gives the element of choice over to the baby and encourages them to discover food tastes and textures at their own pace. Parents introduce family meals of healthy, home-cooked food in an unsalted and more baby-friendly form and babies can playfully explore the wonderful world of food on their own, whilst sitting around the table with their fellow diners.

  • With all approaches, there is some basic equipment that every parent should think about getting:

    High chair- the easier to clean, the better: Food WILL get in the most obscure nooks and crannies!

    A gentle disinfectant or disinfectant wipes (e.g. Sagrotan) for cleaning the high chair.

    Spoons- BPA-free, flexible is usually good to start with.

    Plates- BPA-free, with suction is a good option to prevent plates being thrown onto the ground.

    Cups- BPA-free; there is a huge selection and there are no hard-and-fast rules as to what is best so it pays to try out a few.

    Bibs- wipe clean is a good option! The water-repellant Little Globetrotter bib from Storkwerk was a big hit for us (Lorna and Lewis).

  • Tip- A cheap shower curtain placed under the highchair can be shaken into the bin/outside after each meal (saves you having to sweep or vacuum or take the dog to the vet’s with a sore tummy)

Don’t forget, your midwife can offer you extensive advice regarding the introduction of solids, even 6 months after the last time you saw her! This consultation is usually paid for by your health insurance (please ask your insurer prior to making an appointment)

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