As with all things baby related, starting solids also has it's many challenges. We get to teach our litlle creations how to eat, so why not teach them to eat well?
For me, the idea of starting Jacob on solids was super excitig. Not just because I couldn't wait to make delicious treats for him, but because i couldn't wait for the breastfeeding to slow down a little. I can attest to having the most hungry baby on the planet! Even before he was born, actually even before I found out that I was pregnant, I myself became instantly hungry. I had such an appetite, something that was unfamiliar to me. Then he was born, the best day of my life, and he was hungry!
I can't say I enjoyed breastfeeding for the first few months (yes it took a FEW months for it to become easy) trying to cope with the soreness, the scabs that would hardly even begin to heal before the next feed, the two times I had mastitis, engorgement when he slept even an extra hour and of course having a baby that wanted milk every other hour, I felt like the town dairy cow! All I heard from family and friends who are mothers themselves was "It'll become easier once you start solids."
So now you see my desire to give this baby some food, but of course I wanted to do it when the time was right as I am an true believer that all things are done well if done at the right time.
I started Jacob on solids when he was 4.5 months of age. By this stage he was showing interest in food, watching us eat, even getting hungry for milk as soon as he could smell food cooking. So I braved it and tried him on a teaspoon of rice cereal one morning. To my surprise he made faces and spat the cereal out. He even started to cry for milk. I was disappointed , thinking he would never enjoy food. I instantly gave up and decided he wasn't ready enough (little did I know that all babies do this the first time). 2 weeks later with the addition of pear puree we had success and i had to give him seconds! He was having his rice cereal every morning after that without a fuss.
And so began, what felt like, endless hours spent steaming and blending fruits and veggies to make yummy purées for my little man. His portions increased over time and i began introducing textured foods, meat as well as soft finger foods (all of which he loves) once he reached 6 months of age. And since realising this baby would eat just about anything, i figured why not help him eat as well as he can. We are so lucky to have access to fresh, healthy produce so why not give our children the best start to their food journey.
So if you are about to start your little one on solids, here are some tips to a smooth transition:
1) Ensure baby is showing signs of readiness (head control, sitting upright, interested in your food) 2) Introduce soft puréed fruits and vegetables first. Introduce meat and textured foods gradually (babies over 6mths) 3) Begin by introducing one food type at a time for 3-4 consecutive days (enough time to test for allergies) 4) Offer solids about half an hour / one hour AFTER a milk feed (it's just about the tasting at this stage not eating for hunger) 5) Offer solids in the middle of the day so that you are awake in the time that an allergic reaction may occur
I will share some simple yet delicious recipes for making purees fun in my next post!