So your baby has been milk fed for six months (breast or bottle), and now it’s time to start on solids. This can be a stressful time for both parent and baby. Baby has got to learn new flavours and textures, how to chew (or gum) and how to swallow; and you have to be patient while you end up with banana and mush in both yours and your baby’s hair. This is a time for discovery and wonder, and here’s how to make it fun.
There are several schools of thought on first foods, whether to start with “mush” or baby-led weaning with finger food. You might like to try a bit of both.
Try putting soft-cooked finger food on the baby table, such as broccoli or soft-boiled carrot sticks which are cut to a size little hands can hold, along with a bowl of bland baby rice. Let baby get their hands in the bowl and get all messy. Let baby feel the texture, and taste their fingers – yum.
At this stage don’t expect them to eat it all, or even any, this is a time to explore with touch, smell and taste. Make several carrot sticks to replace the ones that inevitably end up on the floor. If your baby just looks at the food and screams, don’t get stressed and above all don’t give up. Stick to a routine, until baby knows that this is what happens every day.
Add new foods every other day that can be grasped and that taste yummy, include soft fruits like banana, kiwi, plums, pears; prepare bread soldiers (soft or toasted) with cheese or meat spread toppings. Use a hand blender to purée your own foods; this is more economical, and fresher than store bought baby food. Save the jars of baby food for when you are on the road or in a rush.
It won’t be long before you are doing baby a proper breakfast with warm porridge and jam toasties, and baby is joining you at the table for a full English roast dinner! This just adds to their fun, although you may have to relax mealtime protocol until they are a little older.