When to introduce solids? It’s the question that has come around far too quickly for my liking this time around. I feel like my baby was only born yesterday. How can she be old enough for this? When did this happen? By “this”, I am referring to a major milestone in a littler person’s life. I am referring to the gloriously messy business of solids! And we have entered this world with great gusto!
When is it time to introduce solids?
Many parents are confused about introducing solids as they get different advice from different authorities and health professionals. And it’s no surprise. It seems every time I have a baby the information around when to start solids has changed. For Miss A it was 6 months, for Miss J it was 4 months and I honestly can’t remember when Miss H started on solids, as that time in my life is a blur. So, what is the current recommendation for introducing solids?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) currently recommend six months of exclusive breastfeeding and then the introduction of solids while breastfeeding continues. Solids during the first year are only meant to complement breastmilk. Remember that guidelines with ages can only ever be approximate as babies develop at different rates. Essentially, it’s time to introduce solids to babies when they show signs they’re ready. These signs tend to occur at around 6 months of age, with some a little earlier and others a little later.
Miss I is one of the “earlier” babies. She has shown signs of being ready for at least a month. Her curious eyes are always watching me put food in my mouth. Even when I am hiding in the pantry munching on chips (so the kids don’t bust me), I can sense I am being watched!
Australian recommendations are to introduce solids at around 6 months of age, but not before 4 months.
In addition to showing signs of readiness, Miss I has not exactly been stacking on the weight, partially due to our breastfeeding troubles. Some experts suggest that starting a baby on solids can improve symptoms of reflux. But like all things parenting, there is conflicting information. After consulting with my paediatric chiropractor and MCHN, we decided to start Miss I at 5 months of age.
What are your options?
There are two main options for introducing solids: parent-fed purees or Baby Led Weaning (BLW). BLW is an approach to introducing solids to babies from the start of weaning. It’s about skipping the purees and weaning spoons in favour of finger “table” food. While I can see the benefits of BLW, we decided to start with purees fist as I felt Miss I wasn’t quite developmentally ready to self-feed.
What is the best food to start with?
Iron and zinc are two minerals needed from solids. When your baby is ready, start to introduce a variety of solid foods, starting with iron rich foods, while continuing breastfeeding.
Offer food with the most nutrition and limited sugar. Then, gradually introduce a variety of textures and tastes, and a healthy protein. Given I am time-poor (and my blender is in an unpacked box somewhere deep in the garage from moving when I was 38 weeks pregnant) I have been feeding Miss I a range of purees from Bubs Organics. We are only a few weeks in, but my goodness is she loving it!
I started off by mixing some rice cereal with the puree, and now I have moved on from the rice cereal. Honestly, she can’t get enough of it. She is definitely the most enthusiastic for solids out of all my babies. I can’t get the spoon filled fast enough for her.
All Bubs Organic meals contain no additives, preservatives, GMOs, artificial colouring or flavouring, added salt or sugar, thickeners or other fillers. All meals are made in Australia and are packed with nutrient-rich products sourced from organic growers and suppliers. BIG TICKS!
Many store-bought jars and pouches of baby food are anything but wholesome. Be sure to check the list of ingredients, especially the sugar content. Not only are the Bubs Organic meals nutrient-rich and wholesome, the pouches are incredibly convenient for an easy on-the-go easy meal that does not compromise health. You can purchase Bubs Organic products at your local Coles supermarket, selected pharmacies or online at bubsaustralia.com.
Follow your baby’s cues
In short, there is no exact science to introducing solids. Just do your best to follow your baby’s cues about when to increase the amount of solids, and take care to ensure that breastmilk remains baby’s primary source of nutrition for the first year. Pretty soon we will move from runny solids to softer solids and then to table food. But I will always have some of these pouches for meals on the go!
My final words of advice; Have fun. Yes, it can be messy. Yes, it’s another thing to squeeze into your day. But a whole new world has opened up for your bub. Make it a happy, healthy and exciting milestone.
*I partnered with Bubs Organic to bring you this post. All opinions are my own.
Is it time for you to introduce solids? At what age was your baby ready? Did you do spoon feeding, or did you skip the purees in favour of BLW?