From the moment they are born, our babies are constantly learning – and teaching us a thing or two! But perhaps the biggest learning curve for parents and babies comes when you open the floodgates to food.
Whatever path you choose to take – whether it’s a traditional puree method, baby led weaning (BLW) or a mixture of both – as mothers ourselves, we’ve been there. And we want to arm you with the best information possible.
We’ve laid out what you need for a happy and successful start to solids with your little one – advice, foods and the perfect Nordlife products included!
When to start solids?
The short (scientifically-backed) answer: the World Health Organisation guidelines recommend introducing solids at 6 months of age.
While you may discover advice that says starting solids at 4 months is fine, this information is outdated. Our little ones gain a complete source of nutrition from breastmilk or formula right up to 6 months of age.
But just like tummy time, rolling over or that first smile, every baby develops differently. So while age is important, we suggest looking out for the ‘signs’ of readiness as you approach the six month mark as well.
What exactly are the signs my baby is ready for food?
- Interest: if your baby can’t keep their eyes (or hands for that matter) off your plate, their interest in food may be increasing.
- Sitting up: once you are confident your baby can sit unassisted (no more propping them up with pillows), this is a good sign their core strength and digestive system are ready for solids. Their head and neck strength will also play a role.
- Tongue thrust: ever noticed your little one poking their tongue at you? It may seem cute, but it may be their tongue thrust reflex – a clever automatic response younger babies do to prevent choking. Once this is gone, your baby is well on their way to tackling food.
Nordlife Mums’ recommendation: let your little one play and practice with a silicone Liewood spoon – they are perfect for improving coordination – especially if you want to let your baby feed themselves.
What’s the difference? Baby Led Weaning or a puree approach?
Whichever method you choose, starting solids with your bub should be loads of fun! So arm yourself with information and pick the method (or happy-medium) you feel most comfortable with.
Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is all about letting your baby feed themselves, mostly via finger foods.
More traditional approaches involve pureeing or blending foods for spoon feeding.
When prepared correctly, BLW foods are completely safe for your baby. Just remember to check they’re soft enough to squish between your fingers, and cut anything round (like a grape) lengthways into halves or quarters.
If your still feeling nervous, don’t let your finger foods go to waste – freeze them until you’re feeling more confident, or pop them in the blender and feed them to bub puree-style.
Speaking of, we’re also massive fans of purees. They can be a great way to get extra nutrients into your baby’s diet like bone broth, iron sources (meat and greens) or just a wider range of vegetables.
Look out for your baby’s cues
here too. Looking eager and leaning towards the spoon? Feed away! Looking away or getting distracted? They might be full.
Nordlife Mums’ recommendation: whether your baby is feeding themselves or you’re using a spoon – food is messy business!
What’s the perfect first food? (psst, there’s more than one)
‘Firsts’ are exciting: your baby’s first outfit (maybe even from our kids clothes range), that first giggle, or their first steps…
But your baby’s first foods? Cue the overwhelm!
Some parents place pressure on themselves to prepare the perfect first meal. But rather that focusing on one food. Think about firsts – plural.
The 100 First Foods approach is a great way to get started. Fairly self-explanatory, the idea is to feed your child 100 different foods by one year of age.
It’s an awesome way to introduce a wide variety of flavours, textures and colours to your baby’s diet, all while taking the pressure off nailing one particular dish or sticking to a solids schedule.
When following a BLW approach, foods can be cut into long, soft strips that your little ones can gum or mush. Our favourite BLW first foods are ripe avocado, roasted pumpkin or sweet potato and steamed pear.
And if you’re spoon feeding, just puree any of the foods above. Our favourite flavour combinations are pumpkin and spinach, and pear and apple.
Nordlife Mums’ recommendation: a must have in your feeding repertoire – a placemat! For use at home or out and about, our range of placemats mean you can pop your baby’s BLW finger food straight down in front of them. Not to mention… no more wiping down café high chairs or grubby tables!
When should I introduce water?
Did you know that more than 80% of breastmilk is water? A bottle of formula? You make it with water too.
So before you worry whether you baby is getting enough, consider the number of milk feeds or bottles they are having.
Generally speaking, you can start to give your little one sips of water around the same time as starting solids.
Remember, your baby is getting their hydration needs elsewhere so in the beginning water is just for practicing. Not to mention, it’s a great way to help them get the hang of their cup or water bottle!
Nordlife Mums’ recommendation: from sippy to open cupsour Liewood cup comparison blog is a handy tool for discovering which cup will compliment your feeding journey.
With so much information out there, starting solids can be overwhelming! But we hope our guide has you on the right path.
Stock up on your baby’s first food essentials via our feeding range today.
Still have questions on the perfect products for you? Reach out to us via chat, phone or email.