Introducing your baby into the world of solid foods can be an exciting, albeit slightly messy, experience! The move from a milk-only diet onto solid foods can be a gradual process, but it is one of the most important steps in your baby’s development. The tricky part can be identifying when your baby is ready to start trying solid foods, but the truth is there is no set age when you should introduce them. It is usually around the 6 month mark that your baby will naturally be ready to start eating solid foods.
Every baby is different and some may be ready for solid foods before others, but in the end it’s all about giving them time and being patient. Waiting until they are ready for food will save a lot of time too, as they will be able to grasp the concept of these new textures and flavours and learn to feed themselves if you wait a little longer.
There are 3 main signs that you should look out for that indicate your baby is ready to try solid foods:
- They can stay in a sitting position, holding their head steady.
- They are able to co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth, meaning they will be able to look at food, pick it up and feed it to themselves.
- They can easily swallow; babies who are not ready will simply push food back out.
Some people often think their baby is ready for food if they chew their fists, wake in the night when they would normally sleep through or want extra milk feeds. Although these are normal behaviours, they are not necessarily signs of hunger or being ready for solid food.
If your baby is around 6 months and you think they’re ready to try solid food, then the best things to start them on are mashed and soft cooked fruits and vegetables that are cooled to a suitable temperature. A little bit later, when they have mastered these foods, they can move onto soft cooked meat, pasta, yoghurt, toast, rice etc.
- Start off with a plastic spoon as metal retains heat and could hurt your baby’s sensitive mouth
- Always ensure your baby is wearing a bib as this will save a lot of mess!
- Let them touch their food - it may get messy but they need to learn about their textures and this will also allow them to feed themselves
- Never force your baby to eat solid foods - if they’re not interested just try again next time
- Always cool hot food and test it before feeding
- Don’t add salt, sugar or stock cubes to their food or water
- When using a spoon, wait for them to open their mouth for the food before you offer it - also let them hold the spoon if they want and they can try to feed themselves
From bibs and cutlery to bowls, plates and tablet mats, Tommee Tippee has a huge range of products for introducing your baby to solid foods. All of their products keep feeding convenient and easy, as well as trying to keep things as mess-free as possible!