Transitioning from breastfeeding to solid foods can be an uncertain yet exciting time. Below are answers to some of our parents’ most commonly asked questions; they’ll ensure your baby’s transition to solid foods is smooth, safe, and delicious- just like the purees you’ll feed them!
When should I introduce solid foods?
Experts recommend introducing solid foods to your baby after 6 months old. Other experts argue that you can introduce a variety of solid foods when your baby is 4 – 6 months old; this may help reduce the chance of developing allergies and could reduce fussy eater behavior.* Introducing your child to a variety of foods gets them used to (at least) trying new tastes, textures, and aromas.
*Make sure you don’t introduce solid foods before 4 months; replacing breast milk with solid foods too early can lead to malnutrition and can increase the chance of developing allergies.
What about baby-led weaning?
Baby weaning is the process of pre-selecting a variety of baby safe finger foods and letting your baby try them at their own pace. Studies have shown that this approach may lead to increased vegetable and fruit consumption (by the age of 2) while supporting child agency. However, there is not enough research comparing baby-led and spoon fed approaches to make any conclusions.
Your baby’s first solid foods
The American Academy of Paediatrics states that pureed meats can help supplement iron in babies that have previously only been breastfed. Bananas, apples, pears, peaches, and sweet potatoes are all good choices. Remember to avoid chunky or sticky foods because they are choking hazards (nut butter, honey). Honey can cause botulism in young children and should be avoided.
Guidelines for introducing your baby to solid foods
- Always test the food first- make sure you can use your tongue to break it up on the roof of your mouth
- Avoid ‘crumby’ foods- they are messy and a choking hazard
- Make sure your baby can sit and support themselves vertically (to prevent choking)
- Don’t leave your baby unattended
Rejecting/spitting out new foods is normal
Fussy behavior is normal! It might be their tongue thrust reflex (from breastfeeding) or because your baby is learning how to transport food to the back of their mouths. Persistence is key! Experiments show that it takes 8-10 days for babies to accept new foods. Repeated feedings are crucial to help your baby get over their initial dislike of certain foods. At the same time, respect your baby’s signals. If they reject the same food 3 times in one feeding session, try again the next day.