Bub ready to try new things on the menu? Jess Beaton, dietitian with One Handed Cooks and multi-tasking mother-of-two, shared great tips for starting solids and her favourite recipes with the Kinderling Conversation. Listen to the full interview:
When are babies ready to start?
Around the five-six month mark, look for these cues:
Bub's becoming food aware
Are they taking an interest in your food or trying to grab your fork?
It's all in the tongue
At birth, babies have a tongue thrust reflex to protect them from choking. If you touch a spoon to the tip of their tongue, they'll push it away. As this reflex diminishes, they're more ready to try solids.
Good posture control
Your baby needs good neck, head and trunk control (which helps with digestion and not choking). They may not be able to sit up fully unsupported, but they at least need to have lost that head wobble.
Chewing and gnawing
Baby starts putting lots of objects in their mouth, and gnawing or chewing actions become more common.
Their weight will plateau around this time and it might be difficult to fill them up on breast milk/formula alone.
Baby don't need a full set of teeth to introduce solids. You’ll be surprised how much work a baby’s gums can do.
Jess' tips for transitioning to food
As parents of older kids know, the dinner table can become a battleground. Here's how to help make baby’s transition to solid food a positive and life-enhancing experience.
Take it slow
Let your baby set the pace early on. Remember this is new for them and they may get overwhelmed by the new textures and flavours.
Eat with your child
Serve yourself the same food and show your child how to pick it up and pop it in your mouth.
Embrace the mess
If bub's a bit wary at first, encourage them to explore and even make a mess with their meal. Some babies take the approach of “chew, chew, chew, spit, spit, spit!” It's normal and helps your little one feel safe from choking.
Give them options
Let your baby have some choice at meal time and some control over their food. Fill up a spoon with puree, put it on the highchair tray and let them pick it up themselves.
Time it right
Consider the time of day you’re offering food. Make sure your baby feels rested and is not too tired.
Start some meal time rituals and routines. Mention food's coming in a few minutes or even sing a song as you pop them in a high chair. Keep things as relaxed and fun as you can – and yes, it’s okay if they play with their food.
Solid gold recipes from One Handed Cooks
Ready to get the ball rolling? Here's some of Jess' favourite recipes:
Smooth Pumpkin and Lentil Puree
- 1 cup chopped pumpkin
- ½ cup tinned brown lentils, no added salt, drained and rinsed
- Put the pumpkin in a streamer tray and place the tray over a saucepan of boiling water. Cover and steam for 5-8 minutes.
- If you have time, try roasting the pumpkin pieces for an extra flavour hit.
- Pop the pumpkin and lentils in a blender and puree until smooth.
Pick ‘n’ Mix Poached Chicken Puree
- 1/2 chicken breast (approx 150g)
- 1/2 cup pick 'n' mix green vegetables (such as zucchini, broccoli, baby spinach)
- 1/2 cup pick 'n' mix orange/red vegetables (such as carrot, pumpkin, capsicum)
- 1/2 cup pick 'n' mix fruit (such as apple, pear, apricot, peach)
- 1/3 cup water
- Bring 2 cups of water to the boil in a small saucepan.
- Add the chicken, simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Put the fruit and vegetables in a steamer basket over a saucepan of boiling water.
- Steam for 5-10 minutes or until soft.
- Puree the fruit and vegetables with the chicken and water. Add more water if needed to reach the consistency you want.
Papaya Mango Pear Puree
- ½ papaya, seeded, skin removed, diced
- 1 mango, diced
- 3 pears, peeled, cored, diced
- 3 apricots, cored, diced
- 1 cup of water
- Peel, core and dice all the fruit.
- Heat water in a medium saucepan, then add the fruit and simmer for around 8 minutes.
- Blend together, adding the cooking water until your puree reaches the consistency you want.
Hear Kinderling Conversation weekdays at 12pm and check out the podcast
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