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Top Ten Tips for Introducing Solids

Introducing Solids is an exciting milestone for mother and baby and also a period of great learning. Our founder and dietitian, Olivia Bates shares her Top Ten tips for making this stage an enjoyable experience for both mum and bub.  

  1. Introduce solids in a relaxed, positive and healthy manner – If a mother is feeling stressed or anxious, her baby naturally picks up these feelings from the bodies’ physical response to these emotional states. Bub’s body then naturally mimics these feelings and this can lead to negative associations with food.
  2. Offer vegetables before fruit – Babies have an innate craving for sweet foods so if you expose them to fruit before vegetables, you will be constantly fighting an uphill battle to get them to eat their veg. It is also important not to sweeten vegetables with fruit purees such as apple and pear as it gives baby a false appreciation of the real taste of veg and will likely result in rejection down the track when you offer the unsweetened version.
  3. Offer appropriate textured foods – When baby starts solids they have no or very few teeth so they need to be able to swallow the food without chewing. Initially start with a smooth puree, with no lumps. Baby will very quickly progress to lumpier purees and eventually finger food but always ensure close supervision to prevent choking. It is important to ensure you do progress the texture and not keep baby on smooth purees for too long, as increased resistance from lumps plays a vital role in speech and mouth development.
  4. Be persistent and patient – as with anything in both adults and children alike, it takes time to become accustomed to new things so don’t expect your bub to love broccoli the first time you give it! You will need to try and try again. If after 3 attempts your bub is just not interested, move onto something else and then come back to it. Eventually with increased familiarity will hopefully come acceptance.
  5. Offer a wide variety of foods to expose your bub to a wide array of nutrients – this includes offering foods in different food groups as well as choosing different coloured foods in the same food
  6. When buying store bought, watch out for those sweetened with fruit and also those which contain water – You don’t want to be paying $3 for a bag of sugar and water! Babies have such little tummies that you want to make each mouthful count and get in as many nutrients as you can.
  7. Introduce new foods in the mid-morning to watch for any adverse reactions which may occur and ideally away from sleep time – While it is no longer essential to introduce foods one at a time, particularly for babies with a family history of food allergies, I highly recommend doing so, as it makes it easier to identify the allergen.
  8. Avoid shelf stable (able to be stored at room temperature for months, even years), options where possible – The process used to prevent spoilage also kills the nutrients making them little more than a bag of energy, with little to no nutritional value.
  9. Start introducing solids with a very clean finger and then progress to a silicon spoon with smooth ages (be FOOD SAFE – it is not necessary to sterilise utensils but they must be clean)
  10. Remember when you start solids, do not be concerned about how much or how little they eat – babies are still getting their primary nutrition to meet their requirements from breast milk or formula, this is simply about introducing the different tastes. Initially they may only take 1 teaspoon and that is absolutely – OK. It is only cause for concern if baby starts losing weight, in which case see your paediatrician.