Around the middle of your baby’s first year at about 6 months, you will start to notice something is changing. Bub is still appearing hungry, even after a feed. In the highchair, he or she is starting to watch you eating your food – closely. They may even start indicating by making noises or by reaching for your food. And over a period of several days, you may be inclined to giving bub two bottles instead of one.
Could it be … that suddenly, bub may be ready to start eating solids?
Keen to ride through landscape of bub’s first feeding journey? Well, giddy up, as it’s time to …
introducing solids: how & when to navigate first feeds
what happens at 6 months?
When is bub ready to start with solids?
6 months is usually advised by the baby experts, as a good time to start with solids! Of course, it varies. Some could even start as early as 4 months, but it’s a good idea to tune-in to your bub’s behaviours and let them guide you.
In fact, there are some signs you can look out for - that suggest you and your baby are about to embark on a first-foods adventure! Bub should be able to hold their head unsupported and will start to watch you nibble and munch with interest.
They might hold their teeny, little mouth open and imitate eating and chewing actions (seriously adorable) and will start to show, through cooing sounds and hand gestures (like attempting to rip your avo toast clean out of your hand) that they are keen to get in on the solid food action! If you are unsure, you can always check in with your health nurse, or mama crew.
According to the Australian Breastfeeding Association, the reasons for introducing solids at 6 months is because it is considered the safest time to start, as baby’s intestinal lining has matured and is deemed safe to digesting new foods to bub’s diet. In short: at the 6 month mark, is when bub’s digestive system is sufficiently and developmentally ready to eat solids.
how to approach solids
To be able to watch closely for possible allergies that may arise from digesting solid food, an ‘introduction’ to each food group, rather than a meal, is suggested. Then offer it in incremental portions so that you can see how it affects your baby.
If bub experiences any adverse reactions such as tummy discomfort, vomiting or rashes with a new food, it is best to stop that food immediately. If you have concerns, it is best to check with a dietician or paediatric allergist.
what is parent led weaning?
Parent-led weaning typically involves pureeing or mashing healthy foods and feeding them to bub with a spoon or feeding tool. Parents decide when to introduce solids and what foods are offered, gradually introducing new tastes and textures as baby grows, as well as controlling the amount of food that’s consumed.
the benefits of parent led weaning
- • pureed foods are easier for babies to swallow safely
- • new foods and textures are eased into, so to not overwhelm bub
- • provides a bonding opportunity for those involved
what is baby led weaning?
This method involves offering bub soft finger foods that they can feed themselves, such as soft fruits or cooked vegetables, and allowing them to explore the food and feed themselves. Baby decides whether they’re ready for solids, how much to eat and what to try, while parents simply offer a variety of healthy foods.
the benefits of baby weaning
- • babies get to explore taste, texture, colour, and smell of foods naturally
- • it encourages independent eating
- • helps develop hand-eye coordination
what about drinks?
At 4 to 6 months, some bubs that are still having lots of breastfeeds may not need extra drinks. But when bub starts solids, you can offer boiled, cooled water in a suitable cup like a spout cup or sippy cup to keep healthy and hydrated, and so littlies can munch and sip like the rest of the family!
So, if bub is showing signs of wanting to try solids, and hold their own in the food department, then guess what?
we’ve created the perfect feeding tools to support bub’s first tastes!
about our b.box fill + feed
Our b.box fill + feed reusable food pouch is ideal for making the first feeds journey easier (and squeezier!) Prepare fresh baby foods at home and take them on the go, leak free! Fill up easily from a wide opening for less mess, then close the hinged-lid and get ready to feed.
Ergonomically shaped for little hands to easily hold and squeeze, then intuitively suck and sip from the angled spout tip, yum! If bub is feeling is feeling full, simply seal closed with the attached rotating cap to save food for later, with peace of mind there won’t be any leaking leftovers in your baby bag or pram!
Top tip: Prep foods in advance and store them in our fill + freeze stackable bowls. When it’s time to eat, just pop out the portion directly into the fill + feed. Say so long to messy hard to use squeezy pouches and packaged baby foods, and hello to fuss-free fresh food on the go!
about our b.box silicone fresh food feeder
Our b.box fresh food handle-like feeding tool can assist with the transition to self-feeding, teething and beyond. It works by popping chunks of fresh food into the silicone pouch, then locking it away by attaching it to an easy-grip handle.
Littlies are then able to easily grasp and navigate the feeder to their mouth to suck and slurp and explore new tastes.
Introducing solids helps bub to learn new skills needed for eating, like hand-to-mouth coordination and the strength and endurance for chewing, munching, and crunching. Particularly for a teething bub, a fresh food feeder can provide relief to sore gums. And not just for the littlies, toddlers can enjoy frozen fruits or small icy treats using a fresh food feeder too.
supporting bub’s first tastes
Generally, first foods can be served up fresh, streamed, microwaved, or boiled; and can be smooth, pureed, mashed or in soft pieces. This varies based on the chosen feeding method, as well as of course - bub’s personal taste and texture preferences! It's important to remember that there is no one ‘right’ way to wean a baby, and the approach that works best for some, may not for others.
Start with single flavours to get bub learning and exploring, and then build up to tasty combinations like banana & avocado, apple & cauliflower, and pea & pear. Gradually, you can build up to larger, firmer chunks and add in dairy options like yoghurt mixed with fruit – what a treat!
Choose easily available produce guided by the season. Veggies like avocado, sweet potato, pumpkin, broccoli, carrot, and cucumber are great starters. Or fruits (be it fresh or stewed to soften slightly) like banana, pear, apple, watermelon, kiwi fruit, oranges – take your pick.
A variety of different colours, textures and flavours will help keep all kids healthy … and coming back for more!
care and cleanliness
Like all things used for bubs, it’s super important to keep feeding items hygienically clean before, during and in-between use.
Luckily, our first feeds products are easy to care for either by soapy handwashing with warm water, popping into a dishwasher (top rack only), or by sterilising for the littlest ones.
For stubborn stains, you can use a cleaning brush to get into all the nooks and crannies. And when done, allow to air dry completely before reassembling and packing away in a clean and dry place. And of course, always make sure you check out specific care instructions of each product.
Remember, healthy eating habits start early. As soon as your bub is ready to start exploring solids, you have an opportunity to support their learning: by having them explore new skills, flavours, and textures.
Though first feeds can be daunting, they can be exciting and oh-so-cute to witness! As long as you are prepared and patient, and bub feels safe and ready - you will both have it down in no time. And what’s even more exciting – is that there are tools to help along the way! You’ve got this mama … and we’ve got you!
Pinky Mckay (www.pinkymckay.com) is an ibclc lactation consultant, best-selling author and creator of boobie foods, all natural and organic foods (boobie bikkies and boobie brekkie) to nourish breastfeeding mothers. For effective techniques to boost your milk supply, download pinky’s free ebook, ‘making more mummy milk, naturally.’
Marie Sarantos is a happy (mostly!) mama of three. Spends her days searching for the perfect balance between being a full-time mama, part-time b.box wordsmith and dedicated coffee consumer. Understands how hectic work and life can be and uses this mantra to live simply: The plan is, there is no plan, just stay as informed as you possibly can. Make choices to suit your family and you. And never apologise for seeing it through. Also, affectionately known as Mama Marie for her random acts of nerdy mumsiness and life mantras!