STOP! Solids time! It's super exciting when your baby reaches the age where it's time to start real food.
It can be a little daunting however, especially after months where milk was your bubs primary source of nutrition. It's important to remember that breastmilk and/or formula provide all the nutrients your baby needs for the first 6 months of life so don't stress if your little one isn't all that keen on food to start with.
Starting solids is as much about exploring new textures and tastes as it is about actually eating food. It's messy, sticky and lots of fun.
The right time to start introducing solids can be a controversial issue. The World Health Organisation and National Health and Medical Research Council at around 6 months of age. It's generally recommended that you look for signs of readiness as opposed to just basing your decision on age.
According to Raising Children Network, a baby who is ready to start eating will:
Your baby will also no longer have the 'tongue thrust' reflex where they instinctively push things in their mouth back out again. All bubs are different and some may show signs a little before 6 months while others may not be interested till after.
Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is a popular way to start introducing solid food to your little one. Unlike traditional foods like puree and mashes, BLW is all about family and whole foods and lets your baby set the pace and freely choose what they'd like to eat. There is no purees or spoon feeding involved and your bub can enjoy the same foods as the rest of the family (within reason).
Gagging and choking is probably the number one fear for parents when they start to introduce solids or try BLW. Regardless of the way you choose to introduce solids, you can usually expect some gagging as your bub gets used to the texture of food (which is VERY different to milk!).
This is one of the reasons we LOVE the Haakaa Fresh Food Teething Feeder
This nifty little silicone feeder takes the guesswork (and fear) out of baby led weaning and introducing solids. Pop whatever food you'd like to introduce into the silicone pouch, seal and you're ready to rock and roll.
Your little one can still taste all the different flavours and textures of new foods without any risk of gagging or choking. Perfect for those early days of BLW or when introducing new foods groups.
The other big plus? Being made from 100% food grade silicone means that the fresh food teether is a snap to keep clean, unlike some of its mesh based counterparts. And if you've ever tried to remove roasted sweet potato from those tiny mesh holes then you'll know that that's a BIG DEAL. Simply wash in warm soapy water or pop in the dishwasher. Easy peasy.
Photo credit: @traceyxrafa
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We spoke to registered nurse, midwife and Lactation Consultant Cathy Shortt from Milk & Mums Co to get the facts to help put your fears to rest.