Introducing solid foods to your baby can be a little overwhelming with so much information from websites/books and family/friends. It can even cause confusion when one person is telling you to start solids at 4 months, and another person is telling you to start at 6. To this day, my parents are still on our case that we introduced solid foods “too late” to Luna because she is a “picky eater.” *rolls eyes* hahaha I hope my mom doesn’t ready this, or else I’m going to get la chancelta thrown at me hahahaha.
Anyways, below are some helpful tips for introducing solid foods to your baby. Please note that it is recommended to wait until 6 months to introduce solid food.
Know the Signs
I breastfed Luna exclusively for the first seven months, and am still going strong at 19 months with appropriate complementary feeding. I started introducing solids to her as soon as noticed that she was interested in our food. She would try and reach for our food, or open her mouth when she saw us eating. Your baby may be ready for the transition to solid foods when you see the following signs: holding their heads up and sitting upright in their high chair or seat, opening their mouths proactively for food when it is offered and turning away when they don’t care for it, and closing their lips over a spoon when its offered, keeping food in their mouth and swallowing.
Take Baby Steps
Introducing solid food to your baby is exciting, but remember to take baby steps. It’s best to to take a slow and steady approach to introducing new foods. The first solid food that Luna tried was a banana, and she didn’t like it. I tried it again another day, and she still didn’t like it. A year later I am still trying to get her to eat banana and she just wont budge, hahaha. She’ll have a bit, chew and then spit it out! And I’ve tried giving it to her different ways; whole, sliced, diced, mushed and even frozen…nada. We tried beans next, and she LOVED them, any kind of beans: chick, pinto, white, turtle, kidney, she’ll take it! PHEW.Always introduce new foods when your baby is happy and hungry to ensure a great first impression. Also, offer single foods first before offering blends of flavours. If your little one doesn’t like something, try it again another day.
Lead by Example
We always try to have our meals together as a family, especially dinner. I find that Luna eats best when she is served the same food as “the adults” (in a form they can eat) since she likes to pick from our plates. Even though she may not always eat everything on her plate, it is important for us (and her) to still serve her a plate of food at the table so that she learns healthy eating habits. From healthy dinner favourites like roasted chicken and veggies, to sweet treats like abuelita’s famous banana bread, Luna eats the same meals we do. With baby food like PC® Organics food pouch your baby can easily enjoy the same nutritious food your family does. Remember that your baby learns to eat by watching you, so lead by example and never turn your nose up at a new food in front of your child since they may notice and mimic the behaviour.
Unplug During Meal Times
In our home, we try hard to not have any electronics on during our meal time. I know it can be really hard, especially when there is a new episode of Survivor, This Hour Has 22 Minutes or Rick Mercer, so we are guilty of having our TV on during dinner sometimes. But, we are a little stricter when it comes to tablets and cell phone during meal time, they are not brought to the table, so that we don’t have ANY distractions. Focusing on your meal will teach your baby that meal time is important. Remember, families that eat together, eat healthier.
Introduce Iron-Rich Foods First
At around six months of age, the iron stores that babies are born with begin to decline and they need iron-rich foods to meet the nutrient needs of their fast growing bodies. Luna loves to eat salmon, eggs, beans which are iron-rich foods. I also like making her smoothie popsicles with iron-rich veggies and vitamin C, to help her absorb the iron. It is common in Canada that iron-fortified infant cereals like PC® Organics Mixed Grains baby cereal is the first solid food introduced to baby.
Spice Things Up
Plain food can get boring, at least for us. Gabriel and I love that extra flavour, we’ve always cooked with a mix of herbs and spices, so it’s no wonder why Luna loves it too. Obviously, if something has a little bit of a kick, we reduce it for Luna. She loves butter chicken. Gabriel is a salty man, he loves to put it on everything, even when it doesn’t need it, so I have been working with him to limit the amount he adds when he is cooking, since it is unhealthy for our baby’s diet. I suggest he adds fresh or dried herbs and spices to switch flavours up. I also don’t have a salt shaker in my house, lol..and if he wants to add salt to his food, he has to take his plate to the kitchen and manually grind the salt crystals there. Try spicing up PC® Organics Strained Unsweetened Applesauce with a small pinch of cinnamon, yumm!
We started giving Luna water at six months, she would drink small amounts from our cups. Water helps ease digestion, reduce tooth decay and prevents dehydration. We would offer her water during the day, especially during meals. She loves carrying her water bottle around and a meal time drinks from her own cup.
It can be difficult to know when to transition your little one to solid food while ensuring they get the nutrients they need. With so many conflicting resources available, it can also be challenging to know who to listen to. While you always want to ensure your baby is reaching each eating milestone, you also want to ensure his or her individual needs are being met. Your local Loblaws® Registered Dietitian is a great place to start to discuss your specific questions and concerns. A Loblaws® Registered Dietitian is available in Loblaws® stores in BC, they can field your specific questions and provide you with professional advice you can trust. You can find your closest Loblaws® Registered Dietitian here.
Now that you have read a little bit about our experience of introducing solid foods to Luna and some of our tips, I would love to know at how many months did you introduce solid foods to your baby? And do you have any tips to add to the list?