Thursday, 24 March 2011

My advice on starting solid foods - the practical bits!

Now, I apologise if some of the things I cover today seem to be a bit obvious, but often it's the simple things you forget when you're starting something new.
- we babies are more likely to eat if we're sitting comfortably and facing forwards, so a highchair is a good idea
- give us plenty of time to eat. It can be tempting to hurry us up, but that's just really off-putting, so allow for more time than you would need yourselves at mealtimes, and absolutely don't force us!
- I'm pretty clear when I've had enough - I turn my head away. It's a pretty standard baby communication method
- you don't need to be a great cook; to start with, we just want very simple things - a bit of baby rice or cereal mixed with our regular milk, and take it from there.
Once we start to get the hang of the rice, mashed carrot or parsnip is a good bet. Boil the veg to soften it, and then it's much easier to mash smooth enough. As far as I'm concerned, the more textures and flavours we can try, the better, but don't add any salt or sugar to our food. When we get a bit older, we can start having the same as the rest of the family. I'll talk about that in more detail some other time.

If you decide not to cook, there are plenty of really good ready made baby foods available. I have my favourite brands, but other babies might like different things. My mummy finds them really handy to take if we're going out for the day because they are pretty hassle-free. If she buys me a pouch of food, I quite like just sucking the food out - who needs to bother with a spoon?! One or other of the supermarkets is usually doing an offer on baby food, so it's easy to stock up.

It's worth mentioning vitamins at this point. Once we get past about 6 months, our needs change and we need a different mix of vitamins and minerals. If your baby is still breastfeeding, there's no need to stop, but a supplemnt is a good idea. Formula already has everything added to it. Often, if you're making your own foods, there is a risk that you boil out all the goodness trying to make it soft enough. Another good reason for considering the vitamins!

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