When your baby is ready, by 6 months but not before 4 months, it is important to begin introducing a variety of nutritionally adequate solid foods whilst continuing to breastfeed or formula feed.
Eating solid foods during this time should be fun, as it allows our children to explore different textures, tastes and smells. Breastmilk or formula should still be the primary source of nutrition in the first 12 months of life. There is no advantage to starting solid foods early and there is no evidence that solid foods will help your baby sleep longer, rather a baby with an upset tummy is likely to be more wakeful. When your infant is ready, introduce foods according to what the family usually eats, regardless of whether the food is considered to be a common food allergen.
Signs of Readiness
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) both recommend beginning solid foods when your infant is showing signs of readiness. All infants differ in the age when they are developmentally ready for solid foods and the most important signs to lookout for are being able to sit upright unsupported, observing their increased interest in your food (following and reaching for food) and seeing their tongue move back and forth rather than up and down motion.
Which Foods When
Consider introducing a variety of nutritionally appropriate foods as early as possible helps to supply them with the right nutrition and reduce any food allergies and intolerances. You may choose to introduce one food at a time so that if a reaction occurs, you’re easily able to identify the problem food. According to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), to minimise risk of allergies, all infants should be given allergenic foods such as egg, peanut, dairy, tree nuts, soy, sesame, wheat, fish and other seafood within the first year of life. ASCIA has great information on how to introduce the allergenic foods safely and effectively, you can find more information here: https://www.allergy.org.au/images/pcc/ASCIA_PCC_How_to_introduce_solid_foods_FAQ_2018.pdf
Baby Led Weaning or Traditional Led Weaning
Choosing to introduce solids using a Baby Led Weaning (BLW) or Traditional Led Weaning (TLW) approach is up to you as a parent. BLW allows your child to feed themselves suitable sized finger food pieces from the very start whereas TLW is where you begin with smooth puree foods and progress to mashed/chopped and then finger foods. BLW teaches your infant to chew their foods before swallowing, allowing for appropriate oro-facial development. Become familiar with both approaches and choose which method suits you and your baby most.
Choking versus Gagging
It is highly recommended you equip yourself with knowledge on the differences between choking and gagging and attending a Certified Infant First Aid Course to provide you with tools in if an emergency situation arises, should you need them.
There is no textbook way to introducing solid foods, every child is different, just follow your child. Food should be a positive and enjoyable experience for everyone, creating positive food associations early, creates long lasting effects through childhood and adulthood.
Written by Dr. Carla Vescio,
Midwives and Mothers Australia
For more information on how best to introduce solids to your baby, you can book a consultation to discuss this with Carla at MAMA Kensington here
Kensington Fundamentals infant & Child First Aid Session will next be held at MAMA Kensington on 23rd February at 10:30AM, and you will be in the company and under the instruction of Save a Kid Founder and renowned Paediatric nurse, Megan.
You will learn the following skills
• CPR – learn this lifesaving skill for all ages
• SIDS and safe sleeping
• Choking first aid
• Common Childhood Illness – prevention, fever, febrile convulsions, signs of serious illness
• Common childhood injuries – prevention, poisoning, burns, and head injury
The cost is $70 per individual, and $65 per additional person.
You can book your attendance to this workshop here
Our Lactation Consultants also run a Starting Solids Workshop. You can find more information about that here