From my research, general consensus is that your baby can start on solids at approximately the 6 month mark. The reason for this is primarly to introduce a little more iron into their diet.
Speaking from personal experience, we started the way that most people do; with iron-enriched rice cereal. We were lucky, bubs took to the rice cereal like a champion. In fact, he cried in between mouthfuls because I couldn’t get the spoon back to his mouth quick enough. The entire bowl of food was demolished within minutes. I knew we had a food lover on our hands pretty quick (considering his dad's bottomless pit, I had a gut instinct this would be true for our son).
The only problem with this, is that it’s not a very nutritious form of food, so we quickly opted for purees to add to the rice cereal to get bubs to start enjoying new flavours (a bit like this one). Eventually we removed the rice cereal entirely and he was well and truly into vegetables by then.
Tips For Starting Your Baby On Solids
- Make your own food purees to save money and also to have control over the ingredients.
- Invest in some quality recipe books to help you with puree mixes. Relying on devices to read recipes online can get annoying (especially when the battery saving setting turns the screen black, you have to keep tapping to get rid of the screen saver). Also, the text is generally too small and its easy to lose your place.
- Try a new vegetable/flavour with a baby up to 30 times. They don’t always love new textures and flavours so you have to keep trying until they turn the corner and they will so you have to stick it out.
- Having said that, variety is the spice of life. I don’t like sweetcorn simply because I used to like it so my mother cooked it for almost every meal. I got over it and to me it feels like being force-fed.
- Don't be afraid of mess. Like anything to do with parenting, you really need to embrace the mess and the wastage. Babies love to play with textures and will squish a whole banana into the carpet if they could. I don’t mean to say you have to embrace that kind of behaviour, but letting them sit in their high chair and run spaghetti or mash potato through their fingers is great fun for them and highly sensory and great for development.
- Food pouches are fantastic when you are out and about and haven’t cooked any purees for the road. They are also a great dinner backup if bubs refuses your food for whatever reason. It can sometimes be hard when you’ve poured your heart and soul into what you have lovingly prepared only to have it rejected and thrown on the floor. But don't take it personally.
- Some days they love one vegetable, the next day it’s yesterday's news. They are little humans so, like us, we are always on the hunt for something new and delicious. You can mix it up but by the next week they may just love it again (it seems to me food boredom must have a one week cycle).
- There are some really fantastic snack food ideas around for simple on the run snacks such as chicken/chives/potato/egg balls. Bite sized snacks are a wonder and super clean and simple for feeding in public.
- Bolognese sauce is an easy way to hide vegetables and get enough protein into your little on. Be warned, it’s also super messy and stains white wash cloths. Hot tip - use red face washers or cloths for the days you make anything with tomatoes as a base.
- Once you’ve finished breastfeeding, you’ll be cooking all the time and experimenting with what foods your little monkey enjoys. It’s just par for the parenting course. Annoying as it can be, feeling tied to the stove can also be a good learning curve for cooking for a family long term. Motherhood is a huge learning curve, sometimes we can’t just choose to have a night off from cooking so we have to embrace it, make it fun and simple for ourselves so it doesn’t become another full time job on top of an already busy schedule.