Weaning is an exciting time for you and your baby, but that first step (or rather mouthful!) can feel daunting for many parents. We asked our in-house paediatrician Dr Sophie for her top tips on getting started.
1 Start simple
In the first few weeks of introducing solids, start with single vegetables. You can offer them pureed, mashed or as soft finger foods. It really depends on your own and your baby’s preference. Start with dark green vegetables, such as broccoli, kale or courgette, as they are relatively rich in iron and the sooner our little ones get used to more bitter flavours, the easier they will accept them later on.
2 Eat the rainbow
After having offered green vegetables for a few days, try vegetables and fruits of all colours. This will not only expose your little one to a variety of colours, tastes and textures, but also provide an abundance of micronutrients.
3 Be courageous
A lot of parents are hesitant to try finger foods as they are afraid of choking. Start with very soft bites, such as softly steamed broccoli florets, slices of avocado or peeled cucumber. These will melt in your little one's mouth and give you the confidence to offer your baby a wider variety. Make sure to cut anything with a skin (such as grapes or cocktail tomatoes) into smaller pieces.
4 Embrace the veg face
Babies have an inborn reaction to bitter tastes and make a funny face, almost as if they just bit into a slice of lemon. This is a natural reflex which will soften every time and eventually vanish. Patience is key. It can take between 10 to 15 tries until a baby accepts a new taste, especially bitter ones. If they reject a new food, wait a few days and try again. You will see that they will grow to like it.
5 Small bites matter
Even if your little one tries only one spoonful or two, their brain will be bursting with activity from the new experience. The first weeks of introducing solids are really about trying new tastes and textures. Your baby still gets all the calories and nutrients he or she needs from breastmilk or formula, so don't worry if the bowl isn't being cleared.