The Exciting Exploration of First Solid Foods!
All the signs are there- your baby is approximately six months old (for a more “mature” digestive system) can sit on their own, they’re watching intently as you eat, reaching for your food and smacking their lips… So, were do you start?!
Baby-led weaning or purees?
Choose what works for you & your tiny human! Remember that this is really an exploration of flavour, colour and texture! Baby’s main nutrition is still from milk and it really doesn’t matter how much your little one actually ingests!
If practicing traditional spoon-feeding, research shows that it’s best to begin offering finger foods by no later than 9 months. Being encouraged to chew at an earlier age can help reduce a baby’s resistance to different textures later on.
But, finger foods can be introduced at any point:
• on their own (Baby Lead Weaning),
• alongside purees (combination feeding),
• or to eventually replace purees (traditional spoon-feeding).
If you’d like to try combination feeding, start the meal with finger foods to give baby a chance to explore, then offer the puree after. A baby will be more likely to eat finger foods at the beginning of a meal, but more likely just to play with them near the end of a meal. Remember to remain especially mindful of fullness cues if spoon-feeding after finger foods.
Getting started with finger foods:
I know that it can feel scary to offer finger foods! Here are a few things to remember and a few great tips to make this less adventurous.
• Take a baby CPR class- remember that choking is silent. If your little one is coughing or crying, air is still moving through their airway. Encourage them to keep coughing. If they are truly choking it is a very easy maneuver to help them dislodge the food!
• Make sure yo can see your baby while they’re eating. Don’t offer foods in the car or while your out of the room.
• Know what to offer:
Finger foods for babies 6-7 months.
Shape: Thin stick/finger shapes, which are easier to grasp than ‘bite sized pieces’.
Texture: Very soft, easily squishable between the tongue & roof of mouth.
How often: Once a day, skipping a day now and then is okay when starting.
Flavour: Let baby become accustomed to the simple flavours of foods, then start adding additional herbs & more complex flavours.
• Skin & thick peels on fruit/veg
• Round foods like grapes & cherry tomatoes
• Stringy foods like thick asparagus stalks
• Egg whites
• Cow’s milk
• Processed foods
• Salt & sugar
How much should my baby be eating?
We spend a lot of time worrying about when baby is ready to eat, and trying to get a lot into them. Infant and toddler nutrition may more realistically be measured by weekly consumption rather than daily!
It’s important to respect your baby’s signs of fullness and allow them to try their little body. Trying to encourage babies to eat more than they want (“just one more bite”) can cause them to become disconnected with their own cues of hunger & satiation – something that many of us adults suffer from!
Find the sweet spot!
Your baby will tell you! When your little one starts showing signs of disinterest the meal should end... even if you feel your baby hasn’t had enough.
Puree fullness cues:
• Turning their head from the spoon
• Stop opening their mouth or reaching out
• Becoming distracted or showing other signs of disinterest
Finger food fullness cues:
• Baby will go from eating/exploring the food to playing/mashing/throwing it
• Their face may change from concentration (when eating) to mischievous (when full)
• Trying to climb out of their chair
Need some resources? Send us a message and we’ll send you our book list and favourite first Foods “classes”!
Ruth has enjoyed watching many bodies change, stay functional and become powerful humans. Education is at the centre of her approach, believing that knowledge is power and that informing our minds and bodies will help build an extraordinary life experience. Creative by nature and armed with an excellent knowledge of functional anatomy and physiology of pregnancy & birth, Ruth loves working with all sorts of bellies, babies and bodies!