Starting your baby on solids is a wonderful, fun and exciting milestone. This next phase in their food journey, not only provides them with quality nutrition, but allows for opportunities to explore different tastes, smells and textures.
As exciting as it may be, this transition can be met with some challenges along the way. As your baby begins to make sense of different textures, they may start to show signs of fussiness or even strong aversions to certain foods. Squish 100% fruit and veg purees are ideal right from the start of introducing solid foods, and can also be helpful for introducing different textures and transitioning your baby from their first foods to more advanced ones. The key is to be patient with both yourself and your child, and simply take it one step at a time. Remember, what may happen overnight for some, may take a little longer for others. And that’s perfectly okay.
Did you know that a child’s taste can be influenced by what the mother ate during pregnancy and while breastfeeding? Do you know too, that whether your baby was formula or breastfed, can also have an effect on your baby’s taste later on? There are so many contributing factors to consider when it comes to babies and their diets as they grow and develop.
Remembering these 5 key guidelines may help you and your baby on this journey and ensure the transition is as fuss-free as possible:
1. Choose food textures recommended for your baby’s developmental age
Your baby will start on the smoother purees, but as they become more experienced, you can transition them to more advanced textures like thicker purees or even roughly mashed food. Try Squish 100% apple or pear pouches as a way to introduce single flavours when starting to introduce solids. Remember that you will know when your baby is ready to advance to the next phase by simply paying attention to how he/she is handling their food. By reading your child’s expressions and reactions, it will help you to determine when and what they are ready for. More adventurous flavours can then be introduced, such as Squish Butternut, Carrot & Sweet potato 100% veg puree, or Squish Pear, Strawberry and Banana 100% fruit puree.
2. Transition to self-feeding and finger foods when the baby is ready
It’s usually at about the 8-9 month mark that babies can sit on their own, begin to pick up food with their hands, put a spoon to their mouths and show a keen interest in the food everyone else is eating! It’s now time to introduce a more textured puree. Squish 100% fruit and veg purees can now be combined with things like thicker textured oats, or crushed peaches, finely diced chicken and soft rice. It’s important to cut things like beans and grapes into bite size pieces to avoid the danger of choking.
3. Introduce one “single-ingredient” food at a time
It’s always a good idea to introduce new foods one at a time and then wait a few days before trying another. This will give you key insight into any food allergies or intolerances your baby may have. The same applies to different textures of food. If your child strongly dislikes a certain texture, wait a few days before trying it again.
4. Let them lead the way
As hard as it may be, let your baby eat at their own pace and stop feeding when they show signs of dissatisfaction, which may include turning their head away or closing their mouth as they see the spoon approaching. Forcing them to eat will only create a negative experience for you both, and this could affect their willingness to try new foods and experiment with new textures.
5. Embrace the mess and practise patience
Babies learn how to eat and enjoy nutritious food through all of their senses, not only taste. Touching and feeling their food is all part of the experience so be ready to clean up the mess. Feeling the texture of different foods between their fingers helps them develop their fine-motor and sensory skills too, another very important part of the meal-time process.
Other tips and tricks (optional)
- Always offer your baby water from a sippy-cup during mealtimes.
- Invest in some good floor covers and plastic bibs or aprons to avoid stained clothing.
- Offer a wide variety of foods with an array of different textures.
- Until they are eating a satisfactory amount of good textured finger foods, you may still offer a spoonful of food in between to meet their daily nutritional needs.
- Keep calm and try to stick to a good meal-time/snack routine.
- Make mealtimes a positive experience by reading, signing and talking to them during their mealtimes and try to encourage family mealtimes from a young age.