At six months most parents decide its time for weaning and the grand entrance of solids. Whilst you may be hovering with anticipation, pureed banana at the ready, be prepared for you baby to turn her nose up at your culinary masterpiece and nuzzle in for a breastfeed or her bottle. Don’t despair; with a little perseverance you’ll have her gobbling that carrot puree! This week your little one will suddenly discover how to bash things together to make a sound. Whilst you are preparing her gourmet delights, why not give her a pot and wooden spoon to play with.
As your baby nears six months you’ll need to move her onto food with a thicker consistency (if she is closer to six months when you offer her her first solids, start out with thicker foods rather than sloppy purée, as you’ll need to progress her more rapidly). Offer mashed foods with a thicker consistency – avocado, banana, potato, broccoli and cauliflower are ideal.
Offer her solids twice a day, with her usual milk feeds in between. She still will be getting most of her nourishment from her milk feeds at this stage in the weaning process. She also will still need her milk feeds – you need to still give her a minimum of 16-20 ounces a day. Introduce new foods one at a time three to four days apart to ensure that you can pinpoint the cause of any potential allergic reactions (such as a rash or diarrheoa).
What to avoid
Some foods should be avoided until your baby reaches a certain age, especially if you have a family history of food allergies.
- Peanut butter, wheat, eggs and shellfish before the age of 12 months if you have a family history of allergies.
- Salt Your baby’s kidneys can’t cope with too much salt, so don’t add it to your baby’s portion if she eats home-cooked meals, and avoid giving her shop-bought convenience food and snacks.
- Sugar Don’t add sugar to your baby’s food as it will encourage a sweet tooth and put her at risk of tooth decay.
- Honey should not be given to babies under 12 months old, even to ease a cough – it can contain botulism spores, which could make your baby very ill.
- Fruit juice It contains sugars which can contribute to tooth decay and it will also cut into your baby’s milk consumption, so don’t offer it to her while she’s under six months old. Once she passes six months, she can have pure unsweetened fruit juice diluted to one part juice to 10 parts water, but only offer it at mealtimes. Soda, tea, coffee and herbal drinks are not suitable for babies and young children.