Starting your weaning adventure? As we mums know, making the switch to solid foods is an exciting time – albeit a rather messy one.
Introducing new foods into your little one’s diet can be a pretty daunting task; knowing what to feed them and when, what to do if they’re turning up their nose at every hurdle, and whether they’re getting the right balance of nutrients they need to grow.
That’s why we’ve pulled together a list of our top tips and insights to help you out when weaning your baby onto solid foods.
You’ll know when they’re ready
This is a big one which is easy to overthink. All babies are different so it’s important to trust your instincts and that you know what’s best for your baby. If you’re unsure, some key signs to look out for include sitting upright, making chewing motions and if they’ve mastered hand-to-mouth coordination.
Don’t let them fool you though – if they’re chewing their fist or simply reaching for food, they may be fascinated by watching you eat, but it might not be time for them just yet.
Trying new foods is an adventure for your little one, so make it an exciting one – and get the whole family on board. Weaning is a fantastic opportunity to branch out in your own diet.
Make an effort to choose different fruit and veg in the shops. This stops you from eating the same things over again and it means your baby gets to try them for the first time.
If in doubt, Piccolo’s infant nutritionist, Alice Fotheringham, has created lots of recipes your whole family can enjoy.
Introducing new foods at lunchtime is a great habit to get into. Why? When your baby wakes up, the only thing on their mind is feeding — not the best time to get them to try something new. Similarly, in the evenings, all they’ll want is comfort and sleep. Take advantage of that midday window to try new, exotic flavours and textures that they’re unfamiliar with.
Sometimes, you’ve got to be sneaky
Try as you might, your little one isn’t going to be receptive to every new food. Fortunately, six-month olds aren’t known for being super savvy, so you can always try serving it up in a different way.
Feeding them some banana yoghurt or mashing it up and freezing it for easy banana ice cream are great alternatives to cleaning up chunks of banana that have been flung across the kitchen.
You can also sneak the suspect food into something else, and keep increasing the quantity until they’re ready to have it by itself.
Don’t stress if they’re not eating
Not eating isn’t necessarily a sign of something that we need to worry about. Sometimes, they’ve just got other things on their minds and food isn’t their top priority (not sure we’ll understand that one). If they’d rather crawl around, play with their favourite toy or babble with their siblings, let them. It doesn’t usually last long so keep milk and food in sight – they’ll soon come back round to it.
Perseverance is key
Did you know it can take up to 12 tries before a baby develops a taste for a new flavour? So don’t worry if your little one doesn’t seem to like new foods straight off the bat.
A scrunched up face or wrinkled nose might not mean that food is forever off the cards – keep tabs on what you’ve introduced, keep gently trying and you’ll soon know whether it’s an absolute no-no for them.
A little help from the experts
Remember, you’re not going it alone. There are plenty of recipes available online, including Alice’s collection of simple and tasty dishes — from first purees to finger foods and family dinners.
When you want something on-the-go, but don’t want to compromise on health, Piccolo’s pouches can come in quite handy. As your child then gets older, Piccolo’s snacks (such as their new Mighty Melts and Oaty Bars) are super convenient and healthy options to grab-and-go.