Starting Solids – with Baby Led Kitchen

One of the first questions parents ask themselves about introducing solids is "is my baby ready?"

Evidence falls on the side of waiting til 6 months to begin solids, as babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months have significantly reduced risk of gastrointestinal and respiratory infection. However, if your baby is approaching 6 months it is worth looking out for the signs of weaning readiness.
The NHS has three criteria for starting solids 
1) sitting 
2) ability to swallow (loss of tongue thrust reflex) 
3) ability to pick up objects and bring them to their mouths (meaning your baby will be able to feed herself from the get go, if she chooses to)
These things tend to happen around the 6 month mark.
The ‘sitting’ element causes a lot of confusion. Sitting with help? Without help? Ideally, babies should be as stable as possible before they begin solids. However, the key thing is that they can sit with good hip stability. This can be with help from a highchair or a parent. At 6 months, iron stores have begun to deplete so the advice is not to delay weaning just because your baby is a little wobbly.
In terms of what a baby can eat from 6 months, there is a great deal of choice! The only real no-nos are honey, added sugar and salt, fish that is high in mercury and unpasteurised dairy products. It is worth introducing the allergens on separate days in order to watch for reactions too. You can start small, with some simple cooked veg, and add in new foods each day. Make sure to include some meat, fish or pulses fairly early on to help your baby build up their iron stores. 
It’s a good idea for your baby to eat with the family. You can either serve their food in long or fist sized pieces or mashed, but there’s no need to cook them a completely separate meal. Babies learn so much for watching their adults and family meals are a great way of making your baby feel included and comfortable around food. For family recipe ideas, check out the Baby Led Kitchen App. There are 230 recipes on there, all suitable from babyhood. There are lots more tips for how to serve foods to your baby safely too. 
Hope that helps to get you started! 

Guest post from Jo Weston from Baby Led Kitchen. You can find Jo on her Instagram page and you can purchase the app ‘Baby Led Kitchen’ for Jo’s top tips and over 200 recipes to try! Those closer to use here in Norfolk can attend one of our weaning workshops held at Rowan House in Hethersett. Always a fully booked class that is lots of fun, filling you with the knowledge and confidence to get weaning off to a great start. 

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