Introducing your baby to solids is a very exciting time for both you and your baby.

There are new experiences and tastes, not to mention lots of mess! It can seem like everyone you talk to has a different opinion on when and how to start.

What do the experts say?

Experts agree that solids shouldn’t be given before your baby is 4 months old.

Before then, their digestive systems are not mature enough, and introducing solids before then can increase the risk of allergies.

Breast milk doesn’t contain much iron, so baby has to start eating food when the iron stored in their body runs out; usually at around 6 months. Because of this, it’s important to start iron-rich foods by six months.

What about Baby-Led Weaning?

‘Baby-led weaning’ is where you start feeding your baby with finger food, once they are ready, and this may take up to 10 months. However, if your baby is not ready for finger food at six months, baby-led weaning can put them in danger of iron deficiency, which is vital for brain development.

(Babies are ready for finger food when they hold their head up unsupported, sit well when supported, puts things in their mouth, reaches and grabs, watches you eat, makes chewing motions.)

HOWEVER, if at six months your baby is not ready for finger food, they still need to eat iron-rich foods, and you’ll need to give puree foods until they’re ready to chew.

As soon as your baby shows they are ready for finger-foods, go for it! Just be sure that they include iron-rich foods. There are good examples of iron rich first foods just below:

Ideas for iron rich first foods:

Puree:

  •          Iron-fortified rice puree
  •          Meat/chicken/fish puree
  •          Pureed egg
  •          Lentil/legumes/tofu puree

Finger food:

  •          Sticks of meat – cut against the grain
  •          Lentil patties in finger food shape
  •          Tofu strips
  •          Hard-boiled egg chunks or strips of omelette

 

Hopefully this has clarified things, with solids there are really only a couple of rules. Start with iron-rich food between 4 and 6 months, and start finger food as soon as you and your baby are ready.

  • This was an interesting mini article. Thanks for posting!

    Reply

  • I am totally against exclusive baby lead weaning. It is pc gone mad. Some foods baby can hold and self feed, other foods baby can not. It is that simple. Will you deny your baby soup if baby can not feed themselves thick liquids? A combination is the best recipe.

    Reply

  • Call me old fashioned but I started our 4 kids on purees at 6mths old, moving on to lumps then finger food by about 9 months. Eggs were held off until after 12 months. None of my kids are fussy eaters and are happy and healthy. My sister-in-law rushed starting her bub at 4 months and had to stop, and now has a fussy eater. I really believe in listening to your bub and not worrying about rushing the milestones for the sake of being ahead of the pack.


    • yeah don’t rush this. plenty of time to feed them- over 18 years or so lol

    Reply

  • my son hated purees but very early on would steal food from my plate like steamed carrots or asparagus. Eventually we gave up on the purees and just gave him finger foods. At the time I didn’t know this type of weaning actually had a name. ultimately his early eating has led to a preschooler who will eat almost everything. Thankfully there are no fussy eaters in my house.

    Reply

  • This isn’t substantial enough to suggest that you shouldn’t do baby led weaning.
    We gave foods like pear, avocado and soft cooked pumpkin as first foods. No way would I give meat or egg as a first food. I’ve never heard such a recommendation to give protein foods as a first food, before fruit and vege.
    Using this as an argument not to BLW is really just twisted logic that doesn’t make sense.

    Reply

  • I have found the pressure off, child led weaning really effective with all three of mine and my eldest now towers over me as my youngest is just discovering the fun & stimulation of food & eating. It’s always been very natural but I have also, through info provided by health nurse and GP that bub needs that extra iron beyond 6 months. So long as you’re aware of that then it’s quite a fun time and transition of new discoveries.

    Reply

  • wish i had known and given bubba tofu earlier!

    Reply

  • Thanks for the interesting article.

    Reply

  • yep these are the guidelines that i stuck to while teaching my baby about food

    Reply

  • I absolutely love BLW! It makes my life a lot easier not that I had much choice as my little one pretty much refused to be spoon feed.
    I struggle to come up with a lot of ideas for food, MOM recipe section has been a great help. Will be adding some extra foods which are rich in iron after reading this article.

    Reply

  • everyone has their own opinions and experiences of raising a child and know one can say what is right or wrong really. do what works for you!

    Reply

  • ok that has answered like 5 of my top ten baby questions thankyou

    Reply

  • I had to start mine on solids at age and had to add olive oil to it as well to put on weight.

    Reply

  • I knew my little one was ready when they tried to eat the food off my plate.

    Reply

  • Our oldest was 2 months when started on food as was born 9pd 10 onces.
    And feeding every 1hr nit sleeping much.
    Wouldn’t take to farax but love pureed fruits and veggies just needed 2 tsp a day untill 4 months then increased. Has no real food alergies. And us now 10 but the hight of a 12 ye old 152 cm

    Reply

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