The first bath. The first sleepover at granny. The first giggle. And now, the first taste of solid food. Initially babies only need milk (breast or formula) but as your baby grows the more proteins and minerals as well as thicker textures are needed, which is why the introduction of solid foods is crucial in baby’s development.
Starting solids is an exciting milestone for the family but can also bring about some distress as to when to start.
The World Health Organisation, supported by the South African Department of Health, encourages that babies start solid food from 6 months. This is an optimal time when your baby’s gut and kidneys are physiologically mature enough to handle solid food. Another reason is that your baby is born with only enough iron and certain other mineral stores to last about 6 months, after which your baby will need to start getting iron and other necessary minerals from food.
Your baby will also start to show physical and developmental signs that they are ready to start eating solid food.
- Baby will sit without support and can hold their head steady.
- Baby will watch as you or a family member moves food to your mouth.
- Baby may try to grab your food and put it in its mouth.
- Baby will instinctively open the mouth when a spoon approaches.
- Baby may start to wake up more frequently for night feeds than before, indicating hunger.
If your toddler starts to show these signs, in addition to the age consideration, it may be time to consider introducing solids. During this time it is important to continue to offer your baby milk. It is a good idea for the first solid meal to be offered during the day after a mid-morning nap and milk feed and when your baby is not too tired or too hungry.
Your baby needs to be in top form to learn this new skill and to start its first food journey. It is always a better time to start when your baby is happy, healthy, and well, and not when ill, has a fever or any rashes.
For a convenient way to get your baby to try its first foods, why not try Squish 100% fruit and veg purees, perfect for babies from the first introduction of solids, right through the weaning process – from babies to toddlers and beyond. Squish convenient puree pouches are well-loved amongst mommies and provide delicious tasting convenience, whether at home or on the go. Even better is that Squish purees are preservative free, colourant free and flavourant free with no added starch.
Squish 100% fruit and veg puree and Squish 100% fruit and veg pressed juices flavours give parents a broader range of taste options for even the fussiest of eaters, right from the first introduction of solids through to a full meal, or tasty snack.
For individualised professional advice for premature babies or any health or nutritional concerns, contact a healthcare professional such as a registered dietitian, paediatrician, or paediatric nurse.
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