General health advice is to start introducing solids gradually, alongside your baby’s milk feeds, from six months. At this point, the word ‘solid’ is used rather loosely to mean completed mashed up simple foods that your baby will find easy to swallow. Bear in mind that until now, your baby’s only food has been in liquid form, so any lumps will be an unpleasant surprise!
However, once your baby is eating these purees happily, do start to move on to foods with a few lumps (gradually allowing more texture as you go) as you child will need to be eating a more varied diet by the age of one for nutritional reasons. Plus lumpy foods encourage chewing and this can help with vital speech development.
Getting started – useful equipment
As for any General going into battle, your supplies are key. Arm yourself with this little lot before attempting weaning:
- Soft-tipped spoon – One that changes colour when the food is too hot is useful.
- A plastic or melamine bowl – One that won’t break when little hands drop it.
- A highchair – Once your baby is sitting up, a highchair is a good option as it will let him know when it’s feeding time and keep him safe too.
- Bibs – Wipe clean bibs are great for avoiding endless washing.
- A splash mat – Stop your floor or carpet getting covered in food by using a splash mat.
- A blender or mouli for easy pureeing.
- Freezable containers with lids, or ice cube trays to store your purees.
- A clean flannel to wipe grubby faces and hands.
How to make purees
- Peel, chop and then steam or boil the fruit or vegetables, until they are soft enough to blend.
- Using a liquidiser or hand blender, puree it down, adding a bit of the reserved cooking water, or breast or formula milk, if the consistency is too thick.
- Pour the puree into ice cube trays, then freeze.
- Once the cubes have frozen, pop them out of the trays, put them into freezer bags and label them. You will have plenty to choose from and, once your baby has tried each food individually, you can mix different purees together to vary your baby’s diet.
- When defrosting, heat food until it’s piping hot, then allow it to cool down. Check it is the right temperature before serving. Don’t refreeze food after it has been defrosted.
Try new foods day by day
Annabel Karmel has written many books about feeding babies and toddlers as well as creating many inspiring recipes that the whole family can enjoy making and eating together.
Here is her suggested day by day menu when you are first starting on stage one weaning with pureed foods:
- DAY 1: Carrot puree
- DAY 2: Apple and pear puree
- DAY 3: Sweet potato puree
- DAY 4: Mashed banana
- DAY 5: Oven-baked pureed sweet potato
- DAY 6: Mashed avocado and banana
- DAY 7: Pureed trio of root vegetables: carrot, sweet potato and parsnip
“We took new foods very slowly”
“We introduced one food at a time every few days. This way any unusual reactions could be traced back to one food. At first we were just offering a single fruit or vegetable, and nothing too exotic. I wouldn’t have done this usually, but on my husband’s side, there is a family history of allergies”
Bella, 25, mum to Lily, 6 months