One of the most important things you can give your baby is a balanced, healthy diet. For the first few months, baby feeding is pretty straightforward because your little darling drinks her food, rather than eats it. But around 4 to 6 months of age, the next significant step in baby feeding takes place: eating solids. For first-time parents, this can be a big deal, as you probably don’t have a clue about what to feed your little one. Also, you may be worried about hygiene and all those food allergies that seem to be about these days.
At Huggies, baby care is our speciality, which is why we’ve put together a whole range of information, baby food recipes and tips from real mums to get you started.
Preparing food for bub can be an enjoyable task once you’ve gotten the hang of it and you’ll get a real kick out of watching your baby experience their first mouthfuls of squished banana or stewed apple. Make sure you have the camera ready to capture the funny looks on his or her face – the expressions could range from astonishment to disgust to indignant to sheer delight!
As a general guideline, make sure they’re getting a variety of nutrient-rich, unprocessed foods such as fruit, vegetables and red and white meat. If your baby is vegetarian ensure that you check with your doctor that they’re getting enough nutrients. For more information, visit our page on baby nutrition.
If you’re wondering when to start your baby on solids, it’s usually between the ages of 4 to 6 months. At around 6 months, breast milk or formula can no longer provide all the nutrients that bub needs. Avoid waiting much longer than this to ensure that your baby is getting everything that they need.
You may even notice that your baby is starting to take more of an interest in what you’re eating and attempting to put different foods in their mouth. This is also a good sign that they are ready to start eating grown up food!
When starting on solid foods make sure that it’s blended into a fine puree. Introduce a number of foods, one at a time, and then rotate them throughout the week to create more variety and balance in bub’s diet. It is recommended to introduce new foods every 3-5 days so that any allergic reaction can be pinpointed to a specific food. Because eating is a new experience, baby’s first solids need to be smooth and moist so they’re easy to swallow, yet interesting and tasty so they are eager for more. Visit our food suggestions for babies starting on solids and early nutrition pages for more information.
Food allergies are becoming more and more common all over the world and it’s important that you get bub to a doctor if you suspect that they may be allergic to something you’re feeding them. Some of the most common allergies and intolerances include:
Always keep an eye on whether your baby experiences any abnormal reactions to these foods when you’re first introducing them. Allergic reactions usually occur soon after eating the allergen. If the child experiences a severe reaction (trouble breathing/wheezing, severe vomiting) urgent medical attention is required.
Using a variety of herbs in your healthy family meals is a wonderful way of nourishing the body and soul. Babies can be given herbs via mum’s breastmilk, and there are dozens of other methods of applying herbs including ointments, creams, compresses, poultices, liniments and oils. Find out what herbs are suitable for you and baby.
As you’re breastfeeding and gradually weaning bub, don’t forget about your own nutrition! Continue eating plenty of fruits, veggies, red and white meat, seafood, nuts and seeds to keep your energy and nutrition levels up. For more information visit our page on breastfeeding nutrition.