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Babies 0-12 Months | Weaning

Introduction To Solids: 4 – 6 Months

When you have a baby you will receive input and advice from a lot of different sources – some useful and some not so useful or even not to be trusted. Starting solids can be a scary thought as there are so many different feeding theories and they all claim to be the only right one to follow. Just choose a feeding routine that you believe in, and stick to it. You can also visit a baby clinic that will give you step-by-step advice on introducing solids as well as a good routine to go with it.

solids-intro

When do I introduce my baby to solids?
Introduce your baby to solids when she shows signs of readiness, usually between the age of four and six months, by showing an interest in your food, demanding to be fed more often (not to be confused with the 3-4 months growth spurt), waking up more frequently at night and losing weight. When introducing your baby to solids, she should have good head control and be able to sit up with support, as well as be able to push up on her arms when lying on her tummy. Don’t start too early, as your baby’s digestive system needs to be completely ready for solids. And when in doubt, check with your pediatrician or clinic sister first.

Homemade baby food or Purity?
Homemade is definitely the way to go. It does involve more work, but you simply can’t compare this to readymade baby food – especially if it’s made with lots of love! A bottle of Purity might save your life at times, but it honestly doesn’t look very appetising. That being said, there is definitely a place for Purity and its organic sista Olli (also in the same price range). There will be times when you run out of homemade food or are planning a weekend away and don’t feel like schlepping around with frozen containers. The good news is that homemade baby food really doesn’t take that long. Steam and freeze your baby’s food once a week – using veggies, protein and fruit. It’s so worth it! Try to always have a stash of fruit puree in the freezer, as sometimes the avo, pear or paw-paw is just a day or two from being ripe and if you don’t have any Olli close by you’re in big trouble.

Month-to-month food guide for 4 to 6 month-old babies

4 Months – Cereal
Start by giving your baby one heaped teaspoon of stage 1 cereal for breakfast, and again for supper at around 5pm. Mix cereal with breast or formula milk, and give your baby whatever is left of the milk afterwards (bottle/breastfeed). Increase the quantity by a teaspoon every three days, but pause if baby doesn’t finish what you’re giving her. We suggest you only introduce one food at a time, as this makes it easier to notice any adverse reactions to the food – i.e. allergies/intolerances. Once your baby is having around eight heaped teaspoons of cereal per meal, this can replace the breast/bottle feed completely.

5 Months – Vegetables
Replace the lunch time bottle/breast feed with veggies. Start off with three tablespoons of butternut and add a different vegetable to the puree every week. If your baby is finishing the meal and looks like she wants more, increase it by a tablespoon. If not, keep it as is. Work your way up to the same amount as the cereal. Try and stick to basic veggies such as carrots, beans, baby marrows and sweet potato. You can freeze the veggies in ice cube trays; one block equals one tablespoon. Don’t force feed your baby, know that she will guide you as to how much is needed. Boil or steam the veggies and use the water it has been cooked or steamed in to make a puree. Freeze in ice cube trays or little plastic containers. Don’t add any salt, butter or sugar to the food, and don’t re-use the leftovers.

6 Months – Protein and Fruit

Protein
Use the same veggie base that you ended with the previous month (a combination of four to five veggies) and add a different protein to the veggies every week. Choose from chicken, lamb, beef or a chicken-and-chicken liver mix. You can add lentils and beans from eight months. Use half a cup of any of these proteins per week, and don’t increase. Cook the protein separately, as this prevents it from being stringy. Add a bit of stock to the water to zhoosh it up (Ina Paarman stock if possible, as it doesn’t contain any preservatives, msg etc). Add the protein and left-over water to the veggies and puree.

Fruit
Replace your mid morning breast/bottle feed with fruit puree. Start with basic fruits such as apples, pears, paw-paw, avo and banana (don’t use too often as banana can make your baby constipated). Experiment by mixing a few fruits together into an exciting fruit salad puree. Stay away from strawberries, citrus and kiwi fruit for now. Start with four to six tablespoons, and add more if baby shows signs of still being hungry. Keep in mind that this is just a snack, not a whole meal. If baby struggles with the new sweet/sour taste you can add a bit of breast/formula to the fruit puree, then slowly return back to fruit once baby is used to the taste.


Tips

  • Gradually change to stage 2 cereal and 6-month formula. Baby may be constipated for a while after changing over; give her diluted prune juice or a brown sugar water mix (1 teaspoon of dark brown sugar in 50 ml of cooled boiled water) three times a day until there is a soft poo.
  • Use Olli or Purity fruits over the weekend, or mix it with your fresh fruit. Fresh is always best!
  • If baby is ravenous, start by giving¬† her a bit of milk first. Then continue the feeding process with a plastic coated spoon.
  • Introduce weak Rooibos tea and a Purity teething biscuit or a Boudoir biscuit. Baby can have watered down Purity juice now and then, but don’t get her used to sweet drinks only.
  • If your baby is struggling with teething problems, you can experiment with a piece of bland beef biltong - although this might only make them more frustrated!

Every baby is different, which is why your feeding routine should be flexible. Don’t try to feed a fussy, sick baby even if the book says she should have veggies at this very moment. Replace it with breast/bottle as per usual, and just bounce back to your normal routine once your baby feels better.

It’s so exciting to introduce new tastes and then watch your baby’s reaction. She will either pull a face in disgust, or open wide with delight. What you can definitely count on is a big mess and a lot of cleaning up, but don’t get too uptight about this as it’s good to let them explore. Feeding time should be a happy time, so don’t stress if your baby doesn’t want to eat too much or ends up playing with the food. It takes time to get used to the grown-up way of doing things. Happy feeding!

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