Oh how time flies! You're probably thinking about starting solids! The majority of babies are ready for solids by 6 moths, and some babies may be ready earlier, but not before 4 months as their systems can't handle food. For all your feeding questions have a read of the blogs below - and please feel free to ask questions. We're here to help and there are lots of other caregivers out there to share their experiences too!
If your baby is ‘not sleeping well’ or ‘seems hungry’ after breastfeeding or a bottle, you shouldn't necessarily take it to mean she is ready for solids. In fact, those are two common reasons given by mums who have introduced their babies to solid foods too early.
Part of the reason why mums may be moving to solid foods too soon is that they’re misinterpreting the cues about their baby's readiness for solids. For example, parents will often complain around three to four months that their baby is getting hungrier. However, this most likely due to a growth spurt that happens around three months (one that can be managed with an increase in the baby’s liquid diet).
New Zealand Paediatric Dietitian and Director of Kidz Nutrition in Tauranga, Rebecca Bruce (NZRD), says it is important to watch for cues like good head control, but it’s just as important to listen to what your baby’s behaviour tells you.
“Solids should be introduced around six months of age, depending on developmental cues but not before four months.
“Watch for clues like when your baby begins to show an interest in what others are eating, or starts putting his hand or other objects to his mouth.
“Once your baby is ready for solids it is important to get on to iron-rich foods, like meat and iron fortified cereals, fairly soon. Many parents start with fruit and vegetables but bear in mind that your baby’s iron stores from birth will be running out around six months and breastmilk isn’t going to provide enough alone.”
Forget about ‘Big Brother’ if you’re the mum or the dad of a toddler. What you can be sure of is that it’s your ‘toddler’ that’s watching your every move and, not only does he or she miss very little, they may take many of their food cues and preferences from what they observe.
Meal times are the one time when, as a parent, you may feel the most helpless because you can take a toddler to the food, but you know that getting him to eat is a whole different ball game, particularly if it seems that he is a fussy eater.
New Zealand registered dietitian, director of Nutrition Connection and expert in infant, child and adult nutrition, Anna Sloan, says that cultivating an awareness of your behaviour and your toddler’s behaviour can make healthy eating an enjoyable activity for the whole family.