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- In this video,
I'm going to teach you everything you need to know
about starting solids with your baby
including how to know when your baby is ready,
the different approaches to starting solids,
as well as what you need
and of course, how to actually do it.
Now, starting solids before four months of age
is not recommended.
And that's because breast milk is the best food
for your baby and can supply
all of your baby's nutritional needs.
If your baby is not receiving breast milk
or isn't interested in breast milk,
then infant formula is the only other suitable option
for babies under 12 months of age.
Also, when a baby is under four months of age,
their swallowing is unlikely to be coordinated enough
to manage semi-solid food.
And their digestive system may not be mature enough
to cope with the solid food.
Studies have also found that there is an increased risk
of allergies when solids are started
before four months of age.
The American Academy of Pediatrics
and the World Health Organization
recommend waiting until your baby
is around six months of age and showing signs
of readiness before introducing solids.
The signs that your baby is ready to start solids include
your baby can sit with support.
They are able to hold their head upright
and steady for a duration of a meal,
so they have enough head control.
And they're also aware of their hands and fingers
so that they can actually participate in feeding
which is something they can generally do
at around six months of age.
However, at this age, their accuracy is going to be poor
and they're still going to find it really hard to drop an item.
So self-feeding at around six months of age
is going to be messy and slightly difficult.
Another key sign for readiness
is that your baby is interested in food.
So your baby will be watching intently when you eat food.
So they may watch the food go from the plate to your mouth.
They may start to reach for that food
and they're opening their mouth
when food actually approaches them.
And the last readiness sign, which is helpful,
it's not a must have,
is that your baby has a reduced tongue thrust reflex.
So the tongue itself does not push the food out anymore
as soon as it enters the mouth.
And this ensures
that the food can actually stay in the mouth
and move back to be swallowed.
So when your baby is doing all of these things
that's an indicator that they have
the foundational skills needed to safely explore solid food.
Once you know that they are ready,
you're probably going to start to wonder
about which method you should use.
Now, there are three general approaches to feeding,
there's the baby led-weaning approach where the infant
is offered thick finger size pieces of food,
which are soft and easily squished.
And the baby independently places that food
in their mouth from day one.
And so basically in this approach,
you bypass purees and mashed-up food.
Then you've got the spoon feeding approach.
So this is the more traditional approach to feeding babies
where the parent is in total control.
So the parent actually holds a spoon
and brings it to the baby's mouth.
And the food served initially are typically puree
or mashed food.
And then you have the combo feeding approach.
That's a mix of spoon feeding
and self feeding with finger foods.
Now, there is a lot of debate
between people who advocate for the different approaches,
but all of these approaches are perfectly acceptable.
So I think the important thing is
that you actually choose the approach
that you are most comfortable with.
When you get started,
the first thing you need is somewhere for your baby to sit.
Now for some parents,
they may actually sit their baby on their lap,
but this is actually not my preferred option
because when you first start solids with your baby
it is really important for them
to actually see you eating food.
You need to model that food is safe
and how to actually eat it.
And you also need to watch your baby for cues of fullness
as well as safety when they're eating.
And you simply cannot do this
when they're sitting in your lap.
Instead, I highly recommend using a high chair.
Now I have lots of videos on my channel on high chairs.
So if you want more information
on the best high chair to buy
and how to set up high chairs,
then make sure you check out those videos after this.
In addition to a proper high chair,
you'll also want to purchase an open cup.
So it's really important that you get a small open cup
that won't break or shatter
because your baby will accidentally drop it all the time.
You'll also want to get some bowls and plates.
Now, if you are going to do that self-feeding approach,
then bowls or plates that have a rim actually work best.
And it's often helpful to get bowls
or plates that will actually suck to the table
because that will limit the ability
for your baby to accidentally throw the plate
or the bowl off that tray or that table.
And if you're going to use that spoon feeding approach
or that combination approach, when you are using a spoon,
make sure it's a small spoon with smooth edges
and the bowl itself is shallow and made from a silicone
because this will ensure that when your baby
does bite down on the spoon, it doesn't hurt them.
And the shallow bowl will ensure
that when they actually close their lip to clear the food
off the spoon, they can actually clear it.
Whereas if it's a deep bowl, it is really hard
to initially clear that food off the spoon.
Now, something which is often a big issue
for parents when they're starting solids is mess.
So here are a few tips to actually minimize that mess.
Firstly, you might want to purchase a splash mat
that can go underneath that high chair
or the chair that you're using,
just to ensure that it's easier for you to clean up.
You might also want to invest in some bibs or smocks.
I like the smocks
because they go over the top of the baby's clothes
and keep them clean.
Now, if you do decide to use a bib,
you want to make sure that you get bibs
that have a Velcro tab at the back
because this will ensure that you just undo that Velcro
to remove that bib from your baby
once they're finished eating.
And this will ensure
that they don't get accidentally covered with food
which will happen if you get a bib
where the bib is joined at the back and to get it off,
you actually have to pull it over their face.
And this will result in the food going over your baby's face
and they'll experience that wet feeling
and that can become distressing and put them off meal times.
And another thing you're gonna want to buy is lots
and lots of washcloths.
Now, when you are using these washcloths,
please make sure that you do not
constantly wipe your baby's face
with the washcloth during the meal.
Only use these to clean your baby, following a meal.
And when you are doing it
make sure you do it with a firm stroke.
And this will ensure that your baby doesn't get turned off
by that constant cloth going across their mouth
which can be just plain irritating.
Also, you want to avoid falling to the trap
where you're constantly scraping your baby's chin
to clear the excess food
because this is also irritating,
can turn them off having solids.
Now, if you want to know exactly which products I recommend
for meal times, make sure you get
my free meal times essential list
by clicking the link in the description box below.
So your baby is ready
and you have the high chair in everything you need,
it's time to start introducing solids.
So initially you want to offer your baby
solid food once a day.
And that solid food should initially be offered
after a milk feed or at a separate time.
You don't want to do it at the same time.
It isn't until nine months of age
that you actually change that around
and you offer the food before the breast or formula feed.
Now, when you're choosing a time of day
to introduce your baby that solid food,
you want to make sure that you choose a time of day
when your baby is quiet and relaxed.
So typically the afternoons are a bit hectic for everyone.
Babies are a bit more whingy,
so maybe in the morning or midday is best.
And you may like to choose a time
when you actually have someone with you
because it can be a little bit stressful at times.
And a really important point is
that you want to minimize distractions.
So that means you need to turn off TV and devices,
so your baby can focus on the mealtime
and you can focus on that mealtime.
And initially you'll just start with one teaspoon
of food or just a piece of food.
And you'll gradually increase the amount of food
you're giving your baby according to their appetite.
Now, this is often very concerning for parents
because they often worry that the baby isn't eating enough,
but babies are very responsive to their own needs
and feelings of hunger, and fullness.
When your baby shows you those early signs
that they're full by just turning away from the food
or showing you that they're no longer interested
in the food, then it's important
that you stop giving them the food.
You do not want to force-feed them.
As a parent, remember, it's just your role to choose
where to eat the food, what food to give them
and at what time,
but it's your baby's responsibility
to choose how much of that food will eat
or if they'll eat it at all.
It's also really important to remember
that learning to eat is actually a process
and it can take your baby sometime to get the hang of it.
And your baby's appetite will vary
from meal to meal and day to day.
Remember their stomach is only the size
of their clenched fist.
So they don't actually need a lot of food.
As long as your baby is developing and growing well,
then it is highly likely that they are eating enough.
But if you want to make sure
that your baby absolutely loves food
and doesn't become a fussy eater,
then the next thing you want to do is check out this video
where I cover seven must-know tips
which will help to make sure
that your baby absolutely loves food.
Thanks for watching.
And I'll see you next week
where I'll share more parenting tips and tricks.