If your baby is between four and six months, you may be thinking of weaning her onto solid food. If you’re unsure whether your baby is ready, there are a few signs to look out for which will make it a little easier to decide.
It’s beautiful outside (most days), the temperature is up and our British summer is well and truly underway! Which means it’s a great time consider weaning baby with fresh, locally sourced summer fruits and vegetables readily available in the supermarkets. Or if you’re a keen gardener, from your very own back garden! Weaning baby during the summer months also means light, fresh meals will go down really well.
So you’ve mastered the basics and your baby is now accustomed to straightforward fruit and vegetable purees. Now this is where the fun begins! Adding different flavours into your little one’s meals and waiting in anticipation to see the look of pleasure on her face. With my little one, the pleasure on her face wasn’t so much about a smile, it was in her eyes; they would light up when she was enjoying her meal and she’d lean forward with mouth wide open for more. Equally she would spit out the food if she didn’t like it! The brutal honesty of children – you’ve got to love it!
When I decided to introduce spices into my little one’s diet I did wonder about the best method to use when doing this. If I was to include two or three spices in one of her meals, how would I know (if she reacted to any of them) which one she was allergic to?
Thankfully this wasn’t an issue as my little one isn’t allergic to anything (that I am aware of), but at the time there was no way of knowing this.
So, better to be safe than sorry I say! I chose to follow the ‘four day rule’ as I did when I first introduced solid food into my little one’s diet. And I would ALWAYS recommend that you do the same. For example, introduce a spice cooked within food and serve to your little one. Then wait four days before introducing another one.
If your little one is happily slurping up her purees and has clearly mastered basic tastes and flavours – fruit and vegetable purees, then it’s time to move on. Again, do this swiftly as you want your little one to experience new tastes and flavours to broaden her palate.
Introduce solids to your baby from 6 months of age (the recommended age), then your baby should be ready for aromatic spices from 7-8 months of age (if you allow a month to master basic purees and tastes). By this age your baby’s palate will be accustomed to basic tastes – fruit and vegetables and his/ her digestive system will be further developed.
It’s a good idea to move on from purees fairly swiftly once your little one is accustomed to the texture. As the longer you offer purees to your baby, the more difficult it can be to introduce soft lumps at the next stage of the weaning process (stage 2); you don’t want a lazy eater.
Soft lumps are also vital to help babies master the chewing motion. Chewing, a hugely important motor skill for babies gives the jaw, lips and tongue muscles a regular work out. Working the jaw and these muscles is crucial as these are the same muscles required to help baby develop speech later in childhood.
It really isn’t an issue of your little one has no teeth, so don’t let that hold you back from introducing soft lumps. Your little one’s gums will be hard and she’ll be able to mash soft lumps easily enough.