Phoebe Talks Weaning
Food sequence, the order of introducing solids
Episode 3 of "Phoebe talks weaning" podcast. They love it or they hate it, you may discover it has nothing to do with taste. There is so much more for a small child.
When your baby joins the table at their six month ‘birthday’ they might tuck right in or refuse their first tastes of solids all together. This episode is looking at portion sizes, mealtime routines and snacks from 6 months to 1 year.
Last time you learnt about the two different routes of weaning, baby led and traditional.
What was the first food you gave your baby?
It’s the question I get asked most, when it comes to food conversations.
The answer; pureed sweet potato for my first daughter, a steamed carrot for my second and third. Did they like it? Yes - well, they ate it, although their faces might have told a different story ;)
Remember that this is the very first time your baby tries something other than his usual milk. Don’t expect your baby to jump with joy for his first carrot, he’s more likely going to look at it with an inquisitive or sceptical face. He might decide to simply touch it, lick it or throw it on the floor if you are going down the BLW route. Or, if you’ve got a natural foody sitting at your table, he might open his mouth for another spoonful of that delicious puree!
Let’s get back to the question, what foods are a good starter for a baby's weaning journey.
Babies have a tendency to prefer sweet tastes because breast milk, as well as formula, is naturally sweet. This is why it’s best to start with vegetables, they are less sweet in taste and therefore can be more difficult to introduce to a baby after starting them off on a diet of mango, banana and strawberries. Apart from the foods that can potentially pose a serious risk to your baby - see list below - you can feed your baby everything you eat, either as puree or in finger food. I’d personally go with single tastes first in the early days, before blending different vegetables or fruit together.
Stick to the healthy stuff :)
Life is sweet enough without added sugar. Also keep an eye on salt, I’ve completely re-trained my palate since weaning my first daughter, by cooking salt-free and adding a pinch to my plate if I really feel the need. Many yogourts and cereals aimed at small children contain sugar, always make sure you read the label!
I personally think it’s a big thing to move from breastmilk to solids, so I only introduced one new food per day for about 3 weeks. I’ve put down a little food sequence guide based on my weaning journeys.
Weaning from 6 months of age
- Week 1 & 2 vegetables. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips and beetroot are great as they are naturally sweet in taste but not as sweet as fruit. Broccoli, cauliflower and courgette also make good first tastes. All these can be boiled or steamed.
- Week 3 & 4 introduce the first fruits.
- Week 3 onwards, porridge made with baby’s usual milk (breast or formula) or water, and bread - I used sourdough, it’s much easier to eat than soft toast, which tends to stick to the roof of the mouth. Hard crust of a sourdough bread is also great as first finger food and for relieving sore gums from teething.
- Week 5 onwards, egg, pancake, pasta
- Week 6 cheese, pulses
- Week 7 hummus, yogourt on pre-loaded spoon, omelette, muffin, rice, couscous.
- Week 8 roast chicken, whole peeled apple (got two bottom teeth), pizza, peanut butter
- Week 9 fish, minced meat
- Week 10 chicken nuggets (home made)
- Week 11 bavette/steak
- By 9 months they had become quite confident eaters.
Good to know
- If you puree the food you can add baby’s usual milk to help them accept new tastes.
- If you follow BLW, offer food in a safe size, your index finger is a good guide.
- Continue to breastfeed on demand or in your usual routine, as the baby gradually starts to eat more he will adjust his milk intake. If you formula feed, your baby should consume around 500ml per day, and only move to cow’s milk after your baby’s first birthday.
- Offer water from 6 months of age in a free flowing sippy cup.
- Food is mainly for exploration in those first months until the baby reaches one year of age. They still get everything they need from their usual milk.
Foods to avoid
- Honey - not safe for children under one year of age. In rare cases it can cause infant Botulism. See NHS page for more info in show notes above.
- Whole nuts - they are a severe choking hazard. Peanut butter is safe, unless there are nut allergies running in the family. I would recommend to start with smooth peanut butter before moving onto crunchy, you’ll know best when the time is right.
- Popcorn - it’s also a severe choking hazard.
- Grapes, baby tomatoes and other small fruit should be cut in half or squashed between your fingers.
- Mouldy cheese and unpasteurised cheese (unpasteurised hard cheese like parmesan is safe) - they carry a higher risk to cause listeria infections
- Raw egg - there’s a new advice from the NHS on raw eggs, I personally only offered hard boiled eggs till my children were 12 months of age, but it is now considered safe (find link in show notes)
- Milk as a main drink if the baby is under one year of age - it is fine to use milk in the preparation of food (porridge etc.)
Next time, I’ll be talking about how much and how often to feed your baby.
*Disclaimer: Please be advised that any information is given as general guidance only. Should you have any concerns over the wellbeing of your child such as intolerances, allergies and weight, or your baby was born prematurely or you are unsure if your baby is ready for solids, it is always best to consult with your Health Visitor or GP.*