Time To Introduce Baby To Solid Food? Dr Pixie Tells You How
When the time comes to move your baby from milk to mush and mash (and beyond), it can seem like a very overwhelming transition, especially to first-time mums.
When do you start? What do you feed them? How often? How much? How lumpy? How smooth?
I, for one, found myself googling all of these and then some when it came to moving my little girl on from boob to actual solid food. I mean; not only did I want her to have the best and most nutritious gloop possible, but I also, and maybe more importantly, wanted to make sure I didn't, you know, accidentally kill her by feeding her something that was utterly and completely wrong.
And it turns out I am not alone in my wobbly moments of weaning anxiety. As parents, we have all been there.
Which is what TV's Doctor Pixie McKenna realized when she herself was faced with introducing her baby girl, Darcy, to solid foods a couple of years ago. Turns out, she was as overwhelmed as the rest of us. "I was completely thrown," McKenna explains as we recently sat down for a chat with her about the release of her new book on – guess what – weaning. "I could manage a sick baby confidently and competently, but throw me into something as normal as weaning and I was stumped."
But despite feeling rather clueless at the start of it all, the famous TV mum explains that, despite her initial worries, her daughter fared just fine during weaning, and the experience in end propelled McKenna to write a book about it, eager to show other new mums just how uncomplicated and fun weaning can be.
"Weaning is just another hurdle that you will jump through, just like all the previous ones, in your own way and your own time," she explains. "The most important thing is that when the time comes to engage with this next baby phase, you embrace it. It's a journey excitement, exploration and experience, not just for baby, but also for you. It doesn't have to be rushed or regimented; there are no major rules or rights or wrongs."
We recently sat down with Pixie for a chat about "Dr Pixie's First Foods", and walked away armed with good advice and exciting ideas when it comes to introducing little ones to proper food.
And if your baby is approaching weaning age, here are ten pieces of advice you just don't want to miss:
1. The general advice is that you wait to introduce solid food until your baby reaches the six-months mark, but use your common sense and parental gut feeling. If you think your baby seems ready for food and is hungry at five months, talk to your doctor or health nurse and see what they think.
2. Lead by example. If you want your baby to learn how to appreciate and have a good relationship with food, sit at the table with them when they eat and let them see you enjoy food too.
3. Keep trying, but never force. If your baby consistently (after you have tried the same food with him a few times) spits it out, try something else. You can always come back and try that food again in a couple of weeks; they might think differently of it then. Tomorrow is a new day too.
4. Remember, getting your baby to love and like food is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time and don't loose heart if they are being difficult.
5. Aim to have your baby eating family food (AKA whatever the rest of you are eating) by 12 months. Don't fall into the trap of forever having to make two dinners.
6. This is the order in which you should introduce texture: Mush-mash-mince.
7. Don't get stuck in the puré phase for too long, it is important for you baby's oral development that she are using her mouth to chew.
8. Beware little milk monsters: If your baby drinks a lot of milk throughout the day, he will naturally want less food, as he is already feeling full from all the milk.
9. Don't use stock cubes when you prepare baby food, they contain far too much salt for little people.
10. Skip the sugar: Babies are born with a natural sweet tooth and do not need to be pushed further into this preference for all things sweet. Use fruit to sweeten purées and try to make your baby taste a lot of different savory foods to build up their taste for this. Beware hidden sugars in ready-made meals and juice.
Dr Pixie's First Foods is out now and is the first title in the Dr Pixie McKenna series. The book contains practical, expert advice on the different stages of weaning, and includes over 100 specially written recipes to cater to each stage in your baby's development.