Baby Led Weaning: Best Foods To Introduce To Your Baby
As a new parent, the juggle between housework, looking after a baby and looking after yourself can be tough. You may often find yourself confused or stuck over what is right for your baby, thanks to all the conflicting advice swirling around the internet. When it comes to feeding and weaning, the best way to check what’s good for your baby is to visit your doctor or health visitor, but some of the most recognised and scientific advice suggests that whole and natural foods are best.
Knowing when to start weaning
Weaning your baby comes with its own set of anxieties and worries, whether it’s knowing what to prepare and when, the hidden risk of allergies and, every parent’s worst nightmare, choking. Most experts recommend that weaning begins between 4 and 6 months, but this is probably the biggest question to pop up in a new parent’s mind.
If your baby is able to sit up straight and hold their head still, has developed coordination of their hands, eyes and mouth and is now looking at and trying to grab and eat foods and is able to swallow food, rather than their tongue pushing it back out, then these are all signs that your baby is ready to begin weaning. When you start weaning, especially baby-led weaning, you might want to get a few of the essentials to make the journey a little easier. Things such as suction bowls and cups, weaning bibs, wooden utensils and a good drinking cup are all must-haves.
Fruit is a great way to start introducing your baby to solid foods. Not only are they packed full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that your baby will need, but they are sweet tasting and easy to grab and chew on.
Apples are one of the best foods to introduce your baby to, along with pears and mangoes. Apples are nutrient-dense and are easy to digest as they contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, meaning they are gentle on baby’s tummy and protect against constipation and diarrhoea.
Bananas are mushy, sweet and easy to digest, making them a perfect first food for weaning babies. Bananas come with the extra bonus that they are easy to prepare - no peeling, chopping, cooking or pureeing in sight.
From mashed sweet potatoes to boiled carrot batons, vegetables are an absolute must when it comes to weaning your baby onto solid foods. Vegetables, like fruits, are packed full of all the good stuff your baby needs whilst they are still growing and developing, but they are also a great way to introduce different tastes and textures. Try to introduce a new, bitter vegetable once a week, such as beetroot, asparagus, kale and courgette, to get them used to different tastes.
Avocados are often referred to as one of nature’s “perfect foods”, as they contain so many of the essentials nutrients that we need. They are packed with all the B vitamins (other than B12), vitamin C and brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids. Around 88% of avocado is made up of healthy fats and are a perfect first food for babies. Simply peel and pit a ripe avocado and mash until smooth or cut into batons.
- Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are often right at the top of the list when it comes to perfect first foods to introduce to your baby. Sweet potatoes have an outstanding list of nutritional values and the sweet taste makes it easy to introduce to baby from the first day. When it comes to cooking sweet potatoes for baby led weaning, you want to make sure that they are soft, but not overcooked. Sweet potatoes tend to fall apart easily when they are overcooked, making it harder for baby to eat.
Now that your baby is eating solid foods, don’t be surprised if they suddenly appear more thirsty. Once your baby begins weaning, you should look to introduce more water into their diet to help with hydration and digestion. Remember, you don’t need to just give your baby water to drink, foods such as cucumber and watermelon are mostly made up of water, so you can also encourage your baby to eat their water too!
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