Annabel Karmel, the UK’s number one parenting author and the expert behind a delicious new organic baby purée range, shares her top tips on introducing your baby to solid food.
Ready, set, wean…
The Department of Health recommends that babies should not begin weaning until they are six months old. However, all babies are different, and you may feel your baby is showing signs they are ready for weaning slightly earlier.
If you think that’s the case, speak with a healthcare professional who will be able to advise. However, please note that it’s important not to start your baby on solid foods before 17 weeks as their digestive system has not fully matured.
Introducing first foods
To begin with, the food should be simple, easy to digest, and unlikely to provoke an allergic reaction.
Start with a single ingredient, ideally a fruit or veg. Try root vegetables like carrots, sweet potato and butternut squash; they have a naturally sweet flavour. Mix them with a little breast milk or follow-on formula.
It’s difficult to predict how much a baby will eat, since their appetites and needs will all be different. As a rough guide, your baby will only take one or two teaspoons of purée. Increase the quantity as your baby develops. Babies have a strong sense of appetite, eating when they’re hungry and stopping when they’re not – use this as a gauge.
First vegetables: carrot, parsnip, butternut squash, sweet potato
First fruits: apple, pear, banana, papaya, avocado, peach
Introducing new flavours
Once you’ve mastered the art of weaning and your baby has accepted their first tastes, now is the time to get a little more adventurous.
Babies grow more rapidly in their first year than at any other time in their life. Beyond six months they need nutrient-dense foods that provide a good source of iron to boost their diet.
Here are the most important ingredients and how you can use them…
Chicken: Full of protein and so versatile. Combine with vegetables or fruit.
Red meat: Iron is important for your baby’s brain development.
Oily Fish: Helps the development of your baby’s brain, nervous system and vision.
Fruit: Vitamin C boosts iron absorption, so it’s important to include citrus or berry fruits in your baby’s diet. Start with small quantities and combine with other fruits like apple or pear.
Vegetables: Introduce new flavours like peas, broccoli and spinach with my easy organic sauces. Simply add salmon or chicken for the perfect home-cooked meal.
In the kitchen
Now you know the ingredients, how to cook them? Try these recipes; they’re all highchair hits…
Have fun trying out new flavours with your little one!