Introducing solids – overview of different approaches and strategies
When it comes to introducing solids to your little one, there are three common approaches to choose from. Let’s discuss what they are so that you can choose the best approach for your baby…..
- Spoon feeding: Spoon feeding is the traditional approach to introducing solids. It’s also known as ‘complementary feeding’ and is the most common option for weaning a baby onto solids.
Cons: It can be more difficult to judge the correct portion size for your baby so you have a greater risk of under or over-feeding your baby.
Pros: Starting with pureed foods is safer as your baby will have less risk of choking and you will be able to more easily track the cause of any adverse reactions.
- Baby Led Weaning: Baby Led Weaning is growing in popularity. Baby Led Weaning is the approach of providing your baby with an array of nutritious foods and allowing your baby to choose which foods they want to eat instead of feeding them with a spoon.
Cons: In the early days, it is very messy as your baby will end up with more food on the floor than in their mouth. There can also be an increased risk of choking, so you need to be vigilant about providing appropriate foods and monitoring your baby’s abilities.
Pros: This allows your baby more autonomy over what they will eat and how much they will eat. It also provides them with essential self-feeding skills such as strengthening their gums and jaws, and taking their food to their mouth.
- Combo feeding: Also known as ‘mixed feeding’, as the names suggest, it’s a combination of spoon feeding and Baby Led Weaning.
Cons: This approach provides double the work for you! You have to have both purees prepared as well as a range of appropriate Baby Led Weaning foods.
Pros: Your baby will be exposed to a wide variety of different tastes and flavours.
How to wean your baby is a personal decision. But, whether you choose spoon feeding, baby led weaning or combo feeding, it is important that you:
- Continue to provide breastmilk or formula to your baby until at least 12 months of age
- Ensure that first foods are rich in iron (such as iron-fortified porridge, pureed lentils or minced meat if spoon-feeding, or wholemeal bread, broccoli or pasta if baby led weaning)
- Avoid high risk foods such as honey, fruit juice and raw nuts until your baby is at least one year of age
- Always practice good hygiene
- Never leave your baby alone while they are eating in case of choking or an adverse reaction
- Have regular follow up with your healthcare team to track your baby’s progress.
If you’re still confused about introducing solids to your baby, book a consultation with a paediatric dietitian.