As your child starts getting ready to wean, you need to start thinking about the kinds of foods you will serve. Keep in mind that while you can purchase foods from the store, you might consider making your own. It allows you have more control over what your child is being fed and also makes sure you know what has gone into the foods you are feeding to your child. Always take small, controlled steps whenever offering food rather than breast milk to your child.
As with breast feeding, it is all about making sure that your baby is comfortable with receiving solid foods. Babies can start receiving solids at 6 months. Allowing your baby to have chunks of apple or other solid foods can create a comfort with the idea of food and the concept of grabbing what they are eating. Allow your baby to experiment with these foods while getting ready to move into feeding.
Mashing, Pureeing or Chunking?
There is a lot of concern over whether it is better to have purees to give to your child or to allow your baby to follow a Baby Led Weaning process. Either method is acceptable. You will need to follow what you feel is right for you and your child.
A good middle ground is to offer your baby cooked foods that are ready to mash up. This way, they can play with the food and have fun with it and you will have fewer concerns about choking or other problems. Soft foods in manageable pieces are a lot easier for your baby to handle as well as to digest and mash up in the mouth.
If you are opting to leave fruits whole, make sure that you are cutting them into smaller sizes for your child. These chunks can easily be picked up and will constitute less of a choking hazard. Using fruits and other cooked foods like rice allows your child to have a variety of flavors to explore with.
For those who are pureeing, try to keep your puree to as think of a consistency as possible. The idea is to create a difference not only in taste, but also in texture from the breast milk. Getting as much texture in the food you are providing as possible allows your child to get used to the feeling in the mouth. Always make sure to only cook the cook for just long enough to get it soft and never use too much water when pureeing or mashing the food.
When to Offer Food
Your child should be offered food just about any time breast milk is not being offered. Allowing a choice makes it possible for your baby to consider what is more desirable. Doing so makes the weaning process much easier because your baby will start discovering the fun of food and will enjoy learning more about the different flavors and textures as you introduce more in your baby’s world.