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Gina's Top Tips - Preparing to introduce solids and the first stage of weaning

Before you start introducing solids into your baby's diet, there are certain preparations and practices that you need to make second nature.
  • When preparing food, ensure all surfaces are clean and wiped with anti-bacterial cleaner. Kitchen paper is more hygienic than cloths and towels.
  • All fresh fruit and vegetables should be carefully peeled, and any core, pips and blemishes removed. They should be rinsed thoroughly with filtered water.
  • All fruits and vegetables should be cooked by steaming or boiling in filtered water. Do not add salt, sugar or honey.
  • Cook food until it is soft enough to be pureed to a very smooth consistency - similar to that of smooth yoghurt. A small amount of the cooking water may be needed.
  • If using a food processor, check the mixture carefully for lumps by spooning or pouring it into another bowl. When lump-free, transfer to ice-cube trays or small containers for storage in the freezer.
  • Freshly prepared food should be cooled and put in the fridge or freezer as soon as possible.
  • Buy organic produce whenever possible, and avoid packet foods containing artificial flavourings, added sugars or fillers, such as maltodextrin.
  • Food should be heated thoroughly to ensure that bacteria are killed.
  • Make sure the food is cool enough before feeding it to your baby. Using a separate spoon, touch a small amount to your lips to check it is not too hot.
  • Never feed straight from a jar - always transfer the contents to a dish. Leftovers should always be discarded.
  • Arrange all the feed equipment in advance: baby chair, two bibs, two spoons and a clean, fresh, damp cloth,
  • Use a shallow plastic spoon, never a metal one.
  • Some babies need help learning how to feed from a spoon. Place the spoon just inside your baby's mouth and bring it up and out against the roof of his mouth so that his upper gums remove the food, encouraging him to feed.
  • Always be positive and smile when offering new foods. If your baby spits something out, it may not mean that he dislikes it - simply that he is unfamiliar with it. If he positively refuses a food, leave it and try again in a week's time.
  • Be guided by your baby as to when to increase amounts. Offer him the whole meal - he will turn his head away and get fussy when he has had enough. Increase the amounts once he is happy to eat anything you offer him and appears to want more.
  • Encourage him to sit in his chair and entertain himself while you clear up. Any cloths and bibs should be put straight in to soak.

First stage of weaning

Suggested foods to introduce

The following foods are all excellent first tastes of solids: baby rice, pear, apple, carrot, sweet potato, potato, green beans, courgettes and swede. Once your baby is happily taking these foods you can introduce the following: oats, parsnips, mango, peaches, broccoli, avocado, barley, peas, cauliflower.

  • During this stage, babies should taste cereal, plus a variety of fruit and vegetables.
  • A baby may be ready to start having breakfast, once he shows signs of hunger long before his 11am feed. Organic oatmeal cereal with a small amount of pureed fruit seems to be a favourite with most babies
  • You should still give your baby most of his milk feed first
  • Your baby still needs a minimum of 600ml (20oz) of milk a day. Give milk feeds at breakfast, lunch, afternoon and evening supplementing them with vegetable puree at lunch, and baby rice and fruit puree in the evening.
(from Gina Ford's Top Tips for Contented Babies and Toddlers)
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