Introducing Your Baby To Solids
Some people say that when you wean your baby, life gets infinitely easier. Those people clearly have the amnesia of constantly checking your baby for allergies when they eat a new thing, reading up on what gives them the best nutrition and then the devil that is constipation. Easier? Nope. It was easier when my boob was the end all and be all of all nutritional needs. I weaned the tot pretty early because the old, wise women and shaggz told me she was ready (constant hunger) and my milk had pretty much become non existent. I was only feeding for comfort. So we started her off and she has never looked back. It’s still a lot of trial and error but I’ve learned a couple of things I can share with you.
It will be mess
Trust. Hard to believe that there was a time you didn’t know how to eat right? Babies have no idea how to do this and a lot of time is spent trying to get food into their mouths. 3/4 of it on the first couple of tries will land on their clothes/bib. We used to use cloth bibs until I realised we were going through detergent at an alarming rate. Be smart – get yourself one of those silicone roll up bibs that just need to be wiped down. I got the Avent ones which are about 1200 Kes (Carrefour, Babyshop). They will save you a ton of time and make life easier for everyone. Best thing about it, it catches all the dropped food in it’s little pouch.
Watch your baby, not the calendar
This could be advice for pretty much everything when it comes to your baby and it applies here as well. The standard recommendation for starting solids is 6 months but I started at 5. This is because milk wasn’t enough for baby anymore and she was constantly hungry. Once we started feeding, she was a lot happier. No one knows your baby more than you (or your nanny) and you can decide when you think the right time is just by listening to the signals your baby is sending you.
The 3 day rule is legit
You have no real way of knowing what your baby will respond to and what will make her turn her nose up at you. Worse, you have no way of knowing what her digestive tract will say yes to. My baby instantly loved butternut, mangoes and bananas (both ripe and cooked). But with everything, we tried the same thing for 3 days and watched how she responded. Luckily for us, no breakouts. Unluckily for us, some food items like beetroot gave her crazy constipation. You feed, you learn.
Poop is about to become your best friend
When you’re BF, your baby’s bowels are pretty predictable. Mine used to poop after every feed. Once we started formula, it became a little less predictable. When we threw food into the mix, everything was up in the air. My first question to the nanny after ‘Hello’ is usually ‘Has she pooped today?’. You become obsessed with your baby’s poop schedule because food is so new to them. A few tips from my mum and friends that helped me out when the little one was backed up was warm water and brown sugar always helps. Failing that, get some glycerin suppositories from the pharmacy. However, I always advocate for all natural means. Check what you last introduced to her diet, eliminate it and add lots of greens (terere, pumpkin leaves, managu, spinach) and butternut or pumpkins and pears to help push it along. (Good advice for adults too!)
Variety is key
It’s a little daunting trying to figure out what your baby should be eating. A simple rule for fruits is do one type of fruit every day and gradually start doing smoothies. With food, just have a protein (legumes if you’re not at the meat stage), a starch/carb and a veggie. Here is what we use for my tot and you are welcome to use and adjust where necessary. Note though that this is for 6+ months.
I obviously want all your weaning tales so share with me below! The ups, the downs and the lessons learned!