What to feed babySo baby led weaning sounds like a great idea – but what do you feed him? Depending on your baby’s age he can eat almost anything older children can. (Remember, baby led weaning should start at six months or older.) If you’re breast feeding, baby is introduced to the flavours of your favourite foods through your milk, so that will make things easier. In general you should start with soft, easily gummable foods. Cut them into batons the right size for little hands to hold, lay out a selection on his high chair and let him figure it out. He’ll probably see them more as toys than actual nourishment, but if you let him eat with the family he’ll soon learn to copy what the big people are doing. It’s a good idea to let him have his milk first so he’s not that hungry. Feeding himself will be difficult at first, and hunger will just make him frustrated and upset. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Soft fruits like banana, avocado and melon
- Steamed hard fruit such as apples, pears and mangoes
- Steamed vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower and broccoli
- Boiled egg yolks
- Chunks of soft pasteurised cheeses
- Roasted sweet potato or pumpkin
- Steamed asparagus
- Pieces of cooked liver (lots of iron)
- Soft cooked pieces of whatever you’re having for dinner (minus the salt)
Baby led weaning foods to avoidBaby’s digestive and immune systems are still developing, so wait until he’s older to introduce more difficult foods.
- Foods that might lead to choking, such as grapes, cherry and grape tomatoes, nuts, and whole sausages
- Foods cooked with salt or sugar
- Unhealthy and processed foods like lollies, chips, popcorn and soft drinks
- Honey (wait until baby is 12 months)
- Foods that have a stimulating effect, like chocolate
Potential allergensAdvice has changed on when to introduce potential allergens. Studies show that it's best to introduce foods that cause common allergies earlier, rather than later. The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy recommends introducing foods like egg, peanuts, shellfish, soy, sesame, wheat and dairy before your child's first birthday. Give it to your child in an age appropriate form, like smooth peanut butter on toast, or well cooked egg pieces. To maintain tolerance to these foods, give them to your baby twice a week. It's important to note that if your baby does have a reaction to any food, stop giving it and seek medical advice.
Helpful accessoriesBaby led weaning is a messy process, but there are some tools that can make things easier for you.
- The Boon Pulp Silicone Teething Feeder is easy to clean, durable and BPA, phthalate, and PVC free.
- b.Box Bibs come in a variety of colours and styles and can be wiped clear or hand washed. You can also try these adorable silicone bibs from Weanmeister.
- Baby will enjoy imitating the grownups with a b.box Silicone Spoon or Boon Modware Toddler Utensils– food grade silicone and just the right size for little hands.
- You’ll need a good stock of unbreakable dinner ware, and b.box Plates have a non slip base and stackable design same as Re-Play Divided Plates.
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