If you are here, then your little one is likely about to, or has already started solids. No doubt in the process of preparing for this you have heard a lot of noise out there about BLW (baby led weaning). If you don’t already know, BLW is a way of starting solids where you completely skip purees and go straight to finger foods.
Instagram and TikTok are filled with perfectly curated animal themed plates with beautiful finger foods, that no doubt took many hours to prepare. Know that even if you do decide to do BLW….you don’t need to make it look like this! Who has that much time! But for many first-time parents, the idea of starting solids this way and giving a 6-month-old a chicken drumstick to chew on is pretty anxiety provoking.
For those of you feeling nervous about starting solids, and going straight to finger foods, you’ll be pleased to know that there isn’t a one size fits all approach to starting solids. You don’t have to do BLW or puree….you can actually do a mix. Or if mixing it up between the two methods is still feeling stressful, it is also okay to start off with purees and gradually work your way up to family foods when you and your bub are ready.
So, if you are starting with puree or mashed meals there are a few things to consider.
- Don’t just go for vegetables or fruit. It is important to offer balanced meals pretty much from the start.
- To build a balanced plate the puree should have fats, protein and carbohydrates in there. Adding avocado, olive oil, nut butters, meat, oats, starchy vegetables, rice or pasta can help with this.
- Introduce top 9 allergens one at a time but otherwise, you don’t need to introduce each food separately. This can help you to build a more balanced puree faster as you don’t need to take weeks to slowly try each food.
- Try to add an iron rich food to any puree or mashed meal. Your bub’s iron stores are depleting around the time they start solids, so we need to pump up the iron in their diet. Iron rich foods include red meat, chicken liver*, legumes, iron fortified cereals including weetbix, nut butters, sesame, chia seeds, dark green leafy veg, seafood and eggs to name a few.
- Cook in bulk and freeze! You can always add more things into frozen purees later like mashed sardines, some oats or mashed fruit. You can also use them as dipping sauces or a pasta sauce later if you need to use them up but have progressed to a chunkier texture.
At the end of the day, making solids as stress free and relaxed as possible is the key to success for you and your little one. So, it is totally okay to just pick what works for you!
*See our article on Introducing Chicken to find out more about how much and why we need to limit this liver.