Good complementary feeding routines
The start of a complementary feeding routine can be lots of fun for you and your baby! But it can take a bit of time for your baby to get used to the exciting new world of food, so it’s good to have a rough idea of how much and how often to feed your baby. There are lots of practical ways to establish a complementary feeding routine.
When should I start complementary feeding?
For the first 6 months, milk alone is adequate. When your baby passes 6 months of age, he will need other food beside milk to meet his rapid growth needs. However you should continue to give milk to your baby as milk is still an important part of his diet.
Every baby is different and age is just a guideline. You should look for the following signs and then consult your paediatrician to see if your baby is ready for solid food.
Planning your baby’s complementary feeding routine
Moving to solids is a big milestone for you and your baby, so it’s not surprising that some moms can feel unsure about what and when to feed. Establishing a feeding routine at fixed times each day will help your baby get used to their new complementary feeding diet.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to complementary feeding but it’s always a good idea to start slowly; one feed of solid food a day to test the water is fine. Gradually move up to two or three solid feeds a day. You’ll probably find that the more solids your baby eats, the less milk they’ll want. However, milk is still important and it should continue to be part of their diet until they’re at least 12 months old.
First complementary feeding foods
Your baby’s first complementary feeding foods should be both gentle in flavour and smooth in texture. Purées, roughly the consistency of double cream, are ideal for learning how to swallow solid foods. Many moms start off with baby rice, mixed up with some of their usual baby milk. This helps to introduce babies to a subtle new texture with a familiar taste, making it less strange for them to eat.
Don’t worry if your baby seems to spit up everything you give them, it can take a while for them to learn how to eat and get used to new tastes and textures – after all, they’ve only been used to milk until now. Just take it slowly and don’t give up!
Eating as a family
Once your baby is happier eating a variety of solid foods, you can save time and energy by giving your baby a mashed-up or blended version of what you’ve cooked for the rest of the family, as long as you’ve not added any sugar or salt, as their delicate stomachs are too sensitive. Just go slowly and let your baby take their time If you’re stuck for inspiration, we’ve got lots of ideas for healthy, tasty meals in our complementary feeding recipes section.
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