Starting solids can be a tricky time, especially if your little one's a fussy eater. Here are solutions that guarantee you'll have an easy time of it.
This is a momentous time in your baby's life that it's bound to present a few hiccups along the way. After all, before now your baby's diet consisted purely of milk feeds, and now he suddenly has to get used to a whole new variety of tastes and textures, and he has to learn how to swallow them!
Because of the possible pitfalls of starting solids, we all find ourselves struggling with something. Here we go through the most common worries surrounding solids and clear them up for you.
"My baby just won't drink milk"
- Cow's milk can be used in cooking for babies over six months, but not as a drink until 12 months, as it has too much salt and not enough iron. If your baby's over six months, continue to give him breastmilk or formula milk until 12 months.
- If your baby's over six months and you're moving from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding but he doesn't want to take formual in a bottle, try using a cup or beaker instead.
- Breakfast cereal will soak up milk if you leave it for a few minutes, so sneak in milk in this way.
- Cook dishes that have milk in them, such as mashed potato, macaroni cheese and fish in white sauce.
- Give your baby full-fat dairy products every day, including yoghurt for breakfast or as a pudding, and cubes of cheese as a snack.
"My baby refuses to eat his veggies"
- Give veggies at the start of a meal when your baby's hungrier and more likely to eat them.
- Try cooking vegetables in different ways. If he doesn't like boiled veggies then try roasting them, which gives a sweeter falvour.
- Try doing a fun "cheers!" with your broccoli spear against your baby's, before eating yours up with a big smile.
- Add puréed vegetables to foods your baby likes, such as pasta or mash.
- Some babies are naturally more cautious, so offer veggeis as finger foods so he can get used to them by feeling and sucking on them first.
"My baby won't eat any meat"
- Pieces of meat can be hard to chew, so try minced meat in dishes like cottage pie or spaghetti Bolognese.
- Make a meat pâté by puréeing leftover meat dishes and spreading it on toast.
- Try meat as finger food. A chicken drumstick is easy to hold and your baby can sick and chew the meat slowly.
- Give your baby fish, especially oily fish such as salmon and mackarel, which is packed with brain-boosting Omega 3 fatty acids.
- Chickpeas, beans and lentils have many of the same nutrients as meat, so offer these instead.
Make a batch of purée and then swap some with a friend. Your baby can try a new taste, and if he doesn't like it, you won't end up with a load of unwanted food.
"My baby hates fruit"
- If your baby likes cereal or porridge, get creative and try mixing mashed banana or apple purée in with it.
- Use fruit purée as a dip. Your little one can pop bread sticks, scone fingers or bits of toast in it.
- If your tot's not keen on the fresh stuff, try dried fruit like raisins, apricots or prunes. Offer them as a snack or add to scones or porridge.
- Add a little bit of fruit to savoury dishes, such as chopped dried apricots in a chicken casserole.
- If your baby's teething, very cold fruit can help relieve sore gums. Freeze half a peeled banana or put fruit purée in a mould to make ice-lollies.
"My baby dislikes water"
- Offer him water on a spoon or from an open cup to get him used to the lack of flavour.
- Put the water in a cup rather than a bottle. If your baby's used to having warm milk in a bottle, he might not like finding cold water there isntead.
- Give him foods that have plenty of water in them, such as pears, melon, cucumber and tomatoes.
- If your little one likes milk, then try adding a bit of water to his bottle of milk.
- Keep trying. Don't be tempted to give up and offer fruit juice instead, as it'll be very hard to swith to plain water later.
"My baby has food allergies"
- If there's a history of food allergies, introduce tricky foods one at a time and watch for reactions.
- Don't try to diagnose an allergy yourself by restricting your baby's diet, speak to your doctor first.
- If you're breastfeeding, try to continue while starting solids, as it may reduce the risk of allergies developing as new foods are introduced.
- If your baby has cow's milk protein allergy, try using hypoallergenic formula for cooking instead.
- Read food labels carefully. As well as looking out for a particular food, you'll need to know about it's alternative names.