What First Foods should We Offer to Babies?
Weaning is the transition from exclusive breastfeeding or milk feeds to complementary solid food typically at age 6 months. The introduction of baby’s first solid is important as the milk feeds are gradually inadequate to support their nutritional needs due to rapid growth. It also helps in developing their oromotor skills and shaping good eating behaviours.
An appropriate time to start weaning is when baby is showing cues such as opening his mouth when food is offered, able to sit up and able to pick up finger food. When introducing food, allow baby to be sufficiently hungry so that he will be more receptive towards what is being served.
Baby’s very first solids should be energy and nutrient rich foods usually in pureed form, starting once a day. Gradually texture can increase to mashed then chopped foods, also increasing in quantity and frequency. Energy rich foods include cereals and grains, such as rice, wheat etc., or vegetables such as potato, sweet potato etc. Protein is also an important nutrient for growth, found in poultry, meat, fish, eggs and lentils. Fruits and vegetables must also be introduced in order to provide vitamins and minerals.
There are no strict rules on what to start first as long as food is nutritious and hygienic. It would be advisable not to add too much variety initially for fear of food allergies. No salt, sugar or added sauces is required when baby is above one year. Lastly milk would still be predominant in baby’s diet and can even be added into food.
Ideas for First Foods
- banana, apple, avocado, pear, papaya
- Sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, spinach, brocolli, potato
Other Ideas for Later
- Chicken, fish, meat, scrambled or boiled egg, bread, pasta, brown rice, porridge, anchovies