Between the ages of 4-6 months, your baby may decide it's time they helped you redecorate... your walls, that is, with pureed food. Yes, it's during this magical developmental stage that they will begin to transition to food they can touch, taste, spit, squish and throw.
Luckily, Love Mae is here to duck and weave alongside you, answering all your questions about introducing solids to your little Jackson (Pollock).
We hope you enjoy this first instalment of a semi-regular series on introducing your little one to the wonderful world of post-boob food. Our recipes and tips will have you transitioning them seamlessly from magical mushy stuff to gourmet grazing platters and beyond. 

When should I introduce solid food?

When your baby is around six months old, you will need to start him on solid food (in puree form) as he will be getting to the end of the iron stores he was born with and will no longer be getting enough iron and other nutrients needed for growth from breastmilk or infant formula.

The six-month mark is an average, however, and many babies show signs of needing to start solids from four months – it's fine to do it earlier, but always consult with your doctor or community nurse.

What are the signs my baby is ready for real food?

We like to go by the 'baby bird' test  – if your baby has fairly good head and neck control, is constantly eye-balling what's on your plate and responds to a passing spoon of food with an open mouth and 'aark, aark' noise (OK, that last part may not happen), then it's time to get the food processor out and starting steaming. See our delicious puree recipes below for some great ideas to start with.

Other signs of readiness may include lurching out of their pram to swipe at passing ice-cream cones and weaning themselves off the breast (although the World Health Organisation recommends babies are breastfed with complementary food until they are two years old.) 

What are the best first foods for baby?

Your baby should have pureed food when you start introducing solids. As soon as he is used to the feeling and texture of pureed food in his mouth, you should progress to lumpier textures and then on to finger foods by around eight months.

When you are giving food with more texture, it might be best to start by holding the baby bowl and spoon yourself so you can monitor any gag response. Obviously, he will only tolerate this for so long before commandeering the cutlery for his own purposes (refer to notes on Redecorating).

Finger foods, like gently cooked vegetable batons, fruit and soft bread, help your baby learn to chew and develop muscle tone, which will in turn assist with speech development. See, carrot sticks really are clever!

By the time your baby is 12 months old, he can start eating food with the same texture as the rest of the family's. Now all you have to do is have dinner on the table by 4.30pm!

 

Love Mae bamboo baby bowl set Fairy Pumpkin Puree recipe

Pumpkin Puree

Naturally sweet, babies on a food discovery journey usually take to pumpkin readily. It also delivers a range of antioxidents, minerals and may even help your baby relax and sleep better as it contains tryptophan that helps the body produce sleep-inducing serotonin. Who doesn't love a drowsy baby with a full tummy? #sleepbanking

Suitable for: 4-6 month old babies
Makes: Approximately 185ml or 12 ice cubes


Ingredients:
1 large chunk of pumpkin seeded, peeled and cut into 5cm squares. 

Place the pumpkin in a steamer basket set over boiling water, cover and steam until it is tender through, 15-30 minutes depending on the variety of pumpkin. Remove from the steamer and let cool slightly, then puree in a food processor or  food mill. When the puree is cool, freeze it in ice-cube trays. When they are frozen, store in air-tight freezer safe containers. The cubes will keep for about two months.   

 

Brown Rice Puree

This is a healthier alternative to shop-bought baby rice or rice cereal (which is often associated with constipation when used to introduce bubs to solids), and it can be used for both sweet and savoury dishes. Brown rice is known to be allergen-free and is the perfect first food for babies as it is dense with natural nutrition and fibre.

Suitable for: 4-6 month old babies
Makes: Approximately 185ml or 12 ice cubes 


Ingredients: 
180g brown rice
750ml of filtered water 

Place the rice and water in a medium saucepan, cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat so the liquid is simmering nicely and cook until the rice is tender through, checking once or twice to be sure it isn't sticking. Remove the rice from the heat and let it cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor or food mill and puree, adding 1–2 tsp filtered water if necessary to obtain a puree that isn't too thick. When the rice puree has cooled, freeze it in ice-cube trays. When the cubes have frozen, store in airtight freezer-safe containers. The cubes will keep for about two months. 

This recipe was served up on our Fairy Bamboo Baby Feeding Set and you can shop the full baby range here.

 

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