When is my baby ready for solids?

We often get told that ‘back in the day’ babies were given solid foods at 4 months old, water and juice to drink and if our baby is salivating at the dinner table, reaching for food or waking frequently at night, they are definitely ready for solids. These are not signs of readiness however and current government, WHO and NHS guidance states that if* developmentally ready babies should be first introduced to solid food shortly before or after 6 months of age.

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Common misconceptions of readiness:

Baby…

  1. watches people eat with interest

  2. salivates when watching food and people eating

  3. reaches and tries to grab food

  4. weighs in or above the 90th centile

  5. breastfeeds every 2 hours with no longer intervals at night of three hours or more

  6. waking frequently at night

Actual signs of readiness:

Baby can…

  1. sit strongly unassisted with good head control

  2. pick up food and bring it to the mouth confidently

  3. swallow food.

Many parents are eager to start introducing solid foods, (it’s pretty exciting to be fair) - but it might be reassuring for parents to read a few facts about the benefits of exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months:

  • Breast milk contains all the fluid and nutrients the baby needs for around the first 6 months.

  • Exclusively breastfeeding provides protection from gastrointestinal infections.

  • Exclusively breastfeeding ensures a healthy milk supply.

  • Exclusively breastfeeding can provide a good contraceptive effect and can help weight loss for some mothers.

  • Breastfeeding can be much easier to do than giving solids. It takes less time, makes less mess and is cheaper.

One final note…

As a Doula I am always talking to my clients in prenatal sessions about normal newborn behaviour and normal baby behaviour, with a fairly big chunk of time discussing sleep and feeding. If your baby is breastfeeding more often, is spending longer at the breast, has become fussier or is waking more at night, know that these behaviours are very normal and are not signs that your baby is ready for solid food.

L

Recipe for Bliss Balls

Bliss Balls, Protein Bites, Energy Bombs…ok I made that last one up, but whatever you want to call them, they’re easy to make, delicious and vegan, refined sugar free and dairy free (vg). Plus they’re perfect toddler snacks.

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Recipe

Flaked Almonds

Flaxseed

Chia seeds

Ground cinnamon

Medjool dates

Desicated coconut

Add everything to a food processor and whizz up until it basically goes into a well mixed blob. Then roll into balls using your hands. Bingo.

Really you can sub a lot of these ingredients. You just need a sticky sweet one, a nut, add a flavour like cinnamon or some cacao if you like and something to roll them in. You can use regular dates if you can’t get medjool but if you can find medjool they are bigger, more moist and taste like caramel so I highly recommend. You can also roll your balls in chia seeds, mashed up nuts, oats, whatever you fancy. I like the desicated coconut, because, all things coconut, and it looks pretty.

You could also try adding frozen fruit like raspberries? OR why not try melting some dark chocolate with coconut oil and coating them for an extra special treat. Or serve with fresh fruit like in these ones I made below?

Vegan, cruelty-free, wholefood goodness. ENJOY!

L

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