Introducing solid food to your baby
Setting your baby up for a love affair with food.
After the premature birth of her twins, Sophie and Louis, Melbourne mum Emily Dupuche made it her mission to give them the most nutritious, healthy start to life. She breastfed them both, and when it came to introducing solids, she wanted to make sure she was feeding them real, home-cooked food full of natural goodness and flavour.
Emily created Food Babies Love as a resource to share what she learned and help parents through this often overwhelming, yet vital stage. Her first book is a wonderful collection of advice, support and delicious recipes. Here Emily tells us a little more about her experience.
What did you enjoy most about creating your book?
All of it. I loved creating the meals and then testing and re-testing to make sure they were perfect. Bringing it to life was an amazing achievement and now knowing that sharing my knowledge and insights is helping so many young families is super rewarding.
What are some of the biggest challenges to introducing solids to your baby?
The biggest fear parents have to overcome is the fear of getting it wrong. But really, there are very few rules to follow. The main area I find parents go wrong is offering choices. Don’t become a short order cook, just serving meal after meal, trying to find one that your baby or toddler wants to eat. All you need to do is serve one nutritious and delicious meal and if they eat it, great, if not, pack it away and move on to the next activity. Parents worry that their child will be hungry. The truth is that kids don't starve themselves – if they are hungry, they will eat. If you start bringing out options like yoghurt or a favourite sandwich they will quickly learn to hold out until mum or dad gives them the good stuff.
Any fond memories of introducing solids to your children?
Watching their faces as they tasted new flavours for the first time – the complete delight at some foods and wariness of others! As a lover of cooking and all things food, I also relished the excuse to spend hours in the kitchen cooking for them.
How can both parents be actively involved with introducing solids?
It's really important that both parents take time to sit with their children and either feed them or chat with them and engage them. Babies, toddlers and older children flourish with a bit of love and attention from parents and sitting with them at the table whilst eating is a great way to lay the foundations of a caring, sharing, family environment.
What are some of the bigger myths around introducing solids?
That babies need bland, boring food. In fact, they love food with flavour and need to be introduced to a wide variety of tastes, colours and textures in the first 12 months when ready to set them up for a lifetime of food enjoyment.
Top five tips for introducing solids?
- Plan meals – cook and freeze in advance, allowing you to relax into a week of mealtimes.
- Sit with your baby and smile at them.
- Serve fresh, homemade food cooked with love.
- Don’t serve bland food; if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t expect your baby to.
- Dress for success: smock, bib and drop sheet.
For more ideas and tips or to pick up a copy of Food Babies Love, visit foodbabieslove.com.au
Or head here to read more articles about nutrition for your new baby.