It is another milestone when you are moving onto feeding your baby solids. Hopefully it will be a positive change but be prepared for a messy time and that quite a bit more organisation is required.
There are many, many brands of pre-made baby food but I think you will benefit from making your own. It is not hard albeit a little time consuming but you will know exactly what is in it. I would argue that it is also cheaper (unless you whop to make the purees but then don’t and the produce goes to waste).
When to start is individual and the theory seems to change regularly. My feeling is at least 4 months but if you can stretch it to 6, you keep your life simpler for longer.
Bland food is the secret. You cook pumpkin till it’s super soft, then you mash it. Ready. No spices, No onion. Nothing. Now in terms of mashing, it is tempting to use a blender, however it makes it superfine. This is OK for the very beginning but after that some texture is preferable. After all we are talking solids. So really all you need is a pot with its lid, and a fork for mashing.
Cook for the week and freeze. Prepare larger portion and freeze in servings. Use an ice-cube tray and once frozen, put into labelled, dated and sealed bags. As you baby gets more adventurous, you can mix a cube of pumpkin with one of broccoli and eventually you can add a meat cube. So add some ice cube trays to your shopping list and some soft feeding spoons.
You will also need bibs. One of feeding’s essentials. Nothing fancy required, just a good supply. At the very start, get some smallish ones with velcro as they are easy to put on. Remember to put them into a wash bag, though as otherwise they stick to everything else in your washing machine. Later on, get some bigger ones that cover the tummy and if you prefer, get them with ties to make washing simpler.
What else? Well you have to sit baby somewhere so you can feed him/her. If you have a bouncer, then that is ideal to start with as it is easy for baby to sit in and you are used to it. Feeding at the very beginning is a spoonful or two and is over before you know it, so why invest in a reclining, padded high chair if you can avoid it and get something easier to clean for a bit later on? So if suitable, swing the bouncer up onto your kitchen bench, watch your treasure experiencing the new textures and flavours, and then down again. Simple.
Now the high chair. It will be almost as complicated as buying your pram but here are a few points that I consider important:
What does the chair do for your child? Encourages good posture, includes them socially or?
Is it easy to clean? A wipe down or a hose down?
How does it fit into my space? Free standing or to the table?
Does it convert to live on past the toddler stage? Adjustable height or becomes a low chair?
The look of your high chair is important. You have to love it because it will be in your house for a long time (plus for siblings) but its function is equally as important – just like it was when you bought your pram. If it looks trendy but you can’t wash the cushion, or if it heavy to move or has many corners for food to get caught and is a pain to clean, you will not like it in the long run. So put your hawk eyes on when you do your research and ask questions. Don’t fall in love with a look only.
Gone are the times where your high chair stood in the corner of your kitchen. Most now go to the dining table and one or two can be extended to suit the kitchen bench. I mean why wouldn’t you keep the high chair with the dining chairs at the table? It simply makes sense. It also means you can sit down to feed your child and maybe you eat at the same time. Remember children learn everything from copying so eating with your child teaches them how to.
Look out for how well your baby/child will sit in the chair. Too much padding and poor design can cause your baby to slouch. You want to promote good posture and encourage muscle development whenever you can.
And finally, you get good value for money if the chair can be used for years and years as opposed to just a couple. Quality plays a big role in this as does the design. Make sure you choose a design that continues to help your child with their independence. Many chair are height adjustable and will suit your growing child until he/she sits well on a dining chair at 6 or 7 years old (sitting on knees does not count). A child who is comfortable is more likely to eat a full meal and to stay engaged in conversation. Other benefits of a junior chair for you child is that he/she will be able to reach his/her own pieces when playing a board game etc. It also means that the day another baby is crawling on the floor, small toys are safe at dining table height as opposed to a low kids’s table.
However you decide to do it, as long as the food is healthy and nutritious then your child will learn to appreciate real food that is good for him/her. This is one of the most important skill to have in this world of fast food and empty calories. Enjoy the journey.