January 04, 2021 4 min read
Introducing solids is a phase that invokes a lot of emotions for parents - excitement, anxiety, and even a little bit of sadness as it comes as a sign that your little one is growing up. This phase also comes with some decisions - when to start, what to offer, and what approach to take. We've previously shared our do's and dont's for introducing solids so now we're focusing on what approach to take!
There are different approaches to introducing solids or “complementary feeding” as it is sometimes called as initial solids are intended to complement the nutrients and energy provided by breast milk or formula to support proper growth and development starting at around 6 months.
Some families choose to offer purees while others choose a newer approach known as baby-led weaning (BLW), while some do a combination of both that’s called Baby-Led Introduction to Solids (BLISS)! All three approaches have their benefits, and we break them down below:
The good news? Neither of these approaches are all or nothing! You don’t have to be die-hard BLW or die-hard purees - you can do both! You can reap the benefits of both approaches by offering a combination of food types, textures, and flavors. The key is to still let baby self-feed as much as possible by offering pieces of food and loaded spoons that they can feed themselves. Rather than just spooning food into baby’s mouth in a repetitive or mindless way, you wait for a cue from them that they’re ready (like an open mouth and a lean forward). You can also offer both loaded spoons, pouches, and small soft bites for them to pick up and explore or eat themselves. This hybrid approach is known as Baby-Led Introduction to Solids (BLISS) and offers benefits from both approaches:
No matter what approach you take, remember that it can take more than ten exposures to a food for a kiddo to accept it (seriously), so keep offering in a friendly, non-forceful way. Watch for baby’s hunger and fullness cues and don’t force food if they’re telling you they’re done.
Finally, remember that every kid is different and will take to solids at different times. If baby isn’t into finger foods right away or can’t figure out how to hold a spoon, don’t sweat it. Just keep offering nutritious foods of varied flavors and textures. You’ll have your challenges and baby will have her opinions, but know that through it all, you’re setting baby up for success with good nutrition in a positive environment.
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