So you are a couple of months into the daunting journey of being a new parent, and you finally feel like you’ve gotten the hang of things. You are nailing the little tricks to get your baby to burp, and you know when to whip out the vocals to their favourite nursery rhymes to soothe them. You are a confident mom! Except now, your little one is ready for more than just milk.
Introducing your child to a new source of food other than breastmilk can be tricky, especially when you are figuring out what they like to eat and what they’re able to eat. To help you navigate the weaning process, here’s a quick guide on what you can and should feed your growing bundle of joy.
Stage 1: Age 4 to 6 months old
The exact timing to wean depends on each individual mother and baby but the process typically starts for children aged between 4 to 6 months old. At this point, the goal is to get them used to eating from a spoon and moving food from the front of the mouth to the back for swallowing.
Begin the weaning journey with blended food with runnier consistency (like the consistency of milk). As your baby gets used to taking food from a spoon, you can move on to thicker purées or well-mashed food.
A tip is to start by blending fruits and vegetables, then mixing it with their usual milk. Aside from fresh produce, you can also blend lean meats, eggs, nuts, cereals, and yoghurts. Make sure that the food is thoroughly cooked before it’s blended.
Stage 2: Age 6 to 9 months old
Once your child is a little older and is used to taking purées and mashed food, you can move onto mashed food with soft lumps and soft finger foods. This is where your child learns how to move lumps of food around the mouth, chew said food lumps, self-feed using hands and fingers, and sip from a cup.
Meat may still need to be puréed but can be mashed if it is very soft. Examples of soft finger foods include soft fruit pieces like kiwi, mangoes, papayas, and melons; cooked vegetable sticks such as carrot sticks, green beans, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. You can even feed them cooked pasta pieces, or even cheese cubes.
On top of mashed and soft foods, it is also encouraged to have sips of water from a cup during mealtimes. Ideally, meals should end with a milk feed or milk pudding. Other than water, you can also give them well-diluted fruit juices, which aid iron absorption from vegetarian foods.
Stage 3: Age 9 to 12 months old
At this stage, your child should be pretty good at munching soft foods. Once you feel confident with your child’s capabilities, you can start feeding them regular foods your family eats – minus the sugar and salt. The goal of this stage is to get your child to chew minced and chopped food as well as self-feed using a spoon.
You can once again start with minced foods so your child can easily chew these new foods. Once your child has mastered chewing minced foods, you can start feeding them regular food such as sandwiches and toast. Remember, no seasonings as your baby’s body won’t be able to handle the high sodium content!
Stage 3: After 12 months of age
At 12 months, your child should aim for a balanced and nutritious diet. You can now add foods not recommended during infancy such as honey, foods preserved with salt such as tinned foods with added salt, unpasteurised soft cheeses, and foods with added sugar (though, they should be offered only at mealtimes to avoid dental decay).
On top of formula or breastmilk and fruit juices, you can also introduce full-fat cows’ milk into your toddler’s diet at this stage. However, semi-skimmed milk should not be introduced until your little one is at least two years old, as it contains high levels of protein and minerals that your toddler might not be ready for.
THE PHILIPS AVENT 4-IN-1 HEALTHY BABY FOOD MAKER
If you are a working mom who just doesn’t have the time to be slaving away in the kitchen, the Philips Avent 4-in-1 Healthy Food Maker is perfect for your time-strapped life! It can steam, blend, defrost, and reheat– all in one jar!
Remember the importance of ensuring all foods are thoroughly cooked before blending them? Well, with the Baby Food Maker, you just need to pop all your ingredients in, add water, set the time and it will ensure evenly cooked meals, always. Depending on the needs of your child, you can also choose to blend them to the consistency you want by just flipping the jar, select blend on the dial. No need to watch the stove, no need to wash a dozen different appliances, giving you more time to spend with your baby!
For parents who religiously meal prep, you can also make a batch of baby food and freeze it. When your baby is hungry, just pop the frozen baby food into the Baby Food Maker, and it’ll defrost it and beep to notify you when the food is ready. You can also use the defrost function to defrost frozen ingredients, so you don’t need to worry if you forget to take the chicken out of the freezer in time!
If you have children of different ages, you can also prepare the food for all your children at once. The 1 litre jar allows you to prepare up to four meals, all in one go. The Baby Food Maker’s jar and blades are also dishwasher safe, so you can just chuck it in the dishwasher or fill it with hot water and soap and set it to blend. The water tank is also easily accessible, allowing for easy cleaning and refill.
Cooking for your children has never been easier, it is a must-have for busy or working parents everywhere!
If you’d like to try out the Philips Avent 4-in-1 Healthy Baby Food Maker, you can get it at Philips authorised dealers nationwide or at Philips Avent Official Shopee Store.