Have a plan
Take some time to prepare yourself for this new chapter in your baby’s development and put together a plan for how you are going to introduce solids. Some questions you may like to ask yourself - What time of day? Where does baby’s milk fit in? What foods are suitable? How do I prepare them? When do I introduce them? How often do I introduce new foods? What about eating out? How and when do I introduce possible allergenic foods? How long should I feed my baby a silky smooth puree? Where and how do finger foods fit in? When time is so precious, having a plan can make things feel much easier; you know what’s coming and you’re prepared.
Prepare in advance
It may sound like a no brainer but preparing foods in advance will save you so much time down the track and prevent any meal time panics - we estimate that if you put aside roughly one hour, you can make about the first four weeks of your baby’s ‘real’ food. Making baby food is actually very simple and it can easily be prepared in advance, ready to pull out of the freezer when it’s meal time. It’s as simple as getting a few pots boiling, suitably cook and prepare ingredients separately, blend until smooth and then portion and place in the freezer ready to introduce separately to your little one in the coming weeks and later mix and match for new and exciting flavour combinations for baby.
Acquire helpful equipment
As with many areas of the baby world, it can be easy to think that you need a wide range of equipment but really, just having on hand a few simple but helpful items is all you need to save time (and money!). Most households will already have the kitchen equipment you need; don’t go investing in fancy cookware or other baby food specific devices! We suggest purchasing some freezer trays (similar to ice cube trays) with lids which you can use to portion baby food and then freeze for later use. These little gems will save you so much time in the weeks and months ahead. Apart from this and a basic stick blender or kitchen whizz, some good quality bibs to help make the clean up from meal times easier, some weaning spoons and some containers to fill to feed your baby whilst out and about is really all you need.
Incorporate solids into your routine
This point is similar to our first tip around having a plan, but whether you have a set routine or a more free flow approach, introducing solids at roughly the same time each day can really help save you time - it becomes a typical part of everyday which baby becomes accustomed to, rather than just trying to fit it in randomly if and when you can when baby isn’t necessarily hungry or ready. Generally, the first meal introduced is ‘lunch’ time, mid-late morning after your baby’s milk feed and before they are too tired. Once this mealtime is well established (your baby is eating a good amount), you can gradually introduce ‘dinner’ in the late afternoon and lastly ‘breakfast’.
Give yourself realistic expectations
All babies are different and not all will take to solids the same. Be aware that for some, it can be a slow process so give yourself, and your baby, time to adjust to this new stage. Following on from the point above, put aside a decent amount of time initially and let your baby take to solids at their own pace. Having realistic expectations about how long it will take to feed your baby solid food and being relaxed about this process can help save you time and unnecessary stress if you’re not expecting them to gobble up everything you’re offering and/or be finished quickly!
For more information about starting your little one on solids, you may like to check out our e-book Your Baby's Food Journey; easy step by step guide, to help set you and your baby on the right path of eating from the beginning. Our guide to solids covers suitable foods for each age and stage your baby will likely pass through, up to around the time they turn 1 which is when they should be enjoying family foods. For those starting out and wanting a wee bit more support, there is a handy ‘first 30 days’ plan you can choose to follow, taking all the guess work out of it so you can relax and enjoy this exciting stage. We also have a very active support group on Facebook which you are welcome to join.