Starting Solids – Nutrition for Mum and Baby

Starting solids is an exciting time for Mum and Baby!  It is not something to worry too much about, as “food under one is just for fun”. As long as baby is growing and developing, your milk is meeting their nutritional needs. Starting solids is introducing your baby to smell, texture, taste and they are learning about biting, chewing and swallowing. Also about trajectory and dropping things from their high chair!

Baby Led Weaning Plate
Baby Led Weaning Plate

Breastmilk, or formula, is your babies primary source of nutrition until they are around one. It should always be offered prior to solids to ensure they are getting enough nutrients in their diet, vital for their growth and development. It is advised to wait until six  months to introduce solids. We say six months because this is when babies gut will be developed enough to take on solids, plus this is when the iron stores baby is born with are beginning to run low.

I personally did a combination of blw and a couple of purées which were more like smoothies so I could eat them too! For a lot of families, blw is a relatively new concept. Up until a generation ago, medical experts told Mummas to start solids at exactly four months and to start with farex, or from a limited food list which included avocado, pumpkin or a funky food combo. Now there is a shift toward blw, this is because of the huge amount of research that we have on infant development and nutrition.

Anyone else have pressure from families to start early? I did, with the tempting myth that baby will sleep through the night with a meal. He now eats like a horse but doesn’t sleep through the night, it’s a myth! Food is not magical sleepy dust. Previous generations, such as the mil and Granpa, might be pressuring you to start earlier because that’s what they did. There are many myths surrounding starting baby early on solids, kellymom has a good article on this, these myths include that the baby has reached a magic number in weight, the baby is so big, the baby is so small, boys are hungry etc. It is most important to wait until six months to start solids to avoid damage being done to the gut system (again, for further info). Research suggests this can lead to eczema and allergies. Some babies are ok but some babies are not. We believe this is what happened to my 10mo who was having farex far too early on. He now cannot tolerate dairy, which is what farex is made up of, and he has leaky gut. Prior to farex, he could tolerate dairy through my breast milk… Now he cannot.

Baby Led Weaning. The Essenece of blw is just handing baby a suitably sized piece of food and of they like it they eat it and if they don’t, they won’t. It is the term for basically letting your baby feed themself. This is teaching them to bite and chew before swallowing, as opposed to purées which teach baby to swallow first then, months later how they learn how to bite and chew.

So what’s on the list of food to feed baby? What are you ladies thinking of introducing to baby as a First food?
Fruit purées, ideas as per the previous post, link below
Blw food ideas as per the previous post

Worried about allergies?
This can be a scary thought. Thankfully, most babies are fine with all food groups. A good approach is to introduce common allergy foods such as wheat, gluten, dairy, soya, nuts, eggs, fish and night shades with a 4 – 7 day wait in between. This makes it much easier to identify possible allergies.
Generally, allergies have a reaction of within two hours and intolerances can show days later.
If baby has a serious reaction, call 111 for an ambulance. Look for swelling lips, mouth, tongue, face and/or throat, dizziness, difficulty breathing and collapsing.

Current research suggests avoiding honey until baby is 1 as honey can contain a bacterium which can cause sickness in babies under 1 (infant botulism).
I understand there is research to suggest holding off rice as baby does not have the enzyme in saliva to process it, it is ok for mum to chew rice first then give to baby.

It is advised by nz ministry of health to wait until baby. Is 7-8months to introduce dairy.

Lots of babies are slow to take to solids. Some take several months, just be relaxed about it and follow babies cues. All you need to do is offer foods. The amount does not matter. Do not force baby to eat. Meal time should be fun. If you are still concerned, check your baby for upper lip tie as this can make it difficult for baby to eat.

All babies are different, let their appetites guide you. watch for cues that baby is full such as turning their heads away. Spitting food out. Closing their mouths.. and for nutrition guidelines


Meat iron is haem, not meat iron is non haem. Iron is best absorbed from meat.
Eating foods high in vitamin c will help baby absorb iron
Why the fuss about iron? The same as your own iron stores deplete when you are pregnant and baby is rapidly growing, babies need iron as they are still rapidly growing. If you needed iron while pregnant, you’ll know that without it you are left exhausted. Iron is also essential for brain development, growth and development.
What do you eat to get enough iron? Bf mums need it too! At 9mg/day (nz ministry).
Haem iron
Beef fillet Steak 173g is 5.8mg
Half cup mussels 7.5mg
Two lamb steaks (116g) 4.0mg
Lamb liver 4.0mg
90g can salmon 2.1mg
Chicken breast (107g) 2.0mg
Pork loin chop (74g) 1.2mg
Tarakihi fillet 0.8mg

Non haem iron
Tofu 100g 5.4mg
Porridge 1cup 1.3mg
Cooked red kidney beans half cup 2.0mg
Lentils half cup 1.2mg
Chickpeas 1.6mg
Brocolli 1 cup 0.9mg
Baked beans 1.6mg
Dates (10) 1.3mg
Spinach one cup 2.5mg
Egg 0.9mg
Multigrain bread 0.7mg
Nz ministry soya beans one cup 8.8mg
Quinoa one cup 2.8mg
Kale one cup 1.2mg

Vitamin c foods kiwi fruit, citrus fruits,

Bf woman need extra calcium, diary and other sources.
Nz ministry 1000mg / day rdi
Milk one cup 310mg/day
Prawns 100g 190mg
Salmon small tin 70mg
Tofu 200g 270mg
Spinach 140mg
Cottage cheese 1 tablespoon 9mg
Edam cheese 2cm cube 75mg
Yogurt potter 195mg
Calcium fortified soya drink 286mg
Tofu 100g 105mg
Whole grain bread 33mg
Sardine 66mg
10 almonds 30mg
10 Brazil nuts 68mg
Sesame seeds one tablespoon 88mg
Brocolli cup 59mg

Vitamin D will help calcium absorb, smoking and excess caffeine will inhibit calcium absorption

Iodine 270mg/day
Bf mums needs more iodine
Because baby is growing rapidly
Pre existing thyroid condition should seek doc advise before taking supplement.
Foods – seaweed, seafood and fish. Now that you can eat sushi again!
Dairy and egg products.
Bread is fortified with iodine.
Recommended daily supplement containing 150mg iodine.

Facebook – Comprehensive breastfeeding and infant nutrition information – Ministry of health – Vegetarian resources


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