Registered Dietitian, Lizzie O’Connor from, the Mama Dietitian (@MamaDietitian) recently supported us with a popular Instagram takeover answering lots of important questions and providing some top tips for starting your little one on solids.
As a registered dietitian based out of North Carolina, Lizzie was the perfect guest to have to provide an insight into starting solids; including how to know if your baby is ready to begin and the different methods of introducing solids along with some yummy recipes and food suggestions. Lizzie has worked at numerous hospitals providing nutritional services and now provides nutritional counselling and support to parents via her website.
At Tidy Tot, we want to support parents with helpful advice through the early years, so we’ve jotted down all the fantastic questions and answers from the takeover in this blog for anyone who missed it. Keep your eyes peeled for more great special guests popping up throughout the year!
First step is to make sure your baby is truly ready to start solids. There is no set age marker for a baby to start solids, it truly depends if they are development ready, Lizzie explains.
You can look for these signs that your little one is development ready to start solids:
- Your child can sit with the little or no support
- Your child has good head control
- Your child opens his or her mouth and leans forward when food is offered
- They show interest
Once a baby is developmentally ready to start solids, the fun part- what food do I serve first?
There is no correct answer, and the options are endless! Some parents decide to offer what they have to hand or what they are having dinner that night, while others offer what they had when they first, when they were little. I do recommend parents focus on iron rich foods, because babies Iron stores begin to dimension around 6 months so it’s important to focus on offering iron rich foods.
Question 1: Just looking for meals/recipe ideas for an 8 month old
Check out these posts for ideas
Hands up for Burgers for Babies
only 3 ingredients!!!!!
Yield: 14 burgers
1 lb ground veal or ground beef
1 apple, grated
1⁄2 cup onion, diced (1⁄2 small onion)
1⁄2 tbsp dried sage
1⁄2 tbsp pepper
– Preheat oven to 400F.
– Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix to combine.
– Form mini burgers about 1⁄3 the size of adult burgers, approximately 1.5 in by 3⁄4 in height.
– Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes.
– Let cool and offer to your baby
Question 2: Ideas for combo feeding?
Purees with baby led weaning:
Pre-loaded on a spoon for them to feed themselves, or spread on soft food! Some of my favourites include avocado, hummus or nut butter on toasts, pita or tortilla.
Question 3: What size shape should you serve? What is best first food? Serve milk with it?
Click the icons below to watch Lizzie’s favorite reels on how to cut and serve different foods
Question 4: My LO has picked up food, but prefers to shove her face it instead, thoughts?
My best advice is to model eating behaviours. Over exaggerating bringing food to mouth and chewing. Also great to do with teaching baby to use utensils.
Question 5: Favourite part of your job?
Hands down my favourite part of this job is meeting all you moms and bonding over motherhood.
Question 6: Ideas for on-the-go snacks for little ones with hardly any teeth that aren’t too messy?
Take a look at the posts below.
Question 7: How to switch drinking formula/milk from bottle to straw cup?
- Look for cups with either a straw or those that promote an open cup drinking
- Choose cups that are a good fit for the size of your little one’s hands
- Introduce an open cup or straw cup early on using water during mealtime
Question 8: How do I encourage my 3 year old to try new foods? She’s so picky.
Having a picky eater at home can be challenging for the whole family. Try these five strategies for picky eaters to help you introduce new food with greater success!
Introduce one new food at a time
Introducing a new food to your little one can be exciting, but stressful – no one like change! To minimize stress and increase the chance of acceptance, experts recommend serving only one new food at a time. Do so without making a big deal of the change, by subtle.
Here are some of my favourite ways to do this
- Substitute a plain baked potato with a sweet potato, while keeping the rest of meal the same
- Serve a new protein, like salmon, alongside a familiar rise dish
- Add cut up berries to their typical morning oatmeal or yogurt
Combine an old food with a new food
Combining “old” and “new” foods to encourage acceptance is a great strategy. Try serving unfamiliar foods with a food favourite! If you know your child will eat green beans but hasn’t tried carrots, serve them side by side. If they reject the carrots, at least you know that they’re likely to eat the green beans. Plus, they’re gaining exposure to the carrots, which means they might try it in the future as it becomes more familiar to them.
Just because your child refuses a food once doesn’t mean they’ll always refuse it! Don’t give up; it can take 10 (or more!) encounters with a new food before your child will accept and eat it. So, keep serving new foods – allow your child to feed the senses. Eating involves all the senses, not just taste.
Here are some steps to try with your little one to gradually work toward accepting a new food
- Touch the food with a fork
- Touch/feel with hands
- Smell it
- Kiss it (bring to lips)
- Lick it (touch with tongue)
- Put food in mouth and take it right out again
Involve your child
Getting children involved in what they’re eating can be fun for the whole family. Children are often much more willing to try a food if they’ve been involved in growing it, choosing it, or preparing it.
You can start getting your child involved by growing your own garden and having your child pick out what they want to grow. You can also bring your child to the grocery store and let them choose a new food to try.
To get your child interested in meal planning, you can talk about what dish you will make with what you grew or purchased from the store. Read recipes together and let your child pick out few they want to try.
Children can continue to be involved with the prep work and cooking the food. Allow your child to complete safe tasks appropriate for their age, such as washing leafy greens, peeling produce or arranging food onto plates,
Be a role model
Children learn about foods and food preference by watching the people around them! Though you may not realize it, your children are impacted by the food choices you make (and perhaps more importantly, the choices you don’t make). By demonstrating that certain foods taste good, your child will be more likely to try those items too. This will encourage your child to eat better and be more willing try new foods if she sees others at the table eating the same foods. Family members, including siblings, are important role models for healthy eating too.
If you’re concerned that picky eating is compromising your child’s growth and development, consult your child’s doctor. Even with these five feeding strategies for picky eaters, it will take some trial and error before you may see progress. Consistency is key, small steps each day can help promote a lifetime of healthy eating.
Question 9: Any tips for BLW with triplets?
- Make sure everyone is developmentally ready before you start
- Encourage self feeding (model behaviour)
- Embrace the mess (must have – Tidy Tot’s cover/catch bib, splash mat)
If you are about to start solids with your little one and worrying about the mess, why not take a look at our award-winning, full-coverage bibs? We’ve got you covered! Shop Now.
We hope this is useful and answers your ‘how to start solids with your little one’ questions. To hear more from Lizzie follow her on Instagram and contact her directly for consultations.
Stay tuned to our social channels to hear about more upcoming Tidy Tot takeovers!