Introducing Your Baby to Solid Food
This can also be a nerve-wracking transition to get started.
When can my baby start eating solid food?
Each baby develops at a different rate, so the age of feeding transition is approximate. The AAP recommends exclusively breast milk or formula for the first 6 months and continuing for the first year. After this 6 month period, parents can gradually introduce pureed foods and cereals.
Some signs that your baby is developmentally ready to being exploring solids are: siting well unsupported, holding their head up, and showing a general curiosity in what you are eating. Another indication they can start trying new solid foods is their ability to move food from the spoon and swallow which means they have lost their tongue thrust reflex. And finally, if your little butterball is weighing in over 13 pounds, they are most likely ready for spoon feeding.
An important rule of thumb when starting solids is to only offer one food/ingredient at a time, every 3 to 4 days. This way, in the unlikely event that your baby has an allergic reaction it will be easy to identify the culprit. Allergic reactions usually present themselves quickly in the form of diarrhea, vomiting or rashes. If these symptoms show up, stop using the new food and get a second opinion from your medical provider.
Cereals can be made with breast milk, making the transition a lot easier for sensitive baby bellies to digest.
How do I get this solid food dinner party started?
Cereals are the easiest foods to begin with, controlling their texture from “soupy” and eventually moving towards a soft puree or paste.
Be prepared for some funny and strange looks from your baby when they get the first taste of something solid and every time you introduce a new food. Encourage them through the experience by celebrating even the tiniest of bites and comforting them when they become frustrated.
In the very beginning, a teaspoon or two is enough to break the ice. These first weeks of solids are less about caloric intake and more about experimentation with something new. Have fun with it!
Babies are born with a sweet tooth.
Most babies take a liking to sweeter foods in the beginning and cereals aren’t necessarily the first thing on the menu for every baby.
There are plenty of options from whipped up avocado, mashed banana and pureed sweet potato. These foods tend to be successful “first foods” because they’re soft and sweet, but experiment with foods that can be pureed and are rich in vitamins. Whatever food you choose, stick to simple one ingredient dishes for baby instead of turning dinnertime into an episode of Chopped.
This is a big step!
Your baby is growing up fast and before you know it, you’ll be on to finger foods.
Be patient and take your time. It’s okay if your baby doesn’t take to solid foods right away and taking things a few days at a time will keep your mission on track and your little one transitioning comfortably.