Introduce Your Baby to Solid Foods
Edited by Yuliya, Doug Collins, Eng
Is your baby ready for solid foods?
Babies are generally ready to start eating solid foods at around 4 to 6 months. Aside from their age, there are a number of ways to tell if your child is ready to try eating solid food. Consult with your doctor and consider adding solid food to your baby's diet if she seems ready.
Your baby might be ready to try solid foods if he:
- Can hold his head up without support.
- Can sit straight - with support, or in a high chair.
- Seems hungry even after his usual amount of breastmilk or formula.
- Is showing interest in, or trying to take your food.
- Is gumming things (babies do not need teeth to eat!)
- Doesn't push food back out with his tongue.
What solid foods should your baby start with?
Once you decide to give solid foods a go, you have a wide range of options to choose from. You can make your own purees, or use all natural baby food. Some recommendations for introducing baby food are:
- 1Start with a very liquid mixture, mostly milk, and as your baby becomes more confident and comfortable with it, gradually decrease the amount of liquid you use.Baby cereals like rice and oatmeal mixed with breastmilk or formula.
- 2The same concept applies as in the above step: start liquid and make the mixture thicker over time. Eventually you can leave out the liquid altogether.Baby food or puree mixed with breastmilk or formula.
- 3Start with orange or green fruits and vegetables like squash, apple, green peas.Mild flavored food purees.
- 4Try purees with soft chunks of the fruit or vegetable, like peaches or zucchini.Once your baby is comfortable with eating purees, add some texture.
- 5Soft fruit and vegetable chunks work well, as do potato cubes or well-cooked macaroni.Eventually, you can start giving your child soft finger food.
What to expect the first time you give your baby solid food
You've prepared the perfect delicious puree and are ready to give solid food a try. There are some things you should keep in mind before you start:
- 1A hungry baby won't be receptive to new experiences.Feed baby breastmilk or formula first.
- 2Mornings or after nap time work well.Choose a time when your baby isn't tired or fussy.
- 3This can be anywhere that your baby can sit up comfortably, like a booster seat, high chair, or even a bouncy seat.Choose a comfortable place for your child to sit.
- 4If he isn't getting the hang of it, don't force him - try again another day.Don't push your baby to keep trying if she doesn't seem interested.
- 5This is normal in the beginning, but if your baby keeps gagging or spitting the food out, she might not be ready yet.The first few spoon-fulls may be pushed back out, or cause slight gagging.
- 6The first few feedings are essentially practice sessions.If your child doesn't want to eat the food, let him interact with it (touch, smell, etc).
- 7If he stops being interested or starts playing more than eating, he might have had enough. Don't worry about him not eating "enough" - at this point he's still getting all the nutrients he needs from breastmilk or formula.Let your baby tell you when he's done.
- 8Be prepared for a mess!
Here are a few more useful things to know as you and your child enters the exciting world of solid food!
- 1Start by feeding baby solids once a day, and gradually increase the frequency to 3 times a day.
- 2The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding until around age 1, while the World Health Organization lists the preferred age to wean as 2 years. Ultimately, it's up to you and your baby when the right time to wean is. Always consult your baby's pediatrician on important changes like weaning.Baby still needs breastmilk or formula through this period!
- 3Keep trying different flavors, but when he becomes good at not gagging or pushing food out, try introducing foods with some texture. For instance, try mashed fruits or vegetables instead of blended.If your baby refuses all the purees you're giving her, there's a chance she simply doesn't like the texture.
- 4Some parents make food in advance and freeze it in ice cube trays. When ready to eat, simply thaw 1 or 2 and serve!If your baby doesn't finish all her food you can always freeze it.
- 5When your child masters vegetables and fruit you can try adding proteins like pureed chicken or tofu.
- 6Don't introduce new foods before bedtime - if baby's tummy reacts badly to it, or he's allergic, he'll have trouble sleeping.Give your baby 2-3 days between new foods to make sure he's not allergic.
- Some parents worry that giving their baby fruit will give them a sweet tooth and make them picky eaters, but there's no evidence of this.
- The order you introduce types of food to your child does not seem to matter, according to experts. Most start with rice baby cereal because it's the gentlest on young stomachs, then move on to other foods, but you can start from oatmeal or another cereal just as well.
- In the past, experts believed that allergens like peanuts and strawberries should not be given to kids until 1 year old, but now doctors say that giving your kid allergens early on actually makes them less likely to develop allergies. Whichever you decide, take extra care if you have a history of food allergies in your family. Only give a small bit and watch the baby closely.
- Böhringer Friedrich - Wassermelone, Böhringer 
- ParentingPatch - Baby Food Shelves at Kroger 
- Ravedave - Baby eating baby food 
- ParentingPatch - Blueberry and Cherry Baby Food Cubes 
- Baby Center - Introducing Solid Food 
- Mayo Clinic - Solid Food: How to Get Your Baby Started 
- Healthy Children - Switching to Solid Food 
- Some tips from parents on the Baby Center community 
Categories : Baby & Toddler
Recent edits by: Doug Collins, Yuliya