Introducing Solid Foods to Your Baby
Feb 6, 2022 Introducing food to you baby can be a fun and exciting time, but if you were anything like me with my first baby, it can also be a very scary and anxious time, as well.
As a speech pathologist, I am keenly aware of how my kids accepted food into their mouths, chewed and then swallowed. I was looking for certain key signs to see that they were ready.
I felt like there was so much information out there and it was super confusing and overwhelming. Hopefully, these tips and suggestions will make the transition to solids a little easier for you!
Best First Foods
When I started both of my children on solids, I was still breastfeeding both of them around the clock. I, of course, asked our pediatrician what would be a good first food and he said rice cereal followed by vegetables and fruit. I didn’t want my supply to drop, but also knew it was time for them to eat because they exhibited the following signs:
- Grabbing my fork or spoon when I was eating
- Grabbing our open cups and trying to drink from them
- They showed an interest in our food (kept staring at them)
- Sitting up with minimal support
- Had good head control
Every child is different, and even though i started my kids on solids at 4 months, that might not be the case with every baby. Look for above signs in your child if you are considering solid trials! If you aren’t comfortable starting that young, it’s okay! Do what makes you feel safe and what you feel is best for your baby!
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t google the heck out of other mom sites to see what they did with their children. My mom even sent my record book from when I was a baby so I could see how much was a normal amount to eat!
I did start both kids on about ½ teaspoon of rice and mixed it with breastmilk. It was more milk than rice to start. They just had to swallow, but it gave them a chance to feel a little different texture in their mouths and start working on that rotary chew that they will need to eat soft foods in a few months.
Veggies or Fruits First?
With both of my kids, I started with fruit first. Most doctors or blogs will tell you to start with veggies first because once they get sweet, they won’t want anything else. I can tell you, at least with my two kids, that was not the case.
Once they got food, ANY food, they ate it. It didn’t matter if it was peas or bananas – although I will say neither of them loved pureed peas, but will eat whole peas no problem.
One thing I definitely did was make sure they had the same food for three days in a row to make sure there wasn’t any allergy to it. This was especially important once they got to the age where I gave them peanut butter and eggs.
From there, I just started giving them small portions of every type of food after I breastfed them. This way, their immediate hunger was already satiated and they were more just eating the food for experience and fun. Once both kids hit 6 months of age, they were on solids 2-3 times a day, which replaced a bottle or breastfeeding session.
Once your child is handling purees well, you can move to softer foods. These things can include:
- Mashed up banana
- Mashed avocado
- Piece of bread
- Soft carrots
- Smashed peas
This will, again allow them to get used to foods that have a more complex texture in preparation for fully solid foods.
If your children are like mine, we got to stage two foods at 6 months and that was it with baby food. They did not want it any more. My son would refuse it and my daughter would gag and throw it up.
This was a sign for me that they were ready for real people food. I was right – once they got more complex foods like pancakes, they never looked back. Of course, you need to make sure they are chopped and cut up small enough that they won’t choke.
If you are unsure what foods are safe, this is the exact chart I used when determining what food is okay to give my kids at different ages.
Of course, you don’t have to give them things exactly according to the chart! Use your best judgement and watch your baby for signs and cues they are ready for something else!