Introducing solid foods into your baby’s diet can come with a whole lot of questions and concerns because it’s a big step! Hopefully this information will help guide you through this exciting time!
When can my baby begin eating solid foods?
Experts recommend gradually introducing solid foods when a baby is around 6 months old, depending on each child’s readiness and rate of development. The American Academy of Pediatrics uses these guidelines:
- Head control – Can your baby hold his head up and sit up in a high chair or feeding seat with good head control?
- Eagerness – Does your baby seem eager to be fed? Does he open his mouth when food comes his way or does he reach for you food?
- Weight – Typically, when babies double their birth weight around 4 months, and weigh about 13 pounds or more, they may be ready!
How should I start introducing solid foods?
When you think your baby is ready, talk to your doctor about it. Once you have your doctor’s OK, try introducing solids for the first time when your baby is not tired or cranky. It’s best for your baby to be a little hungry, but not starving.
To make eating solids for the first time smoother, give your baby a little breast milk and/or formula first. Then try giving him very small spoonfuls of food, and end with more milk.
Talk your baby through the process; he or she may not know what to do! And don’t be surprised if most of the food ends up everywhere else except your baby’s mouth! You can increase the amount of food progressively, giving your baby time to learn how to swallow solids.
If your baby cries or turns away, do not make him eat. Go back to nursing of bottle-feeding for a few days and then try again. Starting solid foods is a gradual process in which your baby will still get most of his nutrition from breastmilk or formula at first.
Which food should I give my baby first?
Usually, single-grain cereals are introduced first but there is no medical evidence that introducing solid foods in any particular order is better for your baby. For example, most people believe that introducing fruits first will make your baby develop a dislike for vegetables, but there is no evidence proving that.
When introducing single-ingredient pureed vegetables, fruit, or meat, it’s best to go slow, that way you can identify if your baby has an allergic response to something. Introduce one food at a time and wait several days before trying another one.
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