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When and how to introduce solids to my baby?

baby being fed with a spoon

Key points:
1. Introduce solids around 6 months based on readiness cues.
2. Begin with breast milk/formula before small spoonfuls of food.
3. Go slow, introducing one food at a time to check for allergies.
4. Be patient, expose baby to diverse healthy foods multiple times.

Introducing solids into your baby’s diet can raise a lot of questions and concerns because it’s a big step! Hopefully, this information will help to guide you through this exciting process!

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 child hold their 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? Do they open their mouth when food comes their way or do they reach for your food?
  • Weight – Typically, when babies double their birth weight at around 4 months and weigh about 13 pounds or more, they may be ready for this transition!

How should I start introducing solids?

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 little one is not tired or cranky. It’s best for them to be a little hungry, but not starving.

To make the experience of eating solids for the first time smoother, give your baby a little breast milk and/or formula first. Then try giving them very small spoonfuls of food and end with more milk.

Talk to your child through the process; they may not know what to do! And don’t be surprised if most of the food ends up everywhere but in their mouth! You can increase the amount of food progressively, giving them time to learn how to swallow solids.

If your baby cries or turns away, do not force them to eat. Go back to nursing or bottle-feeding for a few days and then try again. Starting solid foods is a gradual process in which your little one will still get most of their 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 says that introducing solid foods in any particular order is better for your baby. For example, most people believe that introducing fruits first will make children 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 reaction to something. Introduce one food at a time and wait several days before trying another one.

When introducing solids, it is very important to expose your child to many healthy foods and textures, so don’t give up if they don’t want to eat something in particular. Just try it again a few days later! Sometimes, children need to be exposed to new foods 10-15 times before they accept them; that’s why it’s important to keep offering them to them.

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