Solid Food for Babies 101
Introducing solid foods to your baby is possibly one of the most thrilling (plus, messy) milestones of the first years. By the time your baby is four to six months and you’ve aced the formula/breastfeeding game, do not get too comfortable, though, as the infant will soon be ready for “real” solid food.
In this post, I’ll be sharing everything you must know about introducing solids to your baby. So, without further ado, let’s begin!
When to Introduce Solids to Your Baby?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a baby should be introduced to solids between four to six months. However, this may vary from child to child. Here are some common signs that your baby is ready for solids:
- He/she can sit upright with little to no support.
- Has reasonable head/neck control.
- Shows interest in food.
- Feel hungry even after receiving a full day’s milk.
How to Introduce Solids to Your Baby?
Introducing solids to your baby can be a bit tricky. Here’s how you can start introducing baby to solids:
- Begin with half a spoonful (or less) of soft solid food and engage with the baby throughout the process.
- The baby might be confused at first and would possibly reject it altogether. But keep trying gently.
- You can make eating solids easier for the baby by giving a little breast milk (or formula) and then switch to small amounts of solids. Don’t be surprised if the first few solid-food sessions wind up in the baby’s (or yours) face.
- Gradually increase the amount of food given as it provides baby the time to learn how to swallow solids.
- If the baby turns away or cries when you’re trying to feed him/her, don’t force. Return to bottle or breastfeeding before trying solids again.
Tip: When introducing solids to your baby, begin with food at a time. This helps determine whether your baby has any issues with that particular food, e.g., food allergies. Be sure to wait for three to five between every new food.
What Solids to Give?
There aren’t any fixed rules for an infant’s first solids. It’s more crucial to provide various vegetables, meats, fruits to get the baby used to different flavors and textures. Here are some suggestions categorized by age:
- Solids for 4- to 6-month infants– single-grain cereals
- Solids for 4- to 8-month infants– Pureed fruits, meats, and veggies
- Solids for 6- to 8-month infants– Single-item finger foods
- Solids for 9- to 12-month infants– Mashed, ground, or chopped foods
When introducing solids to your child, it’s most vital for your baby to get used to the eating process, such as eating from a spoon, sitting up, resting between bites, etc. These early experiences can help the baby exhibit good eating habits throughout his/her life. Also, remember to add a good variety of nutritious, healthy foods and make sure not to overfeed!