Starting With Solid Baby Food
Find Baby Feeding Tips, Recipes, Picky Eater Tips, Foods To Avoid, Feeding Schedules, Fun Finger Foods and more
I had heard the stories about babies making all kinds of funny faces when trying solid baby food the first time. So we loaded the camera, invited our families and served a small amount of potato mixed with breast milk.
Our daughter gaped, swallowed and gaped again. End of story.
Not much action, but the start of a fairly uncomplicated transition from breastfeeding to solid food.
Our youngest boy was harder to convince of the benefits of solid food. Or actually of anything but breast milk. He made faces and spat it all out in the beginning.
People are different. Not all babies are impressed by solid baby food. And they may not be ready for it just because you are.
They might be suspicious to all new tasted and weird consistencies. They might have difficulties swallowing anything but liquid. Then there are allergies.
Below you'll find tips to get a good start in the transition to solid baby food. (Go directly to the feeding tips by clicking here.)
If you want to cook your own baby food, here are some tips especially for you:
Now to the baby food start-out tips. I've tried all of these tips, although not all of them with all my kids. Pick and choose depending on your situation.
Tips For An Easy Baby Food Start
Load the cameraThe first time never comes back.
It doesn't really matter if the baby spits it all out or swallows and asks for more, it is still a memorable moment. So load your camera or video camera!
Start at around six monthsWHO recommends only breastfeeding during your baby's first six months. This was changed quite recently. Before the recommendation was only breastfeeding for 4-6 months.
Why the change?
WHO has reviewed all the benefits of breastfeeding. There are a lot of benefits from breastfeeding. However, many babies become interested in what their parents put in their mouths at some point when they are 4-6 months old. Older than 6 moths, it may be harder to start with solid baby food.
Another milestone is that your baby should at least have doubled his birth weight.
So start at around six months. Check with your baby's health care provider for your specific situation.
Start when the baby seems to be interested.
How can you know if your baby is interested? Well, one way is to try...
Another one is to study your baby's reactions when he is sitting on your lap when the rest of the family eats. If he follows what you do, maybe tries to grab the fork or the food, he might be open to try this strange habit himself.
To make life easier, wait with introducing solid food until your baby can hold his head steadily and sit well on your lap. He doesn't have to be able to sit by himself, though.
Another indication that your baby is ready for solid food is that he seems hungry! He might be gaining weight as he should, but wants to eat more often or is less content.
Start with a simple tasteImagine to never have tasted anything but a sweet, warm liquid. Your baby doesn't even know that there are other tastes or consistencies or temperatures in the world.
Start with something easy. Either buy a can of baby food for his appropriate age, make baby cereals or cook a potato that you mash and mix with breast milk or formula. There should be no lumps at all in the food. More recipes for the absolute beginner can be found here.
Don't use any salt at all when you prepare your baby's food! His kidneys are not enough developed handle salt.
Also wait with serving meat and fish until your baby is older than six months. Fruit, vegetables and cereals are good choices in the beginning.
Whatever meal you start to choose with, make it semi-liquid.
Start with a small amountFor your baby, solid baby food is a new world. Start slowly once a day. One or two teaspoons is enough the first time. This way you will notice if your baby has an allergy or if his stomach gets upset.
If your baby likes what he gets you can increase the amount slowly during the next few days until he eats around 3 table spoons. Then start with another kind of food if you like.
Additional liquid or notWhen I started serving solid food to my first baby, I got worried that he wouldn't get enough liquid since I substituted some of the breast milk with solid baby food.
I tried giving him water but he refused. I then rushed to the drugstore to buy some baby juice.
In the beginning your baby will still get almost all his food in liquid form. Absolutely no reason to introduce expensive baby juice or other liquid.
Offer water, nothing else (except for breast milk or formula, of course).
When to feed your babyTry feeding your baby when he or she is hungry but not starving and not very tired. It isn't all that important at what point of the day you feed your baby solid food. Pick a time that you find convenient and then try to stick to it as babies love routines.
It may seem very tempting to serve the solid food in the evening to maybe help your baby sleep longer without getting hungry.
That's just fine, but you might want to start earlier in the day the first few times, just to make sure that baby food doesn't give your baby stomach pain.
So if the evening is your goal, start feeding him baby food in the afternoon and then move to the evening after a few days.
Just a tip, though - lunch is usually a good time of the day for cooked solid foods.
Don't try to feed him when he is very tired, that will only cause problems!
Also, don't wait until your baby is starving, he will be very focused then on getting his usual breast milk or formula. In such case, first feed him his usual food and then give him some solid baby food afterwards.
How do I know if my baby is full?Well, he doesn't want to eat more! Simple as that. Don't focus too much on the amount.
For breastfeeding mothers, this might be the first time you actually notice how much your baby eats. When breastfeeding there is no way to know without pumping.
So just relax. Your baby will eat as much as he wants to. Offer him one more spoon a few times. If he continues to reject it, respect his choice.
If your baby doesn't want any, try again the next day. And the next. To learn some more about children's eating habits, click here.
Don't force it!Babies are routine lovers. If your baby isn't interested in doing much more than maybe put his hand in the food, do the same procedure the next day with a big smile.
Eating is natural and fun should be your message. Let him take his time and never force your baby to eat. If he is ready, he will be interested in a day or two.
If your baby continues to make faces and spit, consider trying another taste. For example cereal instead of potatoes.
If your baby gets upset or refuses to taste the food, don't force it. Wait a week or two and try again.
There is no hurry.
Have you ever seen an adult who lives on formula? No? Well you see, it's just a matter of time before your baby eats only solid food!
Remember that it is a lot more fun to try to encourage a picky eater, than to force him.
Equipment adviceThe basic equipment you need is a soft, rubber-tipped spoon and a bib.
If your baby can sit steady enough, a high chair is convenient.
For high chairs, Danish design Tripp Trapp is very good, and practically can't be worn out.
Check out some of the current deals on baby feeding gear below.
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