Thinking of starting baby on solid food? If you notice your baby is getting interested in what is on your plate, it may be the right time to consider introducing first foods.
Tips for Starting Baby on Solid Food
- Unless you are actively weaning your baby, remember that at first solid foods should only complement your breastfeeding. When starting baby on solid food, the bulk of your baby’s diet will still be breast milk, with solid food just filling the growing appetite that hasn’t already been fulfilled with milk.
- When you decide to introduce solid foods to your baby, be sure to nurse your baby before offering new foods. She is likely to be more interested in exploring new foods if she isn’t too hungry.
- Remember that learning to eat solid foods involves playing with the food, experimenting with it and generally having fun. When the meal is over, offer to nurse your baby again.
- If you feed solid food before nursing, the baby may end up weaning before you intend for it to happen, as the baby fills up on the solid food and creates less of a demand for your milk.
- Let your baby try a high chair and sitting in your lap. She may eat better in one or the other.
- Just be prepared for a mess. That’s part of the fun for her as she explores these new foods.
- Don’t rush your baby into using a spoon and dishes. Finger foods are easier for her to handle, and she can feed herself. By offering foods that your baby can feed to herself, you’ll be able to tell when she is ready for a slightly larger portion.
- Don’t forget, when starting baby on solid food, not to leave your little one unsupervised with food. While it may seem to be very small pieces, she may choke while you step into the other room.
- Don’t let her have hard foods like peanuts, and foods that are considered bite size like grapes or carrots need to be sliced into very small pieces to be eaten safely.
How Much Food?
When starting baby on solid food, offer just a tiny amount of food at first…maybe a quarter of a teaspoon once per day. Slowly increase the amount you give her and the frequency she eats solids as her hunger and interest dictates. You don’t need to offer solid foods every day, either.
Only offer her single foods at a time… like sweet potato or small cubes of avocado. The next week, try something else. This will make it easier to pinpoint foods that may cause a reaction. If you’re offering water in a cup, give only a few sips from a cup at mealtime.
How Do I Know If My Baby is Full?
Signs that your baby is full include turning her head away, batting the spoon, spitting food out, closing her mouth or wanting down. If your baby isn’t interested, that’s fine.
Just offer solid food again next week or the week after. Some babies do not get interested in solid food until they are a year old or so.
Try different foods, too. Some babies prefer to feed themselves than eat something that must be fed to them.
When it comes time to feed your baby solids frequently, offer them several times per day so your baby can graze. They will do better this way than eating three large meals per day.
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