Your baby is bursting into tears, her bottom is pink and puffy, and you’re hurting…
If the time has come and you’re going to begin feeding your baby solid foods, it may be a little confusing—and maybe even daunting. What do you feed her? How soon is too soon? Don’t worry! Relax, have fun, and keep these do’s and don’ts in mind as you begin introducing solid foods to your future foodie.
Visit with your pediatrician before starting.
No one knows your baby better than you and your pediatrician, so it’s best to get your doctor’s approval before making this solid step. Odds are, if your baby is four months or older, can sit up without your support and has good control over his head and neck, your pediatrician will confirm that your little guy’s ready for big boy food.
Keep it real.
Foods like bananas, avocados and sweet potatoes—healthy and mushy—are an ideal place to begin. Also try mixing single-grain infant cereals with formula or breast milk. When you first start making these gourmet purees, keep the consistency light by adding more breast milk or formula. As time goes by, thicken the purees up a bit. If your mini looks like he’s working to swallow, it’s a sign that you should lighten the food up with more pureeing and breast milk/formula.
Follow the three-day rule
Only feed your baby one kind of food for three days before switching to a new one. This will give their digestive system a chance to adapt to solids.
Let your little one play with the food.
Your little one is intrigued: Allow her to experiment before she decides it’s time for a bite. In the beginning, most of the food will end up all over her face, hands and clothes. So have a giggle, enjoy the visual, and have the laundry detergent ready to go.
Don’t take breast milk or formula off the menu.
Breast milk and/or formula should be the main sources of your little nugget’s nutrients and calories. After a year, you can begin to cut back on breast milk or formula and replace it with 16-20 ounces of whole milk a day.
Don’t reuse leftovers.
Be sure to throw any leftovers away. Your baby deserves the freshest and the best! (Also, bacteria may end up in the leftovers, making a tummy ache very likely for your little one, or at the least, a very stinky diaper for you to change.)
Don’t force it.
When your baby looks like he’s over it, he probably is (this will probably be the case after one to two teaspoons of food). Also, let your little diner decide what he does or doesn’t want to eat. If you push peas on him when he clearly doesn’t like them, put them on the backburner and try again later. You want him to have fun at mealtime. Letting your little foodie make some of the decisions about what he eats will also help establish good eating habits for life.
Don’t lose hope.
If your baby isn’t enjoying an unfamiliar puree, it doesn’t mean you’re terrible in the kitchen. On average, it takes 6-10 tries for your baby to enjoy an unfamiliar food.
As you continue introducing your mini connoisseur to solid foods, remember to enjoy yourself and experiment with different combinations. Keep these tips for starting your baby on solid foods in mind as you embark on this new milestone, and have fun with your baby in the process. Bon appetit!