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Introducing Solids to Babies: A Complete Guide - SmartMom

Introducing Solids to Babies: A Complete Guide

There is no subject that divides parents more significantly than introducing solids to babies.   Whether it’s the time (4 months vs. 1 year?), the method (purees vs. food in its original form?), the food (organic and homemade vs. jarred?), the location (in a high chair vs. on the floor?), controversy looms around every corner of the solid food terrain.  

With all that being said, I’m aware that no matter what I say, someone will disagree with something in this article.  So, let’s acknowledge that and move on.

Here are some tips for introducing solids to babies that have worked for my family.

Timing

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that’s babies be breastfed exclusively for at least six months.  This is obviously something that varies from family to family, but if you use the APA as your guide, you can begin introducing solids around the six month mark.

Holding fast to a date on the calendar is not necessarily as effective as watching your baby’s cues for readiness.  These cues are: your baby can sit up relatively well and hold his/her head up, he/she no longer thrusts their tongue when something is placed in their mouth, your child is doing some sort of motion that looks like chewing (even though there isn’t a tooth in sight), and  your child takes an interest in what you are eating.   These are all signals that it might be time to start introducing solids to babies.

With that being said, it’s also acceptable to delay introducing solids beyond 6 months if you do not think your child is ready.  For the majority of the first year, your child is getting most of his/her nutrients from milk, so they won’t go hungry. We always tried to feed our son after I had nursed him just so we would not be replacing a meal.   This ensured that my supply didn’t decrease at all.

Method

We started off with purees.   I relied heavily on the book “The Wholesome Baby Food Guide: Over 150 Easy, Delicious, and Healthy Recipes from Purees to Solids” by Maggie Meade.   Not only did this book have great recipes, but it also had information about the entire process of introducing solids.   Offering a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables was important to me, and this book helped me plan and prepare for something way outside of my realm of understanding.

We used a regular old food processor to make the purees which was just fine, oftentimes thinning out the puree with breastmilk or water.   We also gave our son soft finger foods to experiment with.  He loved bananas and puffs since they were easy to grasp and he could gum them down.

Food

I tried to stick to organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible, but the cost and effort often got in the way.  We always tried to make sure we bought organic for the “dirty dozen” (fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticides).

We bought a lot of frozen fruits and vegetables since they are quite nutritious as they are flash frozen at their peak ripeness.   This also allowed for us to stock up and cook when we could rather than feel the rush to prepare the purees before the food spoiled.  We froze the purees in ice cube trays or silicone baby food containers that created individual servings that we would defrost and serve.   This worked swimmingly.

Location

We always had our son sit in the high chair, even if he only played with cheerios.  The act of sitting down and eating together was something we wanted him to get comfortable with (mostly because we did not want to give up going out to dinner on the weekends!).   He now knows to expect food when he sits in his high chair and can communicate to us that he’s hungry just by going to the chair.

Overall, introducing solids to babies is not very complicated. Your child will let you know when they’re ready and what they’re ready to eat.  Watch for their cues and resist the urge to rush.  Once you have introduced solids, you’ve opened your floor up to a whole new level of filth that you will be scrubbing at until your child goes off to college.

RELATED QUESTIONS

My 6 1/2 month is eating some solids and is BF. I know I’m supposed to BF first then feed solids but after he nurses, he is full and not wanting the solids. What am I doing wrong? Also since he’s BF, I have no clue how much milk he’s getting each day. Especially since he’s on the breast every 2-3 hours still, is that normal?

I’m just trying to understand: why is there such a rush to introduce solids? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until 6 months, with a few exceptions, of course…

Any moms start their LO’s on “solids” (rice, oatmeal, baby food) sooner than the recommended 5-6 months? DD is just not satisfied with milk anymore, the amount she drinks to get full is ridiculous.

Hi moms! How do you guys feel about giving a 7month old Cheerios? He doesn’t have any teeth yet but he shows so much interest in solids besides his baby food that I feel bad…he even eats beans…

When did all you mommies start your babies on solids? Jar food, cereal, oatmeal, fruit? How often and what age? Also any suggestions on what’s most healthy for them and what they liked best? I have a 4 month old. Is it too early?

When did you stop breastfeeding? LO is 6 1/2 months and has never had formula or anything but after starting solids breastfeeding has become so difficult….

I started feeding my 8 month old solids and so far she’s had applesauce, sweet potato, zucchini, carrots, banana, green beans, pear, tortillas (corn and flour), avocado, and baby cereal. Of all that, she did not like carrots, banana, baby cereal, pear, applesauce, and green beans. What else can I add to her diet? She’s EBF.

What was your baby’s favorite new food once you started introducing solids?

How long did you continue breast feeding once solids were introduced? There is so much literature but what do moms actually do?

When introducing solids, (I have 5.5 months old son), I hear you’re supposed to introduce one type of food at a time and wait for three days. I guess that means only formula or breast milk for those 3 days?
 

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