Chances are you’re here because you’re getting ready to start baby on solids and you have no. Idea. What. To. Do.
Let me tell you, I’ve been there.
As soon as 5 months hit, the countdown was on and I turned into a pinteresting (is that a word? I don’t think that’s a word. Oh well, it is now), researching maniac, trying to learn as much as I could about introducing solids. There is so much out there and because I’m all about helping you make life easier, I’ve taken all the best information I’ve learned an put it into one, easy to read post, just for you!
We’ll go through everything you need to know, from A to Z, about starting your baby on solids so you can rest easy knowing you’re prepared!
First things first.
The most important question to ask…
Is your baby ready for solids?
This answer is not as simple as it may seem. There are many different factors that come into play when determining whether or not your baby is ready for solids. It is also not a question that you can answer yes to some, and no to others, but proceed anyway. You need to make sure your baby is full ready before starting them on solids.
To figure out if your baby is ready for solids, you first must ask yourself these questions:
- Is your baby 6 months old? You have to start with this question. Before 6 months, your baby’s digestive system is still maturing so starting them earlier then 6 months means you run the risk of their digestive system being too immature for food. Not to mention, most babies don’t lose their tongue thrust reflex until around this time.
- Can your baby sit up unassisted? Your baby should be able to sit up on their own and hold their head up with good neck control.
- Does your baby show interest in others eating? Is your baby staring at you eating your food the way you stare at someone eating a chocolate cake?
- Do they open their mouth when they see food coming?
- Last but not least, can they let you know when they are no longer hungry? This could be in the form of turning their head away, leaning back, or no longer opening their mouth for food.
If you answered “yes” to all of the questions above, then congratulations! We are ready to move on to the fun part. Starting baby on solid food!
The 4 W’s: When, Where, What, and Why
Okay, so I know it’s typically the 5 W’s, but I’m going to assume you know who is eating the solids, so I opted to leave that one out and just stick to the other 4.
There are a ton things you’ll need to know, so I’ve broken them down into 4 categories: When, where, what, and why.
This category is going to mean two different things. First, what age will you start your baby on solid foods? This question can’t be answered by just you, so make sure you check out the questions above to make sure you’re starting your baby when they are ready.
The second when is, what time of day will you feed your baby solid foods. It is recommended to start with once a day and to make a routine of it so baby knows when it’s time to eat. And if you haven’t noticed already, I freaking love routines, so this is right up my alley. I suggest picking a time of day and sticking to it every time you feed your baby solids to help with that routine.
I feed Rhys his daily dose of solid foods at dinner time, right after a bottle, and about 2 hours before he goes to bed. This is to help make sure he’s gotten enough calories in before bed and to give his body time to digest it before going to sleep.
At this point, you’ve probably noticed your baby is easily distracted. Sometimes if I am feeding Rhys I have to hide away from Bryn otherwise Rhys gets too excited and won’t eat.
Since pretty much everything is exciting for babies and we want them to be focusing on eating when giving them solids, pick a place in your house to feed your baby where there is minimal distractions. Turn off the tv, stop the music, and sit directly in front of them.
Oh, this is where things get fun!
What are you going to feed your baby?
Are you going to buy pre-made food or make your own?
There is a ton to consider! Let’s start with what you are going to feed your baby.
You might have heard that starting your baby on bland food and saving the sweeter ones until last help prevent a picky eater, but that is a myth. There isn’t enough evidence to prove this so start your baby on whatever you would like!
You’ll want to start off by introducing each new food one at a time, for about 3-5 days each so your baby gets use to the different flavours. Remember, this is a totally new experience for them and they’re going to need time to adjust.
Here are the foods you can start your baby on at 6 months:
- Grains such as iron fortified infant cereal
- Pureed cooked vegetables such as: sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, squash, peas, and broccoli
- Pureed cooked or very rip and mashed fruits: bananas,
avocados, pears, and apples
- Meat and Alternatives: pureed cooked eggs, chicken, beef, fish, and beans
- Dairy: yogurt of 3.25%, or higher, in fat
When you are giving your baby solid foods, you want avoid adding any spices or sugar to it. You want to allow your baby to learn the flavours of the food before you start altering it.
Next, deciding whether or not you want to make your own food or buy it pre-made.
I feel like this one is purely up to you and don’t see any problem with either! If you are making your own (this is what I chose to do since I’m home and have the time) you have the luxury of knowing exactly what is in the food, how much you want to make, and what type of flavour blends you want. If you are buying them pre-made, you have the convenience of having your baby food right away and it’s one less thing you have to worry about adding to your (probably) already busy schedule. There are a ton of great brands that make ready to eat baby foods!
If you’re interested in how to cook your own baby food and baby food recipes, make sure you leave your email in the sidebar to be notified when I post all about that in the near future!
You will want to avoid foods such as:
- Honey (to avoid the risk of food poisoning)
- Sugary drinks and foods (e.g candies, cookies, soda pop)
Although it may seem like an obvious statement, why are you feeding your baby solid foods, it is important to note that in the first 12 months of your baby’s life they are still getting most of their nutrients from either breastmilk or formula. Your baby’s solid food meals are not in replacement of milk, but in addition to it.
Whatever you choose to feed your baby, make sure it’s healthy and nutritious. Our little guys are growing and we need to make sure we fill them with food that will help support that!
So now that we’ve gone through all the details you’ll need to know for starting your baby on solid foods, lets recap (because that was a ton of information).
- Make sure your baby is ready for solid foods and is at least 6 months old
- Start your baby on nutritious, pureed cooked vegetables and fruits, meats, and infant cereal
- Start them off with one meal a day, introducing them to one food at a time, and feed them until they show signs of being full
- Keep a routine every time you feed them solid foods so they understand what is happening
- Avoid spiced and sugary foods
- Breastmilk and formula should be the main source of food, with solids being in addition to them
To make things even easier for you guys I’ve created a graphic which you can pin (because I know you have a whole board specifically for baby stuff!)to help keep all this information in one spot.
Happy eating and good luck, Mama!
Talk soon xoxo
If you liked this post, check out these ones next:
- Surviving The Sleep Regression
- Teeth! Helping Your Baby Through The Teething Phase
- What Happens When You Stop Breastfeeding: The Things Nobody Tells You