Feeding your infant solids for the first time is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming, especially for first time parents. Lingering worries of allergies, choking and if your child is physically ready can be daunting. But I am here to tell you that with the proper education, preparation and attitude, feeding your little can be SO much fun!
Once your child reaches four months old, your pediatrician may advise you to begin feeding your baby solids. With all of my children, we waited until they were closer to six months old. Mainly because I wanted to make my own purees, and I knew this would be time consuming. I wanted to be sure that they were developmentally ready for food, too (and with Hank, it just seems like he is growing up so fast and I felt like starting him on solids any earlier than six months would make me cry).
Here are some things to look out for when determining if your baby is ready for solids:
- Your child can sit up well, unassisted.
- Baby is ready to chew.
- Baby has lost the tongue-thrust reflex; the urge to push solids out of his mouth.
- Infant shows interest in your food and may even try to grab food from you when you are eating.
- Baby is developing a pincer grasp (ability to pick up small items between two fingers).
Once you have determined if your child is ready, you’ll need to gather some supplies. First, make sure you have a good high chair – ones that grow with the baby are great. We have the Graco 6-in-1 high chair that can convert from an infant high chair to an infant and toddler booster seat, and more! You will also want to stock up on baby spoons (forks for later) plastic bowls, and bibs. I highly recommend silicone bibs like these – they offer easy cleanup and are more difficult for your child to rip off.
And of course, you’ll want to stock up on food. I really like Beechnut and Plum Organics brands. If you are planning to make your own baby food (my next blog post will cover how to easily whip up homemade purees) I would suggest getting something like the Baby Bullet. This feeding system comes with everything you need to make your own foods, including a storage system, recipe booklet and silicone trays for freezing. You can buy extra storage containers and freezer trays; we had to do this with the twins.
Now that you have everything you need, I suggest starting with cereal mixed with either breast milk or formula. We started with one serving each evening for a week, so that we could both be home to watch their reactions and take pictures! After one week with cereal in the evening, we moved cereal to the morning (usually around 9 or 10 a.m.) and then slowly introduced purees in the evenings. Each food should be offered for three days in order to monitor for allergies. If no reactions are observed, you can couple that food with a new food. Check out this sample feeding schedule below for how we introduced Hank to solids this past month.
We started with banana, and then moved on to avocado, sweet potato, apples, etc. I keep a running list in my phone notes of what he has tried and if he did or did not like it. Apparently my boy is not fond of avocado, but we are going to try that again in another week or two. You will notice that your baby’s tastes are likely to change on the regular. Just wait until they are two years old and all they will eat is mini muffins and French fries. Here is a “baby food timeline” I created that outlines when are good ages to introduce certain foods. I hope you find this helpful. Have fun!