Getting ready to introduce your baby to solid food? This is an exciting time for both you and your baby, but it can also be a bit confusing! What are the best baby solid foods to start? Do you start with rice? Oatmeal? And how do you introduce these new foods?
Find out what you need to know when transitioning your baby from breast milk and/or formula to solid foods below!
How to Know When to Give Baby Solid Food
Most babies are ready to begin eating solid foods between 4 months and 6 months of age as a complement to breast-feeding or formula-feeding. By this age, babies typically begin to develop the coordination with their tongue and mouth that is necessary to move solid food from the front of the mouth to the back in order to swallow.
However, beyond your baby’s age, you can look for other signs to help determine if your baby is ready to start solid foods. Some signs may include:
- Your baby can sit upright and hold her head up
- Your baby is mouthing his hands and/or toys
- Your baby can sit with support
- Your baby no longer has the tongue-thrust reflex that pushes food out of his mouth
- Your baby is displaying an interest in and curiosity about food by leaning forward and opening her mouth
- our baby still seems hungry after getting a full day’s amount of liquids (breast milk or formula)
If your baby is showing these signs and you’ve received approval from your baby’s doctor, you can begin supplementing liquids with solid foods!
What Foods to Introduce First
While single-grain cereals are typically introduced as a first solid food, there isn’t medical evidence that shows introducing solid foods in a certain order is advantageous. Additionally, although many pediatricians recommend starting vegetables before fruits, there isn’t any evidence that your baby will develop a dislike for vegetables if fruit is given first.
While you can have peace of mind knowing there aren’t any strict rules you need to adhere to, below are some of the best baby solid foods to start with to get you and your baby off to a yummy start. Just remember to start simple and offer single-ingredient foods and wait three to five days between each new food to see if your baby has a reaction, such as diarrhea, a rash or vomiting. After introducing single-ingredient foods, you can offer them in combination.
· 4 to 6 Months: Single-Grain Cereals
Cereals are a good first food since they’re fortified with iron. Combine one teaspoon of single-grain cereal with four to five teaspoons of breast milk or formula.
Once your baby is used to swallowing thinner cereal, thicken it by using less water or breast milk and more cereal.
· 4 to 8 Months: Pureed Veggies, Fruits and Meats
As mentioned above, there’s no research that shows eating fruits before vegetables results in a lifelong preference for sweet foods. So you can begin with a fruit, veggie or meat – the order doesn’t matter!
· 6 to 8 Months: Single-Ingredient Finger Foods
Make sure fruits and veggies are soft enough to mash with gentle pressure between your thumb and forefinger. Avoid giving your baby hard, raw foods (like apple slices) at this age.
· 9 to 12 Months: Chopped, Ground or Mashed Foods
When your child is able to transition away from smooth purees, begin introducing more finger foods and make sure there’s some texture in anything that is mashed.
Planning to make your own baby food? See our tips and easy starter food recipes.
Create a Feeding Schedule for Baby
When creating a baby solid foods schedule, there will be a bit of trial and error in the beginning as you figure out what times of day your baby is interested in eating – but you’ll learn soon enough! If your baby is opening her mouth wide and taking bites on her own, she’s hungry. On the other hand, if she’s turning her head away, she may not be hungry and you can try again a little later.
A great way to get your baby on a good meal schedule is to create a routine. For example, you can begin by washing your baby’s hands and getting him in a calm mood before sitting him down to eat. To avoid distractions, turn off any TVs and loud music. Stay consistent with this routine and maintain a calm atmosphere before and during meals.
It’s best to start with one meal a day, then move up to two – one in the morning and one in the evening. Keep this schedule for about a month or so. As your baby gets older, you’ll work up to three solid meals a day and eventually add one or two snacks in between meals.
Before you begin feeding your baby solid foods, get ready with our adorable dining sets and other feeding products, including utensils, placemats and bibs. Read this blog post to find out more about what you need to feed your baby his first solid foods.