Introducing Your Baby to Solid Foods

Stage 1 or stage 2, organic or homemade, oatmeal cereal or rice cereal… Whew! For a first time mom, feeding your baby solid food is overwhelming when you consider all of the choices available. Have no fear; you can give your baby the best without loosing your sanity in the process.

First Steps

If your baby is 4 to 6 months old and you want to start feeding him/her solid foods, but don’t know where to start, you are not alone. The first step to take is talking with your doctor. Write all of your questions about food and feeding down and bring it to your next doctor’s visit. Then, read everything you can from books and magazines, the Internet and of course ask advice from other mothers.

Normally solid foods are introduced between 4 and 6 months of age. You’ll know when your baby is ready when they are sitting up on their own, have good head control, have doubled their birth weight, seem hungry after breastfeeding or formula feeding or have become fascinated with what you are eating. They may even try to grab some food from your plate or take a sip from your cup. Start off slow –just one food at time, waiting about four or five days before introducing a new type of food.

Where Do I Start?

Combined with either breast milk or formula, rice cereal or oatmeal cereal are the common foods to start with. Some babies eat it right up and enjoy it. While others, my children included, are absolutely disgusted with its taste. If your child turns out to be the latter, try combining the cereal with about an ounce of applesauce or a mashed banana. It became a hit with my children and I combined their cereal with fruits from then on. Bananas and/or apples are usually the first fruits babies are given and sweet potatoes or squash are normally the first vegetables. You can purchase these foods ready-made at your local grocery store or you can choose to make homemade baby food.

Remember to take it one food at a time and consult with your doctor regarding the amount of food to give in addition to how much formula/breast milk to continue. If you notice that your baby is not interested in the food or even turns their head away, just wait a few hours or even a few days for their next feeding time and try again. Always consult your doctor if you see any serious aversions.

Don’t expect perfection from your child. No baby is exactly as the books say—some are just unique and nothing like “the book” says. If your baby happens to be one of the unique ones who do not like to eat any solid food and wants to stick with only milk for a little while longer, accommodate them. There’s no rush. You can always wait a week or two and try to start solid foods again. Every thing your baby has experienced since the moment they were born has been new for them, and it can be a little overwhelming.

So, like just about everything in motherhood and life, take it one day at a time!

by Georgina Chong-You