Baby's First Foods - Introducing Solids
When is the right time to introduce your baby to solids?
While the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends introducing solid foods to your baby at around 6 months, each child’s readiness will depend on his or her own rate of development. Here are a few things to keep in mind to know if your baby is ready:
- Can your baby hold their head up on their own? If your little one has head control, then it could be a great time to start on solids! You want them to be able to eat in a seating position - Feeding solids to your baby any earlier increases the risk of choking.
- Is your baby pushing food placed on their tongue out the front of their mouth? This tongue-thrust reflex is what keeps them from choking on milk or formula - so it's completely normal! This reflex usually disappears around 6 months, so if you experience this the first few times you introduce solids:
- Try diluting it to a thinner consistency.
- Wait another week or so before trying again.
- Do they show interest in your food? Watching to see if your little one is curious about what you’re eating could be a great indicator!
If the answer to all of these questions is a resounding yes (yay!) you are set to open a whole new world of tastes to your little one! That means kiddies will want to try your food on the go - grabbing a kit like our feeding bundle will make sure you're prepared to snip, smash, and stay clean on all of your feeding adventures.
What foods should you start with?
Single-grain cereals are a great option for introducing your baby to solids! Mix a little with breast milk or formula and feed to make eating solids for the first time easier. Start with a thin consistency and gradually thicken over time as your baby starts getting more comfortable. As your baby is transitioning to solids, they will only need a few spoonfuls at a time. At this stage, the solids is a complement to breast milk or formula, not a substitute. Once your baby gets the hang of eating cereal off the spoon, then it's time to introduce fruits and vegetables!
Pediatricians typically recommend vegetables before fruits but there really is no medical evidence suggesting that any particular order has an advantage for your baby. As you introduce solids, just keep these things in mind:
- One food at a time. It’s important to offer only one new fruit or vegetable at a time and to wait two to three days before introducing another new food. Symptoms from food allergies can occur from a few minutes to a few days after eating a particular food so by waiting before introducing new foods is the best way to tell if your baby is sensitive to a specific food.
- Texture is important. Most babies prefer to start with softer smoother textures and gradually move towards thicker and coarser textures. MASH is a great tool to make sure that your baby's food is the perfect consistency for their eating stage. Just smash until smooth and feed right from the bowl!
- Always spoon feed from a bowl rather than a jar. Feeding directly from a jar may introduce bacteria from the baby's mouth to the spoon and back into the food, creating a food safety issue.
- Start to introduce red meat into the baby’s diet. Red meat is high in the three key nutrients that babies can be deficient in - iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. At 6 months, breastfed babies’ iron stores start to diminish so the AAP says that around this time, it’s a good time to introduce purees of iron-rich protein like beef or lamb.
- PRO TIP: Our CHUBBY GUMMY teethers make a perfect starter spoon for little ones who just want a bit at a time or who may be simultaneously teething AND trying out solids!
Some of our favorite ideas for first foods:
- Avocado Contains lots of healthy fats, magnesium, vitamin B, niacin, vitamin E, potassium, folate, and fiber.
- How to prepare: Just mash and spoon feed. It can be thinned with breast milk or formula if needed.
- Winter Squash Easy to digest carbohydrate and high in vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
- How to prepare: Cut open the squash and remove the seeds. Roast in the oven for about an hour at 350 degrees. ( Instant Pot: cook for 7 minutes with 1 cup of water.) Once cool, scoop out the flesh and mash.
- Green Peas Peas are a great first “green” food as they are packed with a ton of nutritional value.
- How to prepare: Steam or Boil peas in a small amount of water. Reserve leftover water for thinning out the peas. Place the cooked peas in a blender and begin pureeing. (note: if the “skins” on peas are not pureeing smoothly, run your mixture through a strainer to get a smoother texture).
- Banana Bananas are a great source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium and potassium.
- How to prepare: Choose ripe ones with some brown spots - easier to digest. Peel, mash, and feed.
- Egg Yolk Excellent source of healthy fat and choline which is great for the baby's brain and eyes. While many parents may hesitate to introduce a highly allergic food like an egg to a 6-month-old baby, new research shows that early introduction is critical to reducing the likelihood of food allergies (American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology).
- How to prepare: Gently poach. Keep the egg yolk soft and a little runny for easier digestion.
- Blended Red Meat High in iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.
- How to prepare: Organic or pasture-raised beef or lamb (ground beef, or lamb chops). Cook in a preferred manner and then place in a blender with some broth or water and blend into a creamy puree.
- Sweet Potatoes Tastes delicious and is packed with lots of vitamin A, beta carotene, potassium, vitamin E, calcium, and folate.
- How to prepare: Boil, steam or bake the sweet potato. Place cooked sweet potato into a blender, appliance of choice or mash until you get a smooth texture. Add water, breastmilk or formula to get a thin consistency.
I knew that I had always wanted kids that were good eaters so as soon as both girls were ready to start solids I was excited to introduce new items one by one so that they would have a varied diet. To this day, my kids will try anything. They may not love everything, but they will try anything!
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