When to Start Solid Foods

Is your baby ready for food? Check out these tips for baby’s first feeding.

Knowing when to introduce solid foods to your baby can be a bit confusing. Some of my babies were ready once they hit four months, while others were pushing six months before they had their first taste of food. This is definitely an area where each baby is unique.

Here are a few tips for when (and how) to start solid foods with your baby.

When to Start Solid Foods

You may be asking, “How do I know when to introduce solid foods?”

Look for signs from baby. Some babies will hit a four month sleep regression, are awake more and famished. Others may be content with breastmilk or formula until they are nearing six months.

Your little one may also be ready for solid foods if:
● Baby can hold his head up.
● Baby can sit up while supported
● Baby has doubled (or nearly doubled) his birthweight.
● Baby is showing signs of hunger despite six full feedings (or 32 oz of formula) a day.
● Your baby is waking more during night, or during naps, needing to eat.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until baby’s six month birthday to introduce solid foods. This recommendation gives baby’s digestive system a chance to mature.

A good rule of thumb is to plan ahead. Make a note to discuss the introduction of solid foods with your pediatrician at baby’s four month checkup. Talk about signs that your baby is ready and come to an agreement about a baby’s food groups and how to introduce baby’s first foods.

Basic Baby Food Groups

The baby food aisle in a grocery store can be overwhelming. It includes jar-after-jar and brand-after-brand with every mixture imaginable. Add in the options of cold-puree, organic, or natural baby foods and your mind might begin to spin.

This is one time where a bit of focus is helpful. On Becoming Babywise: Book Two lists the five foods groups as: cereals, vegetables, fruits, meats, and juices.

As you’re looking to start introducing solid foods you’ll want to focus on cereals, vegetables, and fruits. Meats and juices can be introduced around ten and twelve months respectively.

How to Introduce Solid Foods

The golden rule when introducing solid foods to baby is to work slowly and methodically through the different food groups. Introduce one new food at a time, for 3-5 days, to make sure baby doesn’t have an allergic reaction.

A simple first choice, with the least chance for allergic reactions, is rice cereal. Working through each of the cereals (rice, oat, wheat, barley) gives baby a good chance to get used to solid food and gain nutritional value from it in the process.

Following the introduction of each type of cereal, start introducing vegetables by color (such as all yellow vegetables followed by all green vegetables). Following introduction of each vegetable, you can start systematically introducing fruits.

Article Continues Below Advertisement

Baby’s First Feeding

Introducing baby to solid food is an exciting event, but don’t be alarmed if it seems as though each spoonful of food seems to come right back out.

Baby’s tongue will naturally push food back out of his mouth until he learns the art of what to do with the food in his mouth. With patience, you’ll learn that baby will slowly learn how to swallow solid food that is very different from his usual milk.

Consider introducing baby’s first meal at breakfast to give you the day to watch for signs of an allergic reaction (upset stomach, diarrhea, and rashes are the most common). If a reaction occurs, you’ll want to stop the baby food and contact your pediatrician about next steps.

Introducing your little one to solid foods is an exciting time. Try out the new highchair, grab a cute bib, and pull out the camera to capture this memory. Here’s one more step towards independence for your little one.

Interested in making your own baby food? Check out our Tips for Making Homemade Baby Food.

Jess Wartinger

Jess Wartinger

Jess Wartinger resides in rural New York with her husband and five children. Formerly an early elementary teacher, Jess currently spends her time loving her kids and holding down the fort at home.

Facebook Comments