How to Keep the Solid Food Stage Stress Free
When your little one is reaching the solid food stage, you may be scratching your head a little bit about how that's going to work. Especially since most babes are pretty much attached to the breast/bottle and have zero interest in getting food from anywhere else. Picky eaters, am I right?
But the fact is, once you start feeding your baby solid foods, there really is no turning back. And a lot of mamas (myself included) pretty much dread the solid food stage because of the mess. When you're nursing, you're pretty much just dealing with no mess at all. But starting solids is kind of a big moment, and also one that is going to be FULL of minimizing messes until the end of time.
So this post is to help any mama who has some questions about the basics of solid food stage with a few tips on the method and amount, plus some life-saving products we know you'll get use out of!
First things first, you'll need to make sure your babe is ready for solids before you start trying to coax your homemade mix of spinach and apple into their screeching mouths. Babies are normally ready when they have decent head/neck control, and are in a supported sitting stage. Most pediatricians recommend starting to introduce solid foods from at 6 months, but this will vary from child to child. There is no reason to start children on solid foods before 6 months unless your pediatrician tells you otherwise. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that starting solids too early can be associated with increased weight gain and adiposity, both in infancy and early childhood.
Something I will say is you don't need to stress about feeding your baby full pureed meals right out of the gate. At this point your little should still be getting all of their nutritional needs met by their breastmilk/formula, so the introduction of solids is just to get them used to trying new flavors, textures, and to work on swallowing foods. So DON'T STRESS if they cry and whine and whack the spoon out of your hands. You're going to be doing this for a long time, so don't get frustrated right out of the gate.
Once baby is getting the hang of the eating thing, and they start to show interest in everything you're eating, you'll get a better idea of how much and how often they will want to eat (in addition to bottle/breastfeeding). And when they have a handle on purees, you can start adding table foods to the party as long as they're in tiny little pieces. This is the point when you're going to want to get your hands on some products that will make your life easier and keep your house a little bit cleaner.
To keep your sanity and to make sure that the entire plate full of applesauce and vanilla puffs doesn't end up on the floor, invest in some Avanchy Suction Bowls or Plates. These things will stay put on baby's tray or on the table, and you won't have to worry about it slipping around or being tossed. Their spoons are also a game changer for chubby baby hands, and helping little ones work on scooping their own food. No promises that your table won't need deep cleaning after every meal though. Babies are just mess magicians, ya know?
Oh, and speaking of dirty babies, unless you want to always strip them down to eat or change them 5x a day (in addition to all the changes thanks to diaper blow outs... thanks a lot teething diarrhea), then bibs are an absolute must. But don't bother yourself and drive yourself crazy with bibs that have a teeny square of velcro holding them in place...because babies are mess magicians, and they will tear those things off before you can finish filling their plate with food. The BapronBaby Bapron is everything, because it's a bib that ties in the back so it's pretty much impossible for your littles to get out of it without your help. It's also easy to wipe down and has a good surface area so that your babe can stay as clean as possible when they're enjoying their teeny bites of strawberries.
Something else to keep in mind is that you no longer have to introduce solids one at a time, but can pretty much give babes anything (besides honey). So mix it up, and make sure and do a solid split between sweet and savory so they get a range of tastes! You'll also want to keep an eye out for any bizarre changes in bowel movements or rashes on the tummy, neck, or bum (could be a reaction to one of the new foods). Always reach out to your pediatrician with questions if you're unsure about certain foods for your little.