When Can My Baby Start Solid Foods?
It's impossible to get through this mama journey without asking a few questions. Actually a ton of questions. Probably a couple million... and counting.
What with the recommended water temperatures for baths, medicine doses set by weight, and how often your kid is supposed to poop in a 24-hour period, you can start to go crazy trying to remember it all. One thing that we get a lot of questions about is when our new babies should start solid foods.
The solid food stage is when your babe is transitioning from strictly milk/formula diet to pureed foods and cereals.
Once upon a time, there was a whole schedule that you would follow and only introduce certain foods at a time (to check for allergies). Now (thankfully) it's a free for all when your little one is ready for solids, but how do you know when they're ready?
If you were asking my mother, she would say that as soon as a baby is able to open their eyes they would be ready for some french fries. Bless her. Some mamas are super eager to get their littles onto solids to break up the non-stop nursing/bottle feeding.
But what do the experts say?
Here's what the AAP has to say about introducing foods: "Introduce solid foods around 6 months of age. Expose baby to a wide variety of healthy foods. Also offer a variety of textures."
So coming from a mama who LOVES a good vague statement, this appeals to me. It's one of those great ways of saying some kids are going to be ready before 6 months, and some maybe a little after, but either way that's a good milestone age to look for when thinking about solid foods.
It also doesn't specify in any way what you should be feeding your baby first (my mother will be thrilled, because...french fries) or in what quantities. Again, some babes are going to down an entire bowl of rice cereal in one sitting, and others will not be interested in a single thing you put on a spoon until they turn one year old.
But if there are some mamas out there who read that and are screaming at their screen because "WHAT THE HECK DO THEY MEAN BY AROUND, AND WHAT DOES VARIETY MEAN? AND TELL ME WHAT TO DO AND WHEN TO DO IT!" Mama, I hear you. So here's my mama advice about when to introduce solids to your babe, and what you can expect to happen when transitioning to that stage:
When your babe is able to sit up unassisted, you can set them down in a highchair and get a little bit of apple sauce or pureed peas or some oatmeal, and try to feed them a little bit. When you are first starting out, more than likely, they will have ZERO interest in what you are giving them. Both of my kids screamed and cried when I tried to feed them from a spoon at first. That's okay! This is all about the INTRODUCTION.
Don't worry about how much of it they're eating at this point, because they should still be getting all the nutrients and calories that they need from milk/formula and the solids are just in addition to that. So if they eat none of it, great. If they eat all of it, great!
The more that they are exposed to foods, the more they will learn what they like and what they don't. You'll start to notice that when you give them pears, they love them, but when you hit them with sweet potatoes, they freak out. That's all part of the fun! Just learn to mix things up, try new things, and get your little used to being fed with a spoon.
Another way to get your babes introduced to solids is by getting them some of those great baby food pouches--a lot of them are veggie/fruit mix and some even put a grain in there too. My littles loved them! And they were so great to have on hand when we were out of the house. It's often a little more palatable for babes who are used to sucking on a bottle anyway.
Whether you have a baby who is begging for solids at every feeding, or you have one who is only interested in milk, the solid foods stage is a such a fun time, and getting your little one started on trying new flavors and eating on his/her own is so huge!