Starting your baby on solid food is a really exciting, but also sort of confusing event. When should you start? What should you feed them? What time of day is best? What if they seem uninterested at the beginning? It is all very confusing to a first-time mom, but you quickly get the hang of it. This is a step-by-step guide using what I learned from the experience.
Step 1: Get the green light from your pediatrician
Most likely between 4-6 months you will have a conversation with your pediatrician about starting solids. He or she will outline how you should go about starting this adventure. Below are the notes I took during my conversation with my pediatrician, but you should consult with yours before starting.
- Suggested starting between 4-6 months
- Do not make any changes to your breast feeding or bottle feeding routine – they will still be getting most of their nutrients from this
- Start with feeding baby oatmeal for 2 weeks, NOT baby rice cereal because rice contains arsenic
- Feed baby oatmeal 1 hour after breast feeding or bottle feeding
- After 2 weeks, can add a fruit or veggie
- Only add 1 new food every 3-5 days so you can be sure the first food did not cause an allergy (example: After 2 weeks of oatmeal, Days 1-4 feed oatmeal with pureed apple. If no reaction, Days 5-8 can feed oatmeal, apples and add peas. If no reaction, Days 8-12 feed oatmeal, apples, peas, and avocado. And so on.)
- Can add non-spicey spices when cooking fruits and veggies, such as cinnamon and basil
- Number of meals per day: 4 months old=1 meal, 5 months old=2 meals, 6 months old=3 meals
- No allergens until 7 months; this include nuts, fish, and eggs
- No honey for the first year
- Apples and bananas are constipating
- Peaches, plums, and prunes help them go
We started when Charlie was 4 ½ months old and he was showing signs that he was ready:
- Watched intently while we ate
- Could hold his head up easily on his own
- Could sit up in the highchair on his own
- And I may have snuck him a big slice of an apple a couple of times to suck on while I was holding it and he was EXTREMELY interested in it
Step 2: Get everything you need to set yourself up for success
Below is a little shopping list of what you need before you can start the feeding frenzy. You don’t need much.
- High chair – Some good options that I can personally vouch for at different price pints are Stokke, 4moms, and Cosco
- Bib – The Bella Tunno bibs have the cutest sayings, are really easy to clean and for every product sold, they donate a meal to a child
- Bowls – The Bella Tunno suction bowls are great. It becomes quite easy for babies to toss their bowls on the floor and this suction pretty well
- Spoons – The Bella Tunno spoons are just as cute as the bibs and bowls and come in packs of 2
- Baby Oatmeal – I went with Earth’s Best Organic Whole Grain Oatmeal, but any baby oatmeal is fine. Realistically, you can just blend up adult oatmeal and use that
Step 3: Experiment with solids for the first time!
I made a mixture of breast milk (or formula) and the baby oatmeal and played around with the texture. Feed your baby about an hour after they have had their bottle or nursed, so they are hungry enough to eat.
- Sit with them at eye level
- Make sure they have somewhere to rest their feet
- No need to constantly clean their face and hands – its good for them to be okay with being messy
It is fun and exciting to watch your baby explore food for the first time, but it can also feel a little anticlimactic. Charlie was very into it and excited to be eating the first day, and the second day had absolutely no interest, so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t go well at first.
Don’t expect them to actually eat a meal the first few times – this is just experimentation time. They might do more of a licking motion or even take a bite and spit it out. It’s all about getting them used to the idea of eating and teaching them how to do.
Step 4: After 1-2 weeks of oatmeal, experiment with a fruit or veggie
I’ll be honest, we did 3 days of oatmeal before we moved on to our first veggie. My pediatrician recommended oatmeal for 2 weeks, but I was too excited to let Charlie explore all of the other deliciousness out there. We started with carrots – many experts recommend starting with an orange veggie (carrots, sweet potato, squash).
Carrot Recipe (This might be obvious, but just trying to give you ALL of the information)
- Peel organic carrots
- Boil carrots until soft
- Blend carrots and boiled water in a food processor or Nutribullet until desired consistency
- Save some for the next couple of days in the fridge or freeze some using something like this
Give your LO the carrots, or whatever fruit or veggie you started with for 3-5 days to make sure they do not have any type of bad reaction.
Step 5: Move on to fruit or veggie number 2 (after 3-5 days of food #1)
Our 2nd veggie that we tried was peas. Follow the same recipe for the carrots. If you want, you can even mix veggie 1 and 2 together. If there is an issue when you add peas, you can be fairly sure that it was caused by the peas and not the carrots.
Step 6: Continue adding in new fruits and veggies slowly and then start mixing
Below is the list of the first 20 foods that we gave our LO to try:
- Baby oatmeal
- Sweet potato
- Vanilla Extract
- Orange (we think this hurt his tummy the first time due to the acidity)
- White Potato
Tip: A friend of mine who is a feeding specialist suggest that we start with some veggies before going right to sweet fruits. Some babies have a hard time eating their vegetables once they have already tasted delicious fruit!
Remember: At 4 months old they should be eating 1 meal of solids, at 5 months – 2 meals, and 6 months 3 meals. 6 months is also the time when many pediatricians suggest adding protein to the mix.
Comment below if you have any questions on the above!
NOTE: Please make sure that your pediatrician has given you the green light to start solids before you dive in.