How To Start Solids
Dig into these tips and start saying "Hurray for purees!"
1. Know When
Your baby should be about 6 months old when you introduce him to solid foods. At this age, he can hold his head up and has the ability to swallow. Breast milk or formula, however, will still be his main source of nutrition until age 1.
2. Look for Signs
If your baby has almost doubled his birthweight (so he's about 13 pounds), loves watching you eat, or reaches for your food, he's probably ready for solids. Don't worry if he rejects them at first—just try another day.
3. Plan the Menu
Start by introducing one food at a time. Good options include pureed meat, fruit, vegetables, or baby cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. Honey and whole cow's milk both pose health risks and are off-limits until age 1.
4. Serve Pint-Size Portions
At first, just 1/2 teaspoon of solid food twice a day is enough for Baby. Then gradually increase the amount to one or two teaspoons and add in a third meal. When he finishes eating, give him breast milk or formula.
5. Stay Safe
Wait two to three days before adding another new taste to help pinpoint any allergens. Call your doc if you notice signs of an allergic reaction, such as a rash, vomiting, or diarrhea. Head to the ER if Baby is having trouble breathing.
- If Baby starts to turn his head away from the spoon or spits food out, he's finished.
- Offering allergenic foods, such as eggs and yogurt, might reduce your baby's chances of developing allergies—unless you have a family history of them or he already has eczema. Talk to your doctor.
- Don't be alarmed if Baby's bowel movements change color. Pureed peas may result in a deep-green diaper!
Originally published in American Baby magazine in August 2014.
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