Keeping up with your growing baby… when and how to introduce solids to your baby?
Pediatrician, Dr. Jacqueline Bors of The Village Doctor, says “babies are typically ready to be introduced to solids sometime between ages 4 and 6 months depending on their development. However, most babies are usually closer to 6 months old, so watch your baby, not the calendar.”
Dr. Bors suggests watching for the following criteria to introduce solids to your baby:
- Your child has doubled his/her birth weight or is 13 pounds or more
- He/she should have good head control while sitting in a high chair or infant feeding seat
- You may notice your child becomes more interested in what you are eating or naturally opens his/her mouth when food comes their way or they
- Your child must be able to move ingested food back to their throat with their, rather than letting it dribble out entirely
Dr. Bors encourages families to look into “baby-led weaning,” which is a method of food introduction that encourages the baby to feed themselves tiny bite-sized foods that are safe and soft, but not necessarily pureed.
Should you offer Breastmilk or Solids First?
- You’ll want to continue to offer breast milk or formula before solids when your child is hungryYou want your child to fill up on the nutrient dense breast milk or formula, which offers a greater variety of nutrients than solids
- Offer so
- lids right after bottle or breast feeding or within a couple of hours
A common feeding schedule for an 8 month old breastfeeding baby might be:
6:30 am Wake up and breastfeed #1
7:30 am – breakfast solids
10:30 am – Breastfeed #2
11:30 am – lunch solids
2:30 pm – Breastfeed #3
3:30 pm – snack
6:30 pm – Breastfeed #4
When to Introduce Solids into the Routine?
If you start introducing solids at 6 months of age, a common progression schedule might look like this:
6 months – introduction of breakfast solids
7 months – addition of lunch solids
8 months – addition of dinner solids
9 months – addition of 2 daytime snacks between meals in the morning and afternoon
One quick tip about introducing solids – you’ll want to try a new food for breakfast which will give your child the entire day to process the food should she have a reaction to it.
Trying a new food before bed is risky. If the food doesn’t sit well or she has a reaction, you’ll be up all night with her.
What Foods Should You Introduce First?
Holistic Nutritionist Rebecca Cafiero, www.rebeccacafiero.com says “Avocados are my favorite starter food, as they are high in the healthy fat needed for brain development and nutrient rich. Plus, you can carry one in your diaper bag with a spoon for fast (healthy) food on the go!”
After you’ve introduced avacados, Cafiero recommends introducing sweeter vegetables such as baked and pureed carrots or sweet potatoes with a tiny dash of cinnamon, nutmeg or turmeric to start developing your little one’s exposure to spices.
Cafiero cautions against the introduction of rice cereals, which she says “can be high in heavy metals and arsenic,” and she encourages parents to talk to their pediatrician about getting iron through breast milk or supplementation.
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Now that you’ve got the basics of when and how to start solids, I know what you’re all wondering next… Will starting solids help my baby sleep?
I’ve answered those questions in the follow up to this blog post : “Will Start Solids Help My Baby Sleep Through the Night
I empower tired, frazzled parents to teach their babies and toddlers to sleep by educating parents about their child’s age appropriate sleep needs and sleep training options. You can learn everything I teach my 1:1 clients, at your speed, on your own time in my online class A to Zzzzs.
In this class, I teach you all the reasons why you struggle with frequent night waking, short naps and having to put so much effort into getting your child to fall and stay asleep!
I never want you to feel alone or have unanswered questions about your child’s sleep.