Starting Solid Foods


To many new mothers feeding babies anything but the breast milk or formula can be a difficult task. Parents often have questions regarding what to start with and how much to give and how often and what to stay away from.

In reality it is not as complicated as it seems to be. Here some simple rules.

  • You may start solids between 5 and 6 months of babies age.
  • Pick the time of the day when your baby has the best disposition and appetite, and give solids BEFORE you give the bottle or your breast.
  • Start with a single ingredient food: powdered rice cereal mixed with breast milk or formula that your baby is used to. If your baby has a tendency for constipation, start with powdered oatmeal cereal instead of rice. Mix it to a consistency of porridge and feed it to your baby with a baby spoon.
  • Give several spoonfuls first time and increase the amount each time you give it.
  • Offer breast milk or formula right after the solid food.
  • You only need to feed your baby solids once a day for the first couple of weeks, gradually getting to the amount that will satisfy your baby’s hunger completely.
  • Besides cereal you can give any single ingredient vegetables or fruit. If you buying baby food in jars then start with stage 1 jars. If you are making baby food yourself, then cook it separately from the adult food and do not use hot spices, salt or sugar.
  • 7 month old baby can get some meat purees (available in jars), which are usually added to the vegetables for more palatable taste.
  • Don’t forget to offer your baby the opportunity to self-feed with small soft pieces of food after 7-8 months.
  • Foods to stay away from:
    • peanuts and peanut butter (till 2 years);
    • cow’s milk (till 12 months);
    • real rice, whole grapes, round candy or anything your baby can choke on.
  • Last tip: if your baby dislikes certain food, try hiding it in the food that he likes.

By the age of 8 months most babies eat solids at least 2 times a day, after 9-10 months — 3 times a day. The rest is your creativity and imagination.

References:

  1. Sandra G.Hassink, MD. Getting Started With Solid Foods. American Academy of Pediatrics, 2006.
  2. Switching to Solid Foods. American Academy of Pediatrics, 2008.
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