Starting solids can be scary for both parents and baby. It’s very important to make the eating environment positive and encouraging. You want baby to associate it with good vibes so smile, clap, sing (make up food songs), shout “hooray,” “yum,yum,yum,” and “good eating,” use a happy tone of voice, and play calming music. Go ahead, make a fool of yourself, if baby is happy then he associates eating with being happy. You will likely see some facial grimacing, food thrusted out, and maybe pursed lip refusals or head turns away from you at first. Don’t give up! Don’t force baby to eat but try a few more times, try a different food, or try again at a later time. It’s a process! I started solids with my son as soon as I got the go ahead from our pediatrician at our 4 months wellness check up. However, we started transitioning baby to solids at 3 months old by sitting him in his high chair at the table with us each morning when we ate breakfast. At that time, I gave him very soft silicone spoons to play with and orally explore while in his high chair. He watched as mommy and daddy ate. At 4 months exactly, I gave baby his first bite of solids: sweet potatoes. I fed him sweet potatoes for three days to rule out allergies. Next he had butternut squash, then avocado following the 3 day rule. I fed baby one time a day, at breakfast, for one month, trialing lots of different very smooth and thin purees. At five months, we moved up to twice a day feedings at breakfast and supper. I trialed new foods on a three day rotation, at breakfast time. At six months old I started feeding him three times a day. I like to feed him fruit and oatmeal for breakfast, a veggie and fruit for lunch, and two veggies for supper. My baby likes his purees really smooth but at seven months old now, I’ve started making them chunkier to prepare him for the transition to finger foods. I’ve had to do a lot of face to face modeling of over exaggerated chewing to get him started. At five months old, when baby got solid at solids, I started integrating cup drinking by letting baby play with an empty cup to begin the transition! That’s a whole other post…
Tips for feeding solids:
- Consult with your pediatrician before starting
- Begin with very smooth, almost runny purees and thicken up as baby has more practice swallowing.
- Trial new foods at breakfast. This way, you have all day to monitor for reactions.
- Model, model, model! Eat meals with your baby to provide a model and begin teaching turn taking skills.
- Sit baby’s high chair at the table to eat, be consistent with where eating takes place
- Make the eating environment very positive and provide lots of verbal encouragement-initially, make a big deal clapping, smiling, and saying “good eating” after every few bites-this helps baby to feel proud of himself and eager to do it again