How to Successfully Start Your Baby on Solids

You’ll have a pretty good idea of when your baby is ready to start eating solid food – it will coincide with the onset of teething, more or less. This generally begins around the 6-month mark, but it could start earlier or later since babies all develop at slightly different rates.

Of course, just because your baby’s teeth start coming in doesn’t mean he’s ready to give up breast milk, goats milk for baby, or organic baby formula. Most babies continue to rely on milk as their main food source, or at least a supplement for several more months to a couple of years.

In addition, just because your baby has teeth doesn’t mean that he’s ready for all solid foods. You need to be careful about what you feed him early on since choking, indigestion, allergic reactions and other issues could occur as you ween your baby off milk and transition him to solids.

The good news is you’re not the first parent to go through this phase.  In fact, there are a lot of resources to give you advice on the best way to successfully start your baby on solids. Keeping in mind that every baby is slightly different, here are just a few basic tips to give you an idea of how to start introducing solid foods.

Knowing When to Start

Babies are generally ready to start sampling solid food around the age of 4-6 months, but this is not a hard and fast rule. The onset of teething, as mentioned above, is a good indicator that your baby has developed to the point where eating solids is possible.

Another relatively good test is whether your baby is starting to sit up with some support (in your lap or a high chair, for example). He should be able to hold his head up and move it around, and if you put a spoon to his lips he shouldn’t push it out (signaling he’s not yet ready to chew and swallow food). If your baby is not yet at this stage, eating solid foods could be dangerous.

However, the best gauge of when to start feeding your baby solid food may be when he shows interest in it. If your baby consistently spits out food without really eating any, he just might not be ready to start eating solids yet.

Foods to Begin With

The easiest place to begin when starting your baby on solid foods is with semi-solids, like pureed fruits, vegetables, and meats. In other words, start your baby on baby food. Baby cereal that contains needed nutrients is also a good idea. This is the safest way to start acclimating your baby to the taste of food when his only experience so far has been breast milk or Hipp Formula, for example.

If your baby seems to do well with these foods and he wants more, move on to more solid food items, like puffed cereal for babies, that he can start to chew without undue risk of choking (since this cereal gets mushy quickly). You can also try soft foods like bananas, avocados, cooked peas or yams.   Eventually introduce more complex foods like pasta or cooked chicken.

In the beginning, it’s probably a good idea to stick to natural foods as much as possible while your baby’s digestive system adjusts to new foods. Processed foods will likely upset his stomach.

How to Feed Your Baby

When your baby first starts trying solid foods, you should be aware that he may not be game for the experiment. It’s best to pick a time when your baby is alert and only a little hungry to encourage him to try new foods.

Make sure to get a baby-safe spoon and introduce one new food at a time for a few days each to see what he likes and what his digestion can tolerate. If he exhibits symptoms like vomiting, rash, or diarrhea, stop with the food in question and call your pediatrician – he may have allergies.

Weaning your baby off breast milk or organic cow milk for babies will not happen overnight. Even once he starts eating solids it will be months before he is ready to stop drinking milk and rely solely on solid foods for nutrition. So settle in for the long haul and prepare to try a lot of new items to determine what your baby will eat.

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