Have questions on introducing your baby to solid foods? Intermountain Healthcare breaks it down for you with bite-sized answers.
The transition from breastfeeding to solid foods is a gradual process. Nurse Dani shares advice on how to make the change easy on your little one.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, but some babies are ready for solids after four months. Ask your pediatrician if they think your little one is ready before that six-month mark, but generally speaking, there are certain milestones that need to be met before solids should be given:
- Your baby should be at least 4 months old.
- Your baby should be able to hold his/her head up.
- When food is brought to your baby’s mouth, he/she opens up and acts excited about it.
- When a small amount of food is put on your baby’s tongue, he/she shallows it instead of spitting it out.
- Your baby has at least doubled his/her birth weight or is a minimum of 13 lbs.
Once I’ve determined my little one is ready, what should be given?
A lot of people think that you need to start with single grain cereal, like rice, but you can actually start with pureed fruits or veggies (introducing fruits first has not been proven to make them dislike veggies). Just pick one and stick with it for at least two to three days. Introducing one food at a time helps you to monitor for allergies. Symptoms include diarrhea, rashes, or vomiting. If you see those signs, stop giving your baby the food and see if the symptoms disappear. If not, call your pediatrician.
How often should I feed my baby solid foods in the beginning?
Remember that the process is gradual. You are working towards giving your baby solid foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks once he or she is 8 to 12 months old, but when you’re just starting out, one meal a day is enough. Pick the time of day that works best for you and feed your baby a solid food – just a spoonful or less – and see how it goes. Follow it up with a nursing session or bottle. Once your baby has that one down, add another meat, then another, then snacks until your baby is having five solid food feedings each day.
Is homemade baby food safe for my baby?
It’s totally fine to make your own baby food, just make sure it’s properly prepared and stored to prevent spoilage or contamination. There are certain foods that should only be given to your baby if they’re commercially prepared because if not, they can contain high levels of nitrates that can cause anemia in babies. These foods include carrots, squash, beets, green beans, and spinach. Peas, corn, and sweet potatoes are good choices for homemade foods.
If you have other questions about introducing solid foods to your little one, feel free to ask them on our Intermountain Moms Facebook page or make an appointment with a physician through Intermountain’s Women and Newborn Services.