Jumpstart on Solids: How to Approach Starting Solids
So, it’s time to introduce solids to your little one?
For all of us parents, one of the most exciting milestones for your little one is the introduction of solids to their diet. Up until now, your baby probably only knows breast milk or formula. The next big step is to get messy and start exploring the different foods that will eventually replace your milk. But where do you start? There’s a ton of information on the web, and it’s overwhelming! We here at Nest Designs are here to help you with an introduction on how to start your baby on solids and which are the best options for you and your family.
How to you tell if your baby is ready
One of the biggest questions when starting your little one on solids is, how do you tell when your baby is ready? What signs should we notice before embarking on this next step for our child? Well, most health professionals recommend that you should start your child on solids from 6 months of age. However, other factors may come into play:
- Is your little one able to sit upright and hold his head up on his own?
- Is your baby curious about what you’re eating?
- Has your baby lost the tongue-thrust reflex, which is a reflex where she pushes food out of her mouth?
- Does your baby seem hungry after a full day’s worth of milk, which is approximately 8-10 nursing sessions or 32 ounces of formula?
If you are wondering at what age should your baby be when she begins her journey to eating solids, the magical number is six months. While some guidelines are rigid with the six months mile-marker, some experts say that between the age of 4-6 months should be okay. The important thing is to watch for the cues mentioned above to check for readiness and to check with your health care practitioner.
The last thing you want to do is to start feeding solids too early (before four months of age) or too late (after six months of age). The Canadian Paediatric Society, as well as Health Canada, is pretty in line with these suggestions from the American Academy of Pediatrics. If you were to start too early, you are risking weight problems and food allergies later on in life, and the risk of choking. However, if you start too late, breast milk and formula alone is insufficient to supplement the needs of your growing child.
Different approaches to starting solids
Now that you are aware of the appropriate age to start your little one on solids, let’s talk methods. Methods? If you’re a new mom, this is probably the most overwhelming part. There are so many opinions and suggestions out there; it can be a daunting task to figure out where to start! Before we talk approaches and methods, let’s start with the easy stuff. Most health experts suggest feeding your baby an iron-fortified baby cereal mixed with some of your breast milk or formula to start. Combine one teaspoon of single-grain cereal to 4-5 teaspoon of milk and get ready for big cleanup of your adorable little munchkin. Here’s a glance at what you can expect at each stage:
- 4-6 months: single-grain cereals
- 4-8 months: pureed meats, fruits, and vegetables
- 6-8 months: finger foods with one ingredient
- 9-12 months: chopped, ground, or lumpy foods
Make sure that you have one of our Burp ‘n Bibs ready for the messy fun because most of the cereal is going to end up on your baby’s chin. Use the snaps to turn the burp cloth you have been using into a giant bib for your little bub during mealtimes. Also, be sure to have some of Nest Design’s Bub’s baby cloths and dry wipes ready for a quick cleanup.
Starting with purees
As we mentioned previously, there are several approaches to starting your precious baby on solids. One of these methods is to start with pureed foods. Many pediatricians recommend that you start with pureed vegetables and fruits, introducing a new item every two to three days so you are able to watch out for allergic reactions. There isn’t any order to the type of solids to begin with, it just depends on your preferences.
There is an old theory that vegetables should be introduced before fruits because your little one may end up wanting only fruits. However, since all babies have a natural preference for sweet tastes, it doesn't really matter whether vegetables are introduced first. The critical thing to remember is that you will want to check for intolerances or allergic reactions in the form of diarrhea, breakouts of the skin, vomiting, or a rash. We recommend that you space out the introduction of a new item to give your baby the time to show these signs of intolerances.
When you feel ready, be sure to grab one of our Sleeved Bibs to keep your little bub clean during those mealtimes. The waterproof material is a life-saver, especially if you’re out with your little one. And for a quick and easy cleanup, make sure to have our dry wipes or organic dry wipes around and ready.
Baby-led weaning, as the name implies, is a technique that discourages spoon-feeding altogether. The baby leads, allowing your little one to have control over what they eat and how much they eat. There are many benefits to this approach to starting your baby on solids. It will help your baby develop better chewing skills, as well as hand-eye coordination. Just make sure that you are present during the entire mealtime to avoid potential choking hazards.
Items to feed your baby should be super soft and easy to mush in between their fingers. Serve soft foods - this can include bananas, avocados, mangos, steamed or roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, and carrots. Proteins can consist of scrambled eggs, over-cooked pasta, and fish.
Our favorite items to help our baby learn to feed themselves include our adorable Baby Headbands. It made such a difference in our cleanup afterward because food is going to end up in your little one’s hair! For those full-body cleanups, our 9 Layered Hooded Towels will come to the rescue if you have to end up bathing your messy little one after their meal. Fun times!
Regardless of the approach to introducing solids you take...
Feeding your baby solids is an exciting time, so don’t fret if your little one isn’t doing something by the books. It’s about trial and error and a whole lot of cleaning up. You may be stressed with questions as you navigate through the introduction of feeding. Just remember to have fun, and begin with what you feel most comfortable with your baby. If it doesn’t work out, you can always switch to another approach – there’s no harm in that! Stay tuned for part 2 of our Jumpstart on Solids Series coming out soon!