Starting baby on solid foods is SO fun! It is a great break from the bottle and a huge milestone (break out that camera!). Unsure of when to start or exactly how to get started? No problem…we’ve got you covered!
When to start:
KellyMom.com has a great section on when to start baby on solids. Basically watch your baby and look for these signs of readiness: sitting up well with no support, willing to chew, baby looks interested when Mom and Dad eat…all of these signs occur right around 6 – 8 months. See our post about introducing rice cereal as a first food.
Stock the pantry:
Are you planning on using store bought baby food? Going to try making it yourself? Or do a mix it up? I would suggest weighting the advantages and disadvantages of both before rushing to the store to buy supplies. In terms of food, rice cereal, green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, bananas, apples and peaches are all great foods to start with.
Make sure you have plenty of plastic (or at least unbreakable) bowls, plates and spoons. Plastic bibs are great because they don’t stain and most come with a pocket on the bottom to catch drips. If you are going to make your own baby food make sure you have a food processor (or baby food maker) and lots of storage containers.
Be aware of allergies:
This is especially important if baby has a family history of food allergies. When starting baby on solids, some pediatricians recommend a day or two “wait period” before moving to something different. This will allow you to not only recognize an allergic reaction, but it will be easier to tell exactly what food is causing it. We all think of nuts, dairy, coconut and seafood as potential threats but did you know that berries, citrus and wheat are some of the top foods to watch as well?
So what does a reaction look like? If your child has sudden loose stools or vomiting, a rash/hives, flu like symptoms, swollen lips/face/tongue or trouble breathing you should probably call your doctor. Make sure you have a list of foods your child has eaten within the last few days ready to share.
Many kids grow out of these food allergies. My daughter showed a reaction to peaches when we first introduced them around 7 months, but by a year she was a peach eating machine! Just be careful when you reintroduce foods.
A great website to learn more about allergies is www.wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com.
Grab a feeding schedule:
This isn’t 100% necessary but I always found it very helpful to know what other people do. I found a great list online that breaks things down. If you are starting at around 6 months, here is the recommended plan:
(Serve grains runny, fruits and veggies should be a very smooth/runny consistency. Can mix with rice cereal at first)
And one last tip I have for every single parent and caregiver (or anyone that lives on planet Earth really…) PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE know your infant first aid. Babycenter.com has a good guide with illustrations but this is no substitute for taking an in person class. Check with your local hospital to see if they have classes available. I had to use this on my daughter when she choked on a piece of waffle and I’m telling you, there is absolutely NOTHING scarier than watching your baby try to breath. It traumatized us both for life (she’s 2 and I still feel the need to breath through a paper sack when she eats a meal) and I just can’t stress how important it is to know what to do in these situations. You’ll be so glad you took my advice (as always). ;o)
And now that I’ve just given my PSA- Anyone else have tips for starting baby out on solids? Stay tuned for a post on how to make your own baby food (something I’m going to try for baby #2).