Starting to eat solid foods is a big milestone in your little bean’s life. After several months of a milk-only diet, they’re ready to add in some variety. As parents, this can be a time when lots of questions come up. How the f*&$ do I do this?! Don’t worry– we got you.
1. Babies start solid foods at different ages
While the average age to start on solids is 6 months, some babies may be ready as early as 5 months, while others may take their time and wait until 7 months. Here are some signs your baby is ready for solids:
- They’re able to sit up & hold their head up on their own.
- They don’t automatically push solid foods out of their mouth with the tongue-thrust reflex.
- They have begun to develop their “pincer grasp,” meaning that they are working on their ability to grab things between their thumb and forefinger.
- They are beginning to show an increased interest in watching you eat.
- You’ve gotten the go-ahead from your child’s pediatrician. When in doubt, it doesn’t hurt to get your main doc’s opinion.
2. Feeding your baby is a spectator sport
I’ll try to keep this light on the sports analogies but you’ll want to keep your eyes on the player (aka your lil’ nugget)– it’s important to constantly pay attention to your baby’s reaction to new foods and keep an eye out for any potential gagging. No baby should ever be left alone with food.
3. They’re going to be eating constantly
Did you think the days of feeding your baby every 2-3 hours were over? Think again. Introducing your baby to solids means you’re still going to be feeding them a lot. The only difference is that instead of feeding them just milk, you’ll alternate between milk and solid foods. Not to mention, solid food feedings are time consuming! There’s no dining and dashing here– get comfortable and prepare to sit down with your baby for at least 30 minutes. As they get older, you’ll notice that they’ll go through growth spurts at different times, their appetite will fluctuate accordingly.
4. It takes time
Introducing new flavors takes time. Twelve tastes of pureed carrots? Sounds boring– but if you’re a baby, it can take time for you to adjust to new flavors. At this early stage, they’re still getting the bulk of their daily nutrients from breastmilk or formula.
photo by: emman montalvan
5. You’re going to need really good quality bibs
We’re not talking about small, **chic** but not very durable terry cloth bibs– think more hazmat suits. We’re talking large, quality bibs– and lots of them.
6. When babies eat, it’s messy
Besides the bibs you’re also going to need a nice stash of paper towels or washcloths, some all-natural surface spray, and changes of clothes on hand for your little one (and yourself, let’s be real).
7. When they’re hungry – it’s go time
When your baby is hungry, there will be no messing around. Get that spoon ready– they can be needy! Even when you can’t give them a fresh spoonful fast enough, make sure to pace baby’s bites. While baby may not be pleased, you’ll be glad you paced them– less spit up!
8. Their poop is going to change
Up until now your baby has only been consuming breastmilk or formula. Adding solids into the mix leads to a big change in your routine and your baby’s poops. Yep, get ready for poops that come in every color of the rainbow and smells that range from mild to pinch-your-nose-or-you-might-vomit.
No matter how you decide to introduce solids to your babe, remember to have patience and have fun with this exciting exploratory time in your little one’s life!