What is your favorite food? Do you remember the first time you tried it?
Once your baby is ready for solid foods, at around 6-8 months, get ready for lots of “firsts”!
When to start?
There are three key areas to look at as you determine when your baby is ready to start solid foods.
#1 Head control. Your baby should be able to sit up alone or with support and be able to control his head and neck.
#2 Tongue thrust. Make sure your baby opens her mouth when food is offered, swallows rather than pushing it all back out, and can move food from the front to the back of the tongue to swallow.
#3 Weight gain. If your baby is gaining weight slowly, your provider might suggest starting solids a bit earlier.
Which Foods First?
Start with a variety of infant cereals mixed with formula or breastmilk, vegetables, and fruits. Later, you can add meats and proteins, grains, yogurt and cheese.
Introduce new foods one at a time. Then, wait 3-5 days before introducing the next one. This helps you see if there is any adverse or allergic reaction to a particular food.
Whether you make your own baby food or buy it, make sure the first foods are smooth, soft, quick to dissolve, and easy to swallow. Later, as your baby develops her oral skills, you can introduce foods that are thicker and lumpier.
Remember, it might take many tries before a baby “likes'' a food, especially if it has a new texture or stronger flavor. Keep trying and he will soon enjoy it more and more!
(I always loved starting with avocados, bananas, and no-sugar-added applesauce because they were easy to “prepare”!)
Foods to Avoid the First Year
Here is a list of potentially allergenic foods and choking hazards foods you should avoid during the first year:
Cow’s milk or soy beverages
Fish and shellfish
Tree nuts and peanuts
Wheat, soy, or sesame
Hard fruits and vegetables (cook them so you can mash or puree)
Spherical foods like grapes, cherries, and small tomatoes (cut these in small pieces)
Cylindric foods like hotdog, string cheese, or sausage
(Here is a personal plug: whether you are breastfeeding or not, I found this book to be tremendously helpful in transitioning to solids: Nursing Mother’s Companion.)
Tennessee Family Doulas’ postpartum support guides you through the early stages of your baby’s life, including eating/feeding, bathing/changing, and sleeping!