The transition to solid foods is an exciting stage in your baby’s life. Different flavors, textures, and smells give your little one a rich sensory experience while providing important nutrients. Here’s what you need to know about when what, and how to get your baby started with solids.
Signs Your Baby Is Ready for Solid Food
It’s recommended to start your baby on solids between four and six months. This is the age range when most babies show signs of being ready to try solid foods. Here are telltale cues to look out for:
- Strong head control
- Able to sit upright in a high chair
- Displays interest in food by reaching for yours or opening his or her mouth
- Can swallow easily
Remember that each baby develops at his or her own pace. Wait until your baby shows readiness signs before giving solids. Starting too soon puts your baby at risk of choking or experiencing problems with digestion.
First Foods To Give Your Baby Vs. What Not To Give
There is no set order for introducing solid foods. Common first food choices include:
- Baby cereal
- Butternut squash
- Sweet potato
No matter what you offer, make sure it’s soft or pureed. Your baby will likely not be ready for finger foods until around age eight months when he or she has mastered the pincer grasp.
Avoid giving the following foods during your baby’s first year:
- Honey: can cause a serious bacterial illness called botulism
- Cow’s milk: a baby’s developing digestive system cannot properly process cow’s milk
- Choking hazards: foods like nuts, seeds, grapes, raw vegetables, and hot dogs should be avoided until your child is old enough to sufficiently chew and swallow
Tips for Feeding Your Baby
Ease into solids by offering single-ingredient foods one at a time. Wait three to five days before introducing a new food. This enables you to keep an eye out for any adverse reactions.
Include foods that contain iron and zinc as they are essential nutrients for a baby’s development. Adding Wellements probiotic drops to a meal or snack can boost digestive and human health.
Start with small amounts of food. A half spoonful at a time is plenty. Any more than that and more food will end up on the floor than in your baby’s mouth.
Changes To Expect After Your Baby Starts Solids
Your baby’s stool is likely to change after beginning solids. Stools will become firmer and more odorous and will have varying colors.
At this stage, your little’s one digestive system is still immature and can be extra sensitive. As a result, certain foods may make your baby gassy and cause mild stomach discomfort. You can give your baby gripe water to help prevent stomach pain. You may wonder, “Can I give gripe water before feeding?”, but it’s typically recommended to offer this after feedings.
Your baby’s early experiences with solid foods can jumpstart a lifetime of healthy eating habits. Offer a variety of nutritious foods and focus on making mealtimes enjoyable. If you have feeding-related concerns, talk with your child’s wellness provider about new baby products that can support growth and development.