Dear Is This Normal,
My baby is almost 5 months old and our pediatrician gave us the go-ahead to introduce solids. But I have no idea where to start! How do I start feeding my child solid food? And what do I do if it turns out my baby doesn’t like a lot of the foods we give them?
Ready to Dig In
Dear Ready to Dig In,
Awwwww yeah! Congrats on reaching this, my most favorite of baby milestones! Introducing solids felt, to me, like a major shift in this whole parenting gig. Suddenly the baby wasn’t just. . .a baby, if that makes sense? They did more than baby stuff! Introducing solids felt like the first big change from blobby infant to babbling babe. It was the best. It was also very messy and sometimes very gross, but hey! So goes parenting, right?
If your pediatrician is giving you the green light for solids, that means your little one has already reached some pretty cool milestones, like sitting up on their own, doing the whole tongue thrust thing, and showing a general curiosity for what’s going on outside their baby bubble. But I totally get it—being TOLD you can start solids and knowing HOW to start solids are two entirely different things.
While there are some definite no-nos (no honey and nothing that can be a choking hazard), the rest of it is pretty much up to you! So let’s get both of you off on the right bite so feeding your baby solids is a fun and exciting stage.
First, it’s important to remember that at this age, your baby will still be getting the majority of their calories and nutrition from breast milk or formula. You’re not looking to replace any of it at this stage—you’re just going to be adding to it. When it comes to introducing solids to baby, most parents follow the baby solid food guide and start with fruit and veggie purees, like apples or pears or peas.
You’ve probably heard the old advice of introducing one food at a time and waiting three days to introduce something new. But many experts now agree that unless your babe is high risk for food allergies (having a family history of food allergies or eczema, for example), this precaution may not be necessary! If you’re still worried about this, introducing isolated foods (like apples for breakfast and sweet potato and carrots for lunch) will still allow you to pinpoint the culprit if there’s a reaction.
One more piece of outdated advice I want to clarify: starting your baby on a sweet food or fruit does not make them prone to having a sweet tooth. Apples, pears, and bananas are perfectly acceptable first foods. When it comes to choosing which foods to start with, a service like Little Spoon, which delivers fresh food made with organic ingredients right to your door, can take a lot of the guesswork out of it (not to mention save you a ton of time!). We don’t want to toot our own horn or anything, but here at Little Spoon, we’ve sort of perfected this whole fresh baby food thing – you’ve got enough to worry about, let us make this one thing a bit easier for you!
Pick a schedule that works for you and aim for a time of day when they’re the most alert and happy. You can start with a one solid meal after their morning bottle or nursing session, and one meal after their evening bottle or boob sesh. At first, your baby will probably only eat 2-4 tablespoons in one sitting, and that is totally normal! Sometimes, they might not be interested at all (also totally normal). It’s also a good idea to intro a new food earlier in the day and on a weekday; if your baby has a reaction to the food, you want your pediatrician to be reachable right away!
Most of the food will likely end up on their chin and shirt and all over the highchair tray—they’re still learning to control that tongue thrust. Don’t be surprised if your baby shows immediate dislikes or preferences to certain foods (even babies can have favorites). But don’t stop offering the foods your baby doesn’t seem to enjoy; it can take babies as many as 15-20 tries before they take to a new food. Variety is really important, even with babies just starting out on solids! That’s why here at Little Spoon, we have a varied menu of different flavor and texture combinations, and send each BabyBlend in pairs, so there’s always plenty to keep offering. Patience, and a really good stain remover, are definitely required when you introduce solids to baby. This is a fun stage, mama. Enjoy every spoonful.
One Bite at a Time,
Is This Normal