When do I start feeding my child solids?

Dear Is This Normal, I don’t remember how I started to balance bottles with solids with my toddler. […]

Dear Is This Normal,

I don’t remember how I started to balance bottles with solids with my toddler. Now I have a 6-month-old and I don’t know how to transition her to food!

Starting solids soon

Dear Solids,

Isn’t it amazing how quickly we forget how we did all of this the first time?! I’m convinced our forgetfulness is some evolutionary fail-safe, a way of tricking us into going down the parental rabbit hole more than once. Because let’s be honest—if we remembered every single horrifying detail of pregnancy, childbirth, and toddler-parenting after our first go-around, a lot of us would have SERIOUSLY considered stopping at one. But then the good ol’ amnesia kicks in and it’s like the movie 50 First Dates except with wayyyy more bodily fluid.

THAT BEING SAID, I actually remember so much of this particular baby stage because it happens to be one of my most favorite favorite favorite stages. When my kids started transitioning to solids, they started to feel less like fragile, helpless infants and more like tiny people who actually do stuff. This part is fun! This part is also messy, but let’s focus on the fun! Transitioning to solid foods is relatively easy, as long as you’ve got the basics down.

Experts recommend starting your baby on solids when they’re 4-6 months old. This is around the time where they can sit upright and hold up their own head and when their tongue thurst reflex has calmed down. At 6 months old, your girl is probably ready!

Now, in the beginning, it’s important to remember that you’re not replacing any of her bottles with solid foods. Solids should only be used to supplement or complement what she’s already getting from formula or breast milk. She should still be getting the boob or bottle every 3-4 hours. That’s about 20-28 ounces a day (including nighttime feedings if she hasn’t night-weaned yet).

If you’re wondering how much solid food to start with for a 6-month-old, I did about 1-2 tablespoons three times a day after each morning, afternoon, and evening boob sesh. After about a month, when my babies were more interested in solids and eating more at each sitting, I flipped it. I  did the solids first, followed by the boob.

I skipped grain cereals completely (with the guidance and support of our pediatrician) and instead started with pureed fruit and veggies. Back in the day, we didn’t have services like Little Spoon, so I made their food myself. But I tell you what,  I would have given my left pinkie toe for another option that didn’t require so much time and work!

You’ve got a baby and a toddler!  So fresh, organic baby food delivered right to your door, a la Little Spoon, would probably be right up your alley.

Whatever you decide to start with, stay the course even when she spits it out (because she will spit it out). And again, like I said above, don’t focus too much on how much she’s eating, since she’s still going to be getting her bottles. Just keep introducing new flavors and textures. As she gets older, slowly start decreasing her formula or breast milk as she scarfs down more solid foods.

Most of all, have fun with this stage! It’s amazing to be able to introduce your baby to new things, and watching a little person discover solid food is pretty fantastic! My only other tips are to use those rubber bibs that wipe clean (eff cloth bibs, for real), and always, ALWAYS mark your calendar when your baby has had beets, lest you open up the next dirty diaper/crime scene and have a heart attack.

Happy Spooning!

Is This Normal


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