Introducing your baby to solid foods is an exciting milestone. But if you’re a first-time parent, you may be filled with uncertainty and a lot of questions about the process. You’ll want to know when is the right time to introduce solids and what foods to start off with.
You may also be concerned about whether your baby is getting the right amount of nutrients. To put your mind at ease, we’ve provided some useful tips and tricks to get you started. In this post, we’ll discuss when to introduce your baby to solids, what foods to feed your little one, and how to do it. Keep reading to find out more.
When Should Babies Be Introduced to Solid Foods?
For the first five months after birth, your baby should only be drinking breast milk or formula. Most babies are ready to start eating solids when they reach six months old. Babies at this age will still need breast milk or formula.
At around the six-month milestone, babies start developing the ability to move solid foods from the front of the mouth to the back, allowing them to swallow. Additionally, some babies may be able to start eating solids at around five months. Look for the following signs to determine if your baby is ready for solid foods:
- Your baby is able to sit without support
- Your baby is able to hold his or her head in an upright or steady position
- The baby seems to still be hungry after drinking breast milk or formula
- Your little one might show an interest in what you’re eating
What Solid Foods Can You Start Feeding Your Baby?
The big question is, what type of solid foods should you introduce your baby to? For starters, avoid feeding your little one refined foods that have sugar, salt, or harmful colorants. You should start feeding your baby purees and then gradually introduce finger foods.
Another important factor is the type of nutrients the solid foods have. Babies should be fed a healthy diet containing zinc and iron. You can find these nutrients in single-grain baby cereal and pureed meats. Here is a list of pureed foods you can start off with:
- Sweet potato
- Butternut squash
- Green beans
When your baby reaches the age of seven months, you can then start to introduce foods with more texture, like scrambled eggs or tender meats.
Can Certain Foods Improve Sleep?
Another pressing question parents typically ask is, do solids help babies sleep better? There isn’t substantial proof that solids improve a baby’s sleep. However, some parents have reported that their babies slept better after eating solid foods.
Solids are more filling compared to breast milk and formula. Babies may sleep better because the solids make them feel fuller for longer. It’s best to only feed your baby nutrient-rich foods because sugar and colorants may keep your little one up at night.
How to Introduce Solid Foods to Your Baby the Right Way
Place your baby in a secure highchair that has a small table, back support, and harness for safety. At this point, you should spoon-feed your baby and ensure you put tiny bits of puree on the edge of the spoon.
Don’t force feed or rush your baby to eat solid foods. This is an entirely new experience for your baby, so you want it to be enjoyable. Allow your baby to feel the food in his or her mouth. Pay attention to your baby’s facial expressions when eating because it will indicate whether or not your little one likes the food.
Allow Your Baby to Explore
When you’re comfortable enough to allow your baby to eat without your help, allow them to explore. Place a plate in front of them with small portions of different foods. Make sure the foods are soft, easy to break up, and easy to swallow.
Dish food in Individual Servings
Don’t feed your baby directly from puree bottles. Babies don’t always finish their solid food in one sitting. Saliva can get into bottles of puree and spoil the food. Instead, dish up single servings in a small bowl and add more food if your baby is still hungry.
When introducing solid foods to your baby, it’s important to do it at the right time. It’s also recommended to wait a few days after introducing the new food to your baby to see how his or her body reacts to it. Use the tips and tricks in this article to help you get started. The key is patience so that your baby develops a healthy relationship with food.