When to Start Solid Foods

At Abigail’s 6 month well child checkup, we learned all about introducing solids into her diet.  I am SO excited about this milestone!

And as a stay at home Mommy who is both cost conscious and who values having control over the quality of Abby’s diet, a new “task” has been added to my to-do’s: making baby food!  The only aspect of solids I’m not looking forward to is the mess I’ll be cleaning up on a daily basis (trust me, we’ve already had two feedings and I’d say a quarter of the food went in her mouth and the rest went everywhere else…eek!).

But instead of getting all clean-crazy on you right now, I’m going to summarize the info I received on Monday.  I hope it’s helpful!

Question

When (and how) should we introduce solids?

Answer (thanks to handouts from Abby’s Pediatrician)

And who wouldn’t listen to this guy? He obviously knows what he’s doing…

So first I’ll address the “When” part of the question.

When should we introduce solids?

According to our pediatrician, a baby is ready for solids when:

  1. They’ve doubled their birth weight and weigh at least 13 pounds
  2. They seem hungry after 8 – 10 breasfeedings a day (or drinks 32 ounces of formula a day)
  3. They can lift and support their own head

We took our pediatrician’s suggestion and waited until Abby was 6 months old to begin solids (as opposed to the 4 month suggestion you hear from many sources). The reason behind this is that solids from months 6 – 12 are purely educational and experimental.  They are not meant to replace breast milk or formula in any way or amount.

More than anything, this 6 month period is a time for your baby to explore different tastes, textures and temperatures (sounds fun, right?!).  We’re also taking this time to help them learn how to eat from a spoon, work food through their mouths and swallow thick purees or chunky foods without gagging.

Now that we’ve covered the “When” of solids, let’s move onto the “How” of solids…

How should we introduce solids?

This is where things get a little more complicated and where (I’m sure) there are many schools of thought.  For now, I’m going to follow the guidelines I received because they surely make sense to me.  The whole idea behind the “Food Schedule” we were handed is to introduce one item at a timein a particular order.  Here’s some more info:

  1. Single-Grain Cereal (rice cereal::oatmeal::barley cereal) – it is suggested you start with rice cereal because it contains Iron and Zinc and it’s easy to make thicker or thinner.  After you’ve tried rice cereal for at least 4 days, you can move onto oatmeal and single grain cereals (like barley).  {Stick with Single-Grain cereals for 2 Weeks}
  2. Single Vegetables (green beans::peas::carrots::sweet potatoes::squash::brussel sprouts::spinach::etc) – the sky’s the limit with veggies…our doc said the more, the merrier!  {Stick with Single Vegetables for 2 Months}
  3. Meats & Proteins (chicken::fish::turkey::tofu::egg yolk (NOT WHITES)::lentils::edamame) – this “usually” occurs around 9 months when children are beginning to finger feed.  You can now also include cows milk yogurt and room temp cheese as an additional protein source.
  4. Single Fruits (peaches::prunes::bananas::pears::etc) – Fruits are introduced last because babies tend to like the sweetness of the fruit and by introducing them to other foods first, the hope is to increase their openness to less sweet foods.

I’m sure you’re now wondering how much food you should introduce at a time – well, I put together a spreadsheet (based on a few tips from Abby’s pediatrician) for the first 2.5 months – this is a PDF but if you’d like the Excel (editable) version, shoot me an email or comment:

PDF: Starting Solids (7x7xMommy’s Sample Schedule)

General Guidelines:

Add only one new food at a time.  Feed each new food 3 to 5 days in a row before starting another one. Once a food has been fully introduced, you can repeat it at any time and you can pair familiar favorites on the spoon with new foods.

Best time of day to introduce a new food:

In the morning – if it doesn’t agree with your baby, you’ll know before bedtime!

Adverse reactions to foods include:

  1. Vomiting
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Hives

That being said, if your baby has an adverse reaction we were told to retry 2 weeks later (don’t totally give up!!!).  If it doesn’t go over well at that point, I have a feeling your baby is trying to tell you something. 🙂

Foods to Postpone until after 12 Months include:

  1. Egg Whites
  2. Nuts & Nut Butters
  3. Shellfish
  4. Strawberries
  5. Any food that has a family history of allergy

Bottom Line

Have I overwhelmed you with too much information?  I hope not…I just hope you find this somewhat helpful.  Bottom line is that I’m excited to watch Abby try new foods, flavors and textures…and I hope you enjoy this process with us!

Oh, and if you missed this earlier and need more guidelines…PDF: Starting Solids (7x7xMommy’s Sample Schedule)

What Else?

Did I miss some really important info?  Do you have any tips/tricks for us?  Share with me!  And I’m curious, did your babies/kids have favorites when they first started solids?  If so, what were they?!? 

For now, here’s a sneak peak of my next post…

I think she likes it!

7x7xMommy

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