How to feed your baby solid food
Introducing solid food to a baby can be a difficult task as every child has the potential to be a little picky when it comes to their food palette.
Introducing solid food to a baby can be a difficult task as every child has the potential to be a little picky when it comes to their food palate.
It’s even more important for you to make it fun while introducing these new foods with various textures and tastes, as you can find yourself becoming a little frustrated if your baby is not a fan of these new food items. Additionally, it's important to keep in touch with your pediatrician, their assistance is of the utmost importance to ensure your baby stays healthy throughout the process.
So, if you’re looking to get your baby started on solids here are a few things to consider:
The age of the baby
Most people believe that you should introduce solids to your baby around the fourth month, but that may be a little too young. The safer age to start would be around the six month mark, so if you want to start before, it is even more important to reach out to an expert or your pediatrician.
How to introduce solids
A good way to start is by using a little silicone teether and put fresh fruits in it, babies love frozen fruits like berries. Get them comfortable with chewing, while having a good, refreshing experience. It is always lovely to watch a baby's first taste of something other than milk!
Lead by example
Let your baby mimic you and your partner whenever you eat, make sure to make a little side dish and introduce them to a great variety of foods, that way, they will strive for more and more.
You also want to be very cautious as your child may or may not have allergic reactions to certain foods. On the other hand, the earlier you introduce these various foods, the less likely your baby will develop allergic reactions to food.
Don’t overwhelm your baby for the first couple of days, give them only one food, avocado and banana are great choices to start with as they are very soft and mushy. Wait a few days and pay attention to the reactions, if there is no interest, move on to the next food.
The goal here isn’t replacing milk, but getting your child used to different foods. It should be fun and stress free! By the end of the day, breast milk should be the main food until at least one year old.
First, the bottle
Before trying to introduce something new, make sure your baby has a bottle of milk and wait for an hour, then introduce some solids. You don’t want your child to be hungry for his bottle, because that way they will probably not feel like trying something new.
Pureé food is great
Trying to get your kids interested in veggies and healthy foods is quite a challenge, so make sure you try purées. Savory veggie purées are just awesome! If you can, try to avoid foods that are too sweet because it will make your baby get kicked into high gear with sugar, and that might be troublesome in the future, as it is very easy to get hooked on the sweets.
Make it soft!
If the food is too hard, don’t give it to your child unless you soften it. Steaming is a great and healthy way to soften up food and minimize excessive chewing. Cut carrots, sweet potatoes or other veggies (as natural as possible) into bite sizes and steam them.
Mess is good
Refuse the urge to want to spoon feed your baby. Let them use their hands, make a mess, have some fun. This is important in making sure that they learn how to do it themselves. It is adorable watching them trying to pinch at their food at first, however they do catch on very fast. This brand new ability gets them excited and more open to trying new food.
You should like it as well
If you expect your kids to be a good eater, give them food you also like. Bland stuff is going to make them think that food are always like that. They have taste buds too, you know? You can put some salt, olive oil and seasoning in their meal, it will help them enjoy their food. If you don’t like it, your baby is probably not going to like it either.
Water is important!
Most parents don't know when to introduce water. You can do it at the same time you introduce new foods, give your baby a sippy cup of water and let them drink as much as they want, it is a healthy habit and won’t do any harm. Much the opposite! Your baby won’t get full of it thinking it is milk, the same way you don’t get full of water thinking it is something else. Using a straw is big fun as well.
As a reminder, try to not introduce juice right away or your baby will get used to sugary drinks and think it is better than water!
Avoid honey at all cost!
Don’t ever give your baby honey until they are at least one year old. The longer you can wait, the better. There is something like botulism in honey, it is very rare but also very serious, so it’s better to keep them away from honey just to be safe.
Always have children's benadryl
It is important to be prepared when you are introducing new foods as you don’t want to be caught off guard if there are any allergic reactions. Of course, if something happens the benadryl is only one way to buy more time until you can get your baby to the doctor. However, just knowing that you have some benadryl available make things a bit easier, try not to get desperate, because it can make things worse. Stuff happens, so being prepared is imperative. It’s also a great idea for you to take a CPR class if you haven’t as yet. It is always important and helpful, and it can save someone’s life. Even if you never need to use it, being prepared is still far better as some foods like grapes, popcorn, chewing gum or hard candies can be very dangerous.
Fun plates are fun
Get your baby interested in food with cool plates with suction cups, and nice colors or characters. It is common that babies place their food in front of them before using plates, so it is nice to carry around something fun like a police mat or paper with their favorite characters on it when you eat out. As they grow older, understanding the need for a plate is just a matter of time. Be sure to get something with a suction cup, because your kid will definitely toss the plate sooner or later.
The same goes with silverware. They will be interested in it before they have coordination to use it, so probably the first thing they will be able to do is stab at their food instead of spoon feeding themselves. Try giving them two forks, one they can play with and the other one they can actually use. A good way to do this is, is by putting the food on one fork and giving it to your baby, then allowing them to play with the other fork, while you use another one to grab some more food while he’s eating, and just trade. It will feel like the ultimate baby food game!
Bibs are essential
There is no doubt you’ll need a variety of bibs, especially the ones with clips to make it easier or the ones that are able to cover a large surface, as large as possible to keep food away from their clothes. Don’t fool yourself, it will get messy! They just don’t care, and it is perfectly normal, don’t expect them to do things neat and clean right away. Getting dirty is part of the process and it is a lot of fun, however try to wipe your baby’s mouth every time it gets excessively dirty, so they can get used to the concept of cleaning afterwards.
This is it! Remember: keep it fun, keep it healthy, keep it tasty and always be prepared.