Beginning solid foods with your baby can be really overwhelming. It’s just like any other other thing you’ll teach your baby to do, but it’s most likely the first big thing you’ll be doing with your wee one, aside from bottle feeding and sleeping all day.
When I started solids with my first, I truly had no idea what in the world to even feed him or when to do it. Thankfully, I knew HOW to feed solids to a baby, but that’s about all I did know.
It can be really frustrating when they are just starting out, because they don’t eat at the same time as you and the rest of your family. Here’s what you need to know, as well as some easy ideas for what to feed your baby!
Tip #1: Don’t cut down on bottle feedings yet!
Yes, there is extra food going into your little one’s tummy. But let them be in control. If they refuse the breast/bottle, go with the flow. But don’t start detracting any bottles until 9-10 months, minimum. If you notice that your child is really hounding down on the baby food, you can try giving less formula in one feeding, but don’t cut down on how many feedings in a day yet. If you are breastfeeding, don’t even worry about this as your baby will only take what he or she needs. A formula fed baby should be drinking 20+ ounces daily over 3-5 feedings.
Tip #2: Start out with solids once per day.
When you first introduce solids, go slow. Your child doesn’t know what is happening and you don’t want to force too much too fast. Start with one feeding of a veggie or fruit puree when they are full and awake. A great time is after a mid-day nap and feeding. After you see that your baby is learning how to swallow and is actually finishing off some of the food, you could add a second feeding. At 6-9 months, a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon feeding are great with milk the rest of the day.
Tip #3: Be prepared for a mess.
Babies only know how to suck, not how to move solid food back to their throat. When you first put a spoonful of food into a baby’s mouth it will most likely come right back out at you. Use a coated spoon specifically made for feeding babies and only use a little bit of food on the tip of the spoon until you see that your baby is learning how to swallow.
Tip #4: It’s okay to offer water with snacks.
I’ve heard both sides of this, but I personally wanted to get my little one started early with a love for water. As long as you don’t give large amounts of water all at once (their little digestive systems are not prepared to drink that much water at once and it can really make them sick.) All I did was added 1-2 oz. of water in the bottom of a bottle and gave him little sips in between bites. As he got bigger, I would just set the bottle on his tray and he drank when he was thirsty. I now have a 2 year old who chugs water like his life depends on it, so I would like to think that this worked for us.
Tip #5: Begin to offer finger foods once your child is fully accustomed to solids.
Once you’ve gotten into a good routine of doing 2-3 meals per day with purees and your child has several teeth and is able to sit completely independently in his high chair, you can start offering finger foods! Some great ideas are:
- Baby Puffs
- Yogurt Melts
- Teething Biscuits
- Veggie Straws
Tip #6: You don’t have to feed solids right after bottle/breast feeding & a nap.
The reason this is suggested is because if a baby is full and happy, they are less likely to get angry/frustrated when trying something new. When you are first introducing food, try it after a mid-day nap and bottle/breast feeding. But once your baby is used to eating solid foods, you should definitely separate bottle/breast from solid feedings to adjust your little one into having meals.
Tip #7: Start out with whatever kind of puree you want to.
I’ve heard some say that you must begin with some sort of baby cereal because it is easiest for your baby to digest and doesn’t have a strong flavor. I’ve also heard some people suggest starting with veggies so that you don’t end up with a picky eater. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter. As long as it is pureed so your baby will be able to swallow it with ease, whatever you want to give them is fine.
Tip #8: Allow 2-3 days in between new foods to check for allergies.
New research shows that it’s best to let your baby lots of new foods as soon as you can. No longer is it advised to keep eggs, dairy, peanuts or other allergens away from your 6-12 month old. Just be sure that EVERY time you introduce a new food, write down what you gave and when, and wait 2-3 days to watch for symptoms of allergy. If nothing happens, feel free to move on to the next food!
Meal Ideas: 6-9 Months
- Peanut Butter Smoothie (mix 1 TBS of peanut butter with 2 TBS milk for a smooth mixture that will be easy for baby to eat… you can also add banana into this for more texture)
- Mashed Potatoes (regular or sweet)
- Cottage Cheese
- Refried Beans
- Scrambled Eggs (you can also add some shredded cheese!)
- Macaroni + Cheese (or other cooked pasta)
Veggies & Fruits
Any pureed veggie should be fine, as long as it is smooth and creamy.
Any creamy baby cereal is a great idea. You can also give many boxed cereals to babies, once they have some teeth and are getting better at eating.
Bread is a great item to give babies!! Rip up any sort of bread or bun for your little one to gnaw on.
Sample Feeding Schedules: 6-9 Months
- 24-36 oz formula/breastmilk daily (6-8 oz every feeding)
- 4-5 bottle feedings / nursing sessions daily
- 1-3 solid meals daily
6:30 – 6-8 oz bottle / nurse
7:00 – Nap
9:00 – Cereal + Fruit + 2 oz water in bottle
10:30 – 6-8 oz bottle / nurse
12:30 – Nap
2:00 – 6-8 oz bottle / nurse
3:30 – Nap
5:00 – Protein + Veggie/Fruit + 2 oz water in bottle
6:30 – 6-8 oz bottle / nurse
7:00 – Bedtime
- 20-32 oz formula/breastmilk daily (6-8 oz every feeding)
- 3-4 bottle feedings / nursing sessions daily
- 3 solid meals daily
- Introduce finger foods w/ meals
6:30 – 6-8 oz bottle / Nurse
8:00 – Cereal + Fruit + Finger Foods + 2 oz water in bottle
10:00 – Nap
12:30 – Protein + Veggie/Fruit + Finger Foods + 2 oz water in bottle
2:30 – 6-8 oz bottle / Nurse
3:00 – Nap
5:00 – Protein + Veggie/Fruit + Finger Foods + 2 oz water in bottle
6:30 – Bathe
7:00 – 6-8 oz bottle / Nurse
7:30 – Bedtime