How to introduce solid food to your baby
Approved by the BabyCenter Canada Medical Advisory Board
This article comes to us from Canada. It contains specific ideas on foods, amounts, how often and how much to feed your baby. The glossary of topics covered is helpful. I found the breadth of the information here interesting. There is always more to learn!!! Hope you enjoy! JUDY
In this article
- How should I begin to introduce solid food?
- How will I know when my baby’s full?
- Do I still need to breastfeed?
- How should I introduce more solid foods?
- How many times a day should my baby be eating solid foods?
- What about finger foods?
- Where should I feed my baby?
- How can I help my baby develop healthy eating habits?
- Take our quiz
Congratulations! Your baby has reached another exciting milestone. She’s ready to start eating solid food. This will likely be an exciting and sometimes frustrating time for you both. We have some pointers here on how to introduce your baby to solids, but this, like all parenting endeavours, will take patience, some experimenting, a little mess cleaning, and a sense of humour. Bon appétit!
How should I begin to introduce solid food?
For the best beginning possible be sure that your baby is ready to start solids. It is recommended by Health Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society that you wait until your baby is six months old before introducing solids. You also want to be sure that your baby can sit up on her own, hold her head up, and shows interest in eating. Once you know that she’s ready to begin, gather together a few basic tools for feeding her. Then spend a little time thinking about which foods you want to introduce first
iron. Here’s one good way to introduce it.
1. Offer your baby her usual breast milk or formula.
2. When she is nearly satisfied, give her about one or two teaspoons of dry cereal mixed with enough formula, breast milk, or water to make a soupy solution. If you don’t want to start with baby cereal there are other iron-richfirst food options like pureed meats. Give this mixture to your baby on a soft rubber-tipped spoon once a day.
3. Finish with her milk feed. This way, she won’t be so hungry that she is too frustrated to try the new food, and not too full to be interested.
It doesn’t have to be the morning feed; pick a time that’s convenient for both you and your baby. Most parents have to experiment before they find a routine that works.
At first, your baby may eat very little. Be patient with your little one and remember it may take a little time for her to learn these new skills.
When your baby is eating two to three tablespoons of cereal or soupy puree a day, try adding another food. As she begins to eat and develops more of a side-to-side grinding motion, add a little less liquid so the texture becomes thicker. This allows your baby to work on chewing (gumming) and swallowing.
How will I know when my baby’s full?
Your baby’s appetite will vary from one feeding to the next, so a strict accounting of the amount she’s eaten isn’t a reliable way to tell when she’s had enough. If your baby leans back in her chair, turns her head away from food, starts playing with the spoon, pushes the spoon away, acts uninterested, or refuses to open up for the next bite, she has probably had enough. (Sometimes a baby will keep her mouth closed because she hasn’t yet finished with the first mouthful, so be sure to give her time to swallow.)
On the other hand, if your baby leans forward, opens her mouth like a baby bird, reaches for the spoon or the food, she may be telling you that she wants more. Watch and learn your baby’s hunger and fullness cues. This is called responsive eating and it’s an important step towards healthy independent eating habits.
Do I still need to breastfeed?
Yes. Breast milk is designed to be the perfect food for your baby’s first six months. Both breast milk and formula provide important vitamins, iron, and protein in an easy-to-digest form. Even though solid foods will gradually replace some of your baby’s milk feeds, breast milk or formula will remain her most important source of nutrition until she is one year old.
How should I introduce more solid foods?
The goal is to introduce your baby to a wide variety of foods by her first birthday. Health Canada recommends starting with iron-rich foods and then gradually introducing more foods to your baby. You can offer her food that your family is eating so long as you adjust it to the right texture and size for her eating abilities.
allergic reaction. If you have a family history of allergies, make a plan with your baby’s doctor before you introduce the common allergens.
Some good foods for babies include: pureed meats, pureed legumes (lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas), ripe bananas, or cooked, pureed apple, carrots, peaches, pears, sweet potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower, peas, and butternut squash, but almost anything goes. Try mixing to a sloppy consistency with boiled, cooled water or breast or formula milk. You can also try baby rice, maize, cornmeal or millet cereal.
If you get a negative reaction from your baby, offer the food again a few days later. She may always turn up her nose at some foods, but continue to offer them in hope that they become more appealing.