Last week we found out if your baby is ready to start eating solid food [if you missed it, catch up here]. This week we will be talking about some best practices on how to introduce solid food to your little one. I think this was the most nerve wrecking part for me. I knew my wee babes was ready for solid food, but how and when do you even start. But don't worry your pretty little head, we will go through all of that together. It really is quite simple.
First things first. Food!
You have to decide what you are going to introduce to your baby first. There really is no right or wrong puree to try first but for allergy reasons I would recommend starting with a one food puree not a mixture of two or more different food purees. Here is a list of some great options:
- Apples + Cinnamon
- Carrots + Nutmeg
- Mashed up Avocado
- Egg Yolk
- Rice Cereal
- Oat Cereal
- Mashed up Banana
- Sweet Potato + Curry
So now you have your amazing food cooked and ready to go and you have a cute spoon and bowl.
Ready, Set, GO!
Slowly that is.
Pick a time during the day [usually around noon, but depends on the baby] where your little one is in a good mood.
Fill your little one up with a little breast milk or formula first [about half of what you would normally give them during a feeding]. We don't want them to go into this starving or too full. In fact, it might be wise for you to have a little snack as well. Being H-angry isn't pretty for anyone.
Start with 1-2 teaspoon of food that is gently warmed up. Just a heads up, you always want to spoon your puree into a separate smaller bowl then what you store your puree in and feed your little one from the smaller bowl. You don't want to be putting their germs back into the big bowl of puree.
Put a little on the spoon and either hand it to your little one or gently spoon the puree into their mouths. You are going to be able to tell right away if they are into it or not. If they grab the spoon from you and attempt to get the food into their mouths by themselves. Awesome! If they let you spoon some puree into their mouths and enjoy it. Hooray!!
But at any time their mouths are clamped shut and they are turning away, don't force the spoon into their mouth and don't stress out. See if they have any interest in playing with the food. If not, put the food away and try again tomorrow.
Sometimes starting with the puree on the end of your finger and letting them suck it off is a great way to begin. Spoons are sometimes scary for their little eyes.
This is not going to be a clean and simple process. They may love food one day and then the next day have no interest in it. They may want to smash the food all over their tray, face and body. It's okay. Having them play with their food is a good thing, it is simply a way for them to explore, learn, smell and taste the world around them. So have some wet wipes ready and close by.
Again, start slowly. 2 teaspoons once a day is enough food for them for the first week. Their bodies need time to adjust and digest this new food. If they are still acting hungry give them some more breast milk or formula.
Ready for More?
After a couple of days you can build up the amount of food you are giving them. This amount will vary per baby, but I would slowly increase by 1 tablespoon at a time if they are willing.
Remember, their main source of calories, vitamins, fat and protein is still from your breast milk or formula. At this point, any purees you are giving them is just for fun and to get them used to eating real food.
If at any time after introducing a new food you notice any allergic reactions such as diarrhea, rash or vomiting stop using the food and consult your pediatrician right away.
Next, we will talk about how and when to introduce new food to your little one!