Starting solids can be a really fun and exciting time for families, but navigating its ins and outs: when to start, what to start with, how to stay safe, etc., can be downright daunting.
This guide is designed to empower you when it comes to starting solids, answer frequently asked questions, and provide you with nutrient dense ideas for your baby’s first foods.
So let’s jump in!
The general rule of thumb is, once baby is able to complete the following 2 milestones:
This usually occurs around 6 months of age, but can be earlier or later.
Once baby is ready to begin solids, it’s best to serve foods in a form that they would normally be enjoyed in.
Infant led feeding is my favorite method for this. Here are 4 important safety rules for infant led feeding.
These rules prepare baby for the most success and help mitigate choking.
Another note on safety,
I highly recommend that all parents and caregivers, regardless of how you’re feeding your baby, take an infant CPR and choking class. These skills are life saving, inexpensive, and can even be completed online.
I’m also a fan of the LifeVac choking rescue device. I hope we never have to use it, but we have one in our house, office, and both our cars, just in case.
If your baby is a slow grower, my first recommendation would be to add in more milk, rather than more food, because milk is typically higher in calories.
Calories in 4oz. of butternut squash: 32
Calories in 4 oz. of breastmilk: 79
Limit known inflammatory foods (sugar, dairy, gluten, soy, etc.)
A note on allergies,
Allergies: it’s important to know the signs of food allergies, however it is not necessary to introduce just 1 food at a time unless your baby is/has shown signs of allergies.
If you are breastfeeding or breastfed and did not see signs of allergies in baby when you ate certain foods, that’s a good sign.
This does NOT mean you need to avoid these foods.
In fact, research shows that the sooner babies try these foods, typically the less sensitive they are and will be to them for life.
Especially in the beginning, solid food for your baby may be more about them exploring and less about them actually eating. This is completely normal and natural.
Here are some first food options that are highly nutrient dense, even if they only actually swallow a very small amount.
During this age, IRON is especially important for babies. The following suggestions are listed in order from most IRON rich (BEST) to least.
That doesn’t mean you need to avoid the foods at the end of the list, they are still great options too, but the foods near the top are higher in iron.
During this age, ZINC is especially important for babies. The following suggestions are listed in order from most Zinc rich (BEST) to least. That doesn’t mean you need to avoid the foods at the end of the list, they are still great options too, but the foods near the top are higher in zinc.
And there you have it!
I hope this guide serves you and your family well as you navigate your journey into solids.
Please know that this content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide or replace any individual medical advice and/or treatment from your, or your kiddos, personal physician. Please consult your doctor and/or qualified pediatric practitioner for individual or specific questions and concerns.