Good morning! Today’s Motherhood post is one I’ve been wanting to share for awhile. It’s all about how we started giving Augustine solid foods. If you’re a mama and curious, here are some tips for introducing solids to a baby. And if you’re not a mama but just want to see some photos of Augustine, prepare yourself for some beyond adorable ones!
As exciting as the eating solids milestone can be, it’s also a little stressful. You’ve spent the past 6 months feeding baby a liquid diet, and now you’re supposed to incorporate foods. Which ones? How much? How often? I feel like I had a ton of questions when we officially got the go-ahead from Augustine’s doctor.
One thing she told us though is that, “food before one is just for fun.” During the first year, babies are still getting their primary nutrition from milk. Even still, it’s good for them to try foods, experience textures, and different flavors, and also get used to meal times.
WHEN TO START SOLIDS
Augustine’s doctor recommended starting solids around 6 months. I’ve heard of friends who have started as early as 4 months, though. You just want to check with the doctor and see what works best for your baby.
Here are some signs your baby is ready to start eating solids foods: baby can sit up with support, has good head and neck control, can lean forward and open his mouth when interested in food, and lean back/turn away when disinterested in food, baby can push up with straight elbows from a lying face down position, baby is placing hands and/or toys in their mouth, baby has doubled their birth weight, and weighs at least 13 pounds, baby shows interest in others eating around them.
An ideal time to start feeding solids is in the morning, maybe a few hours after their last nursing/milk session. You don’t want them to be full, and you don’t want them to be starving and get frustrated. Morning is good too because if any allergies develop, you’ll notice them during the day, as opposed to missing them during the night.
If your baby gags when solid food, even liquid, touches the back of their throat, they might not be ready yet. Don’t worry! You can try again in a few weeks.
BABY’S FIRST FOODS
Augustine’s first food was avocado. His pediatrician recommended it first because of the Omega-3 fatty acids. She said it was a great starter food, nice and soft, and really nourishing. Augustine LOVED it. Big surprise! That boy is a California boy after all!
When first starting solids, introduce 1 food at a time for 3 days to allow time for you to see if your baby is allergic. Keep track of rashes, diarrhea, or vomiting. If all is well after introducing that new food for 3 days, add in another one.
At first, food should be very soupy with milk or water added to it. You want to steam the vegetables or fruits so that they’re sold and easy to “chew” and swallow.
While I had been interested in Baby Led Weaning, Augustine didn’t take too well to it, so we started with purees. I love the thought process behind Baby Led weaning though, but I think it was too much for Augustine at 6 months. He might be more ready it try again now.
Avocado (technically a fruit but we treat it as a vegetable)
Sweet Potatoes * (remember to peel potatoes until after one year of age, as the skin contains a natural carcinogen)
We give Augustine oatmeal mixed with applesauce/pears in the mornings. We started this around 7 months, so not right away. Also, with the new recommendation of introducing peanut butter early on, we will add a little bit of peanut butter to the oatmeal, along with some banana. It’s so good that I want some too!
When it comes to fruits we only give one serving a day, and not every day. Apparently, this is recommended to minimize the future desire for sweet foods. Who knows though! Bananas and apples are good “binding” foods, while pureed pears and prunes are loosening. Babies can get very constipated with the introduction of solids so be careful! Augustine’s doctor recommended offering him a sippy cup with some water (and sometimes mixed with prune juice) during his meals. After doing some research on sippy cups, we ended up getting this trainer cup, since it helps support proper muscle development in the mouth. It was recommended to me a lot on Instagram too.
At 8 months, you can start giving babies Protein like egg yolks (hard boiled or scrambled without the whites. Whites can be an allergen), beans, and lentils. You can also do rice, and some of the more challenging vegetables like asparagus, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and beets.
Foods to Avoid Until After 12 Months
whole cow’s milk
cow’s milk yogurt
cow’s milk cheeses
added sugar or salt
TIPS FOR INTRODUCING SOLIDS TO A BABY
Begin by offering just one meal/day for the first one to two weeks.
In the beginning, dilute the servings of food with breast milk, formula, or water to make it easier to swallow. Also, if you add milk, that flavor will be familiar to them.
You can keep baby on your lap facing outward, or they can sit in a high chair facing you.
Use a small, shallow-bowled, long handled soft-tipped spoon. We like this one!
Hold your spoonful of food about 12 inches from the baby’s mouth and once they cue you, by reaching or opening mouth, you can start to feed.
At first, we put a little food in Augustine’s lower lip and that allowed him to taste it and push it back into his mouth and then down his throat.
Imitate chewing, or even model it beforehand so that they can understand better.
Let your baby grasp, hold and play with the spoon if he liked. They might like to teeth on it a bit too.
Feed as slowly or as fast as your baby wants to eat. Don’t rush the process or feel like you need to give them a lot. Follow their lead and pause and wait for them to show readiness before offering the next spoonful.
Notice baby’s sign for being done: whimpers, sudden arching, hands waving, head turning away.
One thing I heard was to separate the foods, instead of serving a mash, to allow the baby understand flavors. Apparently, it helps increase the baby’s developing sense of flavor and variety.
I definitely want to remind you all that I’m not a doctor, but these are things that were recommended to me through our pediatrician, our Mommy & Me class’s leader who is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and also through various research I did online. At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you and your baby! Hopefully, this was helpful for some of you though! I know how intimidating it can be when you’re trying to figure out how to introduce solids to a baby. It can be overwhelming but don’t let it be! Have fun with it and led your baby lead the way!
If I missed anything, or if you have any questions, leave them for me below! Also, if any of you have tips you’d like to share I’d love to hear!!
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photos by Kimber Brown