Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Goodbye Bottles, Hello Solids!

Starting solids is an exciting time for babies because they are finally getting to taste the food they watch you eat! Be prepared for a bumpy ride: One day, baby will scrunch her face and blow raspberries at you in disgust. She may even gag, spit it out and cry. Food will be flying in your face and all over the floor. The next day, she’ll eat an entire portion no problem. Either way, your goal is to introduce different tastes and textures to your child. Here’s some advice on how to introduce your child to solid food.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says you should start your child on solids between 4 and 6 months. During this time, look for some of these developments:

·      Can sit upright and hold up his head
·      Is curious, looking at everything around him
·      Has mastered tongue movement
·      Seems hungry after getting a full day's portion of milk (eight to 10 breast feedings or about 32 ounces of formula)

A common solid to start with is a single-grain cereal, such as rice cereal or oatmeal. These cereals have the advantage of boosting your baby’s iron intake. The packages usually list information and give you a measurement on how much breast milk or formula to mix in with the cereal.

When you offer baby that first taste of something other than breast milk or formula, it’s a huge event. To increase the likelihood of success, offer the first solids when baby isn’t full (if she's not hungry, she won’t be interested) or ravenous (she’ll be frustrated that she’s not getting as much as she wants right away). Instead, fill her up a little with liquid and then let her have a taste.

These items make the process easier:
·      A high chair or other secure seat that holds your baby upright to eat
·      Plastic or other waterproof bibs, which are easy to rinse off  (those with a big trough at the bottom are particularly handy to catch falling bits when baby starts feeding herself)
·      Unbreakable plates and bowls that won’t shatter when they’re knocked off the high chair tray

Each time you introduce a new solid food, wait about three days to see if it causes an allergic reaction. Don’t introduce anything new during that time; this way, if your baby develops hives, a rash, or a more serious reaction, you’ll know which food caused it.

Remember, starting solids is a fun and exciting adventure. Your child will reject certain foods but keep trying. They may eventually like the food you thought they’d never eat. The goal is to have a variety of foods you know they enjoy. 

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