Introducing Your Baby to Solid Foods

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By Carly Dunn, KinderCare Registered Dietitian

Introducing your baby to solid foods is an exciting milestone. How and when infants start eating solid foods will be different for each child, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting at around six months. This depends on the baby’s readiness, and it is important to learn and recognize your baby’s cues and talk to your pediatrician before changing your infant’s diet or starting solids. For second time parents, your second child’s readiness and appetite may be very different than your first child.

What are the cues that your baby is ready to try solids?

  • Baby can sit up (with support) and hold his or her neck up.
  • Birth weight has doubled.
  • Baby will start to notice what you and your family are eating. He or she may even reach out or grab food items from your plate.
  • Baby can keep food in mouth and move food from the front to back of the mouth. Baby does not push food out of mouth with his tongue.
  • Baby does not cough/choke on foods in mouth.

What will you need?

  • A high chair with a seat belt that secures your baby upright.
  • Bibs…but remember, it is OK that baby gets messy. This is a great opportunity for pictures!
  • Plastic (or unbreakable) dinnerware. As baby gets older, they may think it’s fun to throw or drop dishes.

Other helpful hints…

  • Offer foods that vary in color. Foods (especially fruits and vegetables) that vary in color often contain different vitamins and minerals. This is a great way for your baby to eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Offer a new food every 2-3 days to see if your baby has any intolerance or allergic reaction to a food.
  • Make sure that foods are finely diced or pureed to avoid choking hazards.
  • Only feed babies solid foods when they are sitting upright. Avoid giving them snacks in a car seat or bouncer.
  • Do not serve honey to children under 1 year old.
  • Refer to this handy “how to feed your baby” chart for additional helpful guidelines.

For more information, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics’ website or talk to your pediatrician. 

2Responses

  1. Sara Shepherd

    I am concerned about this article for two reasons.

    First, there is inaccurate information about when to introduce solids.

    Second, there is an omission of any mention about breastfeeding in an article about infant feeding.

    Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first SIX months of life. This means no extra fluids or solids until that time. Solid foods will also not yet be the primary source of baby’s nutrition during this introduction; this time is mostly experimentation with tastes and textures. Breastmilk will remain the primary source of nutrition for months yet. The AAP recommends introducing complimentary foods (solids and fluids such as juice and water) after the six month mark while continuing to breastfeed for at least the first 12 months of life. WHO recommends continuing to breastfeed for at least the first two years of life.

    Both AAP and WHO recommend breastfeeding as a baby’s source of nutrition. The AAP’s website HealthyChildren.org “Switching to Solid Foods”, from where a majority of the information for this article came from even includes the following disclaimer:

    “NOTE: The AAP recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about 6 months. When you add solid foods to your baby’s diet, continue breastfeeding until at least 12 months. You can continue to breastfeed after 12 months if you and your baby desire. Check with your child’s doctor about vitamin D and iron supplements during the first year”

    This is not meant to incite a debate about breastfeeding nor to cause guilt to those whom have chosen not to breastfeed or encountered difficulties with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding while working away from home can certainly be challenging. This is about presenting accurate and complete information to your parents.

    Please consider adding an addendum to this article with corrected ages and the AAP’s note about breastfeeding.

    Thank you,
    Sara Shepherd, RN BSN IBCLC and mother to an active pre-k boy at Kindercare

    References:
    http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Switching-To-Solid-Foods.aspx

    http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/guiding_principles_compfeeding_breastfed.pdf

    http://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/HALF-Implementation-Guide/Age-Specific-Content/Pages/Infant-Food-and-Feeding.aspx

    • Hi Sara, thank you for the feedback and for sharing additional resources. I wanted to let you know we updated the article to clarify the AAP’s recommendation is to start “around 6 months.” All of our health and wellness content is created or reviewed by our Registered Dietitian, Carly Dunn, but we are happy to clarify this point so we don’t cause any confusion for parents.
      To address your second point, this article was focused on introducing solids, not breastfeeding. That said, we do support all breastfeeding and formula feeding moms and to your point, the choices that work for them. Thanks again for adding the additional resources and thoughts on this topic.
      Best,
      Taffy
      p.s. I have a post on “tips for pumping at work” coming soon for all those breastfeeding mamas!

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