Switching to solid foods or beginning solid foods is a big step for your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests doing so between 4 and 6 months. Although there are some milestones you baby must hit first, including:
- Sitting upright and holding up their own head.
- They show curiosity especially in terms of food (look for reaching and smacking of lips when they see you eating)
- They have lost their tongue thrust reflex. This means they will not push food out of their mouth.
- Breast milk or formula is no longer filling. If your baby is still hungry after 8-10 breast feedings or 32 ounces of formula daily, it may be time for solid food.
It is still recommended to breast feed or give your baby a bottle first thing in the morning, after meals and before bedtime. For most babies consider:
- 0-9 months – Continue to feed your baby 20-28 ounce of formula or breast milk every 3-4 hours.
- 9-12 months – Continue to feed your baby 16-24 ounces of formula or breast milk every 4 to 5 hours.
Younger babies might not fully understand the concept of eating but around 6-9 months they do. Start a meal routine (breakfast, lunch, dinner) with your little one. We don’t recommend pressuring your baby to eat but encourage their curiosity and any attempt at eating. Parents who follow baby led weaning (BLW)(See our blog: Baby Led Weaning) might find their babies fascinated by food texture and end up playing with food at first.
Now you’re probably wondering “What can my baby eat?” and that depends entirely on their age. Here are our suggestions by age (also check packaging and labels on all baby food)
- From 4-6 months – Single-grain cereals fortified with iron – Due to the drop in iron levels in babies (especially at 9 months), single-grain cereals fortified with iron are recommended. You can combine cereals with breast milk or formula and mix to your desired consistency.
- From 4-8 months – Pureed fruit, vegetables, and meat (traditionally) – ideally one new food at a time.
- From 9-12 months – Foods no longer have to be pureed, but make sure foods you give your baby are still bite sized and mashable.
The AAP recommends introducing allergenic foods (dairy, peanuts, eggs) early on, since it can reduce the risk of developing a food allergy. However, remember cow’s milk is not recommended before age 1. Also, you may have heard it’s better to introduce vegetables before fruit (so your baby doesn’t develop a preference for sweet foods). However, there is no scientific data to support that. Also, many health professionals recommend introducing one new food at a time and waiting 3-5 days before another to check for allergies.
Some other foods you might want to consider avoiding are honey, fruit juice, peanut butter or other nut butters, soy milk, unpasteurized foods, or any foods with added sugar or high levels of sodium. Uncooked fruit and vegetables, as well as nuts and seeds are also not recommended for younger babies and infants.
Babies digestive tracts are still immature, so there is nothing like a massage to help stimulate good digestion. Consider one of Storybook’s stories and massages to help promote good digestion and reduce colic in your little one. In my house we are are a big fan of the story The Solar System Space Mission.
Try Storybook today!