Starting solids with our babies is such a big milestone. It's exciting but a bit overwhelming at the same time. When we first started we had so many questions and it felt a little bit like we were walking in the dark. As first time parents we reached out for a lot of help and advice on starting solids, the first being with our pediatrician and then using Babywise II. Today, I'm going to take you through the steps we did to get Kai to the point he is at now which is solids 3 times a day with a variety of cereal, vegetables, and fruits!
Starting Solids between 4 and 6 Months
We chose to wait until the 6 month mark based on advice we received from our pediatrician. She gave us the go ahead if we wanted to start at 4 months but made some good points on waiting until 6 months and they were that there are correlations between childhood obesity and starting solids prior to 6 months, an increased risk of allergic reactions due to underdeveloped digestive system, and eating 32-36 oz a day is normal for a 4 to 5 month old. So while we were so excited to start trying out solids with him, we took our doctor's advice and waited. We do have a family history of obesity so this was the biggest factor for us. We know that correlation is just that, correlation and not cause and effect, but we also want to be starting out on the right foot with everything when it comes to Kai.
However, I do want to point out that all babies and families are different! It might be very beneficial to start your baby out on solids prior to 6 months and here are some clear cut signs that baby is ready:
1. Has good head control
2. Can sit up with assistance (in a high chair)
3. Shows interest in food you are eating
4. Doesn't seem satisfied with having 36 oz of milk per day
Start w/ Cereal
Once again, with advice from our pediatrician as well as Babywise II, it was suggested we start with cereal. We originally chose to start with oatmeal but after a few days ended up switching to rice cereal. Rice cereal is slightly easier to digest compared to oatmeal, so if you have any concerns with digestive problems or allergies, rice cereal is the way to go. However, if you have concerns with nutritional content and constipation, oatmeal is the way to go. Either way, start with one of the two and offer a little bit every day as cereal is a good source of iron. Babies who are 6+ months old require iron in their diets as it is important for good brain development. Iron is not needed in a babies diet prior to 6 months though unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
We started out with 1 Tbps of cereal with 2 Tbps of breast milk to make it on the first day at breakfast. Kai loved it! On day 2, we did 2 Tbps, day 3 we did 3 Tbps, and day 4 we did 4 Tbps. At that point since we didn't see any reactions, we moved on. It is important to only try out ONE kind of food at a time for 3-4 days. This way, if your baby shows any signs of a reaction you know the cause of the reaction. If you add too much in at once, you'll be left guessing which food it is that is causing the reaction. After Kai was established with eating cereal we switched to making it with formula.
Update Baby's Schedule
After the 4 day trial of cereal at breakfast time, we moved to doing 3 Tbsp of cereal 3 times a day. We knew we wanted to do the solid feedings at breakfast, lunch, and dinner time but Kai's old schedule didn't completely accommodate these times. Also, he stayed fuller longer thanks to starting solids so we knew it was time to extend out his feelings by a little bit to allow him time to digest everything and take a full feeding at each feeding. We moved from a 3.5 hour schedule to a 4 hour schedule. This is where Babywise II really helped and you can read all about our new schedule in this post.
A quick run down of our current schedule with solids is feedings at 7am, 11am, 3pm, 6pm, and 8pm. Kai receives milk first at all feedings and solids after at the 7am, 11am, and 6pm feedings. It's important to offer milk first because milk should still be baby's primary source of food right now. They still need at least 20 oz per day.
It's a good idea to introduce vegetables after cereal instead of fruits. Fruits are a lot sweeter than veggies and babies tend to really love fruits over veggies. So if you give them a taste of veggies first and get them use to a couple of them, then they are less likely to reject them because they haven't dived in to the world of fruits yet. We started out with 1 Tbps of sweet potatoes with 2 Tbsp of cereal at his 7am feeding on day 1 of veggies. It's best to introduce any new foods at the first feeding of the day so that you can watch baby all day long for any allergic reactions. As long as all goes well on the first day then on day 2 try 2 Tbsp and on day 3 try them at whatever meals you plan on offering veggies at. On day 2, we moved the sweet potatoes to the 11am feeding since Kai didn't have a reaction on day 1 and on day 3 we gave him sweet potatoes at the 11am feeding and 6pm feeding. After 3 days of no reaction, we were confident he was good with sweet potatoes and moved on to peas. We followed the same method for peas.
Great veggies to try with 4 to 6 month olds are:
After two different vegetables we introduced fruits. We chose to start with peaches. On day 1, we gave Kai 1 Tbsp of peaches with oatmeal at breakfast. We chose not to mix the peaches in to the oatmeal because we wanted him to taste them by themselves. On day 2 though, we did mix them in as well as offered them at lunch. On day 3, we offered them at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After those 3 days, we tried out avocado with the same method.
Great fruits to try with 4 to 6 month olds are:
What to Avoid
There are some major no-nos in terms of what not to give to a baby because they can be harmful to them and they are as follows:
Once cereal, veggies, and fruits have all been successfully offered we had a complete menu for Kai. His daily menu looks like this:
We try our best to have a colorful plate for Kai. So far he's had sweet potatoes, peas, peaches, avocados, and carrots. We slowly just keep introducing new foods with the 3 day method. It's been going so well and Kai is loving trying everything! His favorite by far is sweet potatoes...he definitely takes after his mama! He has a combination of the menu above to total out to 3 Tbsp at each meal. So for example at breakfast and lunch he has 1.5 Tbsp of each thing and at dinner he has 1 Tbsp of each thing.
We make all of our own baby food and I'll be sharing how we prepare each of the food we give to Kai soon! Making your own baby food is so easy, healthy, and cost effective. If you have any questions about introducing solids and the kinds of foods we give to Kai please leave me a comment below!
What was your babies first solids? Or if you haven't tried yet, what do you think you want to start with after cereal? Share with me in the comments below!
Please remember to always check with your pediatrician if you have serious questions or concerns regarding your little ones. I do not claim to offer medical advice with my motherhood posts and only offer the advice based on what works for our family.
I’m Diana; curator & author of Tiny Dapper Fox. Here you’ll find posts on motherhood, home life, travel, & fashion/beauty as well as City Guides for places all around the world. Make yourself cozy and let’s be friends!
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