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The Best Ways to Introduce New Foods To Your Baby

Introducing a new food to your baby is an “iffy” thing. He might adore green beans the first time he eats them, and gobble them up with relish. On the other hand, he might spit them right back out and give you his biggest glare.

There’s no way to predict how your baby will react to new foods. But there are steps you can take to help your baby enjoy her new food as much as possible.

  • Offer the breast or a bottle before offering a new food.

    This is good advice to follow anyway (especially when you’re first starting solid foods.) The idea here is that your baby will be calmer and more receptive to solid food if he’s not totally hungry. It’s especially important to do this when you’re about to offer him something new.

  • Offer new foods when your baby is well-rested.

    You know by now that when your baby’s exhausted, nothing goes well. And feeding is no different! So pick a time during the day when you know your baby will be rested and happy — maybe after her morning nap — and offer the brand-new food then. This’ll help ensure she has the positive attitude and patience she’ll need to try something new.

  • Offer a small amount of the new food.

    Feeding your little guy spinach for the first time? This is not the moment to make a big ol’ serving! Instead, prepare a half-sized portion of the new food. If your baby loves it, you can always make more; if he isn’t so receptive, you won’t be wasting a bunch of leftover food. And as you feed the new food to your baby, offer half-sized spoonfuls — just enough to give him a taste.

  • Alternate a new food with a familiar one.

    If you’ve got a stubborn baby on your hands who simply doesn’t embrace new foods, you may have to resort to a few tricks to get a new food into her belly! This trick is simple: you prepare two dishes of food, one being a food that she’s familiar with, and the other being a food that’s new. As you begin to feed, offer a few spoonfuls of the familiar food first. Then, offer a spoonful of the new food. Follow it up with another spoonful of the familiar food.

    This can help “soften the blow” of a new food. You might find that your baby is willing to take a few spoonfuls of the new food if she also gets spoonfuls of something that’s familiar, and that she likes. This is also a good technique to use when you’re feeding baby something she’s tried before and hates. I use this trick a lot with my youngest, who’s a major vegetable-hater!

  • Be calm and stay patient.

    It can be so frustrating trying to feed a baby a food he clearly doesn’t like. You know he needs to eat his broccoli, but he has other ideas! But it’s important that you remain patient and calm throughout a feeding that isn’t going well. Our babies are smart, and they tend to pick up on our own anxiety. If your baby senses your frustration, it’ll likely only make things worse.

  • Don’t give up — keep trying!

    Your baby may reject avocado the first time you offer it, but that doesn’t mean she’ll refuse the third or fourth (or fifth) time you try. If a feeding isn’t going well, it’s okay to put away the new food for the day and take a break. But you should bring it out a day or two later, and try again. Experts agree that it often takes a baby a few tries to develop a taste for something new.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

What steps do you take to offer a new food to your baby? Any tips for moms who are new to this? Share your advice below!

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How Your Baby May React To Starting Solids

If you’ve been following our article series so far, you know the guidelines for when and how to start solid foods with your baby.  And if you’ve put our advice into practice, your baby may now be eating small amounts of solid food.  If that’s the case — congratulations!  We’re hoping your baby loves this newfound way of eating 🙂

But some of you may be shaking your head right now and thinking to yourselves, “Love it?  He HATES it!”  Or your baby may have started showing some strange (or even alarming) physical symptoms now that she’s eating solid foods.  Is this normal?  Is it fixable?  Don’t worry — if your baby isn’t reacting well to solids, we can help you determine what to do next.

Reacting to Solids:  Love Them or Hate Them?

Obviously, every mom hopes her baby enjoys eating solid food and can’t wait to gobble up a little dish of cereal at mealtime!  It makes the introduction to solids so much easier and babies who really enjoy solids early on will typically “learn” how to eat more quickly than babies who prefer to take their time.

A word of caution, though — you may find your baby loves solids too much!  If you find him clamoring to eat cereal off a spoon but refusing to nurse or take formula, try cutting back on solids in order to encourage more nursing or formula-feeding.  You might also want to consider offering breastmilk or formula first (when he’s good and hungry), before you offer solids.  Remember, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastmilk or formula be your baby’s primary source of nutrition for the first year.

Of course, plenty of children don’t love solids; in fact, some hate them!  Some moms find their babies refuse solids altogether, clamping their little mouths shut at the mere sight of a spoon, or spitting out every bite of food that enters their mouths.  This makes introducing solids hard, of course.  But there are steps you can take to try and foster a love of solid foods in your little one:

  • Try different foods.
  • Encourage him to do it himself.
  • Give up (for a few weeks, that is!) and try again later.

Reacting to Solids:  The Poop May Change!

Introducing baby to solids often means big changes in her poop.  Feed her pureed carrots for dinner, and she’ll likely have a bright orange poop the next day!  And finger-foods that are rich in fiber (like raisins, or beans) may pass right through her system and look the same coming out as they did going in.

Baby’s poop may look different after starting solids; it may also stop altogether.  Constipation is a common problem after introducing solids.  After all, your baby’s only ever had breastmilk or formula; introducing new foods is bound to be hard on his little system!  You may notice that your baby’s poop becomes drier and more compact, or that he stops pooping altogether.  He may also grimace and draw his legs up when pooping, and he’ll probably seem crankier and fussier than normal. If you notice these signs of constipation, try the following to get your baby pooping normally again:

  • Offer more fiber-rich foods:  Think pureed prunes!  Peaches, apricots, pears, and beans are also good choices.
  • Avoid “binding” foods:  Avoid bananas, rice, and dairy products, as these can make constipation even worse.
  • Offer more fluids:  Offer the breast or bottle more frequently, and try to increase the ounces of fluid your baby drinks.  You could also offer a few ounces of water or diluted apple juice (although only do this if your baby is getting plenty of breastmilk or formula).

Reacting to Solids:  Watching For Allergic Reactions

Of course, poop isn’t necessarily the only thing to change when solids are introduced.  You may notice signs of an allergic reaction after introducing a new food to your baby.  Remember that as you begin introducing solids to your baby, it’s important to introduce one food at a time, and to wait at least 4 days before introducing a new food.  This way, if she develops an allergic reaction, you’ll be able to pinpoint the food that caused it.

Keep an eye out for these signs of food allergy:

  • Hives
  • Flushed skin or rash
  • Vomiting or diarrhea (call 911 if severe)
  • Swelling (call 911 if severe)
  • Difficulty breathing (call 911)
  • Loss of consciousness (call 911)

If you suspect that your baby has a food allergy, consult a healthcare provider.  He or she will be able to order the necessary blood test to determine what the exact nature of your baby’s allergy.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

How did your baby react to solids at first?  Any tips to offer?  Share them here!

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