At this point in our article series, we’ve laid a good foundation for starting your baby on solids. We’ve learned when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, and how your baby may react after starting to eat solid foods. But, wait, how do you physically feed your baby solids and at what time of day?
How to Feed Your Baby: When Should Meals Happen?
Some parents find themselves wondering when solid feedings should happen — first thing in the morning? Before bed? Three times a day? In the first week or so of starting solids, it’s probably best to start off with one or two “meals” of solid foods each day. And keep in mind that it’s best to feed your baby when she’s well-rested — that’ll ensure she has the energy to tackle this challenge! Finally, avoid trying to feed your baby solids when she’s very hungry; as the video mentioned, she probably won’t have the patience! Instead, nurse your baby first (or offer her a bottle); then, when she’s had her fill of milk, offer her a few spoonfuls of solid food.
How to Feed Your Baby: Getting Situated
The first step to feeding your baby is to get her comfortably seated. You may opt to place your baby in a highchair for feeding time, but as you probably noticed while watching the video, that’s not your only option. You may want to place your baby in her Bouncy Seat or another type of infant seat (just be sure not to set your baby on a table or counter while in their seat), or you may find it easiest to have someone else hold her on their lap while you feed her. Ultimately, do whatever makes you and your baby most comfortable.
How to Feed Your Baby: The Right Equipment
Having the right tools for feeding is essential. It’s best to use a small, flat, plastic (or rubber-tipped) spoon so that your baby can easily suck food from it. And plastic bowls are best to start with; there’s always a chance your munchkin will get his hands on it! Remember, if you choose plastic utensils and dishes, make sure they’re BPA-free.) Finally, it’s necessary to have plenty of bibs (and consider water-proof ones) on hand, as they’re going to get dirty fast!
How to Feed Your Baby: Quantities and Kinds of Food
In these early days of starting solids, you’ll probably feel like your baby is hardly eating anything. Don’t worry — that’s normal! Start off small — offer 1 tablespoon of food at each meal, and then gradually increase the quantities as your baby becomes used to solids.
As for the types of foods to offer your baby in the beginning, you can refer to our “How To Introduce Solid Foods To Your Baby” article, or our Solid Foods Charts for tips on what kinds of foods are best to begin.
“Sweet” foods (like carrots, sweet potatoes, fruits, etc.) are good first foods, since they mimic the sweet taste of breastmilk. And infant cereal mixed with breastmilk or formula can be good to start with as well.
Whatever foods you introduce first, remember that their texture should be thin and perfectly smooth, so that baby is able to easily swallow them. Down the road, you’ll be able to introduce lumpy, mashed foods, and eventually, small pieces of finger good! But for now, stick to runny purees.
Remember to introduce foods one at a time and to allow at least a few days to pass before introducing a new food. This will help you monitor for food allergies; it’ll also help your baby get accustomed to the taste of each food before you start mixing them together in the later months. Finally, make it a priority to introduce a variety of foods to your baby. This may help produce a less-picky eater in the months to come! And remember — just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean your baby won’t like it! Personally, I’m not a fan of pureed prunes, but my daughter loved them when she was 7 and 8 months old.
How to Feed Your Baby: Have Fun!!
It’s appropriate to end with that reminder, don’t you think? It can be easy to get lost in the details and questions about starting your baby on solids, but remember to stop and enjoy this process. This is one of the first of many milestones you and your baby will share, so snap a few pictures! These first few meals of solid foods will be precious memories in the years to come.