Tag Archives: introducing solid foods

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7 Steps to Successful Baby-Led Weaning


We’ve written about the basics of baby-led weaning before — what it is, why some people prefer it, and whether or not you should try it with your baby. If you need a good, foundational understanding of those basics, check out this “What is Baby-Led Weaning?” post.

Here, we’ll explore 7 steps to get started successfully with baby-led weaning (or BLW). As with anything else in life, planning and preparation is a key part to getting off on the right foot with baby-led weaning. So use our 7 steps below, and start your baby-led weaning journey today!

7 Steps to Successful Baby-Led Weaning

1. Educate yourself.

Before you embark on something brand new, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about it. Same goes for baby-led weaning. Here are a few resources to help you educate yourself about all things BLW:

2. Don’t start too soon.

While it’s possible to start spoon-feeding your baby purees before she’s six months (although it’s not recommended), you really can’t start BLW until the 6 month mark. It’s generally recommended that you wait to start until your baby is able to sit up unassisted (meaning he doesn’t need to lean against the back of the highchair for support.) Some babies are able to do that at 6 months; many don’t develop that skill until later.

If the idea of waiting until your baby’s 6 months or older has you feeling anxious (“But doesn’t he need to eat solid food?”), take heart. Remember that “food is fun before age one!” In other words, for the first year of life, breastmilk and/or formula is your baby’s primary source of nutrition. Food is for practice. As long as your little one is nursing or taking his bottles well, he’s likely getting the nourishment he needs.

3. Start big and small.

Yes, that’s a contradiction in terms. 😉 Here’s what we mean…

Start Small
In the beginning, offer one “meal” a day. You don’t want to overwhelm your baby with food right off the bat! And offer the meal between nursings or bottle feedings; this’ll ensure that your baby isn’t so hungry that she quickly becomes frustrated.

Place very little food on your baby’s highchair tray — a few pieces at most. Remember, she’s new to this! Having a few pieces of food will be less distracting and will help her focus on learning to feed herself.

Start Big
In the beginning, offer large pieces of food. That might seem counter-intuitive (“Won’t my baby choke?”), but this is the safest way to start. At 6 or 7 months, your baby won’t have developed his pincer grip and won’t be able to pick up small pieces of food. Instead, you’ll want to give him large chunks of food that he can pick up and gnaw on. Think whole carrots, whole apples, long strips of meat, etc. Later, once his pincer grip is developed, you can move to small pieces of food that he’ll put into his mouth whole.

4. Don’t offer (much) help.

The biggest difference between BLW and traditional methods of starting solids is that BLW puts control in the hands of your baby, right from the beginning. Instead of you feeding your baby, your baby starts off by feeding herself.

A general BLW rule of thumb is that you should never put food into your baby’s mouth for her. You can help guide her hand (filled with food) to her mouth, and you can mime the chewing and swallowing motions you want her to do, but you shouldn’t be the one actually feeding her.

5. Supervise, supervise, supervise!

Now, just because you’re not feeding him doesn’t mean you should set a few celery stalks on your baby’s highchair tray and then walk away. Remember, one of the goals of BLW is to reinforce that mealtime is a social time. Sit with your baby while he eats (and even better, eat something yourself!)

You’ll also want to stick close to watch for gagging and choking. Lots of babies gag in the early stages of BLW, and while this is a normal and safe reaction, you’ll still want to be nearby to ensure that your baby isn’t actually choking.

6. Work in the utensils (eventually).

Once your baby has gotten good at hand-feeding himself, start incorporating a spoon into his meals. Offer him a dish of something “spoon-able” (like applesauce or yogurt) and a spoon, and see what he does!

At first, he’ll probably get far more food on himself (and the walls, and the floor) than he’ll get in his mouth. But as long as you give him lots of opportunity practice, you’ll find that he gets better and better at feeding himself with utensils.

7. Embrace the mess, friends!

In case you haven’t come to this conclusion yet, let us offer it here: BLW is a sticky, goopy, drippy, messy process. Food is messy after all; hand it to a novice with no self-feeding experience, and it becomes exponentially messier!

But this is okay. It’s part of the learning. Instead of trying to avoid the mess, embrace it. Arm yourself with a high-chair that’s easy to wipe clean. Feed baby in a room that has wipe-able flooring. Consider stripping baby down to his diaper at meal time (if it’s warm enough), or wrapping her in a large, cover-all style bib.

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!

Anything to add? What steps have you taken to do baby-led weaning with your baby?

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What Is Baby-Led Weaning?


We’re tackling a topic today that you may or may not have heard about: baby-led weaning. What is it? What are the benefits? Is it something you should try with your baby? We’ll explore all those questions in this post.

First, though, let’s clear up a misconception about the term itself. The “weaning” part of baby-led weaning refers to the British definition of the word — in the U.K., “weaning” means “adding complementary foods.” It doesn’t mean “giving up breastfeeding or bottle feeding”, which is how those of us in the U.S. would use the term.

What is Baby-Led Weaning?

This is really simple.  Baby-led weaning refers to letting your baby feed herself small chunks of food right off the bat.  No runny purees.  No bowls and spoons (at first).  Just pieces of food, offered to your baby, and she takes it from there.

With baby-led weaning, you don’t feed your baby. She feeds herself. She decides what, and how much, to eat. Basically, baby-led weaning puts feeding in the hands (literally!) of your baby, and not you.

Baby-Led Weaning: The Philosophy Behind It

Baby-led weaning (a term coined by Gill Rapley, a former mid-wife) is based on the idea that babies aren’t really ready for food until they’re around 6 months old. Once they’re 6 months, though, most babies are ready to start feeding themselves.

Advocates of baby-led weaning point out that our babies know better than we do what they want to eat, and how much they want to eat. They also know when they’re ready to eat. So rather than we (the parents) setting arbitrary starting dates for introducing solids, and pushing “mush” (as they call it) on our little ones, it makes more sense to put “real” food in front of baby and let him take care of the rest.

Common Questions About Baby-Led Weaning

The practice of baby-led weaning definitely isn’t mainstream; most of us automatically think about jars of baby food and tiny baby spoons when we think about starting our babies on solids.

So understandably, lots of parents have questions about baby-led weaning — questions like:

  • Do I just give my baby food and then walk away? No, that’s not the idea. It’s true that you, the parent, shouldn’t put food into your baby’s mouth or feed him yourself, but you should be nearby to help encourage him as he eats.  You can help him guide the food to his mouth, and you can make sure he doesn’t choke (more on that next.)
  • Won’t my baby choke?!  That’s a very normal concern with baby-led weaning; it seems downright dangerous to give a 6 month old baby a big hunk of apple to gnaw on, doesn’t it? But baby-led weaning advocates assert that using this technique, babies learn to chew very early on, whereas babies who are spoon-fed purees learn to swallow first and to chew later.  So choking is no more a concern with this technique, they say, than it is with a more traditional approach to starting solids.People who’ve tried this method also point out that gagging is different than choking. Gagging is a baby’s response to swallowing a large lump of something, and it’s a normal, safe reaction.  I know my children all did this when they were little and were first eating solids. Choking, on the other hand, happens when a piece of food actually blocks baby’s airway, and it’s dangerous.  Parents who try baby-led weaning may notice gagging, but that’s not the same as true choking.
  • Is it healthy? You may wonder if allowing your baby to choose his own foods, and to eat as much (or as little) as he wants, is a healthy approach to starting solids.  After all, will your baby really choosepeas? And what if he’s not eating much? Should you encourage him to eat more?Research actually suggests that baby-led weaning is a healthy alternative to more traditional methods of starting solids — in fact, it may be a slightly healthier way to go, according to a recent study. More on that in a moment.

Baby-Led Weaning: The Benefits

According to those who’ve tried it, baby-led weaning has a few key benefits:

  • It makes starting solids less stressful. If you have a baby who’s resistant to solid food, you know how stressful starting solids can be! Baby-led weaning eliminates some of that stress — your baby eats when he wants to and stops eating when he’s done. Since your baby takes the initiative, eating happens on his terms. And basic psychology tells us that when a child (or an adult, for that matter!) feels like something is his idea, and that he’s in control, he’s much more likely to respond well.What’s more, baby-led weaning eliminates some of the work for mom and dad, making mealtimes easier for everyone. If baby’s busy feeding herself, that frees you up to enjoy your own dinner.
  • It follows a more “natural” progression. I’m not suggesting there’s anything unnatural about spoon-feeding your baby purees. Not at all! But the way we traditionally introduce solids to babies today (spoon-feeding runny purees) is fairly new. For most of history, our ancestors have practiced a version of baby-led weaning. They waited until the baby was big enough to sit up, to chew, and to grab food; then, they offered baby small bits of what everyone else was eating.  Seen in that light, baby-led weaning seems less like a new-fangled practice and more like a return to older practices.
  • It’s healthy. As mentioned earlier, a study published in April 2012 by the BMJ Group revealed that baby-led weaning may be a slightly healthier way to start your baby on solids. It seems that babies who’ve experienced baby-led weaning tend to choose healthier options; they also tend to have healthier BMI’s than babies who are spoon-fed (perhaps because their appetites guide their eating.

Should I Try Baby-Led Weaning With My Baby?

To baby-led wean or not to baby-led wean? The choice is yours, of course. It’s probably best if you talk to a healthcare provider about your options; your HCP will be able to steer you towards the healthiest choice for your family.

Considering baby-led weaning? Here are some good resources to check out:

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!

Have you tried baby-led weaning? What were your experiences? If not, is it something you’d consider? Share your thoughts!

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5 Tips On Feeding Treats To Your Baby

If you’ve read many of our posts, you know by now that one of the things we emphasize on this blog is healthy eating. We’re committed to the idea that starting a baby on the healthiest possible foods is the first step to a lifetime of healthy eating for your child.

We’ve written about the importance of feeding your baby fresh, or lightly-cooked, fruits and vegetables. We’ve emphasized that it’s best to offer lean proteins and whole grains, and that you should keep sugar and salt to a minimum. We’ve even touched on whether or not it’s best to buy organic produce for your baby.

Special Occasions Mean Treats!

But sometimes, life throws a special occasion our way, doesn’t it? And many of us tend to mark our special occasions by serving special food — fatty, sweet, calorie-packed treats that delight our taste buds but aren’t so great for our waistlines!

How do we handle these kinds of special occasions with our babies? Do we let them indulge in treats, or do we withhold the junk food?

Below are 5 tips to help you sort out how your’e going to handle special-occasion treats with your baby.

5 Tips On Offering Treats To Your Baby

If your baby won’t miss it, then don’t offer it.

A 6 month old likely has no idea that a warm chocolate chip cookie is one thousand times more delicious than a plate of steamed carrots. So why offer the cookie in the first place, if he’s not going to miss it? What’s more, once he does get a taste for sweet, gooey treats, you can bet he’s going to love them, and that he’s going to clamor for more. So stick with offering healthy foods and skipping junk food for as long as you can.

Load your baby up on healthy foods first.

If you’re headed to a gathering where you know there’s going to be lots of tasty treats, commit to filling your baby up with healthy foods first. That might mean feeding your baby at home, before you leave; it might also mean packing some healthy snacks and taking them with you. Stuff your baby full of nourishing food so that she won’t be hungry for treats. This way, even if you do offer a small treat, she’ll be so full, she probably won’t eat much.

Set the example.

Parents, this one is hard. Believe me, I know. But it’s important! We can’t expect our little ones to embrace healthy eating habits if we as parents aren’t willing to eat healthy, too. Yes, our babies are very young, and they probably aren’t closely watching and evaluating our eating habits at this point. But it’s never too early to start walking the walk, right?

So the next time you and your baby are faced with a table full of delicious treats, make sure you model the eating habits you want your baby to have. This means limiting your own indulgence, and not filling up on sugary, fatty, salty junk food.

Don’t be afraid to say no.

If you do decide to let your baby indulge in a small treat, know in advance that he’s going to want more. And that just makes sense, right? When has anyone ever been content to eat one tiny brownie, when there’s a whole pan available? 

If your little one beings wailing for more, don’t be afraid to firmly say no. When it comes to food, it’s probably a good idea to set boundaries early, and to let your baby know that when mom or dad says “All done,” it actually means all done.

Remember to relax and enjoy the moment.

It’s a good and wise thing to limit your baby’s intake of treats, of course. Lots of extra sugar isn’t good for our little ones! But let’s remember that a little extra sugar certainly isn’t going to do serious damage. I know many moms who try to follow a “No sugar before 12 months” rule. And while that’s an admirable vow, it doesn’t always play out practically. Special occasions happen, and sometimes, you just have to relax and let your baby eat some cake. It’ll be more fun for everyone if (every once in awhile) you do just that.

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 do you feed treats to your baby? Share your tips below!

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Are You Feeding Your Baby Too Much Solid Food?

It’s always nice when a baby who’s just started eating solid foods shows a real appetite for them. As a parent, you know that it feels great to offer your little one healthy purees and then watch as she gobbles them up.

But can that healthy appetite ever be a problem? Can a baby actually eat too much solid food?

In a word, yes.

Remember, for the first year of life, a baby’s primary source of nutrition should be breastmilk and/or formula. It’s just fine to offer solid foods (starting around 5 or 6 months), but solid foods shouldn’t replace breastmilk or formula as a source of nourishment.

In this article, we’ll explore two signs that you may be feeding your baby too much solid food and two easy ways to fix the problem.

2 Signs You’re Feeding Your Baby Too Much Solid Food

  1. Your baby regularly eats more food than is recommended.

    There’s no formula for exactly how much food you should be offering your baby at each meal; rather, its best if you use your baby’s own hunger cues and appetite as a guide.

    But if you find that your baby is routinely eating more than is recommended, you may want to consider offering a bit less food at each sitting. A healthy appetite is a good thing, but not if your baby ends up overeating every day! Check out our Amounts of Solid Food By Age chart to determine appropriate serving sizes for your baby.

  2. Your baby regularly drinks less breastmilk or formula than is recommended.

    This is another sign that you may be offering too much solid food. If you find that your baby is regularly nursing less, or taking less formula during feedings, then you’ll want to take a careful look at how much solid food you’re offering.

    Sometimes, babies who fill up on solids don’t have much room left for breastmilk or formula. And since breastmilk and/or formula is a key part of your baby’s nutrition, it’s vital that they drink plenty of it. Our Amounts of Solid Food By Age chart (referenced above) also includes recommended amounts of breastmilk and formula; check that to see if your baby’s getting enough.

Remember, if your baby has a good appetite for solid foods and eats quite a bit, that’s not necessarily a problem; as long as he’s also nursing or formula-feeding well, and taking in the recommended amounts of breastmilk or formula, all is well.

In addition, if you find that your baby isn’t getting the amounts of breastmilk or formula that she needs, it might not be due to her solids intake. If you know that she’s eating normal amounts of solid foods, then you’ll want to think about other reasons that could be causing her to drink less breastmilk or formula (like illness, or teething).

However, if the two signs listed above seem to go hand-in-hand, then you can be pretty certain that you’re feeding your baby more solid food than is good for her, and it’s causing her to take in less breastmilk or formula than she needs.

Too Much Solid Food and Not Enough Breastmilk/Formula? Ways to Solve the Problem

If you suspect your baby’s consuming too much solid food and not enough breastmilk or formula, there are a two simple steps you can take to fix the situation.

  1. Offer breastmilk or formula before offering solids.

    This one just makes sense, right? When your baby’s at his hungriest, offer him the breast (or the bottle) before you give him a handful of cheerios or a dish of mashed bananas. That‘ll help ensure that he drinks plenty of breastmilk or formula. It’ll also help take the edge off his appetite for solids.

  2. Offer (a little) less solid food.

    Some people suggest stopping solids altogether, and going back to a breastmilk/formula only diet. We generally don’t recommend this strategy, since it’s not a good method for striking a balance between solids and breastmilk or formula.

    Instead, if you suspect you’re offering too much solid food, we recommend cutting back on serving sizes a bit. Simply offer your baby a little less solid food than you normally would. That (in combination with nursing or bottle feeding before you offer solids) should ensure that your baby isn’t eating too much solid food.

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!

Was your baby a big solids eater? How did you strike a balance between solid food and breastmilk/formula? Share your tips below!

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How Your Baby’s Poop Changes After Starting Solids

Starting solids is a big step for your baby — he’s learning a whole new way of eating, after all! All those new foods affect his every aspect of his digestion, including what ends up in his diapers.

That’s right — we’re talking poop today!

Starting Solids? The Poop Changes!

Before you start your baby on solid foods, it’s best to prepare yourself in advance for the fact that starting solids will probably affect your baby’s poop. The poop will smell worse. The poop may be brightly colored. The poop may appear many times a day. Or, the poop may stop coming altogether.

We repeat — the poop changes.

6 Ways Your Baby’s Poop May Change After Starting Solids

  1. The poop will smell even worse.

    Now, poop never smells great. There’s a reason you won’t find any poop-scented perfumes on the market! But up until the time you start your baby on solids (and this is especially true if baby has been exclusively breastfeeding), the poop probably didn’t stink to high heaven.

    Once you start your baby on solids, though, that’s going to change. Solid food produces smellier poop, and as your baby eats more and more solid food, the poop will only get stinkier. There’s no way around it. Just plan on doing lots of mouth-breathing during diaper changes. 😉

  2. The poop may be colorful.

    Before starting solids, your baby’s poop was probably a consistent yellowish-brown color. Nice and predictable. After starting solids, though, that’ll likely change. Feed your baby plenty of tasty spinach for lunch, and you may very well see green poop at bedtime. Offer a big bowl of yummy steamed carrots for dinner, and you might wake up to a diaper full of bright orange poop the next morning.

    This is nothing to be worried about; brightly-colored poop is normal at this stage. Your baby’s digestive system is still fairly immature and is learning how to process solid foods; as she grows, her poop will change to a more normal color, regardless of what she eats.

  3. The poop may get firmer.

    If your baby’s been on formula, this one may not apply. But if your baby’s been breastfeeding up to this point, you may discover that after starting solids, his poop is firmer and more “shaped”. Breastfed babies typically have runny, liquid-y poop; once they start solids, however, it becomes firmer, more like paste.

  4. The “poop” may look a lot like undigested food.

    This isn’t an issue when you’re feeding your baby smooth purees, but once you start adding some chopped table food into the mix, look out!

    I remember taking my oldest son, when he was just 9 months old, to a dinner buffet. I loaded up a little plate with all kinds of vegetables and felt so proud when my son gobbled them up. The next morning, however, I was a little shocked — the contents of his diaper looked almost exactly like the contents of his plate the night before. The poop didn’t look like like poop at all — it looked like food!

    Turns out I didn’t need to be worried; again, this is just a sign that my son’s digestive system was figuring out how to handle pieces of table food. Over time, as he ate more and more chopped table food, his poop returned to normal.

  5. The poop may start appearing more often.

    By the time you’re ready to start your baby on solid foods, it’s likely that he’s pooping pretty normally (as in once or twice a day). In fact, if he’s being breastfeed exclusively, he may be going a few days in between bowel movements. That’s considered very normal for breastfed babies. And how nice for you, right? Poop-free diapers are so much easier to change. 🙂

    But once you start your baby on solid foods, that may come to an end. For some babies, starting solids means pooping more frequently. We can chalk this up (again) to their immature little digestive systems. As your baby’s systems figure out how to process solid food more efficiently, you’ll find that he returns to more normal amounts of pooping (thank goodness!)

    Note: Diarrhea can be a sign of a food allergy or sensitivity. If you suspect that your baby’s frequent pooping is actually diarrhea, talk to a healthcare provider about possible food allergies and sensitivities.

  6. The poop may disappear altogether.

    Some babies poop WAY more after starting solids. Other babies, though, have the opposite problem: constipation. Constipation often occurs when you offer your baby lots of “binding” foods, like bananas and rice.

    For more information on the signs and symptoms of constipation, as well as ways to alleviate constipation naturally, check out our post on “How to Handle Your Baby’s Constipation.”

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 has your baby’s poop changed since starting solid foods? Share all the smelly details!

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6 Things To Know Before Starting Your Baby On Solids

We talk a lot around here about starting solids (since it’s the name of our site and all! 😉 ) That’s because it’s our desire to equip all parents with the knowledge they need to give their baby the best possible start to eating solid foods.

We know, however, that for parents (and especially for you first-time parents) the information related to starting your baby on solids can be a LOT to take in! There’s so much to remember, and we know (from personal experience!) that it’s enough to make any parent feel anxious.

In this post, we’ll review six things you need to think about before starting your baby on solid foods. We’ve shared all this information in previous posts, but here, we’ll condense and summarize it for you, in the hopes that it’ll make your life a little easier. Because what parent couldn’t use a healthy does of “easier”, right?

Right.

1. Know When to Start Baby on Solids

We’ve written a lot about when it’s time to start your baby on solids. You can check out our How to Know When to Start Baby on Solids post, as well as our 9 Signs Your Baby Is Ready to Start Solids post.

Short version: It’s best to wait until your baby’s close to 6 months to start feeding your baby solids. That’s based on a recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which urges parents to make breastmilk (or formula) their babies’ only source of nutrition for the first 6 months of life.

2. Know How to Start Feeding Baby Solids

Need a little guidance on how to start feeding your baby solid foods? Check out this How To Introduce Your Baby to Solid Foods post (it includes great tips on food sensitivities and allergies). You can also read this How To Feed Your Baby Solids post for a video clip on steps to feeding. Finally, check out our When Do Babies Eat Solid Foods In A Day post for tips on how many meals to offer your baby, and when to offer them.

Short version: Start by offering baby smooth, runny purees. As she gets older, you can offer thicker, lumpier foods with more texture and, eventually, chopped table food. In the beginning, be prepared to be patient — the feeding process will be long and messy, and it may take baby awhile to get the hang of it. Begin by serving one small meal (after baby has nursed or bottle-fed); then, gradually build up to two and then three meals.

3. Know Which Foods Are Best, And How Much Should to Serve

It’s critical that parents know which foods to offer baby at certain ages, and which foods to avoid. Be sure to look over the 8 Most Common Baby First Foods post for recommendations on which foods to serve first. You’ll also want to check out our Types and Amounts of Solid Foods by Age charts to help you decide which foods to offer at each stage of your baby’s development, and how much food you should be serving at each stage.

Short version: Rice cereal is the most common first food, followed by fruits and veggies that are sweet and easy-to-digest. Avoid serving allergenic foods (like milk, nuts, and fish) until baby is 12 months. Begin by offering one or two tablespoons of food each day; then, gradually increase the serving sizes.

4. Know All About Buying Vs. Making Baby Food

Before you start offering your baby solid foods, you’ll want to think about where those solid foods are going to come from. Do you buy baby food? Make it yourself? Read this Should You Make Your Own Baby Food post for tips.

If you do want to dive in and make some of your baby’s food yourself, we’ve got plenty of recipes to get you started. Check out our homemade fruit purees and veggie purees. We also have a complete listing of protein recipes. We’ll even show you how to make baby cereal! And once your baby’s older, we have a sampling of great meal recipes he’s sure to love.

Short version: Buying all of your baby’s food is expensive, but making all of it might not fit into your schedule. Instead, consider buying some and making the rest. Making your baby’s food doesn’t have to be hard; you can simply cook fruits and vegetables you have on hand until they’re soft, and then puree them in your blender. You can serve them immediately, or you can freeze them in small containers for later.

5. Know How Your Baby Might React to Starting Solids

Every baby’s different, so until you start your baby on solids, you won’t know how he’s going to react. Some babies love solids; others aren’t fans at first :). Check out our How Your Baby May React To Starting Solids post for more information.

Short version: Some babies love solids too much; if your baby’s eating tons of food but not nursing or bottle-feeding enough, cut back on the solid food (since breastmilk and/or formula should be your baby’s primary source of nutrition for the first year of life.) But what if your baby seems to hate solids? No worries! There’s no harm in taking a break and trying again later. Finally, starting solids will impact your baby’s digestive system in a big way; your baby may start having diarrhea or constipation.

6. Know Your Baby Feeding Products

We’ve mentioned this a few times in past articles, but it bears repeating: you don’t need fancy gadgets and expensive, trendy tools to feed your baby well. If you have a few bibs, a set of spoons, a couple of (BPA-free) plastic dishes, and a comfy seat for baby, you’re ready to go!

Sometimes, though, it’s worth investing in a few products, especially if they’ll make the baby food making and serving process easier on everyone. Check out our Recommended Products post for a sampling of items we think are worth the investment!

Short version: High-quality bibs, spoons, and dishes are worth the money spent, since you’ll use be using them constantly. A high-quality of high chair can be a good investment, too (especially if it converts into a regular chair, like the Tripp Trapp!) If you’re planning on making lots of your baby’s food at home, buy some good, basic tools (like a steamer basket) as well as some good freezer and storage containers.

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!

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9 Signs Your Baby Is Ready To Start Solids

When it comes to feeding a baby solids, one of the most common questions parents ask is, “How do I know my baby’s ready to start solid foods?” He might seem hungrier than usual, but does that mean he’s ready? She may have good head and neck control, but is that a sign that she can start eating solids?

We tackle the question of when to start in our How To Know When to Start Your Baby on Solids post, but we thought it might be helpful to review. Below are nine common signs that’ll help you know if your baby’s ready to begin her solid food journey.

  1. Baby Has Doubled His Birthweight

    Once your baby has doubled his birthweight, health experts generally agree that his digestive system is ready for an introduction to solids.

  2. Baby Sits With Support

    If your baby can sit up with support (being held on an adult’s lap, or with the aid of a highchair or infant seat), she may be ready to start solids.

  3. Baby Has Good Head and Neck Control

    This one is important. As a newborn, your baby wasn’t able to hold his head up; as he grows, however, he should gain more head and neck control, to the point where he can hold his head up on his own, without support. It’s essential that your baby have good head and neck control order to swallow food properly.

  4. Baby Seems Interested in Food

    You might start to notice your baby watching you like a hawk while you eat, or even grabbing for the food on your plate, if she happens to be sitting in your lap during a meal. When your baby starts showing interest in food like this, it can be a sign that she’s ready to start eating solid foods herself.

  5. Baby Chews or Mashes Things In His Mouth

    If you notice that your baby puts something in his mouth and tries to chew or mash it with his gums, that may be a sign that he’s ready to start solids. That chewing and mashing motion is an important step for your baby in learning how to eat.

  6. Baby Loses Her Tongue-Thrust Reflex

    Your baby was born with a tongue-thrust reflex that helps protect against choking — when an object ends up in her mouth, her tongue automatically pushes it out of her mouth. Your baby will lose this reflex around 4 months of age. When she finally does, it can be a sign that she’s ready to start solids (since she’ll be able to swallow the food you put in her mouth, instead of automatically spitting it out).

  7. Baby Lets You Know When He’s Full

    You may have noticed that your baby sometimes turns away from the breast or bottle, letting you know that he’s full. That’s means that he’s learning to self-regulate his appetite, and that can be a sign that he’s ready to begin eating solid foods.

  8. Baby Seems Hungrier Than Usual

    This is usually the number one reason why parents start their babies on solids. Baby will be nursing normally, and then suddenly, BAM! She’s hungry all the time, and no amount of breastmilk or formula seems to satisfy her. This can be a sign that she’s ready to start solids, although it’s not always a great indicator.

    Keep in mind that a growth spurt happens around 3-4 months of age. Some parents start solids around that time, but according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, that’s a bit too early. Instead, experts recommend nursing frequently and waiting it out; many parents find that within a week or so, their babies are back to nursing normally again.

  9. Baby Start Waking At Night

    This phenomenon often goes hand-in-glove with your baby seeming hungrier than usual. If your baby has been sleeping well and then suddenly begins waking during the night, you might feel that he’s hungry and not getting enough to eat. Again, this can be a sign that he’s ready to begin solid foods, but it’s not a very reliable sign.

    Some babies wake at night only out of hunger; for those babies, extra nursing or bottle feeding sessions, or a bit of solid food before bed, will help. But most babies wake for other reasons (like sleep associations, or sleep regressions); for those babies, adding solid foods won’t help them sleep. In addition, your baby might suddenly start waking at night due to teething, or even illness. It’s important to rule out any other causes for the nighttime waking before you decide to start solids.

None of these signs by themselves indicates that your baby is ready to start solid foods. However, if you see many of these signs happening together, that very well may signal that your baby is ready to begin solids.

Remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting solid foods around 6 months of age. You don’t have to follow that recommendation exactly, of course, but it is considered best to wait until closer to 6 months to begin solids (instead of beginning at 3 or 4 months, which used to be standard.)

Remember too that for the first year of your baby’s life, breastmilk and/or formula should be her primary source of nutrition (another AAP recommendation). So it’s essential that even after you start your baby on solid foods, you continue nursing or bottle feeding often. See our Amounts of Solid Foods by Age chart for recommended amounts of breastmilk and formula.

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 let you know he was ready for solid foods? Share your baby’s readiness signs below!

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8 Most Common Baby First Foods

When it comes to starting your baby on solids, a question parents ask themselves (aside from how and when to start) is, “What foods should I start with?” After all, your baby hasn’t tasted anything but breastmilk or formula up to this point; whatever foods you offer first are going to have a big impact!

There are a few rules when it comes to what foods you should feed your baby first. Avoid any allergenic foods (like milk, eggs, tomatoes, nut butters, etc.) Think about textures, too; whatever foods you start your baby on should be smooth, runny, and pretty lump-free. So raw carrots are out. 😉 And you’ll want to start with foods that are easy for your baby to digest. Avoid things that’ll cause gas (like broccoli) or that are highly acidic (like tomatoes and strawberries).

Below, we’ve compiled a list of the 8 most common “first foods” for baby, along with a few words about each. This list is in no particular order. What’s more, this list isn’t meant to be a rigid, inflexible guide; you don’t have to start with these foods! Simply use this list as a guide to help you create the “menus” for your baby’s first few weeks of  meals.

  1. Rice Cereal

    This is the #1 most common first food for babies, for a few reasons.  It’s bland, so babies usually don’t reject it based on its taste.  Its texture makes it easy for babies to swallow.  And it’s easy to digest, making it a good first option.

  2. Oatmeal Cereal

    Once babies have mastered rice cereal, many parents move on to oatmeal.  Like rice cereal, oatmeal is fairly bland and smooth.

  3. Applesauce

    Applesauce is smooth and easy to swallow, making it a good first food.  And since babies tend to prefer sweet flavors, it’s usually a baby favorite 🙂  Plus, it’s easy to find sugar-free applesauce at the supermarket, making it an inexpensive choice.

  4. Bananas

    Many parents love the convenience of serving mashed bananas — they’re easy to mash, and since they’re already soft and don’t need cooking, they provide a great way to feed your little one fresh fruit.  What’s more, bananas are easy for tiny tummies to digest.

  5. Avocados

    Avocados are great first foods for many of the same reasons as bananas — they’re easy to mash, they’re soft and easy to eat when they’re fresh, and they’re highly digestible.  And you can feel good knowing that each time you feed your baby avocados, you’re offering her heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

  6. Pears

    Pears are fiber-rich and delicious; they can also help relieve constipation and reflux.

  7. Sweet Potato

    Sweet Potatoes are a fantastic first food for baby.  They’re packed with vitamins and minerals, they’re easy to digest, and babies usually love their naturally sweet flavor.

  8. Squash

    Winter squash, like butternut and acorn squash, is delicious and nutritious.  And squashes tend to produce smooth, runny purees — all the more reason to make it one of the first foods you offer to your baby!

Of course, you can buy commercial, prepared versions of all the food above; you certainly don’t have to make your own baby food.  But if you decide you want to try making your baby’s food yourself, check our our recipes for homemade cereal, homemade fruit purees, and homemade veggie purees.

You may also want to check our our Types and Amounts of Solid Foods By Age charts, for more information on what first foods are best for your baby.

What foods did you introduce to your baby first?  Share your list of first foods below!

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When Do Babies Eat Solid Foods In A Day?

You know when and how to start your baby on solids.  You’re familiar with the types and amounts of foods your baby can eat, based on her age.  You’ve mastered the basics of cooking, pureeing, and storing homemade baby food.  Congratulations, baby food expert — you know a lot!

Something you may not be feeling to confident about, however, is when (during the course of a day) you should be offering your baby solids.  You likely eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at roughly the same times each day, but is that schedule best for your baby?

Feeding Schedule Recommendations:  4-6 months

4-6 month old babies are just starting out on solids, so they’ll need smaller amounts of food, combined with large quantities of breastmilk and /or formula.  Also, it’s best to offer your baby solid foods after you’ve nursed or bottle fed him.  That way, he’s not too hungry when it comes time for a meal of solids, and that’ll prevent him from becoming frustrated and upset as he tries to eat.

Use the recommendations below to create a daily feeding schedule for your 4-6 month old baby:

  • Nurse and/or bottle feed as you normally would throughout the day (see our Amounts of Solid Foods By Age chart for recommended amounts of breastmilk and formula.)
  • After the first or second nursing or bottle feeding of the morning, offer your baby a solids meal (see our Types of Solid Foods By Age to determine what you can feed your baby.)  It’s best if babies just starting out on solids eat their food in the morning; that way, if baby has any digestive issues, they won’t disturb his nighttime sleep!
  • Optional:  After one of your afternoon nursings or bottle feedings, you can offer a second small meal of solid foods.
  • Total number of solid meals in a day: 1-2
  • Total amount of solid food your baby will eat in a day: 3-7 tablespoons

Feeding Schedule Recommendations: 7-8 months

7-8 month old babies are more accustomed to solid foods and can therefore handle larger amounts of foods.  You can also begin to increase the number of meals a day to 2-3.  Continue offering your baby plenty of breastmilk and/or formula, however; that’s still her primary source of nutrition.  And you should continue to try and nurse or bottlefeed your baby before you offer her a meal of solids (although that’s a little less essential now than it was a few months ago).

Use the recommendations below to create a daily feeding schedule for your 7-8 month old baby:

  • Continue to nurse and/or bottle feed throughout the day (see our Amounts of Solid Foods By Age chart for recommended amounts of breastmilk and formula.)
  • After the first or second nursing or bottle feeding of the morning, offer your baby a solids meal (see our Types of Solid Foods By Age to determine what you can feed your baby.)
  • After a late morning/early afternoon nursing or bottle feeding, offer your baby a second small meal of solids.
  • Optional:  After a late afternoon/early evening nursing or bottle feeding, offer your baby a third small meal of solids.
  • Total number of solid meals in a day: 2-3
  • Total amount of solid food your baby will eat in a day: 10-26 tablespoons (1/2 cup – 1 1/2 cups), plus 1 serving of dairy

Feeding Schedule Recommendations: 9-12 months

9-12 month old babies are solid food pros, and they’re definitely ready to handle 3 meals of solid foods each day.  Continue offering your baby breastmilk and/or formula (although he’ll start to need a bit less, now that he’s eating more solid food).  You can also offer your baby small amounts of water or juice.  It’s no longer necessary to nurse or bottlefeed your baby before you serve him a meal of solids, although you can certainly continue doing that if you prefer.

Use the recommendations below to create a daily feeding schedule for your 9-12 month old baby:

  • Continue to nurse and/or bottle feed throughout the day (see our Amounts of Solid Foods By Age chart for recommended amounts of breastmilk and formula.)
  • Before or after the first or second nursing or bottle feeding of the morning, offer your baby a solids meal (see our Types of Solid Foods By Age to determine what you can feed your baby.)
  • Before or after a late morning/early afternoon nursing or bottle feeding, offer your baby a second small meal of solids.
  • Before or after a late afternoon/early evening nursing or bottle feeding, offer your baby a third small meal of solids.
  • Total number of solid meals in a day: 3
  • Total amount of solid food your baby will eat in a day: 16-30 tablespoons (1 cup – 2 cups), plus 1-2 servings of other grains and 1 serving of dairy

For more help in creating a daily feeding schedule for your baby, check out these sample baby sleep and feeding schedules.

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’s your baby’s daily feeding schedule?  Help out our other readers; share your sample schedules below!

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Feeding Solid Foods To A Baby With Reflux: 5 Tips


Reflux: it’s a problem that affects many babies (up to 50% of babies age 0-3 months!) And if your baby has ever struggled with reflux, you know how hard it can be — the gas, the vomiting, the constant fussiness.

Since reflux is a digestive issue, introducing solid foods to your baby will definitely have an impact on her reflux symptoms. Some parents find their babies’ reflux symptoms actually improve with the introduction of solid foods; others find that starting solids increases reflux symptoms like gas and vomiting.

5 Tips For Feeding Babies With Reflux

Does your baby struggle with reflux? Below, we’ve included 5 tips to help you feed solid foods to your baby with reflux.

Offer good “first foods”.

Rice cereal is usually considered a good first food for babies without reflux, and it may be fine for a baby with reflux, too. However, rice cereal has been known to cause constipation and gas in some babies, so you may want to avoid offering it right away, if your baby has reflux.

Instead, consider starting with these foods:

  • Avocado — Foods that are high in fat, like avocados, can be good for babies with reflux. Babies with reflux may eat less than babies without, so it’s considered good practice to offer them high fat, high calorie foods.)
  • Pears — Pears are one of the least acidic fruits, and since acid can trigger reflux, pears make a great first food for your baby.
  • Bananas — Bananas have been shown to actually help with digestion.

Avoid foods that are known to trigger reflux.

Foods that are known to cause gas can cause lots of pain and discomfort for a baby who already struggles with reflux. Those foods include:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumber
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn

Other foods that have been known to increase reflux symptoms include:

  • Dairy products (particularly milk)
  • Acidic foods, like tomatoes and oranges
  • High-fat meats
  • Carbonated drinks (not that you should be offering those to your baby anyway! 😉 )

Stick to the 4 Day Rule.

Remember the 4 Day Rule? Essentially, the 4 Day Rule advises you to wait 4 days between introducing new foods to your baby. This allows you to figure out which (if any) foods your baby might be allergic to.

This rule works for babies with reflux, too. After you’ve offered your baby a new food, wait a few days to see if it triggers any reflux symptoms. This’ll make it much easier for you to uncover your baby’s “trigger foods” and keep those out of her diet as much as possible.

Offer frequent, small meals (but not too close to bedtime!)

Your baby will have an easier time digesting small quantities of food than larger ones. And for some babies, eating large meals triggers reflux symptoms. So consider creating your own daily feeding schedule that’ll include 4 or 5 (or even 6) small meals.

What’s more, avoid offering your baby any solids in the hour before bedtime. This’ll help ensure that if he does have any reflux symptoms after eating, they won’t interfere with his nighttime sleep.

Keep your baby upright.

If your baby’s struggled with reflux since birth, you probably know this one already. The fact is that keeping your baby in an upright position after feeding can actually help him digest food, and can help prevent vomiting. This is true for babies when they’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding; it’s also true for babies when they’re eating solid foods!

Sit babies upright when it’s time for a solids meal, and avoid laying them down flat on their backs (or their stomachs) after eating. It’s also recommended that you avoid placing your baby in a walker or exersaucer (or anything else that’ll put pressure on his stomach) after he’s eaten.

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!

Does your baby have reflux? Do you have any tips to offer on feeding solids to a baby with reflux? Share your story and advice!

*Some of this information was taken from homemade-baby-food-recipes.com.

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