A Solid Start: Introducing Baby to Solid Foods
Everything you need to know to begin your child on baby foods and other solids.
The Big Day: Strategies for Introducing Solid Foods
When you offer baby that first taste of something other than breast milk or formula, it’s a huge event. To increase the likelihood of success, offer the first solids when baby isn’t full (if she's not hungry, she won’t be interested) or ravenous (she’ll be frustrated that she’s not getting as much as she wants right away). Instead, fill her up a little with liquid and then let her have a taste.
Other than that, it doesn’t matter too much whether solid or liquid comes first in the meal, say many experts. “Some parents like to offer the bottle or breast at the end of the meal because of the comfort factor, especially if naptime or bedtime is coming soon,” says Steven Parker, MD, director of the division of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Boston Medical Center. “But it doesn’t really matter which comes first.”
“Early on, I always nursed first until my son was pretty much done and then offered the solids as ‘dessert,’” recalls Radtke.
As with all new experiences, it’s also best not to spring solid foods on your baby when she’s tired, cranky, or sick. Offering a new food in the morning or early afternoon also gives you plenty of time to watch for allergic reactions.
What if your baby rejects the new food? Don’t worry, says Shu. “Try again later. You might want to wait a few days until your baby has forgotten the experience. It’s not so much that they hate the food -- it’s just that it’s unfamiliar to them.”
Baby Feeding Gear: The 3 Essentials
The feeding aisle at your local baby store is crammed with gear, but you don’t need that much to feed a baby. Small, soft-tipped spoons are best, says Shu, because they’re gentle on baby’s gums. (Some manufacturers now make spoons that are heat-sensitive, changing color if baby’s food is too hot.)
Other than that, you’ll want:
- A high chair or other secure seat that holds your baby upright to eat
- Plastic or other waterproof bibs, which are easy to rinse off (those with a big trough at the bottom are particularly handy to catch falling bits when baby starts feeding herself)
- Unbreakable plates and bowls that won’t shatter when they’re knocked off the high chair tray