Everyone gives you advice on feeding your baby. How do you know whose advice to follow? When should you start solids? Which solids do you do first? What about all the crazy products?
As I’ve mentioned before every kid is different so you might have to adjust your routine for first time feedings for each child but here is what has been working for me.
Many people think that at 4-7 months old you can start completely transitioning baby to solids. This is false. While this is when you can start introducing food, remember baby gets all his nutrition from breast milk or formula up until a year old. With both of my children I introduced solids at about 6 months old. Why introduce solids if not much nutritional value results? Baby is born with a natural instinct to suck. This is so they can nurse or take a bottle from day one. Amazing right? They also have a natural instinct to tongue thrust. -or pushing the tonunge forward-. The chewing motion is learned. Introducing solids builds this ability to use the chewing motion as well as it introduces different textures. If you wait until a year old to introduce solids, baby may not take well to them. Thus making it harder to transition from formula/breast to regular vitamin D milk. The chewing motion will also not be developed and they may refuse the different textures and flavors. The sole purpose in introducing baby to solids is to better prepare them for full time solid eating.
So how do you know when baby is ready to try solids? You as the parent know best but these are the few things I watch for. 1) Baby can grasp things with his hands. (Toys, rattles, etc.). 2) Baby can sit upright on his own. 3) Baby does not tongue thrust as much. (You can test this with a teething ring. Does baby push it out with his tongue or accept it?). 4) Baby has begun teething. (He will be already practing that chomping motion on everything he gets his hands on.
When I first try baby with food I have learned to always offer the bottle first. With my daughter I did food first and she still took her bottle. With my son, he would not take the bottle after I had given him the food. So to ensure Baby is getting his full bottle and nutrition, I’d offer bottle first to be on the safe side! Then offer Baby a few spoon fulls of baby rice cereal mixed with formula/breast milk. Watch what he does. Normally the first bites come back out. But that’s ok. It’s a learning process. These first few tries gets baby used to the new texture. I always start with the rice cereal mixed with formula/breast milk because it still tastes the same as formula/ breast milk. That way we aren’t overwhelming Baby with so much change. Most peditrtcians do not recommend putting rice cereal in the bottle with breast milk or formula. This is due to possible choking hazard if you add too much, or it not being fluid enough for the milk mixture to get out of the nipple of the bottle, and some people believe that adding rice cereal to the nighttime bottle will help baby sleep better this has not necessarily been proven and can cause digestive issues. I personally just like doing the rice cereal after the bottle before bedtime that way if the myth is true then baby will sleep better but they’ve also been able to practice eating normally instead of just the bottle.
I talked to my pediatrician each month about how much formula baby should be getting. My son is seven months old now and I have been told by the pediatrician that babies between six and eight months old should get 28 to 32 ounces of formula in a 24 hour period. So what I have been doing is giving him 30 ounces of formula and 2 ounces of solids in a 24 hour period like this: 6 AM-9 AM he gets one 6 ounce bottle. 10 AM-12 PM he gets a 3 ounce bottle and a fruit or veggie puréed. Then between 2pm-4PM he gets a 6 ounce bottle. 6 PM-8 PM he gets another 3 ounce bottle with 1 ounce of A puréed fruit or veggie. His 10pm-12 AM bottle is a 6 or a 7 ounce bottle and a 2 AM- 4am bottle is also a 6 or 7 ounce. This gets him 2 ounces of food per day and it also gives him the 30 ounces of formula needed for his nutrition. As long as the baby is getting adequate nutrition through the proper amount of formula or breast milk you can add more food if desired for more practice. I really like this chart below. Always consult your physician when it comes to your child’s diet. I have been told not to introduce dairy until a year old. So take this with a grain of salt.
I would highly recommend starting Baby with rice cereal and then moving to veggies followed by fruit and protein last. Some baby’s won’t take veggies after already having tasted the fruit. Also more kids in my opinion seem to have allergies to fruit than to veggies. I’d also recommend doing one veggie or fruit for a week to be sure they do not have an allergy. If you give too many different kinds, it can be hard to determine which food may have caused an allergic reaction.
Now that all that is out of the way, I have discovered some pretty amazing products to help meal times go a little easier.
The first is the Boon Squirt Spoon. This is great for use at home but really awesome when you take baby out. You simply place baby food into the silicone handle, screw the top spoon portion on and squeeze. You can squeeze out bite-size portions onto the spoon for baby to eat. It also has a protective cover so that if you’re transporting it in your diaper bag it doesn’t make a mess. You don’t have to worry about carrying around a jar of baby food and a spoon all you need is this one product. I have seen them at Target, Babies R Us, and even Bed Bath and Beyond.
Another product I love is the Boon pulp silicone teething feeder. There is another product out there made by the munchkin brand. This one is different because it has a circular handle and the feeder part is made of mesh. I prefer the Boon feeder over the munchkin feeder for a few reasons. The first is that the Boon feeder has a silicone top. This makes it easier to squish the fruit into the feeder. The silicone is also great because it helps with babies teething. The silicone is harder than the mesh so it feels good on the gums. The silicone is also easier to clean. The are not small crevices or areas that are difficult to wipe clean. The mesh on the other hand is hard to get the squished fruit out of the areas where there is a seam. It also continues to have a smell even after you’ve cleaned it multiple times because of it being made from fabric. The silicone also has tiny holes that the fruit squeezes through. The holes are also very easy to clean; you just run water through them. I also like the straight handle on the Boon feeder. It seems a little easier for baby to hold. With the munchkin mesh feeder sometimes my son has a hard time getting his fingers through the circle to hold it. I definitely recommend the Boon silicone teething feeder. This item you can also find at local stores and on Amazon.
Aside from basic eating skills your baby is learning they can also start practicing using a sippy cup. I only put water in mine. I have found though when I’m in the kitchen trying to do dishes and my son is in the high chair with his sippy cup, I spend more time picking up the cup then he actually spends practicing drinking from it. That’s when I discovered the sippy cup strap on Amazon. You can also find great ones sold on etsy shop but they do not have a suction cup. I prefer the ones with the suction portion as opposed to just the basic strap. This product is great because if baby does drop the cup he can usually grab the strap and pull it back up. This is also a product that would be a very easy DIY.
I’ve also had some serious experiences with bottles. Check back for that post in the future. Happy Feeding!
****all products you use are solely based on your personal choices as a parent. These items have worked great for me along with the feeding schedule. Always consult your physician in reguards to your child’s diet and use your own parenting preferences for your child.*****