At some point around the age of six months, usually at around the time that your baby can sit while supported by you or a pillow, your pediatrician will tell you to start offering some solid food. This will be an entertaining and fabulously messy experience for you and your baby.
Done right, however, you’ll find that solid foods keep babies happy for longer, especially at night. Indeed, once your baby starts taking solid food you should notice them sleeping for longer.
Starting babies on solid food, however, can be difficult. At first they simply have no idea what you’re doing to them. It may take weeks of practice until your baby has the hang of it.
Six Tips for Solid Food
Here are six tips to get you started.
|Master the baby cereal first. Baby cereal is a perfect consistency for starting your baby on solid food. It sticks nicely to the spoon and generally doesn’t stain. Most baby foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are drippy and often do stain. Go with cereal until your baby makes some progress.
|Prepare in advance for huge messes. You know the adorable lightweight bibs that you got at your baby shower? The ones with cute little animals or that say “Mommy’s little muffin”? Put those away; they’re useless today. You need a wide, thick, solid bib that you can securely attach around your baby’s neck. Waterproof terrycloth bibs are good for this. Have napkins or paper towels on standby, too. Lots of them.
|One food at a time. Our pediatrician recommended that we start with one food for three days before moving on to the next. This helps you determine if your baby has a reaction to anything. You’ll probably start with vegetable baby food (carrots, sweet potatoes, or peas) or fruits. Some your baby will like, others perhaps not. Don’t be afraid to try a wide variety of foods, even if they don’t seem appetizing to you.
|Thicken with cereal. Certain kinds of baby foods are very runny: carrots, sweet potatoes, and applesauce, for example. You can thicken these by adding a half teaspoon or so of single-grain rice cereal or organic oatmeal cereal. Doing so will make it stick better to the spoon, and seems to make the food last for longer.
|Try the Boon Spoon. This is a plastic spoon that you fill with baby food for a single serving. By squeezing it, you can refill the spoon with food after each bite. It’s a cleaner and handy way to feed your baby; with twins, I’ve even used two at once. Another nice feature is that you can put a cap on the spoon tip, converting a filled spoon into a portable baby food container. They come in 8 different colors and are currently 20% off at Amazon.
|Make your own baby food. There are many varieties of baby food, most of which are made from standard table foods that are pureed and sometimes watered down. You might even notice that many “fruit” baby foods described as pears, berries, or other things are made almost entirely of applesauce. Thus, if you’d like to save some money or are running low on baby food, try blending up your own from fruits or vegetables, or pick up a few jars of applesauce.
See our article on the best baby food grinders for making your own baby food.
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