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    Parents guide

    Home ›› A Guide on How to Introduce Solids to Your Baby 
    Home ›› A Guide on How to Introduce Solids to Your Baby

    A parents’ guide to introducing food to your baby

     

    7 min. read

     

    Feeding your baby offers countless precious moments and time for bonding. Now, you’re preparing for another wonderful milestone: introducing solids to your baby. It’s an exciting time when your little one starts eating more independently. But – as with most new milestones in your baby’s development – it’s a significant adjustment period. Like most parents, you’re probably curious as to when exactly you should start introducing food to your baby and how to start your baby on solids.
     

    So here’s the essential information on how to introduce solids (including the appropriate age to start), our tips on introducing solid foods, and ways to help both you and your baby make this new transition together.

    What age should you be introducing food to your baby?

     

    Remember to consult with your child’s doctor when you think your little one has reached this exciting feeding milestone. The appropriate age for starting solids varies. Most babies are ready to begin with solid foods at around six months. However, all babies are different and some may show signs of readiness as early as four months old. It’s always best to consult your healthcare professional to assess the individual readiness of your baby, and whatever the decision, it’s important to continue providing breast milk along with solids.
     

    Your healthcare professional will look for the following key signs to help your baby make the transition to solid foods: 1

    • Your baby is about six months
    • Your baby can sit up, unsupported
    • Your baby has lost his or her tongue-thrust reflex, a natural rejection of food by thrusting it back out of the mouth with the tongue (they don’t stick their tongue out when feeding)
    • Your baby can pick things up between his or her fingers and thumb.

     

    Once your baby has developed the skills needed for eating by themselves – including good head and neck control – you can start introducing solid foods.

    Your baby’s first foods

     

    The moment you’ve waited for has finally arrived and your baby is now ready to try solid foods! If you’re wondering how to start your baby on solids, try giving him or her baby cereal. Mix one to two tablespoons of single-grain, iron-fortified baby cereal with breast milk, formula or water. If you’re breastfeeding, only offer food after a nursing session so that your baby fills up on breast milk first until he or she is about one year. 2

     

    Once your baby is comfortable with the first food you give him or her, you can continue introducing new foods, such as puréed fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils and yogurt. A soup-maker is one easy option for making great meals for your baby. Simply steam the fruit, vegetables, fish or meat, add to the soup-maker, select the puréed option, and voila! You’ve just made a healthy, homemade meal for your growing baby. Be sure to wait three to five days before introducing a new food so that you can see signs of allergies.
     

    As well as the fun of trying new foods, it’s important to be aware of different food allergies when introducing solid foods. Experts recommend introducing common food allergens to your baby when he or she is four to six months old. In fact, recent studies suggest that waiting too long could make your baby more likely to develop food allergies, so the sooner the better! The most common food allergens to look out for include: 2,3

     

    • Milk
    • Eggs
    • Fish
    • Shellfish
    • Tree nuts
    • Peanuts
    • Wheat
    • Soybeans

     

    If you or your family have a history of food allergies, be sure to speak with your child’s doctor to find the best approach when trying these foods with your little one.

     

    In addition to introducing food to your baby, you’ll also start introducing water after the age of six months. During a baby’s first six months, breast milk contains all the water that he or she needs, even in hotter climates. But once your little one reaches six months, you can start giving him or her a little water from a spouted cup.

     

    You might consider the Avent natural trainer cup, a soft spout sippy cup that helps your baby make the move to drinking by themselves. The cup is easy to drink from as liquid flows when your child bites or sucks the spout. The cup is also designed to allow easy gripping for your baby’s little hands.

    What you need

    Philips Avent

    Natural Trainer Cup

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    Avent
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      Philips Avent Natural Trainer Cup

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      Ease your baby's transition to a drinking cup

      This Natural trainer kit eases your baby into their first cup. The comfort grips help your baby hold the bottle independently while drinking from the familiar nipple. When ready, switch to the silicone spout to complete the transition. See all benefits

      Philips shop price
      Suggested retail price: $7.99

      Ease your baby's transition to a drinking cup

      This Natural trainer kit eases your baby into their first cup. The comfort grips help your baby hold the bottle independently while drinking from the familiar nipple. When ready, switch to the silicone spout to complete the transition. See all benefits

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    Ease your baby's transition to a drinking cup

    This Natural trainer kit eases your baby into their first cup. The comfort grips help your baby hold the bottle independently while drinking from the familiar nipple. When ready, switch to the silicone spout to complete the transition. See all benefits

    Philips shop price
    Suggested retail price: $7.99

    Ease your baby's transition to a drinking cup

    This Natural trainer kit eases your baby into their first cup. The comfort grips help your baby hold the bottle independently while drinking from the familiar nipple. When ready, switch to the silicone spout to complete the transition. See all benefits

    From puréed to chopped

     

    Once your baby has developed the fine motor skills needed for starting solids, you can begin giving your baby chopped foods. Every baby is different but, usually, babies can start with chopped vegetables and meat at nine months. 4

     

    When you do start introducing chopped foods, feel free to allow your little one to be more a part of family meals. You can introduce cooked vegetables, pieces of soft fruit, well-cooked pasta and small pieces of chicken for your baby to try.

     

    Do remember to make sure that chopped food is soft and cooked well enough that it can mush easily in your baby’s mouth. Meats, for example, are more textured and should be cut into smaller pieces than a softer piece of fruit.

    Tips on how to introduce solids to your baby

     

    There you have it – the basics on how to introduce food to your baby. There are also a few other things to keep in mind when starting your baby on solids, so here are some more tips on how to get your baby to eat solids: 1

     

    • Offer food when your baby wants it. Whether it’s during a quiet moment or when the rest of the family is eating, give your baby food when he or she is in the mood to try new things.

    • Introduce food in smaller amounts. Keep in mind that introducing solid foods is not about giving your baby a full meal. It’s about trying different foods and textures and gradually increasing the amount as your baby grows.

    • Try again later if your baby doesn’t like it. This is a new experience for your baby, filled with new tastes and sensations. So don’t be discouraged or concerned if he or she doesn’t like the food at first! Simply try the new food again at another time.

    • Never leave your baby alone with food. Although your baby may be starting on the path to independent eating and drinking, that doesn’t mean he or she is completely independent.

    • Avoid giving your baby small or hard foods. This will help prevent choking. And, any round foods – such as grapes or carrots – should be sliced in half or in quarter bites.

    Bye bye liquid diet!

     

    Learning how to start your baby on solids is an exciting learning experience for both you and your child. While it’s certainly different to breastfeeding and bottle feeding, you’ll no doubt experience newfound feelings of pride in your baby’s development. Enjoy these precious moments while you can. Because before you know it, your baby will be out of the high chair and dining over three course meals!

     

    If you have any questions or concerns regarding your baby’s feeding journey, have a look at our parents’ guide.

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    You might like

    1 LA LECHE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL - Starting Solids

    kidshealth.org - When Can My Baby Start Eating Solid Foods?

    Centers for disease control and prevention - When, What, and How to Introduce Solid Foods

    kidshealth.org - Finger Foods for Babies