How To Introduce Solids To Your Baby
Congratulations MOMMY on reaching this exciting milestone and get ready to have fun feeding your baby his/her first foods. If you’re anything like me, you may be wondering why cereal is often recommended as the first solid baby food, how to know when your baby is ready, and how to really get started. Well, I did all the research for you and below is what I’ve both gethered and experienced with starting my own baby girl on solids.
Baby cereal is often recommended as the first solid baby food because it’s nutritionally and developmentally appropriate. (So tell your grandmother to hold off on the collard green juice lol) The top brand that most parents went with is Gerber, however I wanted to take a more organic approach. I decided to go with Earth’s Best Organic Baby First Solid Food Whole Grain Oatmeal Cereal. Like Gerber, they have a variety such as oatmeal with banana (which my daughter loved), brown rice and whole grain. You can find this brand at any Target or your local organic food store.
When to start introducing solids
To me, this is a “grey area” question. When you should start feeding your baby solids is truly determined by you and knowing your baby. Before 4 months of age, babies have yet to develop the/her skills needed to move solid foods around in their mouth and successfully swallow. At this age, your baby is not ready for anything but breastmilk or infant formula. When your little prince or princess is at least 4 months old and has reached the milestones of a Supported Sitter, he/she may be ready for their first cereal experience! Yaaaaaay! Now get ready mommy, things are about to get a little messy. J
Supported sitter milestone cues:
Pushes up with elbows straight while lying on tummy.
Sits with very little help because he/she has gained more control over the head and neck.
Turns the head left or right.
Moves tongue backward and forward in a smooth rhythm when you put a small spoon to the lips. This allows him/her to pull food in and swallow it. If they’re pushing the spoon and food out, this is your baby’s reflex telling you they may not be ready.
Here are a few tips on introducing cereal:
Choose a time of day you do not have to rush, when your baby is wide-awake and mildly hungry.
Breastfeed or offer formula first so he/she won’t be fussy or too hungry. Don’t overfeed or this may cause a natural reaction to reject the oatmeal.
Be sure to only use a small baby-sized spoon that’s been coated to protect your baby’s tender gums.
Sit him in an upright infant seat or high chair, making sure the head is in an upright position and not tilted back.
Let him explore. Place a dab of cereal on his/her high chair tray so he/her can "finger paint" with it and become familiar with its texture. Let your baby explore the feel and smell of the cereal. This is both fun and messy!
For the first bite, try putting a dab of cereal on his/her lip. If they’re agreeable to that first taste, put the next bite into his/her mouth when he/she opens it. Sit facing your baby and hold a half-spoonful of cereal about 12 inches from the face. Get their attention and put the spoon up to his/her mouth. Feed your baby as slowly or as rapidly as he/her wants and always look for his/her fullness cues. It’s all about the experience! Don’t forget to record your baby’s reactions for a sweet memory to save for the years to come. Who knows, you might become the next YouTube superstar J
Try, try again. Don’t be surprised if your baby’s first taste pops right back out. It’s a natural reflex. If your baby seems unhappy about the experience, give it up for now and try again later.
Helpful "did you know's":
Start with infant oatmeal or rice cereal. Wait several days after introducing one, and if there are no reactions, try a different infant cereal. Offering only single-grain cereals at first lets you pinpoint any possible food sensitivities or reactions—such as a rash, diarrhea or vomiting—that your baby may have to a new food.
Prepared cereal should never be fed from a bottle—only from a spoon—unless directed by your pediatrician.
When first starting cereal, mixing it with breastmilk or formula is recommended. Move to a thicker consistency once you feel your baby is mastering the/her thin texture.
Prepare only as much as you think your baby will eat. Never save cereal that’s been prepared, as it can grow bacteria very easily.
My last piece of advice….distilled water! You won’t get this advice from a lot of other sites however I want to explain why this was something I just had to mention. An increase in iron can cause constipation. If you are breastfeeding or using powdered formula with distilled water, then disregard this tip because both of those give your baby just the right amount of water he/she needs. However, I chose to go with Enfamil ready to drink formula which doesn’t contain water and is completely milk/iron based. I noticed after I added oatmeal to my baby girl’s diet she was becoming constipated. Therefore, I added about 5oz of distilled water to her daily routine and was able to get her vowel movements back on track!
The Urban Mom