Starting Your Baby on Solid Foods

Are you ready to start your baby on solid baby foods? Is your baby ready? Then gear up for a whole new adventure is feeding your baby! It will be a little messy – sometimes really messy – but you are setting your baby on a path to discovering new tastes, new textures and a whole new world of food. Start out on the right foot with the right foods and the right techniques.

Choosing Baby Spoons

Although lovely silver spoons are a very pretty baby gift, they aren’t the most practical for feeding your baby. A baby’s gums are sensitive, so look for spoons with a softer texture, such as those with a rubber tip. Plastic will work well too, but the rubbers ones are just a bit softer when starting out. Spoons should have a long enough handle so that you can manipulate them easily. Most baby spoons aren’t designed to hold much food, which is ok, because your baby won’t take much food at a time.

Which Food to Start With

Traditionally, baby cereal has been the first choice for solid feeding, but there is no real reason you can’t start with a fruit such as very well mashed bananas. When choosing a baby cereal, most new parents start with rice because it is bland and unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. Mix baby’s first cereal very, very thin, and use either breast milk or formula so that it tastes familiar.

Although you may have heard that you should start vegetables first before moving on to fruit to prevent baby from developing a sweet tooth and preferring fruits to veggies, there is no reason to follow this advice. Babies are already born with a preference for sweeter foods. Breast milk is sweet, and your baby has a natural tendency towards liking sweet foods. For this reason, starting with a sweet fruit like bananas may actually ease the transition, as baby is more likely to find the flavor pleasing. If your baby is formula fed, the sweet tooth may not be so pronounced, since formula is much blander than breast milk. Formula fed babies may do better on cereal mixed with formula as a first food.

Feeding Baby for the First Time

Don’t be surprised if your baby shows little interest or even makes a face the first time you try to feed solids! It’s best to start by dipping a clean finger into the food and letting baby taste it that way. The spoon is a foreign implement, and your baby may not be too interested in opening up for it just yet.

When you can get the spoon into baby’s mouth, start with a very small amount and wait for a reaction. It’s very likely that the food will wind up pouring out and onto baby’s chin. Your baby just isn’t quite sure yet what to do with this strange new food! For your first feeding, don’t expect to get more than a tablespoon at most into your baby, and don’t worry if most of it is on the bib or on baby. The earliest feedings are more about practice than about nutrition. Your baby is still getting all the necessary calories and nutrients from breast milk or formula.

Start with one feeding a day, and choose a time when your baby is generally alert and likely to be feeling cooperative. As you go and baby learns how to push the food back and swallow rather than spitting it out, you can slowly increase the thickness and quantity of the feedings. Before you know it, your baby will figure it out!

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