How To Introduce Your Baby To Solids

Introducing solids to a baby is a big milestone! It’s a very exciting time as a parent, but it can also be a little stressful the first time (With every child). There are so many different ways to introduce solids to your little one. Today, I’m sharing what has worked best for my kids and me. My best advice is, Don’t Overthink It!

Signs Your Baby Is Ready To Start Solids

  • Your baby is 6-months old
  • He or she can sit up alone for at least 60 seconds
  • Baby is losing the tongue thrust reflex that makes them push food out of their mouth
  • They are interested in food (often on your plate)

Where To Start?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says you should start your child on solids between 4 and 6 months. But,like everything in motherhood, it will totally depend on you and your baby. We decided to wait till 6 months because this is when both our babies started showing interest in food and could sit comfortably in a high chair.

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Introduce Solids With the Right Equipment

  1. High Chair: It is important to have a stable, easy-to-clean chair that supports your baby in an ergonomic upright position! I really love this high chair because it’s solid wood, doesn’t take up a lot of floor space, has a footrest that is safer, and can grow with your baby into childhood (our 3.5-year-old is still using hers!).
  2. Soft Spoons: Small, soft-tipped spoons are gentle on baby’s gums and fit perfectly in their little mouths. Silicone spoons are our favourite and specially these ones with the ergonomic textured hand grips make it super easy for baby to hold and self feed. I also love these ones that allow you to squish food in it for baby to self feed. 
  3.  Suction Bowls/Plates: Suction cups at the bottom that stick to the high chair tray or table can prevent a lot of mess by keeping the plate in place. Bowls and plates made of durable food-grade silicone are my go-to.
  4. Bibs: Feeding a baby can definitely get messy, even more so if you’re doing baby-led weaning style. Waterproof bibs like silicone with a wide pocket at the bottom to catch falling food can make cleanup much easier. 
  5. Blender and/ Food Processor: For making purees, smoothies, popsicles, etc. a good quality
  6. Silicone freezer molds: Make meal prepping/freezing so much easier! I like to bulk prep a bunch of purees/ foods at a t time and freexe the leftovers into portions out of the puck.

Helpful Online Resources

Take an online child CPR/ choking course. Knowing how to do both of these, can help limit some stress associated with your baby starting solid foods.

    A great resource when starting solids is the Happy Healthy Eaters Course (use code NIKOLE for 15% off!) . It’s a quick online course that walks you through everything you need to know before starting your little one on solids. It’s run by two amazing Canadian Dietitian’s and is super user friendly and a great resource to go back to. They cover everything from knowing when its safe to start your baby on solids, tips on how to introduce allergenic foods, food prep, food safety and more!

    Fun Fact: Babies don’t need teeth to start solids.

    Starting Solids: The First Weeks

    I like to begin the first week or two with simple, single-ingredient purees or very soft, mashed foods. I don’t follow a strict schedule or log sheet of food only when it comes to common allergy foods like gluten, dairy, nuts, eggs, etc. Although I do follow a baby-led weaning style, I like to start the first month or two with different textured purees and mashes. Thick enough that I can preload a baby spoon and allow my little ones to pick it up and self-feed on their own. It allows for a full sensory experience, it’s self guided and allows them to be in control as well as have fun. Trust me, down the road, you will be so happy you did this method of baby-led weaning because it means they are learning to feed themselves without someone spoon-feeding them, meaning you can eat your food while they eat theirs. Not to mention, this will help create more of an adventurous eater down the road.

    Why are iron-rich foods important at 6 months old?

    For the first half year, your baby has enough iron in their body at birth for their initial growth. But at around 6 months their reserves will be low and as their growth increases, so will their need for iron. Iron is important for both their growth and brain development so it’s important to start offering your baby iron- rich foods every day.

    Here are some great healthy examples of iron-rich baby foods: Lentils, beans, dark leafy greens, edamame, tofu, liver, animal meat, sardines, beets, hemp seeds, and oats. 

    Good first foods include:

    Vegetables: Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Pumpkin, peas, broccoli, bone broth (unsalted)

    Fruit: Bananas, Apples, Avocado

    Common foods to avoid when starting solids:

    Honey. Before age 1, honey is at high risk for containing Clostridium botulinum, bacterial spores that can cause a serious neurotoxic illness called botulism. It often ends up in breads and cereals, so be sure to read ingredient labels.

    Salt. Before age 1, baby’s kidneys are not developed enough to efficiently filter out large amounts of salt. Look for no-salt-added packaged foods, like tomato sauces and canned beans.

    Sugar. There’s no need – or nutritional value – to offer babies added sugar. Instead, offering natural sugars in the form of fruits can help them develop and affinity for these healthier foods. Added sugar is found in many foods like yogurt, packaged snacks, fruit juices, etc.

    Meal Prepping For Your Baby

    Once you’ve got through those first few weeks, you might want to start thinking about meal prepping. One of my secret weapons for starting solids has been meal prep. I love meal prepping (check out my 6-8 months old baby meal prep guide) because it makes everything so much more convenient and affordable!

    With my first child, I wrote The Baby HealthNut Cookbook. This tool has helped thousands of Parents learn how to prepare healthy and yummy foods for their little ones. The Baby HealthNut Cookbook has over 30+ nutrient-rich yet delicious recipes made with real ingredients; this ebook is your complete guide to getting started stress-free and provides options for purees, preloaded spoon-friendly foods, and hand-held baby-led weaning-style meals. Behind each recipe lies the idea that from the start of their eating journey, little ones should be enjoying real, whole foods and ingredients that you can feel good about introducing to your growing babies.

    Baby Sign Language

    Baby sign language, especially during mealtimes, offers a bunch of benefits that can significantly help both a baby’s development and the parent-child bonding experience. Introducing sign language while a baby is eating allows your baby to communicate their needs, desires, and even dislikes without frustration, and it also promotes early language development. 

    We did baby sign language with our first child, Sage, and very quickly saw the advantages of teaching your baby sign language early! We also started to see her sign language skills develop quickly with food involved.

    This is Just The Beginning

    Introducing solids is just the beginning of a lifelong adventure with food. As your baby becomes more experienced, you can start combining foods, introducing textures, and eventually, moving on to family meals. 

    With patience, the right tools, and a positive attitude, you’ll help your baby develop a love for food that will benefit them for years to come. Now, with a 3.5-year-old who has been through her ups and downs with trying new foods, being super picky, and now coming out on the other end excited to try new foods, experiment, and even eat raw asparagus at a farm (true story!). I’m excited to help guide other parents navigating this journey with their own hungry little ones and teach them to truly love food and have a great relationship with it. Happy feeding, parents!

    Let me know in the comments what your biggest struggle or worry you have about introducing solids to your baby.

    Looking for More Content?

    12 Ways to Help Your Baby Love Food 

    Introducing Your Baby To Solids: The Ultimate Guide 

    Easy Baby Oatmeal

    6-8 Month Olds Meal Prep

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