When your baby turns 6 months old, they are ready to start solid food. This is a huge milestone and you should be extremely proud of yourself for reaching it! Now things will start becoming a little more fun as your little one discovers new tastes and flavors every day.
Before you can start solid food, though, there are a few important things you need to keep in mind:
- According to the WHO, you should exclusively breastfeed for at least 6 months
- Once you switch to solids, complement their diet with breast milk for at least another year
- Your baby should be ready for solids. Check their physical developmental milestones
- Maintain high levels of hygiene every time you feed your baby. Their immune system is still developing, which makes them vulnerable to diseases, Proper hygiene will go a long way in helping them stay healthy throughout this period
- Start slow and gradually increase their intake over time as they become accustomed to new food
Once you start solid food, here are a few other things to keep in mind:
- Thicker purees are great because they are more packed with calories
- If you think the puree or porridge is too thick, you can make it a little runny by adding breast milk or formula milk
- When you start solid food, it is important to establish a feeding routine right from the start. For example, you can tie on the bib, put your baby in the chair, then place the bowl in front of them, in that order. This way, they will start anticipating getting fed going forward and your feeding sessions will be a lot easier
- Continue to breastfeed on demand. Stick with it for at least another year before cutting it off completely
The first week you start solids is an exciting time. However, things can get a little tricky very fast. Many new moms usually have no idea what to do at this point, so you need all the help you can get. Do your own research and take things slow.
We highly recommend using a food chart to help you keep track of things as you begin this next step in your parenting journey.
Guide to the first week of starting solids
- Day 1: Hands down the best food to start with are fruit. Consider giving your baby 1 tablespoon of avocado puree once on the first day
- Day 2: Increase the serving size to 2 tablespoons of avocado puree twice a day
- Day 3: Increase the serving size to 3 tablespoons of avocado puree twice a day
- Day 4: It is now time to introduce a new solid. Start with 1 tablespoon of apple puree once a day
- Day 5: Increase the serving size to 2 tablespoons of apple puree twice a day
- Day 6: Increase the serving size to 3 tablespoons of apple puree twice a day
- Day 7: Give them avocado puree in the morning and apple puree in the evening
The second week is all about reinforcing what your little one has gotten used to after the first week.
By now, they will have gotten used to a different texture other than milk. Continue giving them two different solid meals a day, preferably a fruit puree in the morning and a vegetable puree in the evening.
The recommended feeding schedule for 6 months olds is a mid morning meal and an early afternoon meal. However, every baby is different so simply adjust this to whatever your baby prefers. As long as they have two solid meals a day and a lot of breast milk in between, they should be fine.
Also, note that food allergies will usually appear around this time. Keep an eye out and pay attention to possible symptoms or reactions to the various food you are giving your baby. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, stop giving them that particular food.
During the third week, you want to continue the same feeding schedule that you had established in the previous two weeks. Stick to a schedule and reinforce a feeding time routine.
Two solid meals per day are ideal. You can also now introduce a few new grains, fruits, and veggies this week.
During the fourth week, continue with food that are familiar to your baby. You also want to introduce a few new ones as you go. Try to mix them into the usual meals and see how your baby likes them.
Finally, be aware and always make sure to talk to your pediatrician first before introducing any common food allergens.
So there you have it. With the tips outlined here, starting your baby on solids should be a walk in the park. Remember, every baby is different, and only you as the parent know what’s best for your little one. Also, keep an eye out for possible symptoms and reactions to the food you are giving your baby. This will help you figure out what your baby is allergic to right from the start.