Wondering how to best introduce solids to your baby? Read this for tips on when to start solids, how to start solids, working solids into the schedule, and more!
by Emily Parker Introducing solid food into your baby’s diet can be very overwhelming and intimidating.
While we look forward to the day where baby isn’t relying on our breast or our making of a bottle to feed them, it’s also sad to start the next phase.
The beginning of independence truly starts when the weaning process begins and introducing solid foods into your baby’s diet is the first step in that process.
Know When Baby is Ready
It’s important to keep in mind that the liquid portion of your baby’s diet (breastmilk or formula) remains THE most important part of their diet until after their 1st birthday.
Solid food is truly just for FUN until age ONE!
Recommendations often change regarding the best age to begin solids, but waiting until six months is the most typical “best age.”
At six months old babies can usually sit well unsupported and are developmentally ready to begin digesting, eating and exploring solid foods.
The most important thing for ensuring your baby is ready for eating solids is that they are able to sit up straight in a high chair.
Leaning back or slouching down are not safe positions for baby to eat and can often lead to choking concerns.
Decide How to Start
There are many options for HOW to introduce your baby to the world of solids.
Some moms like the traditional spoon-feeding method and enjoy blending their own purees or even buying baby food from the store.
Others, myself included, prefer introducing solids through the method of baby-led weaning.
With baby-led weaning, there are very few items needed in order to start and many benefits from this technique for introducing solids.
Baby-led weaning may sound complicated by the long name and super fancy hyphen 😉 but truly, it’s a very SIMPLE method for feeding your baby!
Order for Introducing Baby Food
Whether you decide to introduce your baby to the world of solids through purees, traditional baby food, or baby-led weaning it’s still wise to introduce new foods slowly.
By starting with a vegetable it helps baby to enjoy the flavor and texture of this health-packed food group.
Fruits are naturally sweeter and once baby tastes the flavors of fruit they are more likely to enjoy them over vegetables.
Even though the risk for food allergies is very low, I still highly recommend spacing out each new food.
Regardless of the method you use for feeding baby, by giving 2-3 days between each new food you allow the chance for any sort of allergy signs or symptoms to develop.
When to Feed Solids
As a Babywise mom, the daily schedule reigns supreme in our home.
With my first child it was easy to fit in solid feedings around his schedule.
Ideally you’d first offer the liquid feeling and then immediately follow the liquid feeding with the solid food mealtime.
This ensures that baby is filling up on the important liquid diet!
As we added more babies to our family it became more difficult to have that exact order in place.
I would always remind myself that the solid foods are just for fun and are a chance to practice eating for when the liquid feedings would be dropped.
I’d fit in the solid feeding times whenever I could throughout our day – the most consistent one being during family dinnertime so we could all enjoy a meal together as a family unit.
Fitting Solids into Baby’s Schedule
As you look at your baby’s daily schedule and routine, carve out the time when you’d like to introduce solids.
With my babies I like to first introduce solids after the 3rd feeding of the day (mine always fell at 3:00 PM).
I’d nurse or bottle feed and then set them in the high chair and let them explore the solid food for that day.
As we got more into a natural groove and rhythm I’d then offer solid food after their first liquid feeding, second liquid feeding, and during family dinnertime.
As the mealtimes became more regular, I stopped offering the solids at the afternoon liquid feeding and just keep it to those three meals each day.
Once liquid feedings get dropped at around one year old all of my children easily transitioned from the liquid mealtimes to those three solid mealtimes each day.
What About Water?
Baby’s should avoid drinking water until after they turn 6 months old.
Again, the liquid feedings of breastmilk or formula are enough to fully satisfy both hunger and thirst for your baby until a year old.
Once a baby turns 6 months old it’s wise to begin introducing a sippy cup and practicing drinking from it with water.
This will make the transition from breast or bottle to the sippy cup MUCH smoother when the time comes because the baby will already have so much practice drinking from it on their own!
A simple way to introduce water into your baby’s schedule is to offer a water-filled sippy cup along with each serving of solid food.
When my babies turn six months old I like to START with the water sippy without any solid food.
I like it as an opportunity to introduce sitting in a high chair and feel it’s a way to ease into solids and sippy cups without overwhelming or overstimulating my babies.
Entering the world of solid food does not have to be stressful!
Keep it simple. Keep the focus on the liquid feedings.
Work in the mealtimes when it makes sense in your baby’s schedule.
Allow it to be a fun time of exploration and adventure for your baby as they enter the next stage of growing up!
Emily is a mother of four who has experienced breastfeeding, bottle feeding, childbirth, and adoption. She is passionate about Babywise and almost just as passionate about travel (especially to Disney World.) You can find her over at: The Journey of Parenthood and discover why her tagline is “oversharing and owning it” by visiting her on Instagram at @journeyofphood!