Solids: How to Start?

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Solids: How to Start?. How to start feeding your baby solid foods. Tips for success in feeding your baby solid foods.

How to feed your baby solid foods.

Eating should be easy. The idea of feeding a baby, before you have ever fed a baby, seems simple enough. Baby is hungry. You offer  baby the food of the moment, baby eats, and baby is full.

Then you try to feed a real baby. The real baby might not be a great nurser or might be picky about the bottle. By the time you get any of that figured out, it is time to start feeding solid foods, and it isn’t as easy as it seems like it should be. There are so many possibilities. This post contains affiliate links.

I follow Baby Wise Book 2 pretty closely in starting solids (found on page 45). I basically do it by the book. But the book says they are only guidelines, not rules, so you don’t risk ruining any Baby Wise Book 2 schedule by doing it your own way. Just be sure to feed solids at the same meal you feed liquid (so you don’t start snacking) and you will be fine.

How to get started feeding solid foods

Here is how I started:

  • When I start, I breast feed from one side, then feed the solids, then breast feed the other side. Inconvenient? Absolutely! It really helps get the baby going on solids, though. After the baby gets the hang of it, I go back to full nursing before the solids. If you bottle feed, do half of the bottle, solids, then the other half.
  • While I am feeding the one side, I pump milk from the other. I did it in the morning and pumped all I wanted for the day–that way I only had to pump once. I then used that to mix with cereal.
  • Start with solids at just one meal a day. Pick the best time of day for you (when you have the most time, fewer children, fewer chores, etc.)
  • I think it makes sense to introduce foods as early in the day as possible because you then have all day to look for possible allergy signs rather than them occurring at night; however, with Kaitlyn I started at her 7 PM feeding because it worked best for me–my husband was home at that time and therefore could watch Brayden.
  • I start with rice. Some people don’t like rice or cereal at all. If you are one of those, start with something different. I like rice because it is more of a practice food. It can be mixed with breast milk (or formula), and it is easy on the digestive system. It also doesn’t stain, and I am a bit OCD about such things. 🙂
  • At first I just did 1/2 T per meal of rice. Then each day I would increase it by 1/2 T. So day 2 was 1 T, day 3 was 1.5 T, etc. Then I stopped where I could see she didn’t want any more rice than that at a meal. I mix the BM and rice at 1 to 1. Once ounce of BM and 1 T of rice. You have to watch the baby and see what he prefers. Kaitlyn liked hers runnier. Brayden did not care about the consistency, he just wanted it in his mouth!
  • I do this for one week (one meal a day for one week).

WEEK TWO

  • Week two, you do cereal at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You gradually increase cereal amount to 5-8 T, though I remember sometimes Brayden ate more than 12 T during one meal!

WEEK FOUR

  • Two weeks later, you start veggies. BW suggests you start with the noon meal and to start with yellow veggies (squash, carrots).
  • When starting a new food, you should start with only 2 T–just in case there is an adverse reaction. Wait a couple of days between each new food. So carrots, a couple of days later you introduce squash, then sweet potatoes a couple of days after that…
  • Introduce the yellow veggies in the order you want to. Most babies LOVE sweet potatoes. You can either start with those for that reason to give baby a good experience, or end with those for that reason so baby doesn’t refuse other ones. Depends on the baby.

WEEK SIX

  • Two weeks after starting yellow veggies, start with the green.
  • Wait two days between each new green veggie.

WEEK EIGHT

  • Fruits! Funny to say, but true, both of my kids HATED fruit at first. Brayden quickly became okay with it, but at 8.5 months Kaitlyn still only tolerates it. There are some fruits she kind of likes, but it all depends on how hungry she is. I think fruit on a whole is tart as a baby food because it, of course, has no added sugar.
  • Wait a couple of days between each new fruit.
  • You can add fruit to cereal if you want. I didn’t with Brayden because he LOVED cereal and seemed to like the flavor of it alone best. I do with Kaitlyn because she eats more fruit that way.

Starting Solids Differently

If you don’t want to do rice or don’t want to start with veggies or want to mix it up, here are some common sense guidelines:

  • I would stay in a food group. For example, if you want to start fruits first, introduce the fruits you want to (waiting two days between each new fruit) and then wait two weeks before you start veggies.
  • I would then do just one color of veggie at a time, waiting two weeks before the next color.
  • If you want to mix it up (fruits, veggies, fruits, etc.), I would wait more days between each new food. So if you had done bananas, I would then wait at least 5 days before you tried something like sweet potatoes.

The benefits of sticking to a food group are for the digestive system and also allergy watch. Think it through and decide what is best for you and your baby.

More Solids Posts:

Reader Solid Foods Questions:

  • Mom2Cohen said… Okay…now for a really stupid question…when people say 4T, 5T, etc are they meaning just 4T of cereal plus the formula or 4T when the cereal and formula are mixed?February 29, 2008 12:09 PM
    Plowmanators said… Not to sound like a teacher, but there is no such thing as a stupid question :). To not ask a question and/or just assume something to be true is far “stupider” than asking and making sure you get it.When I say 5T, I mean 5T dry. Then you add the liquid. Please let me know if that doesn’t make sense (by the way, I think that is a really good question 🙂 ).February 29, 2008 2:05 PM
  • Mike said…
    I started my 6.5 month LO with solids almost 3 weeks ago. We started with rice cereal once a day as BW recommends. Two weeks later I have yet to get any appreciable rice cereal in her. She clearly closes her mouth when the spoon with cereal gets close enough to get in–she will open it for anything else ( a toy etc). I just kept trying not pushing it too hard thinking she would eventually become ready, but she has never accepted the rice cereal on purpose. I finally changed to sweet potatoes a couple of days ago and she is now opening her mouth a little for those, I’d guess she’s only taking about 1 tablespoon before she’s done. Do you think she’s just not ready? She’s sitting up and seems really interested until she tastes things! The one thing I have not tried consistently is BF her on one side then solids, then BF her on the other side. Interestingly, the only times I have gotten her to open her mouth consistently is when she’s holding onto my hand to bring it to her mouth with the spoon–she won’t let me do it! Any ideas or suggestions?
    March 2, 2008 12:01 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    For one thing, she sounds like she doesn’t like rice cereal. I would continue to offer it, and continue to offer the veggies. She will eventually grow to like, or at least tolerate, the foods. I have heard it takes at least 10 tries to form a real opinion on the foods. I would recommend doing the feed one side, solids, feed the other. It will make it so she is hungry enough for solids to eat, but not so hungry she is “frantic.”
    March 2, 2008 9:22 PM
  • Mom2Cohen said…
    Ok so I have another question regarding solids…I will be heading to the store today or tomorrow to go buy veggies but I have no idea how much to buy. I know you only start them on a couple of T for the first couple of days. What I don’t know is how often he should eat them and how much to expect him to eat each time I feed them to him. (keep in mind I have a hungry boy on my hands). So what do you think? I plan on using Gerber Organics that come in the little tubs (2 to a package) so I guess my question is how long should I expect those to last? One per meal?BTW…I just want to say “thank you” so much for all the advice! Someone should write a book on these general things because nobody really just covers the basics…it is like we are just supposed to know!
    March 5, 2008 8:00 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    When you are initially starting, you only want to give a couple of T so you can watch for allergies. If he loves them, then the next day you could be feeding close to one per meal, but it also might take him time to work up to that. They can last 1-3? days in the fridge. It says on the container.I always plan on one per meal when I am buying. My daughter rarely eats one fruit per meal, but I still buy enough for it. Then the next time I buy, I subtract what she still has in the pantry from the number to buy.They last a long time, so as long as you can afford it, it doesn’t hurt to buy more than you think you will need. Good luck!I am happy to help!A book you might like is Super Baby Food. I haven’t ever read it, but I have heard great things about it from a variety of different people. It covers food from birth to three years old.
    March 5, 2008 9:56 AM
  • SCHarveys said…
    Question about introducing veggies…Do you still do cereal 3x a day? e.g., at lunch, do I do cereal, then veggie, or just veggie. Today was our first day of veg; I did cereal at breakfast, veggie at lunch, and will do cereal for dinner I guess. Is this right? If so, when do you add the veggie to dinner? After starting the fruit, or should I be doing that already tonight? The books are unclear on this, at least to me…but I’m no genius at this stuff! Thanks so much for your help!
    March 18, 2008 11:09 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    That is a good question. First, you can really do what you think is best for your LO. But here is what I did.When there is still just one color of veggie, I still keep 3 cereal feedings in the day. I then add veggie to lunch and dinner. Once two colors (or you could do just two types) of veggies are added, I do two veggies at lunch with no cereal, but still have cereal at breakfast and dinner. Once fruit is introduced, I do cereal and fruit and breakfast, then fruit and veggie for lunch, then cereal, fruit, and veggie for dinner. Some people maintain cereal 3 times a day. Have fun with your introductions! I love to watch babies try new foods.
    March 18, 2008 11:17 AM
  • Mom2Cohen said…
    So the pediatrician just told us no more cereal for Cohen because he doesn’t poop on his own while he is eating it. So, now I am confused about what to feed him since I am only just now starting veggies. Any thoughts?
    March 18, 2008 11:21 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    In that case, I would do veggies three times a day until you get to fruits. You will likely just need to add more fruits and veggies than kids who eat all three things.
    March 18, 2008 1:40 PM
  • SCHarveys said…
    I am having the same problem with my LO. Today I had to give him babylax for the 2nd time in a month (dr. recommended). So far she has not mentioned stopping cereal, though, but I know it is the cause. I’m hoping adding veggies will help? I do give him some apple juice to try and help and will probably do prune juice eventually.
    March 18, 2008 2:14 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    When you introduce fruits, those should help most. Prunes, apples, and pears all help things.
    March 19, 2008 9:49 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    Another thought, this can make a good point about you doing what is best for your baby. If your baby is having a hard time with bowel movements, perhaps you will want to introduce a fruit or two before veggies. For example, when it comes time to introduce veggies, you might introduce prunes first. That way, you could mix prunes with cereal from that point forward. You could do prunes, wait 4 days, then start veggies.
    March 19, 2008 9:52 AM
  • SCHarveys said…
    When you mix fruit with cereal, how much fruit do you mix in? I usually make 4T cereal mixed with 4T formula.
    March 20, 2008 10:02 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    That will depend on how much your LO likes fruit. When you first introduce it, I would do it straight. If he hates it, you don’t want the cereal to be full of the stuff. Or if you really don’t mind possibly wasting it, mix a spoonful with your cereal at first. He will be more likely to like it if it is muted with the cereal flavor.Kaitlyn doesn’t really like fruit, so I do 4 T of cereal with 4 scoops with a baby spoon of fruit. If it has more fruit flavor than that, she won’t eat the cereal. If it is a cereal flavor she tolerates, I will sneak more in there.Just be sure you don’t start with more than 1T in case of an allergy.
    March 20, 2008 11:20 AM
  • Susanna said…
    Valerie, I just started rice cereal yesterday with my 4 1/2 month old. I’m following your advice, nurse, solids, nurse and doing it just once a day for this week. My question is how runny should rice cereal be? I thought I read on your blog that you did a 1:1 ratio with 1 ounce of BM to 1 T cereal. I did that and it seemed quite runny. Should it be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon? Also, when trialing solids, did you have your babies try to eat all of the cereal you mixed for them or just kinda play with it in their mouths for the first week? I don’t think he’s getting any nutrition out of it this week since it’s so new to him. Did you notice by week two, they will get it like BW II says??Thanks!!!!
    June 10, 2008 11:45 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    Yes, at first it is really, really runny. At first, Kaitlyn just ate about a bite at a time. Brayden eagerly at it all, but he was asking for solids at 2 months, so he was ridiculously ready mentally. Kaitlyn took a while to increase the amount of food she ate. She slowly worked it up. I think you will start to see improvement in week two, but not necessarily as good as you think it should be. It takes time to get used to it. Some get it faster than others.
    June 11, 2008 10:51 AM
  • B. B. said…
    My son (5 months) BF for only about 5 minutes on one side and when he is done he is DONE. I have tried BF then feeding cereal but he is not really interested in the cereal after BF. If I feed cereal first he will eat more but I never know how much to give him because if I feed him too much then he won’t nurse after. Any ideas? If they are still nursing a full nursing how are they hungry for solids at the same meal? I’ve never quite understood this! Thanks!
    July 2, 2008 8:35 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    If he won’t eat at all after nursing, I would feed him some solids before, but start small. 1 T or less at a time. At this point, it is more for practice than anything else.
    July 5, 2008 3:58 PM
  • The Traveling Turtle said…
    I have an additional question about the feeding outlined here. We are not supposed to have our daughter on cereal due to severe constipation. So we started her on sweet potatoes, which she LOVES. Then after 2-3 days we went to squash. She also loved that. We were told not to do too many of the yellow/orange foods at once due to the fact that she could turn orange. So I introduced green beans to her last night. She hated them and pretty much won’t even open her mouth to get any in at all. Do you have any advice for this type of problem? Also –when you say 5T of cereal. Do you mean tablespoons or teaspoons? Silly question, I know. But she hardly eats 1 jar a day – which I believe is 2 1/2 tablespoons. We were told that for her size (17 pounds and 27 inches long) she could be eating 2 JARS a day in addition to her 28-30 ounces of formula!!!!!! I am afraid she will lose weight. She is not eating as much now (due to teething, I suspect) and it is already concerning me. Do we offer her a spoon of the SP or squash and then one of the green bean, just to get them in there? Or will that turn her off of the others as well? HELP!
    July 22, 2008 9:15 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    Green beans: normal reaction. Both of mine absolutely hated green beans at first. I suggest you keep trying them every so often. See this post: How to Get Picky Eaters to Eat
    T means tablespoon. When it comes to solids, I would let her set the pace. My two kids have always been pretty close to the same sizes at the same ages, but ate vastly different amounts of food. They know what they need. There are some babies that need to be slowed down and some that need to be coaxed. But since your daughter is just learning, I wouldn’t worry. It starts small and works up to the usual amount. Also, teething really does interefere with the amount of food they will eat.
    July 23, 2008 9:41 PM
  • Desiree said…
    Love the blog and it has been so helpful! Thank you! I have a question in regards to feedings. My son is almost 7 months old and LOVES his solid food. I nurse him first before offering his “meal”. He is very squirmy and acts uninterested in nursing longer than 5-10 minutes or so. I know that my milk isn’t low b/c I have to pump afterward when he nurses poorly. I then decide to feed him his “meal” and he scarfs it down with no problem. I offer him the breast afterward and again, squirms, rolls around, looks at the fan, etc. I cannot keep his attention on nursing. When he gets the breastmilk in the bottle he will only take about 3 or 4 ounces and then refuses the bottle. We sit him down for dinner and again, no problem with eating. What am I doing wrong? I know he still needs approximately 24 oz of milk per day on top of solids. I’ve tried cutting back a little on the amt of solids I offer in hopes that he’s be hungry and want to nurse again afterward but no luck. We don’t have a big problem with his first AM feeding or his dreamfeed. I was hoping to drop the dreamfeed but with him nursing poorly druing the day I’d hate to reduce the amt of milk. What do you suggest? Ahhh 🙂
    July 26, 2008 7:04 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    Desiree, At this point, I would nurse both sides first before any solids. Also, be aware that he can easily drain a breast in 5-10 minutes. At that age, Kaitlyn nursed about 4-6 minutes total for both sides. Brayden was much slower (about 20 minutes total), but it is possible to nurse fast. See this post also: Nursing Woes 
    July 28, 2008 11:37 AM
  • Caitlin said…
    My daughter is 5 months and we are on our 6th day of cereal. I really can’t get her to eat much of it, but we are still going through the motions. I have also bought oatmeal and was thinking of starting that next. Do I just jump into it or do I need to wait a few days before starting? Also, when waiting between fruits or veggies, do I give her the food for a few days and than wait a few days before staring the next? Hope that my questions make sense.
    August 7, 2008 11:05 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    I would wait on the oatmeal, unless your pedi has okayed oatmeal for her age. It can be harder to digest so many suggest waiting until 6 months before introducing oatmeal.For introducing veggies, you would still give her the rice, then one day do, say, carrots at one meal. Just one meal at first. You then give carrots and rice each day. After a few days, you introduce sweet potatoes. She can still have carrots and rice and an added sweet potato. You know the carrots are safe for her, so if there is an allergic reaction you know which food is the culprit. I hope that was the question you were asking.Be sure to look through the many posts on solids.
    August 9, 2008 4:42 PM

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