Ask Ami: When should I introduce solids to my baby?

Introducing foods to your new baby is a wonderful new phase that most parents eagerly await. This stage can last several months as your baby progresses through new textures and tastes of food. It is important to remember that introducing solid foods is not a strict science. We have asked Nurse Ami her tips for this blog post.

When should I introduce solids to my baby?

  As with just about everything to do with parenting, there is some disagreement as to when it is best to introduce solid foods to your baby. I encourage you to follow your baby’s lead on this one rather than setting an arbitrary date based on your baby’s age.
Once your baby is sitting up relatively well on his/her own and is interested in the foods that you are eating, trying to grab food out of your hand or off of your plate, then that is a great time to begin solids foods.  This will usually happen around 6 months of age.
Remember that for the first year of life, “food is fun” ie breastmilk and/or formula are still the primary source of nutrition and I wouldn’t even expect a significant decrease in amounts that your baby drinks until at least 9-10 months.  Offer milk then offer solids an hour or so later so that the baby is hungry but solids are not replacing a milk feed. Start with one “meal” per day, and slowly increase frequency as your baby ages. In the first month expect more food to get on your baby rather than in your baby.  

What foods should I start with?

  If your baby needs any nutrient around 6 months of life it is iron, so it is best to start with iron rich foods like beans, fish, eggs and greens. In general, it is no longer recommended to start with rice cereal and I also wouldn’t recommend that you puree everything for your baby, rather let him/her have “real” foods and experience texture as well as taste. Our class at DayOne Baby, "Introducing Solids" is a great place to start, and the books Baby Led Weaning and Child of Mine are also full of great ideas (although their information on allergenic foods is outdated). New research on food allergies has given way to new thoughts and recommendations around introducing potentially allergenic foods to your baby (introducing them early and often and ideally while still breastfeeding/breast milk feeding rather then waiting to introduce them until the baby is older) so please review any feeding plan with your pediatrician before proceeding.  

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