Can you believe Ryder is almost six months old? It blows my mind that we have an almost six month old baby in our family but I suppose I should know by now that even though some days feel long, the months fly by!
When you think about all the changes a baby goes through in a year, it’s kind of amazing. They start out as these tiny, wrinkly little things that cannot even hold their heads up and by the time they’re a year old they’re crawling or walking, eating and possibly babbling a few words. It’s pretty darn amazing but I think the fact that babies achieve so many milestones within their first year of life can make everything all the more emotional for parents. So quickly our tiny babies are no longer newborns and then they’re no longer babies and then they’re no longer toddlers… and it’s just a lot to handle sometimes!
One milestone that’s currently on our radar big-time is beginning solid foods with Ryder. Once Ryder hit four months old, I began to receive more and more questions about when I am planning to attempt feeding him food other than breast milk and the answer is soon, but there are a myriad of factors that will play into my decision regarding when we’ll begin solids.
So what is my plan this time around? It’s very similar to the way I approached beginning solids with Chase. (Please note this is simply what I’m doing for my baby and may not be right for you and your baby!)
Exclusively Breast Feeding Until Baby is Six Months
I am still exclusively breastfeeding at the moment and planned all along to wait until Ryder was six months old to try solids. (My pediatrician is also fully on board with this plan.) This is what we did with Chase and it worked well for us. I waited until Chase was six months to begin introducing solids and even then we were pretty slow with the amount of food we gave to him.
Begin After Baby Shows Signs of Developmental Readiness
I absolutely love the site KellyMom.com for all things breast feeding and baby food related. The site does the best job of concisely answering hot topics related to nursing, feeding, pumping and more. It’s a great resource and one I check frequently when I’m faced with questions about anything related to feeding my baby. One thing the site emphasized with regard to beginning solids with a baby is to check for signs of developmental readiness rather than simply waiting for baby to reach a certain age. This made a TON of sense to me and I’m currently watching for the following signs of developmental readiness in Ryder before beginning solids:
- Baby can sit up well without support.
- Baby has lost the tongue-thrust reflex and does not automatically push solids out of his mouth with his tongue.
- Baby is ready and willing to chew. (As you can see above, Ryder has this one down.)
- Baby is developing a “pincer” grasp, where he picks up food or other objects between thumb and forefinger. Using the fingers and scraping the food into the palm of the hand (palmar grasp) does not substitute for pincer grasp development.
- Baby is eager to participate in mealtime and may try to grab food and put it in his mouth.
Begin Including Baby in Mealtimes ASAP
Right now I must admit that we’ll often wait until Ryder is napping or happily playing in his activity jumper to dig into our dinner at the end of the day. I’d love to begin incorporating Ryder into mealtimes before we begin solids by giving him a spoon or something to hold and letting him sit up at the table with us in his highchair. I am hoping that by getting him used to sitting up to eat with us, the transition into trying new foods will be exciting and even welcomed!
Begin with Vegetables and Fruit
(Flashback photo of Baby Chase!)
When it came time to introduce solids to Chase, we began with organic rice cereal but fairly quickly switched to fruits and vegetables. Like last time, I plan to do a mix of whole foods and purees. The whole foods that proved most successful with Chase in the beginning were avocados (see above!), sweet potato, butternut squash and broccoli. (I think I had the one baby who hated bananas for the first few months of his life!) I’ll pay attention to iron-rich foods (butternut squash and sweet potato are both good sources of iron) and also plan to try an assortment of fruit and vegetable purees.
We’re already prepared when the time is right with a handful of purees in our pantry thanks to my friends at Beech-Nut®. I used Beech-Nut® Naturals™ and organic baby food purees and pouches a lot with Chase (I picked them up at my local Target) and appreciate the way Beech-Nut® Naturals™ uses 100% natural, high-quality ingredients (no artificial anything!) and cooks their fruits and veggies in the fewest possible steps so they’re as close to homemade as possible. We’ll begin with the single-food purees (carrots, apples, green beans, etc.) before progressing into the combination flavors.
Also, I remember a friend of mine advising me to begin with vegetables when I started solids with Chase and that was something I took to heart and plan to stick to with Ryder as well since fruits are usually an easier “sell” to babies.
Remember It Takes 10-15 Tries Before Baby Might Accept a New Food
I remember feeling incredibly discouraged and frustrated during certain feeding times with Chase (and I still feel this way sometimes!) but reminding myself that it can take babies 10-15 tries before a baby will accept a new food (and sometimes more) is very helpful. It reminds me that even if it feels like more food is coming out than going in, it’s still making an impact and helping your little one get used to different textures and flavors.
Question of the Day
When did you begin introducing solids to your little one? What were some of their favorite “first foods?”