Introducing solids is one of many important milestones in a baby’s development during the first six months of life. Yet many new parents have no idea where to start when it comes to introducing their child to new tastes and textures because everyone seems to have an opinion on how to handle the introduction of solid foods to infants. However, most medical professionals agree on a few basic ground rules for feeding your baby during the first year of life — which makes introducing solids for first time parents a little easier.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, parents can start introducing their infant to foods and liquids besides breast milk or infant formula once they reach six months old. At this stage, your baby should have good head and neck control, be able to sit up with little to no assistance, have the grasping motion down, and be able to swallow food. These are the basic “signs of readiness” for beginning solid foods.
When selecting new foods for your infant, consider a variety of infant cereals, pureed fruits and vegetables, meat or other proteins, yogurt, cheeses, and superfoods that do not require chewing and do not pose a choking hazard.
To introduce new solids, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and USDA recommend for parents to select one food at a time and wait at least three (3) days before you introduce another new food. This allows you to see if your baby has any food allergies or other complications surrounding certain foods. It also gives your child’s digestive system time to process the new food before you feed them something else.
While you may think your child is ready to eat full meals, keep in mind that these early introductions between six to twelve months are not meant to replace breast milk or formula. Instead, they are simply meant to be “complementary foods,” meaning they are to be fed alongside your baby’s daily amounts of breast milk or formula.
When it comes to feeding time, the food choices aren’t the only thing that matters. In fact, you also need to consider what utensils and other accessories to use as you begin to feed your baby.
For spoons, you’ll want to consider using spoons that are made from silicone and other materials that will be gentle on your infant’s gums. You’ll also want small spoons that are sized just right since babies can only take very small bites at first.
When choosing a bib, you’ll want something soft on your baby’s delicate skin but also easy to wash and maintain. We’ve taken all of these factors (and the environment) into consideration when we developed our organic bandana bibs — and we think you and your baby will love them!
Parents have to remember so many things during their child’s first year of life, and introducing solids is one of those milestones that requires careful time and attention. When you feel stressed, though, just remember that foods before one are just for fun and your baby will continue to grow thanks to your love and care.