6 Things You Need to Know BEFORE You Start Solids
Starting solids is both exciting and stressful. Your baby is learning to eat and like food. At the same time, he’s growing fast. Knowing what to expect gives you a leg up on leading your baby through this important milestone.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The pace is fast.
Starting solids is a whirlwind. You start, get used to what your baby is eating, and then it’s time to change things up again. The transitions are many, but they encourage your baby to develop a broad palate and hone his eating skills.
2. Decisions, decisions.
Do you feed with a spoon? Or follow baby-led weaning? Or can you do both? The answer is easy. If you’re drawn to one method, go for it! You can fully nourish your baby using any of these methods, or a combination of them. The most important thing is enjoyment – for you and your baby.
3. Change is the name of the game.
Babies are learning to eat, so it’s important that textures, flavors, and shapes are nudging your little one to eating mastery. Once your baby is capable with purees, it’s time to introduce more texture. For example, when the pincer grasp emerges, offer small pieces of food, like diced, ripe banana.
4. Your baby dictates the next step.
Is your baby reaching for the spoon? He’s probably ready to hold it himself. With a little direction, he can learn to bring it to his mouth and eat from it. Is she raking food off her tray? She’s ready to hold food in her hand and bring it to her mouth. If you pay attention, your baby will let you know when it’s time to advance to the next stage.
5. Family food at age one.
By the end of the first year, your baby should be at the family table eating the foods you eat. Chop, dice, or shred family foods to match his eating skills. He should also be able to feed himself, start drinking from an open cup, and use toddler utensils.
6. A nutritious diet.
At 6 months, solid foods complement the liquid diet your baby’s been consuming. A variety of foods, including vegetables and fruit, healthy fats, protein foods, whole grains, and dairy foods ensure your baby not only gets flavors and textures, but also the critical nutrients he needs for body and brain growth.