Introduction to Feeding Solid Foods
(Beginning solids for 4-6 month olds)
So far your child has only had a liquid diet, so getting used to solids
will be a new skill to acquire. For liquid intake the baby pushes the
tongue out against the nipple, now they will need more coordination to
take food in with the tongue instead. They are usually not ready for this
step before 4-6 months of age. Signs of readiness to watch for are:
- Sitting with help and able to hold the head steady
- Interest in other family members eating behavior—watches the spoon
go to the mouth, back and forth like a tennis match, reaches/grabs for
the spoon of others.
- Dissatisfaction with formula or breastfeedings only, consistently taking
32 oz/day or more
1.) To begin feedings start with single grain rice or oatmeal cereal flakes.
Mix a small amount of the cereal flakes with breast milk or formula.
2.) Place baby in an infant seat or other stable seat where they are well
supported. Feed cereal bite with a small spoon. The baby will likely spit
it back out, but this does not mean they don't like it. It is merely
that they aren't used to anything with texture. Scoop the cereal off
the face with the spoon and feed it to the baby again. It may take several
tries for each bite.
3.) Keep feeding until the baby either starts crying or is looking away/trying
to get away from the spoon. Fight the temptation to make the baby finish
the entire amount. This is not important; you are merely beginning the
experience. Each time you feed you can add a few more of the flakes to
make the mixture thicker and more cereal-like. This will help the baby
tolerate more texture gradually.
4.) Pick a same time every day when you are unhurried and able to enjoy
the experience. The best time to try is when the baby is neither full
nor hungry, usually halfway between bottles or nursing sessions. That
way he/she won't be too full to be interested and/or too hungry to
have the patience for it.
5.) At this time a sipper cup with water can be offered, to begin the experience
of learning to drink from a cup too. It takes practice, but if they are
ready for solids they are also ready for this new step. When the baby
gets practiced at this skill, remember to offer breast milk or formula
also to get them used to taking that from the cup.
6.) After daily feedings of cereal for a week, begin introducing other
pureed solids. Introduce only one new food every 3-4 days so that you
can watch how the baby tolerates it. After offering a few selections of
vegetables start introducing a variety of fruits.
7.) Once you establish that the baby tolerates a food, you can vary the
baby's choices from among the tolerated foods every day. Think of
the cereal as the main dish and the other foods as side dishes. Prior
to 6 months feed solids once a day, at 6 months start feeding 2 meals a day.
8.) Have fun! And be sure to have a camera handy, since the faces the baby
will make as they experience new tastes are fun to catch on film!