Are you worried about when to move to solids? Don't be! Figuring out food doesn't have to be intimidating, and it shouldn't be a big headache either! Food is more than fuel, and eating can be a wonderful opportunity to share time, conversation, and love with your family. In this post I'll teach you the basics of transitioning your baby to solids. Plus, I share my own proven recipes that are balanced, healthy, simple, and full of flavor.
Research shows that it is important to expose children to a wide variety of flavors and textures. Many babies and toddlers need to be exposed to foods multiple times before accepting them. Babies and toddlers are more likely to eat foods they see their peers and parents eating. ~ American Academy of Pediatrics Read more information on first foods from the AAP here.
How do I know if my baby is ready for solids? Well, there are a few key signs that your baby is ready to branch out beyond breastmilk:
• Baby can sit up on their own, without assistance.
• Baby are in the middle of their first year (most babies aren't ready until at least six months of age).
• Baby has the the tongue-thrust reflex (baby does not push foods out of his mouth with his tongue when they are offered).
• Baby can pick up things between their finger and thumb.
• Baby continues to be hungry despite more frequent nursing which is unrelated to illness or teething.
• Allowing your baby to let you know when they are ready makes life easier for everyone. Moving to solids should be a fun adventure, not a fight.
Please take care when first introducing foods to your baby. It is really important to remember that your baby will be getting the vast majority of nutrients from breastmilk or formula for the first year of life. The general rule of thumb for the first year is to introduce one food item at a time, and give it a few days to see if baby has any reaction. Great first foods include things like avocado, banana, and sweet potato.
Allowing your baby to wean from breastfeeding at their own pace is key.
As you're probably aware, breastfeeding is just as much about communication as it is about feeding. The vast majority of babies don't wean until well after their first birthday, that's just human biology. Continue to follow your baby's cues about nursing and the reward is huge.
Baby-led weaning does not mean that Mom has no say in the matter however. Listen to your body, it too will start letting you know when you're ready to start slowing things down. It's a well choreographed dance between you and your baby. Weaning happens slowly, gradually, and peacefully, but it always happens. Beginning solid foods is just the first step.