15 answers

Strategy for Starting Solids

I'd love some advice and guidance from all you experienced mommies! My 6 month old has started rice ceral mixed with BM this week. We have been exclusively nursing up until this month and will continue until she can drink cow's milk. Anyway, my pediatrician suggested that this week I take the week to start her on the cereal, then next week add a "lunch" item into the mix (yellow or green veggies) and then the week after that a "dinner" item. So basically she will be eating these solids 3 times daily (with nursing in between when needed) by the time she is 7 months. I am thinking I may need to go a little more slowly with the food since she is just getting used to the whole thing-but maybe not? I understand I need to give her the same thing a few days in a row to make sure there are no allergies, but I feel like I need to get her used to the cereal before I move on to another meal. And by "get used to", I mean, eat a little of it and not spit it out!!! She has nursed after eating this each time so far. Any thoughts would be helpful. We are making our own baby food as well-I am thinking of starting with carrots and then peas-any suggestions with food?? Thanks!

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I started earlier than you. My ped said anytime after 4 mos if he had all the telltale signs of being ready. When he was almost 5 mos he was just starving one day and no amount of nursing would cut it. So after a couple days of continuous nursing, we did cereal. I did cereal for a month before doing fruits and veggies, once a day for a couple weeks, then twice a day.

I started with veggies- yellow and orange. Squash and carrots. Then zucchini. I made my own food and I kinda went by the guidelines but also by what looked good in the store. I did probably 8 veggies before fruits. I started out with one meal a day of veggies in addition to his cereal meals. So I did lunch to be easy. After a few veggies, I started giving them to him at dinner too. I did the 4 day wait, so it would have been several weeks before I increased the amount of feedings. But really I just followed his cues, when he seemed hungrier at dinner I added it in instead of just nursing.

Once I did lots of veggies, I started fruits. I would then mix the fruits in with his cereal and that was breakfast. Around nine mos I introduced yogurt and would mix that with fruit for his breakfast. I still do this for my 2 year old- oatmeal and yogurt mixed with frozen thawed fruit. I use PLAIN yogurt mixed with fruit. I wanted to do as much organic as I could afford, and the cost of YoBaby was outrageous, but the big container of plain wasn't. Then I looked at the sugar content of the YoBaby and yikes! Yoplait would be better on sugar than that stuff. He has had it a couple of times when I needed something in a small container and he thinks it is pudding.

When you make your own, it takes so much longer to get through all the fruits and veggies available since you have to wait a few days. I never thought I'd be done trying them all. What I did for that was for one or two meals a day I would give him something we had already cleared, and introduce a new thing for the other meal.

I used the Super Baby Food Book. It was a great help with hpw to prepare and introduce things. I didnt follow the whole book (I never made my own yogurt-ick). But I still refer to it sometimes.

I loved these websites:
http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/index.html
http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/
http://weelicious.com/index.php

I would also go more slowly than the doc recommended, but I also started earlier. So I guess he was up to 3 meals a day around 8 mos. I think she will let you know if she wants it more often. Mine did, and I just added them in as he seemed to want them, not worrying about the time frame. We still nursed in between but had set meal times. I think I would also go slow until she is good at getting some of it in, but with my son, as soon as we did the first veggie, he scarfed it. He was the cleanest baby eater I've ever seen. Another thing that is really important to your milk supply- nurse BEFORE you feed a solid. Let her get her fill of breastmilk, then about 20 mins later do the veggie/fruit. If you wait too long between it will stretch out your feeding and drop your milk supply, and if she fills up on food and doesn't nurse as much, it will drop your supply. When first starting solids it is a kind of precarious time for your milk. So always nurse before, not after. Sorry this is so long, hope it helps some.

2 moms found this helpful

Don't think about it too much. At 6 months babies are being introduced to foods. She may take a bite and that's it. She may eat the whole thing. We started out with pears and prunes. Then we mixed pears with rice cereal. Then we introduced green beans and squash a little later. My son could not eat the carrots or the sweet potatoes. They made a red ring around his anal area. It looked like diaper rash. He still does not eat those two things and he is almost 3. Just have fun and introduce one food at a time so that you can tell if it bothers her or not. Also, if you want to continue to nurse, I would have her nurse first and then an hour later try some food. Some babies will eat so much, they don't want to nurse as much and right now she needs to nurse more than she needs to eat. Green beans were not my sons favorite at first but then they were. So just because they spit it out the first time doesn't mean they won't eventually love it. I also used to mix applesauce and squash. Pears with peaches etc. My son also liked his fruits mixed with oatmeal cereal or rice cereal because they were too sweet maybe? When she is older you can mix the babyfood with yogurt. My son still eats baby oatmeal mixed with applesause and Yobaby yogurt.

1 mom found this helpful

Go with your gut. Perfectly ok to go slowly and see how it goes. I introduced solids to my girl at 6 months, but in retrospect, it was too early for her. She was just not interested at all. We started w/ rice cereal for a week or so. I always nursed after so that she could get all she wanted/needed after the solid. Some of the first foods we tried were sweet potato, bananas, carrots. I tried avocado. She HATED it. I actually tried it several times. At 10.5 months, she'll tolerate it now. Yogurt is also a big hit.

I found the book Super Baby Food very helpful, if you're interested in making your own. She won't like everything, but there are good guidelines, recommendations, suggestions, recipes, etc. in there. I tried making the porridge out of there, instead of using boxed cereal. NO GO with my daughter.

Good luck!

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That sounds really fast. I started at around 7 months, I wasn't in a rush, and tried the cereal. My son HATED it, he would spit it out and cry and have none of it. I was so frustrated. My ped told me to go ahead and move on to veggies. They suggested veggies first, and then fruit. I started with one or two veggies, which he actually ate. After a couple days of no reactions, I would add another. I really only did this as it fit into my schedule. I can't even remember when we were finally up to 3 times a day. This is really to practice eating and get used to textures, not for nutritional needs, so I think that going from nothing to 3 meals a day in just one month seems extreme, unless that is what you are comfortable with. Follow your gut and let your daughter guide you as to what she is ready for. I did also make my own food, but I also had some store bought to try out some of the flavors before making a whole batch myself.

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I didn't read the other responses so someone may have mentioned this: I'm not sure your pediatrician meant to have you replace feedings with solids three times a day. I introduced one new food at a time, just to let my daughter get used to the flavor and check for allergies. For example, I first offered some rice cereal. The next week, I offered peas (maybe mixed with the rice cereal). The following week, I introduced carrots (again, mixed with rice cereal). I think by "lunch" item and "dinner" item your ped. might mean carrots, peas, then maybe sweet potato, lentil, etc.
Just some thoughts....
Best wishes.

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We did rice cereal for a month before we started any other food. I think she was about 5.5 months old. And I didn't give it every day at first. I wanted her to figure out how to eat first before I thrusted on her all these other foods. Then did bananas and went from there. I think we were up to 3 meals a day when she was 8 or 9 months. There are no rules to follow as to what to feed when, do what works for you. I made all her food as well and it was super easy. You should continue to nurse her after each feeding. The majority of her nutrition should come from BF until one year of age. The food is just extra.

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My daughter was breastfed exclusively for 8 mos... then foods. I know I could've started earlier, but she was very well nurished (some may say chubby!) and sleeping well. She also spit the cereal out for the first few weeks - and it took her a while to get the hang of it. Don't rush it if she is doing well. Give her more as she is ready. When you start more than cereal, I would defintely go for at least a few days w/ each new intro as you said. Squash is a great first food - very squishy and easy to make too. More water in it than carrots, so I'd start there. Then move through the organge stuff - carrots, sweet potatoes. Then on to green beans, peas, etc. Then fruits later (theory is they won't prefer sugar over the veggies). One way to into the fruit was to mix sweet potatoes and applesauce - one of my daughters favorites! Trust your insticts and go slow.

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Yes, I would go more slowly with the food. It should not replace breastfeedings. Food at this stage is a supplement and gives very little nutrition - your baby gets the nutrition she needs from your milk. Two meals of solids a day is sufficient at this age and food should be given after she's nursed, not before.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Both my children were/are BF only. My youngest child is now 6 months. With him, we started the solid foods a bit earlier - sometime after 4 months - since he was sitting up pretty much unassisted.

We started with the rice cereal mixed with BM too. This is suppose to be the easiest to digest. We started with lunch since he was way too hungry in the AM to wait for the milk to be warmed up and cereal mixed.

Once we got some consistency in slurping the cereal (about 5 to 7 days), we added smashed bananas. We moved the cereal into an AM position and introduced the new item at lunch so in case he did not like something (due to taste, texture, whatever), he wasn't frustrated by it. We generally kept him on the new item at lunch time for about 3 days. When he started getting fussy at dinner time from watching everyone else eat, that is when we added a "dinner" meal.

Our routine (for both children) was rice cereal (which we also used on an as needed basis for thickening) then bananas, then sweet potato, then applesauce, then peas, then pears, then carrots, then squash and now we are adding peaches this week. We wanted to alternate a "sweet" fruit with a veggie. Somewhere in the last week or so, we added oatmeal to the cereal options available. After his 6 month appt next week, we will be adding meats - boiled ground chicken, boiled ground beef, maybe even ham. I will most likely get the Stage 2 lamb offered by Gerber since I am not likely to pick that up just for him.

This time around, we decided to make our own baby food. This has added to the adventure of introducing solid foods. My one recommendation would be until your baby is able to chew, skip making the peas and green beans (or anything else that is "chucky") yourself. We tried pureeing steamed peas and the shells/pods made things very chucky. He HATED them (evident by the gagging and then the vibrating projectial spit/spray)! I bought some Gerber peas and those went right down - no questions asked. LOL. So, I am pretty convinced it was a texture thing - the homemade ones were not slurpable. We will have to try that again when we move up in stages closer to when he starts in on Gerber "puffs" finger food.

We also learned very quickly that you do not need anything fancy to make your own food. We use a steamer basket in a pot and then run the food through the food proceesor. We tried a few different "All-in-One" baby food steamer/processor machines and they were a joke. As my Mom pointed out - sometimes the "old" ways work just as well. She tells about make concoctions in the blender for us to eat that consisted of a little bit of everything the rest of the family was eating. While I am not sure I would mix everything together (the color has got to be gross!), as we move forward towards big boy foods, I will most likely stop making stuff just for him.

We are up to 3 good meals a day and each meal consists of two to three items (about three Stage 1 Gerber packs - we saved them from my daughter - reuse, recycle, reduce!). We are still nursing really well too with 5 to 8 ozes BM coming before each nap and again before bedtime and once per night (so roughly 20 to 32 ozes).

Your baby will guide your efforts. Take it slow up front and then see how much satisfies your child. Also, have fun!!

~C.

1 mom found this helpful

All three of my daughters started solid food between 4 and 6 months. Rice cereal first as it is the easiest to digest. As we added a new food they got it for at least 3-4 days to check on allergies, then we moved to another. We went from cereals to veggies then fruit.
My oldest daughter's Dr., suggested this sequence because we wanted to make sure she ate the veggies. And if you start fruits first they are naturally sweet and the baby tends to reject veggies when started.
And they all ate fresh veggies and fruits for snacks when they got old enough for finger foods.
As they got to be school age when I introduced a new food I gave them about tablespoon worth. If they liked it I gave them more and if they did not like it I said okay we'll try again later. This saved me from wasting food and stopped the arguments at the table about not eating what was given to them I would wait about 6 months and offer it again, usually they liked it the second time.
I know I went past what you were asking but I hope it will help

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There are conflicting medical opinions on how to initiate solids. You'll tell from the responses from the Moms on the site, that we're equally divided on how to do it.

Both of our kids were started on solids following their 4 month well-baby visit based upon the recommendation of our pediatrician. Both were thriving on BM or formula by that point in time and were above the 75% in both height/weight.

As you already know, most of the food is going to end-up on them, not in them for the first few weeks until their thrusting reflex is reversed.

The conflict comes in whether or not to introduce veggies before sweeter foods such as fruits. We didn't follow the recommendation because our kids both hated the veggies (and I can understand why). But, they're both rock stars with veggies now (3.5 years and 23 months). When they were around 8-9 months, we began giving them cooked frozen veggies that they loved and could begin to experiment with chewing.

What we did find really helpful was to mix the baby food into the cereal to help introduce the taste of the food and to make the cereal taste better.

Here's what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends on their parenting website:
http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/f...

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I don't often agree with doctors advice but what yours said sounds right to me. I aaplaud your choice to make purees for your baby, as I did and enjoyed it very much. I started with butternut squash which was a big hit sweet potato, avocado, banana, applesauce, there have been many postings on this topic which I have answered and I am always happy to look back into my stash if you need you can reach me at ____@____.com

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My daughter is 6 1/2 months old. At about 5 months when she started showing a bit of interest in how we ate, we sat her in her highchair for dinner and just gave her a toy to play with. This way she could just get used to the idea of being in her highchair for dinner. Then at about 5 1/2 months we started rice cereal. She loved it and we just continued with that for a couple of weeks before switching to oatmeal cereal. At about 6 months we started a veggie at lunch. Now at 6 1/2 months we do a fruit and oatmeal cereal for breakfast, a veggie for lunch and rice cereal for dinner. I added a bit of breastmilk to her first veggie, peas, and she really liked it. I notice the first day of a new fruit or veggie she usually makes a cute "what the heck was that" face and doesn't eat as much, and as she gradually gets used to the taste and texture, she eats more. We try each new fruit and veggie for 4-5 days before moving on. She still nurses a lot and we have been taking the pace of introducing the new fruit or veggie from her. I notice I also take the pace of feeding her at each meal from her. Sometimes she is ravenous and wants a bite every second, and sometimes she just needs to sit and digest for a while. Your instinct is right- just go at your baby's pace. As for what to start out with, we have been alternating green and orange veggies. Peas, then butternut squash, then green beans and then sweet potato.

It is a fun adventure! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

It's no big deal (and exciting) to start on solids. Yes, just give her some and over a few days or so she'll stop pushing it out. She'll still nurse - it's her liquids. Let her eat as much of the solids as she wants (babies can't be unhealthily overweight if you are nursing and feeding them natural food - though they may be hugely fat! - it's okay). And keep nursing her.

I made all my own food and froze it in ice cube trays so I wasn't having to make it everyday. Just cook up a bunch of a veg, puree it in a cuisinart or blender, pour it in the ice cube trays and pop them out in to ziplocs to use later. You'll start by using only 1 or less at a feeding. Maybe I even mixed in veg to rice cereal for a while so the flavor was not as strong. I can't remember.

Enjoy!

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I used the book "Mommy Made and Daddy too!" by Martha and David Kimmel. It gives step by step, food by food directions. I also exclusively nursed each of my children for the first year.

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