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This just in:

  • Mackenzie Amore

When is the Right Age to Introduce First Foods?

Your guide to introducing solid foods to your baby.

Dad attempting to feed baby with spoon, but the baby’s head is turned away. The other father stands behind the baby in the highchair and waits to wipes the his mouth.
Introducing first food can be messy

Six months old is such an exciting time when it comes to eating because this is around the time when you can start introducing something new into your baby’s feeding routine—solids! Before you introduce solids into your baby’s feeding, you should check with your pediatrician to ensure your baby is at the correct stage to eat solids. [1]


By this age, your baby is eating a lot more than you probably might think. If you choose to breastfeed your baby, they are likely eating 24-32 ounces per day, just spread amongst 4-5 feedings. However, if you choose to formula feed, your baby is eating about the same 24-32 ounces per day, spread across about five to six bottles. Breast milk and formula will continue to be the way that your baby receives the most nutrition throughout their first year. [3]


Cluster feeding is something most parents might not know is common, but is completely normal when your little one is under one year of age. A cluster feed is when your baby will drink a large amount of breast milk or formula and then want to feed again 20-30 minutes later. While this can be frustrating, some babies rely on these large amounts of milk to help them sleep, comfort them, or many other factors, which are completely normal. Remember that this won’t happen forever, so follow and meet your baby’s needs. After a cluster feed, it is likely that your baby will be sleepy.[2]


Research shows that babies who were fed a variety of different textures had a greater appetite and enjoyed a wide range of foods.

Despite feeding off breast milk/formula as your baby’s main source of nutrients, according to the Mayo Clinic, babies can start off eating some solid food items by the time they are 6 months old. This means that your six month old baby can begin to eat solid foods. Starting off small is the most essential to ensuring this new experience goes smoothly for both you and your little one. [4]


Therefore, starting off with something like rice cereal mixed with breast milk or formula, will begin to get your baby used to the texture of solids to build their muscles for speech and eating solid foods. While introducing solid foods to your baby’s diet, this will also make your child feel fuller longer, as solid foods, like puffy cereals, expand in the stomach and can take up more space in the baby’s tummy. Therefore, try to limit your feedings to around one to two tablespoons to begin. As your baby begins to master eating solid foods, and their eagerness for more grows, you can begin to feed them around 4 tablespoons per day, depending upon what your pediatrician recommends. Remember that when you begin to introduce solid foods into your baby’s diet, your baby may not love this sensation. If you are struggling to get your baby to eat solid foods, do not panic, try again in a week or two, or consult with your pediatrician about a food introduction plan that may be helpful for your baby. [5]


One super important thing to remember is to only introduce your baby to one new food per three to five days, to avoid any uncertainty when it comes to food allergies. Make sure you check for any discomfort, rashes, or allergic reactions when your baby is eating new foods and talk to your doctor about what foods they recommend for your little one at this stage of life. [6]



Your baby is already getting so big and hitting so many milestones when it comes to life, feeding is one of them that will help them gain nutrients and grow– how exciting!


To read more about first foods and get a FREE printable checklist of these recommended foods, CLICK HERE!





 

Works Cited

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). When, what, and how to introduce solid foods. Retrieved March 25, 2024, from https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/foods-and-drinks/when-to-introduce-solid-foods.html

  2. KidsHealth. (n.d.). Feeding your baby: When to start solid foods. Retrieved March 25, 2024, from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/formulafeed-solids.html

  3. Mayo Clinic Press. (n.d.). A guide to starting your baby on solid food. Retrieved March 25, 2024, from https://mcpress.mayoclinic.org/parenting/a-guide-to-starting-your-baby-on-solid-food/

  4. Pregnancy, Birth and Baby. (n.d.). Cluster feeding. Retrieved March 25, 2024, from https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/cluster-feeding#:~:text=Cluster%20feeding%20is%20when%20your,to%20boost%20your%20milk%20supply.

  5. WebMD. (n.d.). Introducing new foods to your baby. Retrieved March 25, 2024, from https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/introducing-new-foods

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