6 ways to make the transition to solid foods easier
Long before you have to worry about transitioning your baby into a “big girl” bed or (gasp!) into school, you’ll have another, much messier transition to handle: from drinking most of her food to actually eating solid food.
When they first start on solids, many parents find it frustrating or even scary as their babies push away food, refuse to eat, and throw tantrums. But no worries! With a lot of patience and some humor, you can help your baby successfully transition to solid foods. In my recent Facebook Live event, supported by Balmex, I took on six common questions parents have. If you’d like to see the whole Facebook Live, scroll to the end and enjoy!
How to offer food the first time?
You can give your baby food and let them experiment. Be patient. Babies have a reflex to push food out of their mouth. It’s a reflex to safeguard against choking, but they’ll push food out of their mouth and scoop it back in. My second daughter did that a lot and shook her head and got frustrated. That’s normal, and all babies go through that. Just don’t give up on it. Clean off their face, regroup, and try again. Some babies prefer different tastes and textures. If a baby doesn’t like something one day, try again the next day.
When should I offer different types of foods?
I had a friend with a very complicated schedule. I think a lot of parents have this question and ask when they should try introducing new foods. Here’s the answer: there really isn’t a set schedule. Try spacing out new foods a few days apart, so you can see your baby’s reaction. Maybe add something new every two or three days.
How do you deal with foods that cause diaper rash?
Any time you change a baby’s diet, you’re changing what comes out too. Some babies can get a little constipated, and some are more prone to diaper rash. For constipation, you can increase their milk intake. You also want to invest in a good barrier cream that has zinc oxide as its active ingredient. It can help treat a diaper rash and prevent it too.
Is there a better meal to start with when introducing solids?
It’s really whenever is best for you. When is your baby most interested in food? When is your baby the hungriest, the crankiest? When does your family have time to sit down and have a meal together and you can try new things? The best time is whenever is good for you and your baby. A lot of families start with one meal, like breakfast, and add another meal later. But your baby can eat anything at whatever time they want, whenever is the best time for your family.
How many times do you try new foods?
As many times as it takes! Just because your baby doesn’t like something the first time doesn’t mean they’ll never like it. Keep offering new things. Try offering the same foods different ways. You never know what reason they might have for not liking a particular food one time. You want to let babies explore eating. They’ll have preferences for different tastes and textures. That’s where baby-led weaning really comes in. It’s really about six months of age when they can hold something and bring it to their mouth. The more involved they are with their meals, the more they will explore different food.
When can we introduce water and non-milk liquids?
You can also start introducing sips of water around six months of age. You wouldn’t want to start before then. You can start with a sippy cup. We don’t recommend that babies are completely weaned off a bottle until 12 months old, but the sooner you introduce the sippy cup, the better. It’s better for their teeth, and the earlier you start it, the easier it is. There are lot of types of sippy cups out there, but I recommend using a soft-topped one, because it’s more like a bottle. You can also use a straw, but it might take some practice. They do need to learn to use their mouth and their lips that way. You can also use a 360-degree sippy cup, which functions a little more like a traditional cup.