Baby’s First Foods: Tips for Introducing Solids

Research proves that breast milk is an ideal form of nutrition, and health professionals recommend babies consume breast milk exclusively for the first six months of life. After this time, however, parents may start introducing solid foods to supplement a baby’s diet of breast milk. Just as babies learn to walk and talk on different timelines, every child will be ready to try solid foods on their own schedule, so don’t stress if your baby isn’t ready. Breast milk will continue to do the trick through the first year! Read below to learn about some great options for baby’s first foods, and try some of these tips for introducing solids to your little one. 

Signs a Baby is Ready for Solid Foods

Sitting up by themselves and continuing to sit unsupported is one of the most important signs that your little one is ready for solid foods. This milestone typically occurs around the six-month mark. However, even if your baby is six months old or older, they might not be ready to transition to solid foods just yet if they don’t sit up on their own. Additionally, infants must be able to overcome the tongue-thrust reflex, which instinctively tells a baby to push food out of their mouth. This reflex helps your little one protect themselves from choking hazards before they are ready to try solid foods. 

Developing a pincer grasp, which is when a baby holds small items like pieces of cereal or fruit between their thumb and forefinger, is an additional sign your little one is ready to graduate from a strict breast milk diet. You know your little one best, so if your baby is reaching some of these milestones and you have confirmed with your pediatrician, it may be time to start introducing your baby’s first foods! 

Tips for Introducing Solid Foods

Introducing solid foods to a growing baby can be a challenging and slow-moving process, so it’s essential to continue breastfeeding! Breast milk remains the best source of nutrition for infants through the first year of life so remember to keep your breast pump handy! When preparing to give new foods to your baby, take some time to allow them to fill up on breast milk before and after trying the solid food. Babies are more likely to enjoy an unfamiliar food if they are not ravenous. 

Additionally, It’s always important to remain patient with yourself and your little one. It can be tough to find foods that a growing baby likes, and you may get frustrated if you feel like you’ve tried foods from every aisle in the grocery store. But it can take a couple of tries for a new eater to find a food they enjoy, so don’t give up!

Recommendations for Baby’s First Foods

No matter what foods you are introducing first, start with small portions. Learning to eat can be a challenge for growing babies, and offering just a few small pieces of a new food can encourage your little one to try something new without overwhelming them with a plateful of unfamiliar foods. 

In addition to making small portions, parents should prepare foods that are soft and cut in small pieces to reduce choking risk. Fruits may be one of the best options to introduce as your baby’s first food, as bananas, plums, peaches, pears, apricots, avocados, and unsweetened applesauce all serve as excellent and safe choices. Remember to cut these fruits into small pieces and gently cook plums, peaches, pears, and apricots to ensure they are safe for your little one. In addition to these fruits, well-cooked and shredded chicken, iron-fortified cereals, and whole-grain breads can also be healthy and tasty foods for a baby to try. 

Introducing solids is not an easy process, and your little one may test your patience as they go through phases of foods they like and foods they hate. Do your best to remain flexible, and let your baby lead the way when you can. Try introducing new foods in a high chair, then switch to feeding in a parent’s lap to see which your little one prefers. If your baby loves a food one day and throws it off their high chair tray the next day, don’t be afraid to try again! Just like adults, our favorite foods can change as we grow. 

Motherhood is full of moments that are beautiful and challenging. The Pumps for Mom team is proud to support new and expectant moms by providing top-of-the-line compression products and breast pumps through insurance. Our team of maternity products experts will walk you through every step of the process so you can find the insurance breast pump or compression product that works best for you. Qualify now using our simple form and get back to what really matters–being the best mom you can be.