STARTING SOLIDS: A SURVIVAL GUIDE
Starting to eat solid foods is one of the biggest and most exciting milestones in your baby’s first year of life. After the first few months of a milk-based diet, it’s time to transition your little one to a whole new world of ingredients and tastes in organic baby food. And of course, embarking on a new adventure is just as exciting as it is daunting. Here’s your starting solids survival guide!
1. BABIES START SOLID FOODS AT DIFFERENT AGES
The best mantra is: “Watch the Baby – Not the Calendar” as all babies are different and some might be ready to transition to solids at four months, while others might not be ready until six months. It’s always a good idea to talk to your pediatrician before introducing solids but there are also four key signs that indicate readiness:
· Baby is at least four months (17 weeks) old and has doubled birth weight
· Is able to sit and hold head up unassisted
· Can keep solid food in mouth and swallow it (not push it out with the tongue-thrust reflex)
· Has good hand–eye coordination (are able to look at something and pick it up)
2. FEED AROUND THE CLOCK
You may think that since they’re eating solids, you’ll get away with three meal times a day? Not quite. The beginning of complementary feeding is all about introducing tastes and textures and getting your little one used to eating solid foods. The bulk of your baby’s nutrition will continue to come from breast milk or formula. So in addition to solid food feedings, do keep up your usual milk feeding schedule for your baby to remain healthy and growing.
3. PATIENCE IS KEY
Babies often balk at new tastes and introducing new ingredients can take time. They prefer to stick to things they already know and like (such as breast milk) rather than getting used to something unknown. But a new palate is constantly changing and experts suggest that it can take babies up to 15 times of trying something before they can decide if they really like it or not. So remain patient and keep trying.
4. THE MESS STARTS HERE
For the clean freaks among you, there isn’t really any good news here: Having children, in general, is messy and starting solids is just the start of it! The good news is that being messy is necessary for your baby to not just learn about and like food but also for the development of motor skills they need to pick things up, play and draw. That said, here are some tips on how to reduce the mess:
· Keep a wet facecloth nearby (for baby and you)
· Buy good quality bibs (and plenty of them)
· Use non-slip bowls/plates (to avoid food all over the floor)
· Make sure your highchair is easy to clean
· Put a mat or cloth under the chair (to save your floor). A dog might come in useful!
5. LET’S TALK ABOUT POOP
Changing from an all-milk diet to a diet that includes food means your baby’s digestive system has some adapting to do. Their poo will change color and smell, and they may poo more or less often than before. Get ready for all sorts of different diaper changes: from peanut butter thick poos, to colorful poos and only half digested food poos as well as smells that literally stink to heaven. Start practicing your mouth-breathing!