Last week I shed some light on what the first few months of Joeys eating schedule looked like. Once we hit the 4 month mark with Joey, I not only shouted ALLELUIA because his routine was becoming more predictable, I started putting my nose in pediatric nutrition textbooks because THE time was coming: introducing solids foods to Joey!
When you start introducing your little one to the world of solid foods, you are helping them shape optimal food, nutrition, and feeding habits while establishing lifelong, healthy eating patterns. What you might not realize is that your little one will teach you about his/her energy needs, likes and dislikes, and individual signals for hunger and fullness.
Note: Most nutrition is still provided by milk-based feedings
How do I know my baby is ready for solid foods?
- Your baby can sit up with support
- Your baby has good head and neck control
- Your baby can keep most of the food in his/her mouth and swallow it
- Your baby is 4-6 months of age (check with your doctor before beginning solids to ensure your baby is ready)
What should I feed my baby?
- Start with infant rice cereal mixed with breastmilk or formula
- Wait 3-5 days before trying infant oatmeal or barley cereals
- When your baby can eat cereal as thick as baby food, start pureed fruits and vegetables
- Good first foods include avocado, banana, sweet potato, carrot, pears, peas (all pureed)
- Meat gets introduced around 8 months of age
How do I feed my baby?
- Start with small spoonfuls- portion size “rule of thumb” is 1-2 teaspoons, increase to 1-2 tablespoons, then 2-4 tablespoons (gradual increase, baby will let you know if they are still hungry)
- Feed your baby with a small spoon from a bowl, not from the jar (in case you want to store and use some of that food again)
- Sit your baby up with support to feed at the family table
- Stop feeding baby when he/she turns head away from spoon, keeps mouth closed
- Never heat baby’s food in microwave
- After opening jar food, refrigerate unused food and use within product instructions
- Do not add salt, sugar, or honey to baby food
- Feed food with a spoon, never a bottle
Sample (Joey) Schedule:
Note: This schedule really came into play once he started eating more than 1-2 tablespoons of food ~ 6 months of age. Before this he would have a bottle every 3-4 hours and “try” new foods around breakfast, lunch, and dinnertime.
- Bottle at wakeup
- Breakfast (cereal + fruit) 1-1.5 hours later
- Bottle mid-morning (after nap)
- Lunch 1-1.5 hours later
- Bottle after nap
- Dinner 1-1.5 hours later
- Bottle before bed
- Bottle around 3-4 a.m.
Total: 5-6 bottles each day with approximately 5-6 ounces in each bottle; 3 feedings of solid foods. Bottle was ALWAYS given before solid foods were given. Some days he missed a solid food feeding due to our schedule or a late wake-up or nap. I followed Joey’s cues and routine- what a life 😉
Your pediatrician may have a sample schedule to use as a reference. If not, try your best to follow your baby’s hunger cues. Just think of your baby as a little adult (or a little you), and work to get them on a similar daytime routine.
Resources I’ve used beyond textbooks and doctor advice: