There is a lot of information out there on when and how to start solids. Having had three children who were all very different as babies, I don’t feel there’s an exact right and wrong way to go about it. In my experience there’s no calendar to follow – I’ve always tried to let my babies show me when they’re ready for food.
Some signs that your baby may be ready for solids:
- Making “chewing” motions while watching people eat.
- Good upper body control.
- Reaching for food or even grabbing it from your plate or hand.
- Teeth! (Not a requirement.)
Once you’ve determined that your baby is ready to venture into the world of eating solids, it’s time to decide what you’re going to start them with. You can start with baby cereal, fruits, veggies, or even make your own. I love making my own baby food and experimenting with different recipes, but I also keep a few of those super-convenient pouches of organic baby food in my diaper bag for when we’re out and about. Whatever you decide remember that before a year old, eating food is more of a practice exercise than a nutritional requirement so don’t worry if most of it ends up everywhere but in their mouth.
Another fun option for babies are the mesh feeders, especially if they show a great interest in food before they have any teeth. It gives them a chance to taste different things without you having to worry about them choking on pieces of food or spitting strained carrots out all over you. It still requires a bib and some serious cleaning up afterwards, though.
Once your baby fully sits up on their own and has a few teeth you get to do the fun stuff – feeding them tiny pieces of your own food! It’s kind of my favorite stage because while they still need you to cut up their food all tiny, they are beginning to be more independent at actually putting the food into their mouth. This is the beginning of a very dangerous path because once they realize they can eat the same food as you they’re going to try and eat all of your food forever. Or at least until they graduate and move out.
Most of all, I believe that feeding baby should be fun for all involved. If it becomes stressful or more like a chore, then it’s really not worth doing. Take your time and make sure it’s enjoyable for you and your baby.
When did you start feeding your baby solids? Do you have any tips to share?