BreastFeeding Inc.

Solid Foods: Baby’s Next Adventure (without parental anxiety)

Introducing solid foods is the next new feeding adventure for you and your baby!

As babies approach their 6-month birthday, parents tend to worry about this next stage in their baby’s development. How can they eat food without teeth? Why did my doctor suggest starting at 4 months, but the world health organization says 6 months? Will my baby sleep better once I introduce solid foods? I hear SO many questions and concerns around this next stage of feeding; involving health, digestion, ability, protecting the gut, and more. Although these are valid concerns, I believe families forget to ask the most knowledgeable person available – the baby!!

I’ve heard many dietitians, nurses, and other health care practitioners who cite the “right age” to introduce the “right foods”. However, these are just guidelines based on very little good research. None of these address the individual needs and readiness of your baby. Your baby may not fall in line with what you’ve been told! I also see that these hard timelines add confusion and worry to an already anxiety-filled adventure.

Let’s make it easier, and keep it simple. Babies show multiple interest and developmental signs of readiness:

Parents can introduce complimentary solid foods when they recognize the signs of readiness in their baby, sometime between 5-8 months of age. There is little worry about how much they eat, how many nutrients are in each food, or how balanced their solid foods are when used as a complement to breastmilk—Breastmilk is still the main source of nutrition and you add in solid foods.

Many 9-10-month olds are just starting to eat proper meals after a few months of exploring, tasting, and playing with foods! Expect some fun, and playtime, and a mess!! Babies take some time to understand just what food is and what to do with it.

When adding in new foods, your normal family foods are just fine – just go easy on the salt and avoid all sugar. Try many foods and rotate between them, taking notice of what baby likes and what they may want to save for another month.

Best practices for starting solid foods:

As you journey through solid foods, remember that your baby has always been in the driver seat! Your baby has led you through feeding times and amounts since their very first latch. Trust them to know when they are hungry, when they want more, and when they are done. Continue to breastfeed on demand when possible and as often as you’d like, without ever forcing it. Try to let the anxiety go, and have fun with your new family meals!

And if you’re still worried, try taking an online course such as Parenting 101 via Breastfeeding Inc! If you’re in the Halton or west-Toronto area, check out one of my in-person courses on introducing solid foods! Courses that teach baby-led approaches will help you get the confidence and knowledge you need.

 

 

Ashley Pickett, IBCLC

Ashley Pickett is a private practice lactation consultant, doula, and parent educator living and working in Oakville, Ontario. She helps families reach their parenting goals while meeting their babies’ needs. Check out her website at www.ashleypickett.com.

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