Introducing foods to your newborn can be a challenging process. However, following a few simple tips can change the steps from challenging to fun, enjoyable, nourishing, and a great bonding activity.
Is Your Baby Ready?
The first thing you need to do is make sure your baby is ready for solid foods. Your baby’s signs are sometimes the best indications that they are ready to munch on whole foods instead of just breast milk or formula milk.
- Your baby needs to be able to keep his head in an upright position.
- To start solids, he should be able to move food to the back of his mouth and swallow. As he learns to swallow efficiently, you may notice less drooling.
- Weight gain is a significant indicator of development at that stage of life – your baby’s weight should have doubled since their birth before you start introducing solid food to them.
- If your baby seems hungry even after multiple breastfeeding sessions per day, he probably needs solid food to satisfy his appetite at that point.
- Notice your baby’s curiosity with regards to the food people around him are eating.
How to Introduce New Foods
- You should be introducing one new food per day and observing your baby’s reactions to the food carefully to ensure that they are not allergic or intolerant to that specific food.
- Dedicate a few hours at the start of every week to prepare and pre-freeze your baby’s food. This will ensure that you will always be on track with regards to your baby’s nutrition and will help adjust on this journey, especially if you lead a busy life. Freezing maintains almost all the vitamins and minerals in food, almost as if they were fresh!
- Most babies need to try foods 5-10 times before accepting it, so don’t give up! Be patient and keep reintroducing foods to your baby gradually.
- At this point of your baby’s development, all food should be pureed or mashed very well with a fork.
- Make sure to use a plastic spoon and fork – they are much gentler on your baby’s gums than metal.
How Much Should My Baby Be Eating?
- At first, your child should be eating solids just once per day. By 7 months, 2 meals per day is the norm. At 8-9 months, your baby should be eating solids 3 times a day. Ideally, you should get your baby started on a routine for breakfast, lunch and dinner by 9 months.
- Start with 1 teaspoon of new food and gradually increase this to ¼ cup then ½ cup with each serving.
- You should gradually decrease the number of milk feedings your baby gets as you add more and more food to their diet.
Sample Meal Plan
|Meal no. 1||¼ cup oats added to breastmilk or formula milk|
|Meal no. 2||1 tablespoon pea puree|
|Meal no. 3 (8-9 months only)||¼ cup sweet potato and avocado purée|
Our final tip? Set your baby up for a lifetime of healthy eating by modelling healthy eating habits. Your baby will reach an age when he wants to eat what is on your plate, so if there are french fries on your plate, that’s what your baby will want.
Enjoy the journey and remember that every baby is different! Take it slow – the journey should be enjoyable for both you and your baby.