WHEN TO INTRODUCE SOLIDS
Birth to 6 months:
It cannot be stressed enough
that breastmilk is a whole, complete and perfect food source for
the full term, healthy breastfed baby until at least the age of
At about the age of six months, solids can be introduced.
If you are wondering what foods and serving sizes your baby needs
at a particular age, hopefully this guide will help.
Information on food sensitivities, delaying
of solids, etc can be found through the links at the bottom of this
Breastmilk should be the baby's primary source of
nutrition, for the first year, with solids complimenting the milk
diet. This will gradually reverse starting towards the end of the
first year, transitioning throughout the second year of life.
Each baby is unique and individual, and will have
specific needs of their own, but in general, the info below will
help get an idea of what and when to feed your baby. It is also
good to remember that at 12 months the baby's stomach will be able
to hold about 1 cup or 8 ounces.
A NOTE ABOUT USING
Most bf experts and many pediatricians warn against using "infant
feeders" to give baby solid foods. Dr William Sears recommends
that your finger be a "first spoon", transitioning to
a real spoon in the course of introducing solids.
Ruth Yaron, BS, MBA, MS, and auther of "Super Baby Food"
“Although first foods are very liquidy,
they should not be fed to your baby through a bottle with an enlarged
nipple hole, or with one of those bottle-type infant feeders, which
I am surprised are still sold in baby stores. These feeders actually
delay learning how to swallow, do not help in desensitizing the
gag reflex, and delay the development of other eating skills.
Solid foods should be given to your baby at a time when they are
needed both nutritionally and developmentally. Nutritionally, they
add calories and nutrients to your baby's milk diet.
Developmentally, eating solid foods helps in the maturation of a
new set of muscles in the tongue in order to swallow, which were
not used in breast or bottle feeding. Proper development of these
muscles help to promote clear speech patterns later in life.
If your baby is not developmentally ready to eat from a spoon, then
she is not yet ready for solid foods. When baby eats from a spoon,
she starts becoming aware of the process of eating: taking a bite,
chewing and swallowing the bite, waiting a moment before taking
another bite, and stopping when satiated. Infant feeders do not
allow this process and drastically increase the amount of food your
baby eats, which may cause problems with overweight and bad eating
habits. (The section Mealtimes and Physical and Intellectual Development
beginning on page 66 discusses more about the learning that takes
place when your baby eats.) "
Some mothers argue that doctors recommend adding
baby cereal to bottles of babies with reflux. While it is true that
this practice is still popular, there seems to be no hard evidence
that it is genuinely helpful. In fact, there is increased
risk to the infant by using this method:
"The use of feedings thickened with
cereal may reduce the episodes of regurgitant reflux but non-regurgitant
reflux and attendant problems may still occur. In fact, respiratory
symptoms associated with GER may be worsened by the addition of
cereal to infant bottles. Orenstein et al. (1992) found increased
cough in infants with respiratory disease who were given thickened
feedings. The addition of cereal to formula feedings may decrease
gastric emptying time and actually increase episodes of reflux and
It seems clear that the healthiest way to offer
solids is from a spoon.
How much breastmilk should my baby be getting?
Birth to 2 months - 8 to 12 feedings in 24 hr period
2 - 4 months - 6 - 8 feedings in 24 hr period
It is important to remember that some babies will nurse much more
than this, and that's perfectly fine. Solids do tend to replace
nursings, so it is suggested that once solids are introduced, to
nurse about ONE hour before offering the solids, and then nursing
after solids if baby is interested to "top off" the meal.
For babies who have begun solids, here are some
suggested ideas for each food group - This is just a suggestion;
individual babies will eat differing amounts. A serving for
infants begins with a tablespoon and increases gradually to
about a cup of solid food by around a year:
Milk Products - Food Pyramid suggests 2 - 3 servings from
this group a day
(at about 9 months these are often "ok'd" by doctors)
plain yogurt, cottage cheese, soft mild cheese)
- 2-4 tbsp daily
Avoid introducing whole cow's milk until baby has
reached a year to reduce risk of allergic reaction.
Babies under a year of age should drink either expressed
breastmilk or formula, preferably from a cup.
Grain Products - Food Pyramid suggests 6 - 11 servings a
Iron-fortified cereal - 4-8 tbsp daily
Breads (1/4 to ˝ slice equals a serving), pasta
or rice (2 - 4 tablespoons) - 3 servings a day
Vegetables & Fruits - Food Pyramid suggests 3 - 5 servings
of Veggies, 2 - 4 servings of fruit daily
Cooked vegetables (especially dark green & yellow) - 2-4 tbsp
per serving, at least 2 servings per day
Raw or cooked fruit - 2-4 tbsp per serving - at
least 2 servings per day
Fruit juices - Juice should be diluted at first,
slowly progressing to undiluted by 10-12 months, with less than
4 oz per day suggested.
Meat & Meat Alternatives - Food Pyramid suggests 2 -
3 servings from this group a day
Meat, Fish, Poultry - 2-4 tbsp - 2 servings (child
sized) per day
Egg - 1 egg yolk (Although egg yolks can be added
to the diet around 10 months, egg whites or whole eggs should not
be given to your baby until the end of the first year. This is because
egg whites often cause allergic reactions if introduced too early.)
Legumes - 2-4 tbsp - 2 servings per day as alternative
Offer the solids "in-between" regular nursing times,
not in place of them.