Introducing solids to your baby is an exciting milestone, but it also comes with its own set of concerns. How do you know if it is going well? We’re here to help! Each baby is different, but there are some general guidelines that can help you decide how things are going.
You know how baby used to spit up on your shoulder all of the time? Now that you’re starting solids, you can look forward to squash on your shorts and sweet potatoes on your shirt. Stock up on laundry detergent, because the struggle is real, but oh, so much fun! A messy baby—and parent—is to be expected. Plus, it’s a great photo op!
Starting solid foods is a new and unexpected experience for your baby. The tastes and textures are all firsts for her. So even if she makes a sour face, it doesn’t mean she hates those green beans—she’s just reacting to the new taste. And if she refuses some foods, that doesn’t mean she won’t eventually like them. It can take babies as many as 10 to 15 times of trying a new food before they like it. Don’t stress, just keep offering the food to her over the course of the next few months.
Start by introducing one new, single-ingredient food at a time, and wait two to three days before trying another new food. Using only single-ingredient foods in the beginning allows your baby to taste the food and also helps identify any possible allergic reaction she may experience.
As you introduce new foods to your baby, be sure to watch for allergic reactions. Allergic reactions can take many different forms. Diarrhea, rash or vomiting are all signs of a potential allergic reaction. If you notice any of these symptoms after your baby eats a particular food, avoid the food and contact his pediatrician.
The most extreme (and scariest) reaction would be an anaphylactic reaction. This reaction occurs quickly after eating a food and may cause a rash, difficulty in breathing and a swollen throat. This requires immediate medical attention, so if your baby is struggling to breathe, call 911 right away.
After your baby starts solids, her poop pattern, texture and even color will start to change (looking more like “real” poop). It’s also not unusual for babies to have trouble with constipation. Try offering sips of water from a cup after each meal when she begins solid food to help prevent constipation. Every baby is different, so there’s no magic number of dirty diapers to tell you if she’s constipated, but straining to go and crying when unsuccessful are good indicators that she may be. If you have any concerns, talk to your pediatrician.
The bottom line? By practicing positive food parenting strategies, you have the opportunity to create a happy, healthy and adventurous eater. It doesn’t always mean things will go perfectly at mealtime. You might have to clean pureed peas off the floor and walls (and out of your hair), but teaching her to enjoy a healthy diet early is a gift you can give her that will last a lifetime.