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Starting solid foods with your baby is exciting, but can also be stressful. When do you start? What foods do you give? How? After going through it five times, I've learned a lot about how to successfully introduce baby purees and cereals. Here are some answers.


Hi everybody, Melissa here. So the prospect of introducing solids can be both an exciting and a very intimating thing to a new mom. You've just gotten into the habit of breastfeeding or bottle-feeding your baby and you're in a nice rhythm and all of a sudden there's a whole new hurdle that you have to confront with.

Well I know for myself that I was really stressed out about this with my first baby and then with each of the other four babies it got much easier and much easier and much easier.

So we're going to talk about all this initial on the basics of how you introduce solids. Now first of all just a funny quick word about solids, solids as my partner Deidra has pointed out, actually doesn't mean solids at all. It means pureed or very liquidy foods. And these are the things that you're going to be giving to your baby when you first start with solids. And I have another show about which actual foods you might want to choose during this time period so check out that show, as well.

Okay, so when do I want to introduce solids? The AAP recommends introducing solids between 4 to 6 months and suggests that you ask your doctor about solids when your baby is 4 months old. Most parents are going to ask if they have a 4-month-old or 5-month-old what are the signs? How am I going to know that my baby is ready for solids?

One thing, one tall tale sign, is when a certain reflex that the baby is born with which is called the tongue thrust reflex starts to subside. This is when the baby pushes its tongue forward and its nature's way of protecting the baby from choking. This is not your baby cutting an attitude. And again, it normally subsides around 4 to 5 months.

So it's when this reflex subsides and a few other things start to percolate that you're going to know that your baby is ready for solids. And I'm going to put up a graphic here to run through some of these tail tale signs. So again, the tongue thrust reflex tends to go bye-bye at around 4 to 5 months, which means your little angel can move the food through his mouth over the tongue, and swallow it. Yummy!

Another sign your baby is ready for solids is when he or she can sit up on his own and has head and neck control. Often times your baby might show signs of curiosity about what you're eating too, wanting to touch your food or wanting to eat himself.

And yet another sign is your baby appearing hungry still after he's had his regular feeding either through breast milk or bottle-feeding. The AAP says to give some little milk first or formula first then give the solids and then finish off the feed with the formula or the milk.

So now let's talk about how I'm actually go about giving these solids to my baby. And I'm going to go a little show and tell using my own little hand. Okay, so I have two plastic bowls here and one really good thing to do is to use these bowls and to squeeze out the very small amount of the food you're using. You don't want to, if you're using a jar, put the spoon directly in the jar in the jar because technically once the spoon has had the bacteria of the baby's mouth you're not supposed to put it in the jar and you can't really keep it.

So a better way to basically get a lot out of your food is to have a little bowl and to squeeze a very, very tiny amount of your food into your bowl. So I'm going to do that now, that's it, this is not a lot guys. And then I'm going to take a very small amount on spoon, like this, I usually just try to put it just at the tip. Here's my handy little hand and I'm gently going to try to insert a little of the spoon into the baby's mouth.

Now if the baby is not opening her mouth one of the things you can do it's sort of like when you started to try to nurse the baby and encourage her to take the food, but one of things you can do is just gently sort of tap her lips and try tease her into taking the food and try to get that spoon in there. Okay, I'm going to make my own hands kind of dirty, but you get that spoon in there!

And then you sort of pull it up a little bit and you scrape it along the top of the baby's mouth to try to keep the food in. This is not Thanksgiving dinner people. All this is really trying to get that little tiny creature used to the idea of having these different types of food in his or her mouth, that's all you're trying to do.

So again, go over it with your doctor but you don't need to be making sure that your baby is consuming huge quantities, especially in the first few days or the first weeks.

Okay, now one thing your baby might do which my babies definitely did is to grab the spoon! And then they'll take the spoon and they'll splatter it over all themselves and they'll splatter it all over you and your outfit and your hair and you're like "Ugh!"

So one thing a lot of moms do and I actually think this is a funny trick is they take a second spoon and they give the second spoon to the baby and there's the baby being like "Rodeo!" and so happy and then they try to slip their own spoon with the food into the baby's mouth. So they baby's kind of distracted by holding her own spoon and hopefully you don't end up in a little fencing match. But this is kind of a good trick and I did this with a lot of my kids.

Okay, so now let's talk about how often you're going to be introducing each one of these new foods when you're first introducing solids to your baby. Here comes another graphic. You have to introduce each new food for 3 days and wait before starting another so that you are sure your baby can tolerate the food. After you introduce the food you should make sure you don't see any signs that your baby might be allergic or just not tolerating the food, such as diarrhea, rash, vomiting, in which case of course stop giving the food in questioning immediately and as the AAP recommends contact your doctor right away. So best of luck with introducing solids to your beautiful little baby.

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