Breastfeeding

Moving on from breastmilk and introducing solids to your baby

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August 16, 2022

When your baby reaches six months, they start to munch on everything that they can possibly hold. That is about when you start to introduce solids into their diet slowly. At first, you might notice that they will not be as interested or they might not like a certain food you feed them. But if you give it a try in a week or two, you might see a change of preference. Don’t be alarmed if they seem completely uninterested in the early months. Some babies don’t get used to it until the ninth or tenth month. 

Which solids should you start your journey with?

It is suggested that your baby should start with food that has iron in them. The best sources of this can be rice, cereals which are pureed. These will also have a lesser chance of causing an allergic reaction. Once the baby gets used to one type of food, start with another next week. You can add fortified baby cereals, cooked legumes, mashed eggs, minced meat, and poultry. Along with these add vegetables, like potato, pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, broccoli, banana, apple, and bread. You should also offer water to your baby once they reach six months. Make sure to boil and let it cool before you put it in a sippy cup.

Lunch or dinner time for baby in his high chair

Should solids replace breast milk?

Introducing solids into your baby’s diet doesn’t mean that you have to stop feeding them breastmilk. As long as they are interested, it is best if you can feed them breastmilk along with the solids for up to 12 months. If they gradually shift towards solids before, don’t feel bad about it. Some babies tend to stop wanting to be breastfed earlier than others. 

Tips to introduce solids

  • In the beginning, mash or puree every food you are feeding your baby. This will help them swallow the food easily.
  • Introduce one food at a time.
  • Watch for any allergic reaction when you are introducing new food to their diet.
  • Breastfeed your baby before feeding them solids so that even if they don’t eat as much, they won’t have to stay hungry. Especially in the beginning, they will only consume a tiny amount of food, so you cannot completely rely on solids only. 
  • Make the process gradual and keep feeding the baby so that you don’t suffer from breast engorgement. Your milk supply will gradually go down if you slowly reduce the number of times you breastfeed.
  • When making food for your baby, make sure not to add any spices. Make sure that the food prepared is properly cooked and healthy. 
  • Your baby will guide you on how much they need to consume. Don’t try to force them into eating more if they seem full. 
  • Along with the solids, you will also need to introduce water throughout the day.
  • Let the baby eat on their own after they can’t hold the cup and the spoon. This will help them learn better coordination as well as make them more self-aware.
  • In the beginning, it might get difficult to feed your baby solids. You might feel as though your baby isn’t liking solids as much as the other children. But remember that every child is different and they just need some more time. You need to be patient and give them the care they need. 
  • If your baby is irritated due to teething or is sick and doesn’t want to eat solids just yet, you can try breastfeeding them until they are ready to try again.

Don’ts while introducing solids

  • If you are feeding them solids, use bowls and spoons to feed them. Don’t put their food in the bottle as it will definitely clog the nipple as well as can lead to choking.
  • Don’t leave the baby alone with the food and be attentive at all times. 
  • It is crucial that the food is in small bits or smashed so that the baby doesn’t choke.
  • Don’t introduce food items that are harmful to the baby in their early years. 

How often should you feed solids?

This transition process from breastfeeding to your child eating solids called weaning should be a gradual one. This will give time for both mother and child to adjust. Taking it slow will also avoid the mother from suffering from breast engorgement.

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