I share how I started my 6 month old baby on solid foods and how to introduce solids to baby. This is my second baby and I now have experience with one baby who loved solids and another who didn't.
Introducing solids to your baby can feel intimidating and scary, but I can assure you, that with these strategies you're going to succeed. It can be frustrating when baby doesn't accept or like baby food and I definitely got a taste of that with my second breastfed baby. Breastfeeding can some times make the process of weaning to solids a little more difficult for some babies. Especially as they adjust to different tastes and textures. It's a sensory overload for some babies.
Between my two babies, I saw how one absolutely loved starting to eat food - especially purees. While the other wasn't a fan of purees and skipped straight through to finger foods. Every baby does things at their own rate. Please don't compare and feel like your baby is "wrong" or you are. It's normal for babies to not want to wean and it's normal for some babies to love textures and others to hate it. Patience and consistency are key.
I like to start solids around 6 months old. That's because I try to give my babies exclusively breastmilk for the first 6 months. I try to follow the guidelines from the AAP as much as I can and I also like to wait for signs of readiness.
How do you know when baby is ready to start solids?
There are some tell tale signs that baby is ready for solids. The first being that they lose the tongue thrust reflex. The tongue thrust reflex is when the baby's tongue thrusts forward and out whenever you bring food to their mouth. It's important, because it shows that a baby's digestive system is not ready to digest solids and introducing solids too early could lead to a leaky gut - not good. Some babies outgrow the tongue thrust after 6 months, which can be exhausting, but discuss it with their doctor and go from there.
The next sign that they're ready to start solids is that they can sit (assisted). This is especially important for baby led weaning (which originally came to be as a way to extend breastfeeding). Babies tend to eat less when they wean that way and a result continue to nurse a lot.
Another sign is that baby is eager to try food. They lean in when you bring a spoon to their mouth or offer them a bite. They look at you absolutely mesmerized when you're eating. That's also important, because eating is a social thing too and counts as a social milestone. More on that in another blog.
Lastly, they sleep less - much less. And this only goes for a baby that was previously sleeping well after dealing with the 4 month sleep regression. Some people start solids at 4 months thinking food is why baby won't sleep, that's not the case. Babies have one major sleep regression and it's the 4 month one. They begin having proper sleep cycles. So, if a baby mastered their sleep cycles and suddenly around 5/6 months starts waking often again, it could be that they're hungry and ready for solids.
What to do when baby won't accept solids?
Try and try again. There's no such thing as offering too much. Some babies need to have something offered to them 99 times before they accept something at the 100 try. It's frustrating and can really put a parent down, but know that you are not alone and eventually baby will accept food. I discuss a couple of my tricks to getting even the most hard headed baby to accept solids. That was my second. He wouldn't for the life of me accept solids, but with consistency and these tips, he did and now he eats like a champ. A little baby foodie.