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Introducing Solids 101

Janel F.
JANEL F.
Registered Dietitian
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Is your little one having difficulty transitioning to solid foods? You're certainly not alone! Join today's Q&A for expert advice from Registered Dietitian and Pediatric Specialist, Janel Funk.

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Message Janel
JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Hi Janel. My little guy just turn one a couple of days ago. Now that he’s a year, how many ounces of milk/formula should I be offering him?
AMBER, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

AMBER

Our current feeding schedule is: 8oz bottle (formula) upon wake-up (6am) and then I offer a bottle every 4 hours after that. A total of 4 bottles/day (32oz). He doesn’t finish the bottle always, usually somewhere between 4-7oz, occasionally 8oz (he always finishes the whole bottle before bed). I feed him breakfast at 7-7:30a, lunch at noon and dinner at 5p. What modifications, if any, should I make now that he is a year? Thank you.

Janel
JANEL

Hi Amber, Now that your baby is one year old, you may transition him to whole cow’s milk, provided he has a balanced diet of solid foods (cereals, vegetables, fruits, and meats).

Limit his intake of milk to 32 ounces per day. More than this can provide too many calories and may decrease his appetite for the other foods he needs.

Have you tried providing your little one with cow's milk yet?

JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Next stage solids
BIANCA, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD, 2 YEAR OLD

How do I get my 9 months olds (8 adjust) twins started on stage three or should I wait ? They have been eating solids three times a day stage 2 for about a month and a half now.

Janel
JANEL

Hi Bianca, I'm a twin mama, too! Congrats! Starting solids is so fun (and so, so hilariously messy) with two babies. How are your babies doing on stage 2 solids? Can you gradually advance the texture? Do they do well with small pieces of soft food, like banana or avocado? Between now and when they are a year, you'll be advancing towards regular family food (as long as the texture is appropriate) so it doesn't have to be so black and white. You can provide pureed baby food for one meal, and a combination of soft bits of food at the next, as tolerated. If you feel they're ready, go for it! Exposing them to touching/seeing/mashing/grabbing small bits of food off their tray (even if not much of it actually makes it into their mouths and tummies) will help them advance their eating.

JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
could explain the 7 mnth old baby starting to the solids .. hw many meals can serve my lol..and as well as breast feeding
SUNEETHA, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

Janel
JANEL

Hi Suneetha - when introducing solids, you want to start with one time/day, and just 1-2 tablespoons at a time, as babies have tiny tummies. I recommend starting with any fruit, vegetable, or cereal. Is your baby 3 months or 7 months? (In your profile it says 3 months so just checking!) Generally I recommend starting solids at 6 months when your baby can sit unassisted, loses the tongue reflex that pushes his tongue/food out of his mouth, is showing interest in eating solids, and is starting to use the pincer grasp to pick up small things (like a small piece of food). When introducing a new food, I recommend giving it to your baby earlier in the day (as opposed to before bed) so you can watch for any signs of a potential allergic reaction. You can also wait a couple days before introducing another new food so you're able to determine which food causes any potential allergic reaction. Once your baby has tried a few foods, you can feel free to mix them for new flavor combinations, such as pear + spinach, or apple + sweet potato.

I recommend giving your baby milk (breastfeeding) before offering solids, as you don't want to fill his tiny tummy with solids so he's less likely to drink milk. Remember the phrase, "under 1 just for fun," as this means that under the age of 1, solid foods are used to expose your baby to solids, flavors, different textures, and get them ready for a diet full of solid food after their first birthday. Before they turn 1, milk is still the primary source of nutrients/calories and should not be reduced at all even as you gradually introduce more solids. After a few weeks, you may find your baby is ready to have a solid meal twice a day, and then you can gradually increase it to 3 meals and 1-2 snacks by their first birthday, in addition to his regular breastmilk consumption.

SUNEETHA

actually 3 mnths baby just asking for the future question .. one of the my nephew here .. she has 7 mnth ols.thats y asking

Janel
JANEL

Great! Feel free to come back to ask more questions when your little one starts solids!

SUNEETHA

thank u so much

JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Baby is ready for solids
MEGHA, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

Hi there,
My 5 1/2 month old son is ready for solids. So far we have been doing cereal once in the morning which he really enjoys. After this box we hope to switch to oatmeal and then start actual meals. I plan to make the food to start.

1. He currently drinks about 28-32oz of formula a day - how do i cut back on that as he eats more food?
2. Should their be 1 or 2 meals a day to start???

Thank you!

Janel
JANEL

How exciting! When you say "actual meals" do you mean more purees? Something else?

I want you to remember the phrase, "Under 1, just for fun!" When it comes to starting solids, milk is still the primary source of calories/nutrients for babies under the age of 1. After their first birthday, meals/snacks should be the primary source of nutrition but until then, you do not want to decrease his milk intake at all. Solids at this age are more for flavor and texture exposure, and to get into the habit of feeding. Sure, closer to a year he'll be eating more family foods and regular mealtimes, but at just 5.5 months milk takes priority, so you also want to make sure you're giving milk before solids, so 7am bottle and then 8am cereal so his tummy isn't too full from solids to finish his milk.

I recommend starting with 1 meal per day so you're able to tell if he has any allergic reactions to foods you're serving one at a time. You can bump up to two after a month or so, once you have a variety of foods that you've already tried with him. Between all the bottles and feeding solids in between, you may be happy to just stick with one meal to start, anyway! By his first birthday he should be having 3 meals (ideally whatever the family is eating as long as it is texture appropriate) and 1-2 snacks as needed.

MEGHA

I see - so I was told before that just for one meal start with food, then give the bottle until baby is full. The remaining meals should be all bottles anyway.... slowly advancing to 3 meals a day (cereal and 2 others) and then 3 larger bottles.

Is that incorrect??

Janel
JANEL

If I'm understanding your question correctly, you want to offer milk first, or at least make sure your baby's milk consumption is separate from his solid food intake (so maybe you're alternating feeding a bottle with solids every two hours to give time for your baby to digest) without cutting back on the amount of milk provided. Yes you'll be slowly advancing to three meals/day, and you may find your baby can tolerate 4 bottles/day (instead of three big ones plus solids) - for example: upon wakeup, after first nap, after second nap, before bed - with solids in between. Does that answer your question?

MEGHA

Hi there – kind of. I was more saying that in the morning after waking the first thing he would get is 1 tablespoon of cereal or oatmeal. Followed by his normal bottle. The next meal would just be his bottle followed by the third meal being 1 tablespoon of puréed vegetable or fruit than his normal bottle. Then the next being a normal bottle, then a bedtime bottle (then he gets one at night). Gradually increasing the amount of his food from 1 tablespoon to 2 .... and cutting less of that bottle. He would go from 6, 5oz bottles to maybe two of those bottles gradually decreasing and adding the ounces to his other bottles.... eventually getting to 4, 7pz bottles and 2 meals. ??

Janel
JANEL

That is certainly something you can try, although I'd recommend he gets the first bottle of the day upon wakeup and not after breakfast. You may want to continue offering the same bottles as you have been to start, to see if he naturally takes less milk (or perhaps the same amount). In the beginning weeks of solids, more food might wind up on his face/hair/tray than in his tummy! So you want to be sure he's still getting adequate calories/nutrients from milk.

MEGHA

Perfect! Yes :) as of now, my son has perfect aim! He loves loves food (so far) but yes I understand! Weight wise he is 98th % so calories are not an issue ;) but I’ll start with the bottle first then maybe after his first nap do cereal then milk, then veggie and milk for the next.... followed by bottles only. Ultimately i see him cutting the bottles when he eats and adding to the bottles when he doesn’t... balancing out the volume.

Janel
JANEL

Yes it is tricky at first to find a good balance, because they seem to be eating, drinking milk, or sleeping all day long! And of course once you get the hang of it, they grow and change and you have to adjust. That's great he's loving food - keep it up!