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Introducing Solids 101

Vanessa T.
VANESSA T.
Pediatric Dietitian
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Time to get your little one started on solids? We're here to support you, start to finish. Get expert advice on what snacks to stock up on and much, much more! Led by Pediatric Nutritionist, Vanessa Thornton.

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VANESSA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Is it necessary?
AMANDA, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD, 2 YEAR OLD

So, I understand that I have to get the okay from baby's doctor first, but when I get the okay to start introducing solids, do I have to? Like, if she's able at 4 months, could i hold off until 6 months? The reason I ask is because there are quite a few different food allergies in our family, and I want to be sure baby is ready to handle a reaction. Thank you.

FRANCINE

Hi. Amanda!! My family has alot of food allergies as well. Myself and my husband shockingly don't have any but my parents, his parents our siblings etc all do (we just got lucky l guess lol) Anyway... I started my little one on solids at 4 months per the Dr ok. She told me to feed her one food for 3-5 days. Like if l give her bananas to just give her bananas for the 3-5 days because if babies have a food allergy sometimes it doesn't show right off the bat and if your mixing other foods in there you won't know what gave them the reaction. So if you give them bananas than the next day give them pears and they have a reaction it could've actually of been from the bananas from the day before.. Crazy right?? Babies are sooo different than us.. She also told me to do just single foods until you know for sure that she's not allergic.. So don't do like peas and carrots. Do the carrots for a few days than the peas and if she doesn't have a reaction than you can do peas and carrots. Which makes total sense!! I hope this helped!! I'd start giving solids.. I was worried at 1st to but the Dr told me it's healthier to start introducing solids. Years ago it was 6 months. Everyone said no earlier than 6 months. So if your afraid and want to wait l really don't think it would matter.. It's up 2 you girly!! But l started Vene 2 weeks ago and so far so good!! Google what baby food has the least amount of allergic reactions and start with that!!! But l was so nervous when l 1 st started. I kept stopping and like looking in her mouth and checking her all out 2 see if she has hives or ANY kind of reaction.. LoL I probably looked crazy but after day 2 and she was fine. My anxiety level went way down!! LOL Hope this helps get you through the allergy scare!!!

FRANCINE

I forgot to put that the even tho my family was prone to allergies to start at 4 months. So l would think they'd be able to handle a reaction otherwise she would've told me to wait. And to start with step one foods only. If she does good with step one than go to step 2-3 etc. I started Vene on cereal in her formula really young 2. I had to, she wasn't getting full and would drink 10-12-14oz in a sitting than spit-up/throw-up like 4oz. I thought something was really wrong. Nope she just wasn't getting full so she was on cereal at like 2 months. And as soon a l started the cereal she was fine. No crazy spit ups/throw ups and she was eating a normal amount for her size/weight/age. Idk if that had Anything to do with the Dr giving me the ok for solids because she did so well with cereal or not though. Ask your Pediatrition. They might tell you to wait or to do it the way I'm doing it. One food at a time. Every baby is different so ya never know.. I'd just really ask the Pediatrition and do whatever Doc tell you!! Or if she's on cereal in her bottle you know that doesn't bother her you could even make it like thick. If she's on oatmeal/barley/rice mix it with a little bit of formula and feed it as a solid. I do that with the oatmeal. Sometimes I'll make it like real oatmeal and l mix formula with it and spoon feed it to her.

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hi Amanda,

Thanks for your question. Introducing solids can be scary, especially when you have a family history of allergies. I completely understand your desire to delay introducing until it feels safer! Interestingly, the guidelines for introducing solid foods to babies at high risk for food allergies has changed. We used to recommend delaying for up to 3 years for some foods like peanuts- but studies have shown that introducing high risk foods like nuts, eggs, etc. early on can actually help to reduce the risk of allergy. Most studies started exposing kids to small amounts of these foods at 4-6 months, whenever they were ready for solids.

The best way to do this is to start with some low-risk foods like fruits, veggies and infant cereals. Once she has tolerated a few of these foods, you can go ahead and try some more high risk foods. Just remember to start with very small amounts (1 teaspoon or less) and keep an oral antihistamine on hand in case of reaction. Introduce just one new food at a time and offer it multiple times in increasing doses for a few days before trying another new food. If there are specific foods you are really nervous to try, ask your pediatrician for a referral to an allergist. Some will offer in-office food challenges so you are in a safe place in case of a reaction.

Once you get through the first few foods, it will feel easier and you can start to enjoy this milestone more. You’re doing the right thing by thinking and planning ahead so that even if she does have an allergic reaction, you’ll keep her safe and happy! Let me know if you have any other questions!

AMANDA

Thank you guys! This is great feedback

FRANCINE

Everything that Vanessa said is what I'm doing that the Pediatrition told me to do and l tried to word it so it was understandable. LoL she worded it way better than l ever could.. But what she posted is what I'm doing and so far so good!! I hope we were able to ease your mind somewhat about feeding solids..

VANESSA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Increasing volume
MEGHA, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

Good afternoon! My son is seven months and absolutely loves solids! We started solids at five months. Currently he’s drinking for 7 ounce bottles a day with three small meals about an hour after the first three bottles of the day. My question is how do I know how much volume of solids to give him in one sitting? Sometimes he looks like he wants more but I worry about over filling him. He has history of reflux and spits up at times.

Morning is usually oatmeal or yogurt with a fruit.
Next is a veggie with lentil or other bean/meat protein.
Last is usually combo fruit and veggie.

Each serving is about 2 tablespoons.

Thank you!

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hi Megha,

The great thing about babies is that they listen to their hunger cues. Unlike adults who might eat when they aren’t hungry or indulge to the point of feeling stuffed, babies generally eat when they are hungry and stop themselves when they are full. That being said, you can let your little one keep eating until he tells you he is done. At this age, I would say anything from 1-8 ounce of solids per day is completely normal (2 tbsp= 1 ounce). As long as he is still getting his normal amount of formula, it is fine to let him be in charge during meals. If he is more hungry some days than others, that’s fine too! He will let you know what he needs.

I like the way you are offering solids a few times daily, spacing these feeds and offering a good balance of healthy options. Keep up the good work!

MEGHA

Awesome ! Thank you for the reassurance. I try to space out formula and his meal... is that right? Or should I do them closer together?? 1.5- 2 ounces per meal is okay? 7oz milk servings are pretty standard right?

Vanessa
VANESSA

Yes, yes and yes! All of this sounds perfect. 🙂

FRANCINE

Oh I'm so glad someone asked this. I just started solids with the little one. She's only 4 months so she's getting less solids right now. Her Pediatrition recommended l start her a little earlier because l started her on cereal in her bottles earlier. It was like she wasn't getting full eating 10-12-14oz in a sitting Than spitting up like 4oz. As soon as l started her on cereal mixed with her bottle that all stopped.. Now I'm giving her a little bit as a snack once a day because sometimes she'll tell me she's "hungee" and only drink like an ounce. So l try the food 1st and it works out perfect. I'll feed her until she pretty much stops eating and starts playing with it in her mouth. That's how l know she's full. And it's about 2-4 oz a day. Some days less. But thank you for all the advice!! She's a "hangry" little one. She actually will say "hungee yea".

Vanessa
VANESSA

That’s adorable, Francine! It sounds like you have a healthy eater. Great job trusting her to know her body and tell you when she’s had enough!

FRANCINE

Oh yes. She's a typical little Italian girl. Loves her food.. Her 1st word was "hungee". I'm not even kidding.. My family is huge and every time she'd cry or start being fussy we'd say oh she's probably hungry. So she caught on to the word and one day like out of the blue she was just over 2 months my dad was holding her and she was being fussy. So he said "oh my Vene girl don't cry what do you want honey" and she said "hungee, HUNGEE".. My mom, myself, my husband and my dad all said "did she just say she was hungry?" So wr gave her a bottle and ever since that day if she's hungry she'll tell you.. Now she says it more.clearly and she added yea. She'll scream in the morning "HUNGEE YEA, HUNGEE YEA"!! It's soo funny.. I think soo many people around here all the time talking is helping her to learn words. She says ma, da and hungee. Most parents say oh my babys 1st word was "mommy, daddy" etc. Not mine. Hungee was her 1st word. LoL I'm actually really grateful though because there's no confusion or wondering if she's hungry when she's fussy. She'll just tell you. Haha.. Kids are fun!!! Ty again for all the advice you posted for Megha! I made a mental note for the future!! I learn more on this app than anything!

VANESSA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
11 month olds/weaning
ALISA, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

Still unclear on how many times per day to be offering food/cow's milk now that my 11 month old twins are weaning, only having breastmilk in the morning at night (and night feed is barely a feed these days)... can you help clarify?

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hi Alisa,

At 11 months, I would still be expecting your twins to be breastfeeding every 4-5 hours or taking anywhere from 24-32 ounces of formula/ expressed milk daily. At 12 months of age, you can introduce cow's milk. At that point, you can slowly wean from breast milk to cow's milk by alternating feeds or mixing both in the same bottle and slowly increasing the amount of cow's milk until each bottle is 100% cow's milk.

As far as food goes, offer 3 meals per day and try to include 3 food groups at each meal. You can start to offer more table foods at this age that are more challenging and involved for your children to chew and swallow, so at first it may seem like they are eating a lot less. That's okay! Eventually, they'll get the hang of eating and start to be more consistent with their food intake. As long as they are still getting adequate formula/breast milk, you don't need to worry how much food they eat at meals.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.