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Introducing Solids 101

Vanessa T.
VANESSA T.
Pediatric Dietitian
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Make your next trip to the grocery store a breeze! Get your little one started on solids with foods they'll be sure to love. Led by Registered Dietitian, Vanessa Thornton.

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VANESSA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
When to feed different things
BIANCA, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD, 2 YEAR OLD

My twins will be 9 months on the 24th. I’ve heard that milk should be the primary till the first year. So I’ve been giving them solids but not sure when to try other things. I give them 2oz for breakfast, 4pz for lunch and then 4 oz for dinner. There bottle intake has dropped my sone average 7 oz 4x a day and my daughter 4-5oz 4x a day ( she doesn’t eat as much of the solids. The solids are gerber stage two. It’s been 9 years since doing this and I cannot remember what I didn’t with my singletons. Do I give them puffs and snacky stuff too or just keep doing what I am doing.

Thanks

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hi Bianca,

Good question. The amount of breast milk or formula a child drinks should slowly decrease from 6-12 months as they start to eat more solids. A general guideline is that by 10 months old, 50% of their intake should come from solids, then gradually increase to about 80% by 12 months. It sounds like your twins are on the right track!

If your babies are doing well with solid foods so far and don't seem to have trouble "chewing" or swallowing, you can start to introduce Stage 3 foods or even some soft, mashed or chopped table foods. You can also introduce finger foods to let them explore how to feed themselves.

These new foods are typically higher in calories than the purees they've been eating so far, so it may seem like their appetites drop at first. This is totally normal- just allow them to follow their hunger cues and eat as much as they'd like.

As far as milk intake goes, plan to continue breast milk or formula until 12 months of age, then transition to cow's milk. At 1 year old, we expect most kids to take 16-24 ounces of milk per day to meet their nutrient needs and help meet their fluid needs. If their intake drops below this range, discuss with your pediatrician.

BIANCA

Great, thank you.

VANESSA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
5 months and ready to eat!
MEGHA, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

Good morning!
My son is 5 months old and seems to be ready to eat! :) he is always grabbing at our spoons, and can sit up almost unassisted. Currently he has about 30oz of formula a day (he’s 18lbs and 28 inches long). We have slowly introduced some rice cereal after his first 2 bottles of the day. Each bottle is about 5 ounces and the rice cereal serving is 1 tablespoon cereal with about 2 1/2 tablespoons of formula. My first question is– After he gets cereal he seems to be pretty full. I know that formula is still the main part of his diet so does this mean I increase his ounces and just spread them further apart or do I continue then as is. My next question is when I start new or solids in the next week or two how do I portion his bottles with his meals? I hope that makes sense – thanks for your help!

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hi Megha,

Congrats on the big step in your family! Solid foods — how fun!

Your question is a good one. Formula should still be the main source of nutrition, but it is normal for your baby to start drinking less gradually as he eats more solids. As a general rule, aim for 6-8 ounce bottles three to five times daily.

When you introduce a new food, start with just 1-2 small spoonfuls. If you have a family history of allergies, talk with your Pediatrician first as you may want to progress more slowly. Either way, introduce each new food for a few days in a row and watch for allergic reaction before introducing another new food. If your child likes the food and has no reaction, you can increase the amount to 1-2 tablespoons per feed.

Eventually, you may find that he is looking for more solids at a meal and less bottle. Often parents are doing 6-8 bottle feeds per day when the start solids and may gradually drop one of these sessions and replace it with a solid food ‘meal’ of a 4 ounce jar of baby food over the next 1-2 months.

For now, I would try giving him the 1-2 tbsp solids first at a feed, then offer him his usual bottle and let him feed until he is full. Do this just 1-2 times per day and keep the rest of your feeds formula only. As long as he is getting full feeds at all other times, there’s no need to make up for the ounces he doesn’t take after solids.

Good luck and have fun with this! Let me know if other questions pop up along the way. :)

VANESSA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
How much food for 8mo old
JENNIFER, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

Hi Vanessa! My son is 8.5mo old and has been eating solids since around 4mo. He loves everything he eats and almost never says no to food. So how do I know how much to be feeding him? Also, when do I start introducing him to more “solid” food (versus purée)? He still drinks about 25oz of formula a day. Thank you!

Vanessa
VANESSA

Glad to hear you have a good eater!

If your son seems to handle food well in his mouth and seems interested in feeding himself, you can start to play around with more solid/table foods now! You’ll notice that these foods take more effort and coordination for him to eat, so it might feel like he’s eating less for awhile but that’s okay! This will relieve some of the stress of trying to figure out how much to feed. At this point, food is for fun and skill building- his formula is providing him with his basic nutrient needs.

VANESSA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
7 mo dislikes solids
LAUREN, PARENT OF 4 YEAR OLD, 2 YEAR OLD

Hi Vanessa,

My 7 month old daughter is having a hard time taking to solids. We've tried a variety of foods over the past month (sweet potato, avocado, pears, apples, whole grain baby oatmeal, etc) and the only food she'll consistently eat right now are puffs. I've also gotten her to take a little bit of scrambled eggs as well as mild cheese. I thought that maybe she just didn't like the texture of purées so have given her tiny steamed bites of some of the above foods, but she's still not a fan. So I'm not sure if it's a taste issue, a texture issue or something else. Any suggestions on how to encourage her to eat more?

Thanks!

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hi Lauren,

So smart of you to keep trying different things and to realize that there are A LOT of factors that go into liking new foods- taste, texture, smell, etc. Are you feeding her the purees and steamed foods with a spoon? Some babies are not interested in being fed and would prefer to try and feed themselves. At 7 months old, she probably won't be very successful, but that's okay. At this point, food is just for fun and development-- her primary nutrition source should still be breast milk and/or formula. It may seem like a fruitless attempt when you offer a food and watch her squish it, throw it, smear it... anything but EAT it, but this is actually helping her develop a good relationship with food and practice the skills she'll need to feed herself and make food decisions for the rest of her life- very cool!

Try offering some roasted veggies so they are crunchy on the outside but still easy enough to "gum" and swallow. You may also want to consider reading up on Baby Led Weaning, which introduces table foods right off the bat and allows babies to self-feed, skipping the pureed stage completely. I definitely think you're on the right track. Let me know if you have more questions!

LAUREN

Thank you!

VANESSA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Foods to start with
AZALEA, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

I've been trying to transition my 8-month-old to an all-solids diet, but he seems to be quite picky. Do you have any recommendations?

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hi Azalea,

Great question. At 8 months, we wouldn't expect your son to be taking more than 50% of his calories from food, so don't worry if he isn't taking too much of any foods just yet.

Introducing foods can be a huge leap for babies. Remember that they have never had ANY textures and very little taste or temperature variation. It can take them awhile to get used to the idea of eating, and this sometimes looks like picky eating to adults. On top of this, babies are just like us: lack of sleep, crankiness or discomfort (teething, anyone?) can throw off their appetite and their interest in trying new things in general.

My advice is to just keep trying. Offer solids you know he liked right off the bat and keep offering those he didn't seem to like too much. He will likely surprise you and start the show interest in more and more options as he gets used to the idea of eating solids.

You can also use his preferred foods as a base and build from there-- does he seem to like the sweetness of fruit? If so, he might do better with sweeter veggies like sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, etc. If he prefers crunchy textures, try roasting veggies or try cutting different toasted breads into finger-food sized strips he can explore. Allowing him to play with foods on his own might also be more fun and less stressful for him than being spoon fed- this plays into the philosophy of Baby Led Weaning, which skips purees altogether and allows kids to self-feed solids from the start.