How should I introduce solid food to my baby?
Introduce other solids gradually, one at a time, waiting at least three days after each new food. This way you’ll get a heads-up if your baby has an allergic reaction to one of them (signs of an allergy may include diarrhea, a bloated tummy, increased gas, or a rash). If there’s a family history of allergies, or your baby develops an allergic reaction during this process, start waiting up to a week between new foods.
Even though it’s a good idea to get your baby accustomed to eating a wide variety of foods, it’ll take time for him to get used to each new taste and texture. Each baby will have unique food preferences, but the transition should go something like this:
1. Semi-liquid cereals
2. Strained or mashed fruits and vegetables
3. Finely chopped table foods, including meat and other protein sources
When your baby has mastered cereal, offer a few tablespoons of vegetables or fruit in the same meal as a cereal feeding. Good foods to start with include sweet potatoes, squash, applesauce, bananas, carrots, oatmeal, peaches, and pears. All food should be strained or mushy — at this stage your baby will press the food against the top of his mouth and then swallow.
When feeding your baby from a jar or container of baby food, scoop some into a little dish and feed him from that.If you dip his feeding spoon into the jar, you won’t be able to save the leftovers because you’ll have introduced bacteria from his mouth into the jar. Also, throw away any baby food jars within a day or two of opening them.
Some experts recommend introducing yellow fruits and vegetables first because they’re easiest to digest, but others advise going green from the start so your baby doesn’t develop a preference for the sweeter taste of the yellow foods. It’s up to you which route to take. Either way, don’t leave any food off his menu simply because you don’t like it. And stay away from foods that might cause him to choke.
If your baby turns away from a particular food, don’t push. Try again in a week or so. He may never like sweet potatoes, or he may change his mind several times and end up loving them.
Don’t be surprised if your baby’s stools change color and odor when you add solids to his diet. If your baby has been exclusively breastfed up to this point, you’ll probably notice a strong odor to his formerly sweet-smelling stools as soon as he starts eating even tiny amounts of solids. This is normal. If his stools seem too firm (rice cereal, bananas, and applesauce can contribute to constipation), switch to other fruits and vegetables and oatmeal or barley cereal.