How to Introduce Solid Foods to your Baby (4-6 Months). Schedule of how much & how often to feed your baby. Also tips and tricks for making introducing solid foods as easy and fun as possible!

The process of starting your baby on solid foods can be daunting to a first {or fourth} time mom! It feels like you finally get into a great sleeping/eating routine and then just like *that* it’s time to add something new to the mix. Well, after having four kids I want to share some tips and tricks from my experience on How to Introduce Solid Foods with your baby!  Hopefully I can help make the introduction of baby food fun and not the least bit scary!

So this post discusses how to start out. In later posts I will show you how I prepare different foods for my babies!

Where we are at with nursing when we introduce solid foods.

I am all about getting my kids on a schedule. If you aren’t, it’s ok….one of the beautiful things about motherhood is the variety in it’s methods. However, I swear by the book Babywise and all of my girls have slept through the night by 2 months old, which is invaluable to me.

Since I build a routine into our family, my babies pretty quickly adapt to the 3-hour nursing schedule and stick with it for the first 5-6 months of their cute little lives. This schedule determines when/how often I feed solids, so here is what a typical day looks like for us from birth to about 6 months old.

How to Introduce Solid Foods to your Baby (4-6 Months). Schedule of how much & how often to feed your baby. Also tips and tricks for making introducing solid foods as easy and fun as possible!

When to start solids.

Every pediatrician my kids have seen has recommended starting solids by 6 months of age, with permission to begin as early as 4 months.  I usually fall somewhere in between those two. I make the choice to start based on our life circumstances {e.g. we aren’t super busy}. This time I started because ALL of my kids AND my husband were dying to see Mara eat food and feed her! LOL! Peer pressure at it’s finest.

How to know when your baby is ready to introduce solid foods.

There are a few signs to look for to determine if your baby is ready to give solid foods a go!

She is interested in food.

I notice my babies getting interested in the food I’m eating around 4-5 months old. They watch as I put a spoon in my mouth or lean in towards my plate to catch a closer look at the food on it. Mara actually went to grab my bowl of quinoa salad and spilled it allllll over the floor! She clearly is wondering what’s going on during mealtime!

She can hold up her head.

You cannot feed a baby while she’s laying down. 😉 Once our little ones can sit in a bumbo for at least 10 minutes without getting too tired then I know they are strong enough to sit up for a feeding!

She grabs things and put them in her mouth.

When you put a toy in your baby’s hands does she immediately put it in her mouth? Then they are likely ready to eat from a spoon.

What to expect with the first feeding.

Your baby will likely spit out most of the food you feed her at first. The first week or so is just getting her used to eating from a spoon. It’s not about calories or the amount of food that they actually ingest, as much as it is about teaching her a new skill that is completely foreign to her!

Remember, your baby can live on breastmilk alone for the first 6-7 months of her life, so relax and have fun. If she doesn’t get the hang of it after a week you might want to stop and try again later. 

Now, since I’ve waited until I was pretty sure my babies were more than ready to eat solid foods, they have all been champs. I made Mara’s food a little thicker than I usually have in the past to start, and she did great! You will know what your baby can handle as you try different things!

How to Introduce Solid Foods to your Baby (4-6 Months). Schedule of how much & how often to feed your baby. Also tips and tricks for making introducing solid foods as easy and fun as possible!

Tips

Always nurse {or feed a bottle} first.

The bulk of your baby’s nutrition needs to come from breastmilk {or formula}. It is important that your baby nurses or drinks her bottle first so she does not fill up on solid foods before she receives the nutrition she needs. Any solid foods should be considered supplements to nursing at the 4-8 month stage.

Start with very thin/liquidy “food”

My husband laughs and says we start our babies on “liquid foods” not solids. Eating is a new skill for your baby. She is only used to ingesting liquids, so if you try to feed her thick, pasty food she will likely gag, choke and not be able to swallow it. If you begin with cereal make it very thin and runny. If you begin with avocado or sweet potato blend it with enough water to make it easy to swallow for your child. 

Observe your baby after she eats.

When it’s time to start solid foods I usually choose to introduce new foods at the lunchtime feeding (11 AM). I do this because it is the longest stretch of time my babies are awake during the day, so I can observe them and see if they have an allergic reaction to new foods.

It’s very important to be certain that your child is not allergic to the foods you feed them. Do not feed your baby a new food and put them down for a nap right away. You run the risk of being unaware if they have an allergic reaction, which I don’t have to tell you, is not good.

Introduce solid foods 1 at a time with 4-5 days in between.

This also is to ensure that you are certain your child is not allergic to the foods they are eating. If you introduce multiple foods at a time and your child has a reaction, you will be unable to discern which food is causing the problem. If you have only fed them one new food and they react poorly to it, then you know exactly what the cause is!

How to Introduce Solid Foods to your Baby (4-6 Months). Schedule of how much & how often to feed your baby. Also tips and tricks for making introducing solid foods as easy and fun as possible!

Amount/Timing

Ok, so here is a super practical chart of how I introduce solid foods week by week. The first week is just getting your baby used to eating from a spoon and increasing food intake. After that I try to add a new feeding every week for the first three weeks until they are eating breakfast, lunch and dinner {again, always nursing first}.

How to Introduce Solid Foods to your Baby (4-6 Months). Schedule of how much & how often to feed your baby. Also tips and tricks for making introducing solid foods as easy and fun as possible!

How to know when they are done.

Remember your baby’s stomach is the size of their cute little fist. Do not jam them full! Every baby is different. At the beginning stages of eating solids all my babies ate about 2-4 TBS of food per meal. However, you need to listen to your baby and watch their cues. If they start pulling their head away, pushing the spoon away with their hands, refusing to open their mouths, etc. then they are telling you they are done. Please don’t force your baby to finish all the food you prepare for them. They are learning and so are you. I have often mixed up a meal for my baby only to have them eat 2 TBS of it. I simply put the rest in the refrigerator for the next meal!

New Foods

Once you have worked up to 3 meals/day, the goal is to continue introducing new foods, one every 4-5 days! Here is a list of  foods that are great for a beginning eater {4-6 months}

Solid foods to feed your baby 4 to 6 months old!
After you have introduced your baby to many different foods and are feeding her three times a day, you will be able to get into a routine that works for your family. 

Since times for meals vary so widely from family to family, I’ve created a graphic with a typical day for my babies around 6-8 months! I try to vary the type of fruits and veggies I feed them daily. If they eat an orange vegetable at lunch, I serve a green veggie at dinner. If they have bananas at breakfast, they get pears at the next meal!

How to Introduce Solid Foods to your Baby (4-6 Months). Schedule of how much & how often to feed your baby. Also tips and tricks for making introducing solid foods as easy and fun as possible!

What if my baby doesn’t like a certain food?

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. I had to introduce avocado to my oldest 4 times before she actually liked it and ate it willingly. My mom thought I was being mean feeding her a food she didn’t like {LOL}. But I truly believe that we {parents} determine whether or not our children become picky eaters.

Of course it’s easier to only feed your baby the foods she absolutely loves and gobbles up willingly. However, we try to parent for the later, not just the now. So even though now I’d just like to fill her belly with bananas so she takes a good nap, it’s very important to me that my children learn to eat what they are served, whether they love it or not.

Must-Have Baby Food Products

And finally, here is a list of products that I use {and love} to make baby food. The list is short and simple but all of these things are staples in my baby-feed life!

Vitamix

Surprise surprise right?! I actually bought my first Vitamix when my oldest daughter was starting solids so that I could make baby food for her, {and smoothies for me}! 😉  It has become my most beloved kitchen tool {as you know if you’ve spent any amount of time on my blog}!

How to Introduce Solid Foods to your Baby (4-6 Months). Schedule of how much & how often to feed your baby. Also tips and tricks for making introducing solid foods as easy and fun as possible!

Silicone Molds or Ice Cube Trays

Silicone molds/ice cube trays make it SO easy to freeze baby food in perfectly, pre-portioned amounts. I use silicone ice cube molds or mini brownie trays to freeze the baby food in 1 or 2 TBS portions. Then I simply reheat it in the microwave for 30 seconds per cube!

Bibs

These bibs were life changing. We didn’t discover them until my second child {Gabe} was like 2 years old. I love that you can wipe them clean after eating instead of needing to throw them in the washer every time! LOVE.

How to Introduce Solid Foods to your Baby (4-6 Months). Schedule of how much & how often to feed your baby. Also tips and tricks for making introducing solid foods as easy and fun as possible!

Spoons

I’m pretty sure we got the spoons we use regularly from the dollar store! LOL! Just make sure you get little ones that your baby can easily put in their moth!

Little containers with lids

You will have to feed your baby on the go. You will need a way to transport your homemade baby food! Here are a few great options!

How to Introduce Solid Foods to your Baby (4-6 Months). Schedule of how much & how often to feed your baby. Also tips and tricks for making introducing solid foods as easy and fun as possible!

That’s it! You don’t need anything crazy fancy to make your baby food! Simple, easy, cost effective and nutritious!

Do you have any questions about introducing your baby to solid foods that I didn’t answer in this post?!

If you make something from JoyFoodSunshine I would love to see your creations! #joyfoodsunshine

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How to Introduce Solid Foods to your Baby (4-6 Months). Schedule of how much & how often to feed your baby. Also tips and tricks for making introducing solid foods as easy and fun as possible!

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How to Introduce Solid Foods to your Baby (4-6 Months). Schedule of how much & how often to feed your baby. Also tips and tricks for making introducing solid foods as easy and fun as possible!