When you’re a new parent, it can be hard to know when and how to start feeding your baby solid foods.
There are lots of different opinions out there about what’s best for your child. Which is right? How do you decide? Where can I find breastfeeding and solids schedule 6-month-old baby?
Our guide will teach you everything you need to know about starting your baby on solid foods – what the best first foods are, how often your baby should eat them, and at what times of day they’re best eaten. You’ll also find information on mixing breast milk with cereals and other solids as well as the amount of breast milk that a breastfeeding baby needs each day. We’ve even included some top tips from our experts so you can ensure that your little one gets off to a good start with solids!
How Often and What Times Should I Feed My Baby Solids?
If you are breastfeeding, it is always a good idea to breastfeed on demand. This way your baby can have ample opportunity for all the nutrients they need and it protects your milk supply.
When you are adding solids in for the first time, start with one meal a day and slowly work your way into two meals a day in the first month. After the first month, you can start to introduce more solid foods and gradually begin to decrease your baby’s milk intake. This is usually done by slowly introducing cereal either in their milk or on its own at breakfast time, then leaving some time before reintroducing further foods at lunchtime.
Make sure to offer your baby lots of variety, as well as breast milk or formula throughout the day. Don’t forget that your bottle-fed baby still needs 4-6 feeds a day – this is not affected by starting solid foods.
What are some Healthy First Foods for my Baby?
When thinking about starting solids, always ask yourself, “Is this a healthy food for my baby?”.
Always aim to give your baby as wide a variety of healthy foods as possible. Don’t be afraid to start with fruits and vegetables.
Some important nutrients that your child needs are iron and zinc. Iron is essential for healthy brain development while zinc is required for the immune system to function properly. Babies need more of these nutrients than adults do so it’s vital that they have a varied diet throughout the course.
Focus on softer textures that they can easily eat without teeth. You can try ripe avocados, bananas, steamed sweet potatoes, and carrots.
How Much Should I Feed My Baby at Each Meal?
Your baby still has a very small stomach and will only be able to take 1-4 tablespoons at a time.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended amount for your baby’s first meal of solids is 1-2 tablespoons of baby cereals or other food depending on their age, body weight, and how much milk they are receiving in total throughout the day.
When your baby starts eating other foods, you still might want to offer them some formula or breast milk in a bottle after the meal.
This can be done to help clean their teeth and gums to help prevent tooth decay, as well as give your child some added nutrition.
Related article: Can You Diet While Breastfeeding? 9 Tips on How to Lose Weight
What are the Best Times of Day to Feed My Baby?
You can start when you sit down for a meal as well. Your baby will be delighted to be apart of meal time. But you can also start to introduce “solid” foods into your baby’s diet at any time of the day that works for you.
What is most important here is to make sure you don’t feed your baby too much solid food. You should still give them their usual amount of milk if applicable and continue with breastfeeding or bottle feeds as usual.
How Do I Incorporate Breastfeeding Once I Introduce Solid Foods?
Breast milk will still be the primary source of nutrition in your baby’s diet. Adding some solid foods into their diet can be considered more of a supplemental portion of their diet. It is also a great way for your baby to try different textures and tastes.
In the beginning, it may be tough to squeeze in a feed before you have to leave for work or run an errand. But as your little one gets older, you will find it becomes easier as they won’t need as much milk throughout the day.
Remember that breastfeeding is always recommended and also necessary. You are just adding a few solid foods to their day.
How Do I Introduce My Baby to Solid Foods Safely?
Always make sure that the area is clean, with a smooth surface to place them down. Offer them small portions and take away any uneaten foods after 10-15 minutes. You can then wait for about an hour before you offer them again.
The most important thing is to make sure your baby is sitting up properly while they are eating and that they are having fun throughout the process.
If your child has reflux it may be harder for them to start on solids because of their sensitive stomachs. It is still possible to offer them some solids but you will have to be more careful. You may want to wait until their reflux has calmed down before introducing solid foods into your baby’s diet.
What are the Signs That My Baby Is Ready for Solid Foods?
During this stage, your baby’s digestive system is maturing and they are starting to produce enzymes to help break down solid foods. They are able to move food through their digestive tract more efficiently, if this wasn’t the case they would not be able to go for longer periods of time without feeding.
If your baby is ready for solids around 6 months of age then you will start seeing signs that they are ready which include:
- Crawling or sitting up with support
- Grasping and releasing toys
- Exhibiting loss of tongue-thrust reflex (where they push food out of their mouth with their tongue)
- Making chewing motions with their gums
This will not be a perfect science, some babies may be ready right at 6 months while others may still have another month or two before they are ready.
The best thing you can do is to continue with your baby’s usual milk feeds and keep a close eye out for the signs they are giving you that they are interested in solid foods.
Breast Milk or Formula is Still The Primary Source of Nutrients
The top priority in the first year is that your baby is getting breast milk as a primary source of nutrition at this stage. The benefits of breast milk for your child are made up of the perfect balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and nutrients.
Your baby’s digestive system is still not very efficient before their first birthday. They will not be able to get all the nutrients they need from solids alone. They would need to eat much more than a recommended serving size in order to make up for all the nutrients they are missing from their diet.
Breast milk is the perfect food that is made especially for them so always put that first.
Introducing Solids Slowly and Safely
You will want to introduce one new food at a time when you are introducing solid foods into your baby’s diet. You can then monitor how they react to that food. If there are no negative reactions or food allergies, it’s safe to continue to try new foods.
This is where having a high chair comes in handy, you can place them right up on the table with finger foods. They will be able to see all of what you are eating while sitting with everyone else at the dinner table. This will make the process much more fun for your baby and they will be excited to join in on the family’s meal.
6-Month-Old Eating Schedule Sample
Here is a sample feeding schedule for your 6 – 8-month-old baby.
- Wake and nurse (or if bottle feeding 6 – 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
- Breakfast (1 to 4 tablespoons infant cereal, 1 to 4 tablespoons mashed banana)
- After first nap: nurse (or if bottle feeding 6 – 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
- Before second nap: Nurse (or if bottle feeding 6 – 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
- After second nap: Nurse (or if bottle feeding 6 – 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
- Before dinner: Nurse (or if bottle feeding 6 – 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
- Dinner (1 to 4 tablespoons mashed sweet potato, 1 to 4 tablespoons puréed peas)
- Before bed: Nurse or bottle (6 to 8 ounces of breast milk or formula)
Baby Feeding Goals for 6-9-Month-Olds
The goal is for your baby to be interacting with the food. This is more of a developmental milestone in learning new motor skills. They should also be trying a new food every 3-5 days before moving on to a new food.
This is why it’s important to introduce one new food at a time so you can see how your baby reacts. This is also the case for introducing new foods, you never know if they are going to have an adverse reaction to something they haven’t had before.
Top Tips for Introducing Solid Foods
- Offer your baby small amounts of tiny tastes of the food you’re introducing. Keep offering it until they accept it.
- Make sure you give small portions at first and one new food at a time. This way you can see if they have an allergic reaction to any new foods.
- Try not to rush things by adding in too many foods or too much food at once – this can make your baby feel overwhelmed.
- Don’t forget to smile and be patient! This is a wonderful time of learning, and experimenting with new tastes, smells, food textures, etc., for both you and your child. Have fun!
- Never force or coax your baby into eating more than they are comfortable with. follow your baby’s cues. It’s very important that you respect their pace in this process.
- Let them try a wide variety of foods and textures. Have them try a food of every color of the rainbow.
- Avoid sugary or highly processed foods as well as fruit juices
How to Know if Your Baby Is Getting Enough to Eat
Babies are great communicators about telling you when they have had enough. If they are going through a growth spurt they might want more than usual. You can always offer them food and see if they are interested. Just make sure they are still getting an adequate amount of breast milk or infant formula throughout the day. If you are concerned, you can always meet with your lactation consultant or pediatrician.
Feeding your 6-month-old can be a daunting process, but with the right information and tips here you’ll have no problem figuring out how to introduce solids. Whether you are doing rice cereal, pureed foods, or baby-led weaning, we’ve given some suggestions for what foods are best to start introducing. As well as when it’s safe to give them their first solid food. You should also remember that breast milk is still very important for this stage in development because babies cannot yet digest all the nutrition they need from solids alone. Be sure to share the breastfeeding and solids schedule for 6-month-old babies with any new moms that you think would benefit from it.