There’s so much build up to your baby’s first bite -- and rightfully so! It’s a major milestone, and one that’s worth planning for.
But starting solids can be intimidating. When should you start? What should your baby food plan look like? And of course, what gear will make the transition a little easier? (Hint: our fresco high chair and mat & bowl set are game changers!) Here’s all you need to know to get your plan in place for feeding baby solids.
1. Get the okay from your doctor.
When you’re ready to move forward with feeding your baby solids, it’s important to check with your baby’s pediatrician to make sure he’s ready physically. There’s no set age when a baby is ready for solids; it depends on each child’s development. The American Academy of Pediatrics details four important milestones that must be met first. Your baby needs to be able to hold up his own head, should open his mouth when food gets close, be able to move food from a spoon to his throat, and be big enough. Ideally, your baby will have doubled his weight -- or should weigh at least 13 pounds.
2. Is your baby interested?
Your baby might meet all the physical milestones, but is he interested in food? If not, he might not be ready! Pay attention to your baby as you eat. Do his eyes follow your spoon? Is he opening his mouth or smacking his lips? If so, he might be ready for solids. While he can’t yet tell you what he wants, his eyes and facial expressions are full of messages. He might be begging you for a bite!
3. Invest in the right gear.
Give your little one a seat at the table! Getting your little one on your level for meal time is so essential, and so is making the most of your purchase. That’s why we designed our fresco high chair to last from birth (yeah, you read that right) to age eight. It fully reclines to bring your napping infant counter level while you’re prepping dinner and sits up with a tray when he’s ready to join you for meal time. And our fresco solo chair is designed to work without a tray, allowing your little one to share the table with the grown-ups.
4. Set a baby food plan.
If you’re going to use puree, make your own or use trusted brands.These days, making baby food at home is beyond simple. But life is short, mamas, so if spending your precious moments on earth pureeing sweet potatoes isn’t your jam -- no worries. There are plenty of fresh, organic options… made by someone else. ;) Or you can avoid purees all together and go the baby-led weaning route. Under this school of thought, parents start introducing solids that the baby can feed himself at about six-months. Think: bananas, pasta, tofu. Through this method, babies get a crash course in hand-eye coordination, learn how to chew and become familiar with all the textures of different foods. Ask your doctor if your baby is ready for this route and always stay nearby in case of choking.
5. Find the flavor window.
If you want to make sure you don’t raise a picky eater, cash in on the “flavor window”. That’s a window of time, from four to six months, where your baby is the most accepting of new flavors. There’s some really interesting science and data that backs this up, and so many other cool things to learn about how to shape your baby’s palate in First Bites by food writer Bee Wilson. It’s really fascinating.
6. Get spicy.
Baby food doesn’t have to be -- and in fact, it shouldn't be -- boring. Another way to help your little one love great and diverse food, is by feeding him flavor-forward foods packed with spices, herbs and interesting produce finds. Stay away from salt, as tiny kidneys aren’t ready for that yet, but the rest is fair game. Try mild curries, adding cinnamon to their pear or oatmeal, garlic to their potatoes. Good taste doesn’t just happen, it develops.
7. Anticipate the mess.
Yeah, there will be some messes. Babies need to experience food to understand it. They need to squeeze yogurt, throw puffs, and rub applesauce in their hair. It’s a rite of passage. But that doesn’t have to be done at every meal, which is why we designed our fresco mat and bowl to fit snugly in the fresco tray. No throwing, tipping or dumping happening on our watch. Save that for grandma!
Hanna Nakano is a Washington, D.C. based writer and photographer, and mother of two.