Any big transition in your baby’s life can be stressful just as it is exciting. Moving from a purely liquid diet to one that includes solid foods is one of those times! As a physician and mother, I would like to take this opportunity to calm your fears and reassure you through this transition.
Sometimes it takes a few tries before your baby will embrace the new eating experience. Up until now, your baby is used to a single flavor being offered each time she is hungry, and she expects it to be offered via breast/bottle. So don’t be surprised if your baby doesn’t automatically open wide when you eagerly offer her first taste of solid food. A look of confusion and disgust may appear; tears and gagging may also occur. Don’t panic! New flavors and textures take time to adjust to. Initially, babies are very ineffective at swallowing solids. She may need multiple attempts before even a few teaspoons are consumed, and that is perfectly normal.
Introducing new foods should be a fun and exciting venture for the whole family. Watching your baby make confused and silly faces is a great photo opportunity and a chance to make lifelong memories as your tiny one joins the rest of the family at the table. Pick a first food you are comfortable with: avocado, sweet potatoes, bananas, applesauce, or baby oatmeal. Pick up a soft silicone spoon, and slowly offer small tastes. As your baby becomes a more skilled eater, you can give her larger bites. Congratulations! Your baby has successfully had her first solid foods!
Every 3-5 days, you can introduce a new food (wait longer for high allergen foods such as eggs), so that you can easily identify any allergies your child may develop. Remember, it often takes 2-3 exposures to a food before the allergy is apparent, so make sure to give your baby the new food several times before offering the next culinary delight.
To ensure your baby continues to consume an adequate volume of breastmilk or formula, offer the milk first and then the solid foods a little while later. That way, you can rest assured that your child has enough calories and nutrients in their system, even if she refuses the green beans you made. Most importantly, try to enjoy this milestone!