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This may seem like a simple topic, but with my first baby, I had no idea when to give him anything solid to eat. I mean, he was already so chubby. But, as he hit about 9 months or so, he was wanting to eat everything we were eating. My natural instincts told me that if he wanted some, give it to him. But, as a first-time mom, I was concerned my instincts were not instincts, but just guesses. If you are ever unsure on your mom instincts, trust your pediatrician for any advice!
Fast-forward to baby number three, and now I am confident on transitioning babies from nursing to solid foods. I’m in the transition as we speak with my 10-month-old. He literally screams if he doesn’t get to eat some of the food his brothers are eating. It’s really quite funny.
So, I have relied on a three-phase process to transition my baby to solid foods fairly seamlessly including using Gerber® Pure® Water.
Phase One: Start with rice cereal.
I start with rice cereal around 6 months, and that just seemed to work for my babies. I am sure you and your pediatrician can decide when your baby is ready, depending on how long you plan to nurse.
When mixing rice cereal, I use a purified water, specifically Gerber® Pure® Water, which is specially purified for babies. Basically, you can buy the gallon of water, I buy mine at Walmart, to use just for mixing the rice cereal.
My babies love to pretend to eat their rice cereal with a spoon, and if I don’t let them hold a spoon while I feed them, they are more concerned about grabbing the food from me. So, let your baby hold a spoon, while you spoon feed them some rice cereal.
There are various brands you can chose as far as the cereal goes, and the instructions are on the back on how to mix it.
Phase Two: Move to blended food:
This can come in a variety of options. There are a lot jars and containers at the grocery stores, or you can make your own! With my first, I bought the jars, not really knowing or wanting to make my own. With the second and third, it’s almost easier to blend up the food we already have. For example, oatmeal is a breakfast my boys love. You can blend up some cooked oatmeal in the blender with the Gerber® Pure® Water, to make some baby food oatmeal. Sweet potatoes and apples are another option I introduced in phase two. Cook some sweet potato and apples, blend them up with the Gerber® Pure® Water, and there you go! Simple and easy baby food!
I also offer food a couple times a day, around lunch and dinner. Still give them their spoon to hold, while you feed them, and babies are usually pretty good at signaling when they don’t want anymore, or they are just bored of eating.
Phase Three: Small Chunks:
This is the phase we are in now. I offer the baby his rice cereal, and I leave small things on his tray to eat. Little cereal pieces, small pieces of bread, rice puff snacks…anything they can grab and will melt in their mouth. David is really good about sucking on his food for a long time. Babies naturally store some food in their cheeks because it softens the food up. I like to focus on food that softens quickly. Cooked carrots that you mash into pieces, cooked sweet potato, rice puffs, whole grain cereal, small bits of bread…all of these are easy to mash in their mouth if they don’t have any teeth yet. David is pretty aggressive with his eating because he wants to keep up with his brothers. I’ve given him more chunks of real food now than I did this early for my other two because David wants to do it. He watches and learns from his big brothers.
I have found that the feeding process usually takes months, but of course varies from baby to baby. The rice cereal for us starts around 6 months, and then I am blending food about 8 months and offering small pieces of food around 9 or 10 months. I continue to mix up the rice cereal and blend the food with Gerber® Pure® Water until the baby is chewing really well, and they don’t need any more blended food. Make sure to look into the Gerber® Pure® Water as a great purified water option that specifically purified for babies. I hope these phases help as you transition your baby from nursing to solid food. Completely weaning them is a whole different story, but we’ll save that for another post, as I’ll be weaning David here soon in a few months!