We’ve been exploring the brave new world of solids with gusto, watching Lena enjoy each new food as she’s introduced to it. So far…she hasn’t said no to anything.

As we progress from one food to the next, I’ve done my fair share of research on the topic. There is a wealth of information out there, but very little in the way of guidelines for appropriate quantities and balancing milk intake vs. solid food. Most helpful guides simply say to keep the spoon moving until the child refuses it. Well, what if the child NEVER refuses it?!

I think the lack of specifics are mostly due to the fact that every child is SO different. We have an eater and while she’s not overly chubby, she’s well above average for height and weight. We’re tall people so it’s to be expected, but I’m sure our food estimates are far above what many other babies her age are eating. I’m still breastfeeding so it’s difficult to estimate milk quantities, but here are our best guesses.

Also…be sure you read up on which foods are appropriate, especially if you’re making your own food. Babycenter.com has some great advice and you want to be sure to give age appropriate foods that won’t create any allergy risk for your child. If you’re buying food, most baby foods also come labeled with the stage so it’s pretty easy to figure out what to start with.

Warning signs your child is ready:

  • Huge milk intake – we just couldn’t keep up with her. She was drinking 9-12 ounce bottles at certain times of the day.
  • Sitting fairly well in a reclined position – she couldn’t sit up but could recline fairly upright in a bouncy chair and hold her head steady.
  • Tongue reflex disappears – If you tried to put something in her mouth (toy, finger or otherwise) she’d push it right out again. One day, she just wasn’t doing it any more.
  • Food tracking – if we ate around her, she’d follow our hands, fork, food with rapt attention.

First introduction (4-5 months):

  • Oatmeal, fruit or veg: 2-3 tablespoons.
  • Milk intake: shouldn’t alter too drastically just yet, we kept the same schedule and just reduced the quantities a bit. Her 10:30 feeding went from 9 oz down to 7 oz and her night bottle before bed went from 9-12 oz down to about 8 oz. Roughly, 35-40 oz total per day.
  • Start with single ingredients with a very smooth consistency, on the verge of being a liquid. Cereals (we opted for oatmeal, best to choose iron fortified), sweet potatoes, peas, squash, apricots, pears, apples, prunes, bananas (beware of constipation), carrots (beware of gas) have all been contenders. Wait about 3-4 days between the introduction of each new food.
  • Try a tablespoon or two at the beginning. Lena very quickly ramped up to 2-3 tablespoons of food, but like I said…she never refused any of it. Rather than waiting for her to refuse…we quit when she wouldn’t complain mightily if we stopped feeding her.
  • We started with oatmeal and then added the veggies or fruits to it with each new introduction. This worked out great because we could simply spoon a little more of the fruit or veg into her bowl if she was still hungry. At least this way, we didn’t have to scramble to mix up some more oatmeal.
  • One feeding per day after her 5 pm milk feeding quickly became two feedings per day (the second added after her 10:30 am milk feeding).

Solid Food Pro (5-6 months):

  • Oatmeal: 2-3 tablespoons, veg/fruit: 2-3 teaspoons plus an extra spoonful or two if she’s still hungry.
  • Milk intake: bedtime bottle is down to about 6 oz and her afternoon bottle (2 pm) went from about 8 oz down to 6 oz as well. Roughly, 30-35 oz per day.
  • Once the child has a bit of practice and relishes eating as much as Lena, thicken up the consistency a bit. Lena never really took to the runny version of things, so we combine everything with oatmeal to give it a bit more texture but still very smooth. She loves it.
  • Move on to the highchair. We stuck our Bebe pod in the highchair and quickly realized she’s a much happier (and less messy!) eater when she’s sitting upright. She still can’t quite do it on her own but having the Bebe pod for support and the arms and tray of the highchair to hold onto…she’s a happy baby.
  • Watch those hands! Now that she’s upright and able to look around, she’ll try to grab anything that comes within reach. That includes a full bowl of baby food if we’re not careful!
  • We haven’t moved to three feedings per day yet simply because we’re still a bit rushed in the morning, but that will likely come very soon and will be after her 7:30 am milk feeding.

Stage 2 (6-8 months):

  • Oatmeal: 3-4 tablespoons, veg/fruit: 3-4 teaspoons, meat: 2-3 teaspoons (just a best guess at this point!)
  • Milk intake: to be determined! I’m guessing we’ll likely lose one of the milk feedings during the day which will land us around 25 oz per day.
  • Now that she’s handling solids so well, we want to be prepared for the next stage. I’m planning to make a lot more of this stage of foods. She’ll be sixth months old in a few weeks so we’ll get the go-ahead from her pediatrician at her next appointment.
  • By most accounts, once you’ve gone through the stage 1 foods with no reaction…it’s definitely ok to start on the next stage.

Feel free to weigh in with any other tips and tricks you’ve found! There seems to be such a wide range of suggestions so I’d love to hear what others have found to work for them.

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