Today’s post is from guest blogger, Mackenzie Campbell, who is a student of Nutrition and Food Sciences at Middle Tennessee State University. She is also a new mother who shares with you her experience of introducing solid foods to her baby son.
As a new mother I have learned more than I imagined. The introduction of solid foods was a long awaited point in my son’s first few months of life. I could see the look in his eyes as he watched me put every bite of food into my mouth and wonder when he was going to experience this exciting world of food. For me, this is how I knew my son was ready for his first taste of solid food. As soon as my doctor gave me the go ahead to start solids at four months, I was off to the store to buy a box of baby cereal. I was excited to see those first grimaces at the taste of something other than breastmilk. And those first few bites were definitely a treat to watch. They were also a learning experience.
Here are a few things I learned from our first experience with solids:
Start slow. The first time I gave my son cereal it was similar to the consistency of milk; the mixture was primarily breastmilk and a small amount of cereal. This enabled my son to get a taste of the cereal without being overwhelmed with the new taste. He was very unsure of what I had just given him, so he only had a few bites. Every meal he would eat a few more bites and he grew to love the new taste. Slowly I added more and more cereal until he would eat a mixture similar to the consistency of oatmeal. He would polish off the bowl in no time and be looking for more. This is how we started every new food, just a few bites at a time at several consecutive feedings. Slowly he became a baby food connoisseur.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” My son was very unsure about the taste of new foods. It took numerous tries to get him used to the taste of cereal. Certain baby foods such as sweet potatoes and squash were loved after a few bites. Other foods like peas and green beans took multiple feedings and jars of food before my son would openly accept these foods. It can take a more than a dozen attempts at a new food before young children are accepting of them (USDA). My advice to everyone introducing new foods, is to not give up after those first few bites.
Food is not a sleep aid. After advice from numerous other mothers and grandmothers, I assumed that as soon as my son started solids he would sleep through the night. I was looking forward to this because at four months, I was still up all hours of the night with my son. My son’s sleep habits were unchanged, as the doctors had indicated. Just recently at ten months he began sleeping though the night consistently. I now believe that his sleeping patterns stemmed from hunger and needing comfort throughout the night. Foods are a fun way to bond with a baby, but they will not lull them off to sleep for the night.
These were a few important points that I learned from introducing solids to my son this past year. We are continuing to try new foods, sometimes eagerly, other times with hesitation, every day and we look forward to the many more new foods to come over the years!
What were your experiences when introducing solids to your baby?