There’s always a big build-up to starting solids for the first time. Perhaps you’re getting tired from all that breast or bottle feeding and you’re looking forward to bulking bub up some other way. Or maybe you’ve heard that starting solids improves sleep. Maybe you can’t wait to watch your baby’s face as he tries new sensations and tastes for the first time.
It’s a big event, and no doubt you’re clued up on how to go about things. So what can you expect once solid foods start making an appearance in your baby’s life?
Here are ten things that are likely to happen once you introduce solids:
1. You’ll meet an unimpressed face
You might have slaved over a brilliant puree or thought your baby rice cereal was to die for … only to be met with a very unenthusiastic face. Don’t be alarmed, it’s not that baby dislikes the taste. It’s simply all so new, those feelings on baby’s tongue are nothing like he’s experienced before. Keep it up, bub will get used to it. It can take up twenty tries of something for your baby to determine whether he likes it or not.
2. There’ll be an almighty mess
If you’re a bit of a neat freak, starting solids with your baby is about to rock your world. No matter how careful you are, there’s no escaping the mess that comes with sloppy purees and first-time tastes. Line the floor with plastic and get used to a big clean up after every meal. Even better, take bub outside for all meals. That way, you can simply hose down the whole area after you’re done, bub included.
3. It will take time
You might be excited about progressing bub onto three hearty meals a day, but know that getting to that point will take time. Your baby will go through fussy periods and won’t enjoy everything on offer. Give bub plenty of chances to try the same food again and again and offer small portions at first, to avoid waste (and heartache for you).
4. Moods matter
Just like you and I, bub might to always be in the mood for food. If your baby is irritable or tired, getting through a meal is likely to be harder. Keep in mind that some mealtimes are going to be easier than others and try to ascertain your baby’s mood before you try a new food with him.
5. Poo sensations
More solid food means more solid poop. Beware! If you’ve been enjoying sweet breastfed baby poo, those rosy days are about to end. The next poop you see in your baby’s nappy might just resemble your own.
6. Breastfeeds may drop
As your baby gets used to having food in his tummy, and as you increase meals, you’ll notice your baby taking less milk. This could be a good time to drop a feed, which may also help your baby take in more food. Consult with your health professional to find out the right steps to take.
7. Baby might not sleep better
If you’ve been hoping your baby will sleep better once he’s on solids, don’t get your hopes up. Filling your baby’s tummy with solids won’t help in the sleep department and may even cause more problems. Your baby’s stomach will be sensitive and may react to new foods, which could cause even more waking at night. Additionally, the onset of solids should only be done through small amounts at a time, so your baby won’t be going to bed with a belly full of food.
8. Gagging happens
Gagging is a normal reflex in babies as they learn to eat solid foods. It brings the food forward in their mouth so they chew it more effectively or try swallowing it again. However, you should still keep an eye on any gagging behaviour, as it’s not foolproof at preventing choking, which occurs when something partially or completely blocks the airway.
9. All the food by 12 months
If all goes to plan, you can expect your baby to enjoy a full array of food by around twelve months, including three meals a day and regular snacks. It’s very exciting at this point! This is when you can serve baby the same food as other family members – although obviously, you’ll need to mash it up or make some food items more baby friendly. Enjoy the freedom!
10. Your baby is unique
With that being said, remember that your baby is unique and will follow his own path in the food department. Don’t worry about what other babies are doing or if your little one seems to be taking time to get used to food. Seek support from your health professional and try to enjoy the experience without stress. In good time, your baby will be eating like a champion.