Scared to start solids with your baby? Read this

Scared to start solids with your baby? Read this

It’s an exciting milestone: Your pediatrician gave you the go-ahead to start feeding your baby solid foods. You’ve thought about this moment, but now that the time has arrived, you’re feeling overwhelmed and maybe even scared.

Dr. Nicole Phelps, a pediatrician with Advocate Children’s Hospital, weighs in with some practical and reassuring advice for parents feeling ready – or not so ready – to introduce solid foods to their babies.

“Starting solids is about developing a healthy relationship with food, including getting comfortable with a variety of textures and flavors. It’s a time for your baby to start understanding how to listen to their body’s satiety and hunger cues,” she explains. “My biggest piece of advice for parents starting solids with their baby is not to worry too much about making sure they eat a perfect, nutritionally balanced meal right from the start.”

Dr. Phelps says babies 12 months and younger get most of their calories and nutrition from breast milk or formula, so parents shouldn’t panic over ensuring their baby is eating a perfectly rounded meal.

“With a low-stress environment at mealtimes and repeated exposure to a variety of foods, babies will learn to eat a balanced diet in time,” she says. “Sitting down with your baby and modeling eating healthy foods is a great way to teach them this important life skill.”

Dr. Phelps addresses two common concerns she often hears from parents: introducing allergenic and textured foods.

“I frequently get asked when to introduce highly allergenic foods, like peanuts. There is strong evidence that introducing these allergenic foods beginning at 6 months of age can actually decrease the risk of developing a food allergy,” she says. “I also hear parents express concern over starting table foods with more textures because they’re worried about their baby choking. As long as the food is appropriately prepared, soft foods are offered and the child is carefully supervised, choking risk is quite low. Introducing textured foods by 9 months is very important in preventing texture aversion and picky eating later on.”

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About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator on the content team at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.