Balancing Solid Foods and Milk for Babies
Introducing New Foods to Your Baby for the First Time
The first few months of your newborns life are sometimes the easiest. You are both stuck in hazy days of cuddles and milk mustaches. Everything seems so simple: sleep, milk, nappy change, repeat.
Babies seem to know what they are doing more than we do at times. They give us all the signs we need from them to know when they are ready to try something new, or to move on to a new milestone. We are often the ones who complicate things.
Do Solids Replace Breast Milk?
Between four to six months old, your baby should be showing some signs that they are ready to start experimenting with solids. This can be a super tricky time, especially if it is your first baby. There are so many resources up on the web of what to do, what not to do and then what you definitely should not try!
Who do you listen to? The answer is simple – listen to your baby and yourself. You just need to know a few facts to keep you going, but otherwise your baby will let you know exactly what they need and when they need it.
Breast milk, or formula, should be the main source of nutrition and pretty much everything else for your baby’s first year of life. Solids are introduced from about four to six months as a way of getting them used to textures and getting them excited about flavors. You should start off simple, with vegetables like butternut or sweet potato, and fruits like apple or pear work perfectly. Simply cook them, puree them and you are ready to go.
There really doesn’t need to be a tug of war between solids and milk. You should breastfeed or give your baby a bottle before feeding them their solids, so that they do not depend on it to become full, just to explore.
There might be a time or two where your baby starts refusing milk and wants solids instead. This could be because of a nursing strike. During nursing strikes, try and pump to keep up your milk supply and to have milk to give your baby through a bottle or sippy cup. If all they are wanting to eat is solids, let them do this until they want their milk again. The goal is to have their tummies full.
Balancing solids and milk doesn’t need to be a tight rope act. Your baby will be very dependent on their milk until becoming a toddler, which is absolutely fine. You might find that your baby doesn’t have any interest in solids at all – which is also perfectly okay. Don’t force them into eating solids if they don’t want to, milk has everything they need for their first year of life, and forcing them into eating might give them an unhealthy idea about food and put them off solids completely.
You know best, and so does your baby. They will keep coming back for their milk after some experimenting with solids. Keep things simple in the beginning and don’t rush them, soon they will be completely off milk and you will be wishing the simple milk-only days would be back!