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Tips on Beginning Solid Foods

  • The three food no-no's during baby's first year are honey, eggs, and whole milk.

  • When starting baby on solids, make a big deal out of using a spoon while you're eating until he gets the hang of it himself. Some babies are afraid of the spoon at first. Say things like "I'm so glad I have my spoon!" whenever you're around your baby. Go on saying things like "Yay, now I can eat with my own spoon!" And of course, the old ace in the hole: "I love my spoon!" Then, let her sit in the high chair and only give her a spoon, but let her watch you eat while you eat something in a bowl. Baby will probably be entertained by you, which is the best way to learn. Just don't go eating a chicken leg or anything like that with your hands to completely screw up this lesson.

  • For solids, first you start with cereals...it's said that you should start with rice and oats and then go to wheat. Mix cereal with water, breast milk, or formula, but only use about a tablespoon portion. Babies don't need much! Remember, less is more.

  • Babies are particular about their food, so look out for your baby's personal preferences. (Remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears: "This one is too hot," "This one is too cold," "This one is just right!") Be wary of serving food from the microwave because sometimes the outside is cool but the inside is burning hot. Be sure to test the middle part first for temperature before you serve baby if you use the microwave. The same is true with bottles. If you warm a bottle in the microwave, be sure to shake and test the temperature first on the inside of your arm. Otherwise, you could scald your baby. Using a microwave isn't recommended, but in this day and age, who can blame anyone for it? It's going to happen, so let's all get real and do it properly from the get-go.

  • After cereals, go to vegetables—peas, squash, and carrots. Serve veggies by themselves, especially if baby does not like them. Be sure baby is hungry to get him to develop a liking for them. You have to be strategic with veggies because most of them "get it" and want to jump right along to other foods once they start solids.

  • You can start to add in fruits just after veggies, but remember the fruits might compete with the veggies and win. That's bad, but normal.

  • After you've introduced veggies and fruits, then go to meats, beginning around eight months with your doctor's consent. Meats, not seafood. Offer chicken, beef, or liver, cooked well done, and make sure it is cut into small pieces or, better yet, pureed.

  • If your baby doesn't seem to like meat, try using chicken and/or beef bouillon cubes or broth to introduce the flavor in a liquid form. Bouillon cubes and broths are inexpensive, so you won't waste a lot of money with this experiment. Follow the directions and mix with water. Try serving it alone or with tiny pasta shapes, like alphabet letter pasta. Always keep some plain pasta on the side, especially if you are serving other children. Plain pasta is usually a winner all around.

    Copyright © 2006 by Jeanne Murphy. Excerpted from Your Growing Baby (5 to 8 Months) with permission of its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.

    To order this book visit Amazon.com.

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