Transitioning your Baby from Liquid to Solid Foods

As a baby grows older and the months start counting it gets to the time where parents or guardians start thinking of transitioning the baby’s diet from liquids and milk to solid food. There are really two methods for transiting your baby to solid foods. The first method is to slightly thicken the purees you are giving them each week by simply not blending them as much. So you will go from a fine and silky puree to a chunky and thick puree in about a month or so.

You can also increase the size and amount of grains, meat, and beans you put into the puree. Once they are fine with eating the chunky puree, you can offer small chunks of soft and mushy food alongside the chunky puree, always giving them the option of what type of food they prefer.

Depending on your little one, this might take some time to get them to start eating solid food rather than puree or they might take one bit of the solid food and never go back to a puree. Either way is just fine. The second method is to just go straight from the purees to the solid food. It’s a better idea to offer a puree alongside the solid foods to make sure they always have an option.

Some babies just want to use their fingers to eat and to be done with purees altogether. Keep in mind that this process means that feeding time will be a bit messier than usual so it’s always a good idea to have Collectable Bandana Bibs or just normal bibs handy so you can manage the mess.

Solid foods to start with:

The key here is to offer them small pieces of mushy, steamed, soft or cooked foods to prevent any choking hazards. Start with a small pea sized piece of solid food and work your way up in size. Examples of foods to start with are:

  • Pieces of ripe banana, avocado or pear
  • Steamed carrots, peas, corn, sweet potato or yellow squash
  • Cooked pasta
  • Cooked Chicken or Fish
  • Soft cheese – mozzarella, goat or cream cheese

Feeding Steps to Take

The following steps can be taken for each age range your baby gets to:

Phase 1:

When your baby is around 6 months and starts to show signs of readiness for solid foods, then it’s time to begin the tasting phase. Dip baby’s spoon in a smooth puree of your choosing. Offer baby the spoon to grab and help her guide it to her mouth for a little taste. Or, give the baby the spoon and let her mouth, tap, and play. In these initial phases, introduce 1 food at a time for 3 days and monitor for reactions before introducing another food. One sign of readiness for Phase 2 is when your baby shows interest and pleasure in tasting and opens her mouth when the spoon is near.

Phase 2:

In this phase, you can start offering spoonfuls of purees.Offer first real “bites” of pureed foods. But don’t stock up on purees and baby cereals as phase two lasts only a short while and your baby likely won’t be in Phase 2 long. Choosing thicker purees will challenge baby to do a bit more with her mouth than just suckling thin purees off the spoon and will decrease the messy splatter a bit as baby experiments with self-feeding from a spoon. For homemade baby foods, simply puree to the texture of yogurt or pudding or add powdered baby cereal to thicken.

Phase 3:

For phase 3 it’s time to start offering fork-mashed Solids like mashed potatoes or mashed egg yolk. These fork-mashed foods begin to introduce texture to baby’s diet and help baby increase oral awareness, which is important for a baby learning to use cheek, lip, jaw and tongue muscles to move food around the mouth.

Phase 4:

At this stage, it’s time to start introducing soft solids to your baby. By now, your baby has been exposed to new flavors, textures, and temperatures of food and has gotten good practice chewing foods, so now you can safely and confidently move on to soft solids. Small bites are easiest for your baby to move over their gums to mash, chew and chomp. In order for the baby to bite off and chew up larger chunks of food and tougher solids, he’ll need to develop the most mature chewing skills, which usually don’t emerge until 15 months or later.

Because of babies’ decreased ability to metabolize salt and to chew tough meats, fibrous fruits and veggies and other foods, phase 5 meals can consist of many of the ingredients of your family meals, but may not look identical. For example, baby’s taco dinner might include seasoned but unsalted ground meat, shredded cheese and very small cubes of avocado and tomato. This omits the added salt. At this phase, your baby should start showing signs of entering phase 5 by showing efficient chewing capabilities of larger and firmer food groups.

Phase 5:

At this phase, the baby is ready to eat the same thing as everyone else i.e family table foods. Now that your baby is getting older and is a more experienced eater, she can eat almost all table foods that your family does. Be very cautious offering very chewy foods like meats and continue to cut solid to bite-sized pieces until you’ve consistently observed your baby’s ability to chew a smaller bite off a larger piece. Young children may over-stuff their mouths, bite off larger chunks than is safe or accidentally inhale foods when talking, laughing or coughing. Close supervision at mealtime is important for young children.

Watching your baby grow and learn to eat, walk, talk etc is always a fun and exciting process. It can get overwhelming if you’re faced with something you didn’t expect or anticipate. Always remember to take it in good stride and remember every child is different and every parent goes through a learning curve. Do your own research and consult your doctor before making any medical or medical related decisions.