Start your breastfeeding off right with helpful information from non-profit Best for Babes.

Breastfeeding and Starting Your Baby on Solid Foods

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Photo: iStockphoto/kickers

Put a bib on. It’s time to take the plunge and give your baby solid foods.  By the way… that bib should be for you! You’ve never quite seen a mess like a baby and solid foods.

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Around six months, most pediatricians will recommend that you start giving your baby solid foods in addition to breast milk.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and then continuing to breastfeed until your baby is at least one year old, and longer if you wish.

So how do you do it? Go slow.  Introduce new foods one at a time.  Try that new food for a few days or more before adding another one.  This can help you watch out for any allergic reactions.

There isn’t a clear answer as to what foods to start with.  Some doctors recommend starting with a baby cereal that you mix with either breast milk, milk or water.  From there, you can progress to vegetables, fruits and proteins.  Everything should be soft and mushy since your baby doesn’t have any teeth yet. You can buy baby food, or make your own. 

As you introduce solids, breastfeeding will still be your baby’s main source of nutrition.  You can start out by adding one solid meal or snack per day, either before or after nursing.  And as the months go on, you’ll slowly add in more solid meals. But if you want to keep breastfeeding, continue to breastfeed on demand, whenever your baby is hungry.

Every baby is different, and every pediatrician will have his or her own approaches to this.  So please check with your doctor.

If you’re looking for more resources on how to introduce solids, here are some good links:  Kellymom.com, About.com, and HealthyChildren.org (which is from the American Academy of Pediatrics).

As for that bib, get something to cover the table and floors while you’re at it.  And get ready to spend the next few years under the table wiping down the floor after each meal.

About Andi

Andi Silverman is the author of "Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to Breastfeeding." She is also a digital marketing consultant for Nosy Crow, a children's book and app publisher. Andi blogs at mamaknowsbreast.com and can be found on Twitter @AndiSilverman.

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