If you’ve been following our article series so far, you know the guidelines for when and how to start solid foods with your baby. And if you’ve put our advice into practice, your baby may now be eating small amounts of solid food. If that’s the case, congratulations! We’re hoping your baby loves this newfound way of eating!
But some of you may be shaking your head right now and thinking to yourselves, “Love it? He HATES it!” Or your baby may have started showing some strange (or even alarming) physical symptoms now that she’s eating solid foods. Is this normal? Is it fixable? Don’t worry — if your baby isn’t reacting well to solids, we can help you determine what to do next.
Reacting to Solids: Love Them or Hate Them?
Obviously, every mom hopes her baby enjoys eating solid food and can’t wait to gobble up a little dish of cereal at mealtime! It makes the introduction to solids so much easier and babies who really enjoy solids early on will typically “learn” how to eat more quickly than babies who prefer to take their time.
A word of caution, though — you may find your baby loves solids too much! If you find him clamoring to eat cereal off a spoon but refusing to nurse or take formula, try cutting back on solids in order to encourage more nursing or formula-feeding. You might also want to consider offering breastmilk or formula first (when he’s good and hungry), before you offer solids. Remember, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastmilk or formula be your baby’s primary source of nutrition for the first year.
Of course, plenty of children don’t love solids; in fact, some hate them! Some moms find their babies refuse solids altogether, clamping their little mouths shut at the mere sight of a spoon, or spitting out every bite of food that enters their mouths. This makes introducing solids hard, of course. But there are steps you can take to try and foster a love of solid foods in your little one:
- Try different foods.
- Encourage him to do it himself.
- Give up (for a few weeks, that is!) and try again later.
Reacting to Solids: The Poop May Change!
Introducing baby to solids often means big changes in her poop. Feed her pureed carrots for dinner, and she’ll likely have a bright orange poop the next day! And finger-foods that are rich in fiber (like raisins, or beans) may pass right through her system and look the same coming out as they did going in.
Baby’s poop may look different after starting solids; it may also stop altogether. Constipation is a common problem after introducing solids. After all, your baby’s only ever had breastmilk or formula; introducing new foods is bound to be hard on his little system! You may notice that your baby’s poop becomes drier and more compact, or that he stops pooping altogether. He may also grimace and draw his legs up when pooping, and he’ll probably seem crankier and fussier than normal. If you notice these signs of constipation, try the following to get your baby pooping normally again:
- Offer more fiber-rich foods: Think pureed prunes! Peaches, apricots, pears, and beans are also good choices.
- Avoid “binding” foods: Avoid bananas, rice, and dairy products, as these can make constipation even worse.
- Offer more fluids: Offer the breast or bottle more frequently, and try to increase the ounces of fluid your baby drinks. You could also offer a few ounces of water or diluted apple juice (although only do this if your baby is getting plenty of breastmilk or formula).
Reacting to Solids: Watching For Allergic Reactions
Of course, poop isn’t necessarily the only thing to change when solids are introduced. You may notice signs of an allergic reaction after introducing a new food to your baby. Remember that as you begin introducing solids to your baby, it’s important to introduce one food at a time, and to wait at least 4 days before introducing a new food. This way, if she develops an allergic reaction, you’ll be able to pinpoint the food that caused it.
Keep an eye out for these signs of food allergy:
- Flushed skin or rash
- Vomiting or diarrhea (call 911 if severe)
- Swelling (call 911 if severe)
- Difficulty breathing (call 911)
- Loss of consciousness (call 911)
If you suspect that your baby has a food allergy, consult a healthcare provider. He or she will be able to order the necessary blood test to determine what the exact nature of your baby’s allergy.
Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!
What if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid foods mistakes, and a weekly meal plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!