When you’re starting out on solids, your baby’s main nutrition is still going to come from breastmilk or formula. Continue to feed your baby breastmilk or formula on demand.
Introducing solids is also a way of introducing mealtimes to your baby. As she gets older, she will drink less milk and eat more solid food. At 12 months, your baby will get about 50% of calories from milk and 50% from food.
When you first introduce foods, you can start with 1-2 meals. I would recommend breakfast and lunch. There’s always a chance that your baby might react to a new food. If you introduce new foods earlier in the day, you can watch your baby for signs of a reaction. If you feed your baby in the evening and then put him to bed, your baby might develop a reaction with you even being aware of it!
There isn’t any evidence to recommend feeding solids before or after breastfeeding/formula. It really depends on the baby! Some babies are early adopters and will devour solid food without leaving any room for breastmilk! For these babies, you might want to start the meal off with breastfeeding or a bottle of formula since these are still the most important sources of nutrition for baby. Other babies would seemingly be happy to stay on an all-milk diet forever. These babies have very little interest in solid foods. Since eating at least some solids is important for their iron status, you want to offer food to them when they are most likely to accept it. So for these babies, you would start with solids and then finish off with milk. Having said that, if mealtime was delayed for some reason, and your baby is frantic about eating, you may want to breastfeed or give a bottle to start. In this scenario, it’s unlikely your baby is going to be excited about trying something new!
quick chart for how often to offer solids to baby
Remember, this is just a suggested guideline. The important thing is to start slow and then work up to 5-6 meals/snacks a day.
- 4-6 months: 1-2x/day
- 6-8 months: 2-3x/day
- 8-10 months: 3-4x/day
- 10-12 months: 5-6x/day