Thanks, Christine, for the question.
First off, please note…this is my own opinion. You need to do what is best for your baby. The info here is based on my own beliefs and things I have learned from my lactation consultant and children’s pediatrician. I am in no way an expert on this matter.
How often do you feed baby when starting solids?
Nursing/formula should be the main meal for a baby for the 1st year. Solids are secondary and some believe that solids are just “practice” for the future (after they turn 1). I fall somewhere in the middle so although I may start at 6 months I progress very slowly.
I start with 1 teaspoon of food and thin it with lots of breastmilk (almost like soup). And I do this for almost a week. What?! Like I said, I start slow. Then the second week, I make it slightly thicker but still runny. I will slowly make it thicker each week. One meal a day, no snacks and I always nurse an hour before I feed her. And I offer her a nursing session after the meal…just in case.
At 7 months or so, while still maintaining stage 1-2 consistency, I move to 2 meals a day.
3 meals a day starts at month 9-10, per my lactation consultant’s suggestion. This way the focus is always on breastmilk/formula as the primary source of food.
Currently, with my baby (9.5 months), we are at 2 meals a day with 1 snack. I plan to start the 3rd meal in a few weeks. And by the end of her 1st year, she will be on 3 meals a day with 1-2 small snacks. This schedule works for me and my baby.
That is a tough question. Some people believe that you feed to the point where the baby refuses. As mentioned above, others believe that solids is a time to practice, not necessarily for nutritional value. Again, I fall in between. I start off with slow amounts and work my way up. It is definitely hard when I give my daughter what I deem as “just enough” and she cries when I sign “all done”. She is a very good eater and has not refused one thing. But again, I always make sure that nursing is the priority. If you are starting out and unsure of the amount, I would recommend starting with 1 teaspoon (because baby’s tummies are small) and work your way up to 1 ounce/1 cube. Watch your baby’s cues. Believe me, he/she will let you know if he/she has not had enough. On the other hand, if you feel like your baby is not nursing as much or not finishing the bottle, I would recommend decreasing the amount of solids given.
Most importantly, have fun with it! I love introducing new foods to my baby and love it even more when she enjoys it! I don’t think this feeling of excitement ever stops. I love when my 6-year-old twins enjoy the meals I make and I especially love when they compliment my cooking. I am not a natural in the kitchen by any means so it makes me super happy when they finish their meals