Transitioning to Solids

My son was born 3 months prematurely, and is now six months corrected age. (He was born 1 lb. 14 oz., and is now almost 17 lbs -- and doing great!) We introduced him to solids about a month ago, first with rice cereal and then on to other veggies -- sweet potatoes, squash, carrots. We cut back to cereal in between because he developed a bad rash, which we thought was an allergy, but we now think it might be just atopic dermatitis. He's back on cereal once a day, and veggies the other time.

My question is whether there we could ever give him too much solids -- he just loves them. We feed him after 3-4 oz. of formula, and he will still happily finish a jar of solids -- then take another couple oz of formula, as if he's become thirsty. Are we doing this right? Also, should we be giving him cereal AND veggies at both meals? Finally, when should we start him on finger foods?

Thanks for your help.
Pramila

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Dear Pramila,

Transitioning to solids will mean a gradual decrease in the intake of formula. However, for the first few months of solids, the formula should make up the bulk of his diet. As he eats more and more solids, you will want to be sure that he is eating foods that will replace some of the nutrients he is no longer getting from the formula. Some of the very important nutrients to be concerned about are iron, fat, and calories. The iron he will get from his baby cereal, and if you are mixing that cereal with formula, he will also be getting some fat and calories.

Vegetables and fruits are a great addition to a solids diet because of their rich supply of vitamins and minerals, and for the flavor variety they offer. However, it is possible to overdo it with vegetables if you find that he is filling up on them. They have the ability to fill a tummy, but they are not calorically dense, so will not supply many calories. Thus, he could be eating lots, but not getting the calories he needs. This rarely happens, but can. I just want you to be aware, so that in your son's gusto to eat, you be sure to provide solids that will supply him with what he is needing.

It is fine for you to offer more formula after the solids. It may be quenching thirst as well as topping off his tank. Perhaps he senses the need for the caloric satisfaction the formula provides. If you find that he is just loving the solids, then begin to add some to his diet that provide him with a little more fat and calories. Bananas are a good choice for calories, mixed dinners with a little meat will also be appropriate. Read the nutrition labels and look for those foods that supply some fat and calories.

Cereal and veggies at the same meal is absolutely fine!

Continue to follow his lead as you are now doing. If he shows an interest in finger foods, then by all means, offer some to him. Choose wisely from the possible foods to be sure they are appropriate for his abilities. Some good first starter finger foods include: dry, unsweetened cereal such as Cheerios (avoid cereals with nuts), wedges of ripe, soft banana, papaya, or peach, cooked sweet potato sticks, a whole bagel (good for teething on), small bits of tofu, and chopped cooked egg yolk.

Congratulations on such a great job helping your little guy to grow so well!

Thank you for writing,

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