How to Wean Your Baby from Bottles of Milk to Bowls of Food

When you brought your newborn home from the hospital, nothing could have prepared you for the great adventure of parenting any better than every day experience. In spite of the pre-baby hours spent reading books about childcare, making sure that you had the right crib, stroller, diaper bag, formula or your Madela Pump n Style breast pump—there is simply no substitute for hands-on learning. As the learning process continued for you and your baby, the days turn into weeks and months; before you knew it, the day has arrived when your baby has moved beyond bassinets and bottles to bowls and building blocks. But how do you help your toddler learn to eat table food and what foods are recommended as starter foods?

If you have been nursing or using a breast pump like the Madela pump n style pump, then your baby has already been introduced to the foods you regularly eat, so if there were foods which caused an allergic reaction with your milk, then be sure to take this into consideration. While there are various opinions about what foods are best as baby’s first food, it is commonly advised that you begin with a single grain cereal such as rice. As your baby becomes accustomed to this first food, you can introduce new items, one at a time. A particular favorite of many babies is bananas. As your baby adapts to new food foods and textures, you can begin to expand their diet to include fruits, vegetables and proteins.

Be sure to pay attention to your baby’s reaction to new foods as it is not uncommon for babies to have food allergies. Some foods should be avoided during a baby’s first year; these foods are cow’s milk, honey, eggs, tomatoes, orange juice, nuts, chocolate and foods that have salt, sugar, or non-healthy additives. The best way to tell if your baby has an allergic reaction will be by watching for a rash or redness. If an allergic reaction occurs, discontinue the suspected food.

As your baby develops and teeth come in you can begin letting them try table foods such as pasta, mashed potatoes or carrots, basic guacamole, refried beans ( a great source of protein for the baby who is uninterested in meats!), unsweetened apple sauce, and other soft textured foods. Once your baby is comfortable with theses foods, you can introduce items like thinly sliced peaches or green beans—if you make sure the pieces are 1-2 inches long they can learn to feed themselves as well—pears, halved grapes, cottage cheese and even pieces of oranges or grapefruit.  Before you know it, your baby will be beyond the bottle and ready for a bowl or plate of their own—firmly suction cupped to the table or high chair tray, of course!

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