Doctor’s Advice: When Should My Little One Try His First Food and More

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When should my little one try his first food?

In 2 weeks, it’ll be time for my LO to try his first food. I’m so excited, yet terrified about screwing it up. I plan on giving him puréed carrots to start, but I’m wondering: when is the best time for this ‘meal’ to happen, and how much should I plan on giving him? I’ve heard when he wakes from his mid-day nap, and after his regular breastfeeding session, is a good time. Should I shorten the breastfeeding time, so he’s not full and therefore more inclined to eat? How much is the right amount? Thank you!

-Michelle Moore

Hi, Michelle. This is a great question, shared by many new parents. When introducing any new food, best to do it in the daylight hours. Why? If your baby develops a reaction, like a gassy belly or rash, you want to deal with it when you can directly observe your little one. Secondly, feeding a new food in the morning or midday will allow baby to be fresh, receptive, and attentive to eating (and we hope you are, too!)

Make sure you don’t rush. Be relaxed. Enjoy the experience. Make sure lighting is good and the food is served from a colorful bowl. Expect that your baby will spit out or appear to reject each new food on the first few attempts—your LO is assessing, thinking, “Hey this is new,” “It’s a different color, taste, texture, temperature…” And until your LO isn’t used to moving food around inside his mouth, a spoonful or 2 may be all that he eats at first. When babies are on a roll, they may eat 2-4 ounces of solids at a time.

Sometimes a new food is a home run on the first try, however, if not, remember: it takes 10-15 attempts before decisively judging that a baby doesn’t like it. Sometimes just changing the temperature or texture of the food first does the trick. And taste it yourself. If it’s flavorless to you, guess what? Same for baby. I’m an advocate of fruits and veggies first, before grains, so we can make those cereals tastier with foods already road-tested. As for the timing of breastfeeding, if baby is ravenous, calm your LO down by breastfeeding briefly. Feed the solids. Then top him off, if desired. As long as the solids you give him are high quality, what’s going into him will always be good! Have fun!


Is tea safe for my baby?

I have a 15-month-old girl and she is teething and she also had a cold, so she is little bit fussy, especially during the day. Is organic chamomile with lavender tea safe? Of course, caffeine free? I’ve never given her any tea before, but I was thinking that maybe it will calm her down a little bit. Some of my friends are giving tea to their toddlers, but I want to check with a specialist before I do that. Thank you!


Hi Sabina, small amounts of chamomile tea can be calming to some babies and can be a source of fluid intake if milk is rejected. Just make sure there is no caffeine or added sugars in the tea. Try once or twice, and stop if it appears to not be doing the job. Teething and colds are natural processes, but make sure she isn’t fussy from another source, like an ear infection. Check with your healthcare provider if simple comfort measures don’t seem to be effective. 


Should I wait for teeth to come in?

I have a set of twin girls who were 1 month early. They are 9 months now and act like term babies. The only thing is, they don’t have any teeth! Should I wait for teeth to come in before I try giving them any type of meat puree, or should I just use a puree recipe that has meat in it?

-Jessica Buckheit

Hi, Jessica. You certainly can give meat in purees, even if your babies don’t have teeth. Think of a wonderful thing like chicken soup—with beautiful vegetables and fresh chicken—just toss in your Baby Bullet and your babes get a tremendous flavor and nutritional experience. Ground meats with marinara puree beautifully. Salmon and other soft fish also taste great poached in broth, and rolled into things like mashed potatoes! Have fun and when those teeth come, your girls will already be on the road to wanting more! Have fun!


Are homeopathic remedies okay to try?

Dr. Levenstein – I recently brought my 3-year-old son to see a homeopathic pediatrician. We are concerned about his speech delay and are examining all options. What is your opinion on homeopathic remedies? Can you recommend any additional places I can research homeopathic remedies? Thank you!

-Faith Thorpe

Hi, Faith. A 3-year-old with speech delay really should be evaluated by a speech therapist first, as well as undergoing a hearing evaluation. This is key to establishing why the delay is there. At that point, after a diagnosis is made, a strategy is then planned to help remedy the delay. There are many causes for speech delay in little ones, some of which require earlier intervention with more traditional approaches in order not to lose ground and have the delay persist. Please consider this when charting your path.



About Dr. JJ Levenstein

Dr. JJ Levenstein is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and in 2012 retired from her thriving private pediatric practice in Encino, California. She served on the staff of CHLA and Encino Tarzana Hospitals for 20 years and was consistently voted one of the Best Doctors in America® from 2003 through 2012. Drawing from her experience as a pediatrician and mom, Dr. Levenstein serves as president and co-founder of MD Moms, makers of Baby Silk, the first personal care line for babies developed by pediatrician moms. She serves on the board of United Cerebral Palsy LA, is an active writer and sits on the advisory boards of several child-centered websites. She is an accomplished chef and completed culinary school in 2013! She has had a lifelong interest in child nutrition and all things related to preventive health.

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