Introducing Solids into Your Baby’s FEED / PLAY / SLEEP Routine.
With Steph Gouin
When a brand-new baby is born, they enter the world following a natural cycle or routine with three ever-present components – feeding, playing (awake time), sleeping – and always in that order.
A newborn baby will have multiple FEED / PLAY / SLEEP cycles in 24 hours (no play overnight, just feed and sleep).
As they grow and get older, they will end up on one FEED / PLAY / SLEEP cycle every 24 hours, which is the same for us as adults.
From birth until 6 months of age, the FEED component of the routine is when your baby has their milk feed, be it via the breast or formula in a bottle. Healthy babies get all the nutrients and calories they need from breast milk or formula alone in the first 6 months of their lives to thrive and grow.
Around 6 months of age, the FEED component of the routine during the day changes and expands to include solids foods, as breast milk or formula alone will not provide all the important nutrients your baby needs moving forward.
Introducing solids into your well-established daily FEED / PLAY / SLEEP routine can be a little nerve-wracking. It doesn’t need to be; in fact, it can be a fun and exciting time for your baby and for you too.
Here are some TIPS to help get you started -
- When you start giving solids to your baby, you are working towards a goal. That goal is to get them onto 3 solid, main meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner, per day.
- Avoid giving your baby solids at random times throughout the day as this is not how you will be feeding your baby their solids meals moving forward and in the years ahead.
- Introduce one meal at a time at the designated mealtime. Allow a few days for each meal to be established once it’s been introduced. Each meal will only be a very small amount of food. Once you establish your baseline of 3 meals, you gradually build up the quantities at each meal from there.
- It is best to start giving solids in the morning with the breakfast meal as opposed to starting dinner in the evening. That way, if your baby has a reaction to the food or their tummy is a little unsettled, you’ve got the rest of the day for them to recover.
- Offer your baby’s milk feed first, then their solids meal 20-30 minutes later to round out the entire FEED time. Once your baby is a little older and well established on their solids, you can change the order and give their solids first before their milk feed if you choose.
Example of a 6-month-old’s FEED / PLAY / SLEEP routine (with solids) - use as a guide only.
- 6:15am – Wakes for a full breast or bottle-feed - starting the FEED / PLAY / SLEEP cycle from this point
- 7:00am – Solids meal - Breakfast
- 8:00am – Nap 1
- 10:30am – Wakes for full breast or bottle feed
- 11:00am – Solids meal - Lunch
- 12:30pm – Nap 2
- 1:30pm – Wakes for full breast or bottle feed
- 3:15pm – Nap 3
- 4:00pm – Wakes - no breast or bottle-feed needed here - instead, just go straight into playtime
- 5:00pm – Solids meal - Dinner
- 5:20pm – Bath / Shower / Massage
- 5:40pm – Bedtime breast or bottle feed, burp
Hint - it’s a good idea to put your little one’s ergoPouch Cocoon Swaddle or ergoPouch Sleep Suit Bag on before they go to sleep. The swaddle or sleepsuit becomes an important part of the sleep and settling routine. And, as we head into winter, choose the 2.5 or 3.5 TOG sleepwear from ergoPouch. The warmer TOG rated garments will keep your little one snug as a bug all night long (and during their day naps too).
- 6:00pm - Put baby in cot awake and leave to settle to sleep (with assistance if needed)
Want to know more about how to set up the ideal FEED / PLAY / SLEEP routine for your baby or child? Head to Steph’s website – www.sleepbysteph.com.au, where you’ll find her best-selling Age Basics eBooks, Foundations First™ Sleep and Routine Video Program and how to book in a Support Call with Steph and her incredible team.
About the Author
Steph Gouin is a qualified Baby and Child Sleep Consultant, a Registered Nurse of over 15 years and Mum to her three beautiful children. As one of Australia's leading sleep experts, Steph is incredibly passionate about the work she does and gains great satisfaction from educating, supporting and guiding parents as soon as their baby arrives and, in the years, beyond.