Introducing solid foods to your baby is an exciting milestone. However, it should be done with extra care as a little mistake can upset your child’s stomach and affect their health. You may be confused on how to do it right as you received different advice from family and friends. Here is a simple guide on how to introduce solid food to babies.
When is the right time to give solid foods to babies? American Academy Pediatrics (AAP) recommends to start introducing solids to babies between four to six months old. Within this age, you’ll know your baby is ready to eat when: (1) Your child has good head control. (2) Can sit with little or no support. (3) Opens his/her mouth and leans forward when offered food. (4) Baby has lost the tongue thrust reflex that automatically pushes food out of his/her mouth.
When introducing foods to babies it is important not to force them to eat. This stage is more about teaching them to chew and get used of different tastes than providing significant nutritional benefits. It’s okay if your baby shows no interest in food sometimes. Just try it again later or the next day. Understand that there are days when your baby just wants to nurse and days when he/she is more interested on eating. This is normal as your baby is still adjusting to eating solid foods.
At the beginning, you will have to experiment to find what works best for your baby. You can breastfeed or offer formula milk first thing in the morning. Then solid food at around 10am. Feed with milk again after a meal. If this doesn’t seem to work, try offering milk first before the meal.
Two to four tablespoons twice a day is enough for four- to six-month-old baby. When the baby is older, you can feed his/her with solid foods three times a day. Each meal the size of a baby’s fist. This time you can start teaching your child the concept of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Offer small snacks in between.
As you introduce solid foods to your infant it is important to offer pureed fruits, vegetables, and single-grain cereal at first. Infants’ bodies are not yet ready for meat until they are 9 months old. Fruits, vegetables, and cereals are easy to digest for their underdeveloped stomach. Do not add salt or sugar to their food as these additives can harm their immature body.
It is critical to offer pureed watery meal at the beginning as babies are still learning to swallow. You can add distilled water, breastmilk, or formula milk into their food to lessen the consistency. Adjust and increase thickness as days pass by. Avoid choking hazard foods such as: nuts, seeds, grapes, raisins, and peanut butter. Choking can be life threatening for them. Honey should also be avoided as it can cause botulism. A rare serious gastrointestinal illness causing constipation, floppy movements, weakness, and difficulty sucking. Infant botulism can lead to life threatening complications.
Allergic reactions should also be observed. To make pinpointing allergies easier, offer one food at a time. Wait for three to five days before trying another food as some allergic reactions do not manifest right away. Keep an eye for rashes, hives, difficulty breathing, vomiting, blood in stools, and diarrhea each time you introduce a new food. Most common allergens are: eggs, shellfish, fish, shrimps, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy beans. You don’t have to delay introducing these foods to your baby but be mindful for possible adverse reactions. If you have history of food allergies, it is best to consult a pediatrician before offering that food to your child.
Introducing solid foods to your baby can be challenging but it is also a happy time. You have a beautiful new baby who is growing and developing every day.
Isabella Whitmore is a loving mother of two. She writes for https://electrickettlesplus.com, an appliance website that offers wide selection of electric kettles. Including this variable temperature kettle which is safe to use for making baby food.