Introduce Solid food to Your Baby – Congratulations! Your baby is now making coo-coo sounds and is active most of the hours of the day. Your baby’s head is holding straight. You baby would have rolled over and moving forward.
Your little one has crossed 6 months by mow. It is time to switch from breastfeeding to some real food. It is an emotional moment to see that baby eating from a proper spoon and bowl.
Your baby has changed so much from that tiny little thing with absolutely no neck. To a baby who moves her arms and legs back and forth. You and the baby have gone through so many milestones together and finally the time has come to enjoy more together.
At birth, babies need breastmilk to fulfill all the nutrients. When the right time comes, you should introduce solid food to your baby gradually with precautions.
There are many things to keep in mind when starting this transition. Read below to get the full guide on how to introduce solid food to your baby.
- What are the signs to start Solid Food?
- How to introduce solid food to your baby?
- Few very practical Feeding Tips
- How to know the baby is full?
- How to prevent baby food choking hazards
- Constipation hacks
What are the signs to start Solid Food?
Introducing solid food is a scary and hesitant stage for all mothers. Pediatrics say that breastmilk is alone good enough for the baby up to 6 months.
I have seen some parents should start solid food between the age of 4 to 6 months. Technically, that would be 12 weeks. So, when is the right day to start solid food?
All babies reach milestones at their own pace. Some might be ready at the beginning of 4 months. Others might reach the milestone at the end of 6 months.
Nevertheless, there is no need to rush things or spend sleepless nights worrying. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!
A checklist is good idea for mothers to see when the baby is ready to start solid foods.
- The baby has doubled the weight since birth.
- The baby has learned the motion of swallowing the food.
- Shows interest in the food.
- The opens the mouth when the spoon comes near.
- The baby holds up her head steady.
How to introduce solid food to your baby?
It is recommended by Pediatrics to exclusively feed your baby formula or breast milk till the age of 4 months. Afterwards, if your baby starts to show signs from the above checklist, then try to introduce solid food to your baby.
There may be a possibility that the baby will reject the food you offer at first. If this happens, try after a few days to introduce solid food to your baby. Consistency is the key!
First Stage introduce solid food to your baby:
When you start solid food, start simple. Offer one ingredient food like potato, rice, oats, cereal etc. At first, make the puree watery. It is important to continuously offer one food for a few days. Only give some spoonful at first. Then gradually increase the quantity.
Second Stage to introduce solid food to your baby:
If everything is going smooth and your baby is now between the age 7 to 9 months old, gradually increase the quantity and add more variety in the food options. It is ok to give multiple ingredients purees at this stage. Make sure to give different types of vegetables and meat.
Third Stage to introduce solid food to your baby:
By the age of 9 to 12 months, the baby is ready to eat finger foods all types of variety of fruits, vegetables, and meat.
When introduce solid food to your baby, Make sure they are boiled and mashed. If you are giving fish. Watch out for the bones. This is the time to get creative with the baby purees to give the best possible nutrients.
Feeding activity is a simple day today activity and if done right can be fun for both you and your baby. To know more about everyday activities that has impact on your baby reader our article 12 Everyday activities that WILL impact baby’s development.
Few very practical Feeding Tips
Healthy eating habits is beneficial in many ways. This stage marks the beginning of building the habit of eating healthy food.
First of all, it is important to give the baby all types of vegetables and fruits to make the baby get used to the tastes. Keep this in mind right from the time you plan to introduce solid food to your baby.
Trust me on this, you don’t want picky eaters as toddlers.
Secondly, research has proven that it is important to give healthy food to the baby so that he or she gets efficient nutrients to perform well in reaching the milestones.
With these benefits in mind, it is equally important for you to keep a few feeding tips in mind as you go about to introduce solid food to your baby.
- Start Slow. If baby rejects don’t force. Stop and restart later. Force feeding only causes food aversion.
- Have a fixed time for solid food. Make sure your baby is a bit hungry. So, it is easy for baby to accept new food.
- Always test the food temperate by pouring a drop on the back of your palm before feeding your baby.
- First start with three spoons of a meal, then increase the quantity to your fist size.
- When you want to introduce new food. Give it as the first spoon to your baby. And watch for reactions and acceptance.
- Watch out for allergy. Give a new food for minimum of 3 days to 1 week to lookout for allergy. Before introducing another food.
- Sing, Talk to your baby. Make mealtime pleasurable. Use toys and puppets to help you.
- No salt and sugar in the meals till the baby is 1 year old.(If possible later too. Sugar does no good to anyone).
- Leave some food for the baby to play with on a plate. When you feed from the bowl.
- Feed baby separately but make baby sit in baby chair and participate in your family dinners. It will help baby get used to types of food.
- If baby shows interest in a food. Dip your finger in it and let your baby suck on your finger. Make sure the food is not too hot or spicy.
- Remember lactose intolerance when you start on cow’s milk. And watch out for the signs.
- Have few breast feeding sessions upto 3 years if possible.
- Start adult foods from 9+ to 12 months gradually.
If you like to know more about balance diet for your baby and toddlers read the article How – To Ensure Balanced Diet for Your Toddler
How to know if your baby is full
Since the baby is unable to communicate, it can be tricky for a mother to know when the baby is full.
It is important to keep a look out for the signs. A baby does communicate with body language and it is easy to see what he or she needs.
A baby might turn away from the spoon full or he or she will start spitting out the food to let the mother know that he or she is full.
Loss of interest is another sign that the baby no longer wants to be fed. Do Not force feed the baby. The instincts of the baby should be trusted.
As soon as the baby shows these signs, it is best to stop the feeding at that moment. Over feeding will only lead to throwing up the food.
In conclusion, watch out for the signs from the baby that he or she full and avoid force feeding the baby.
Baby communicates their needs to you through body language. To know more about the common body languages your baby uses. And what they represent read the article 12 Baby Body Language that You SHOULD Know. It will be of good help to you to tide over the infancy phase of your baby.
How to prevent baby food choking hazards
It is recommended by the pediatrics to start adult foods between 9 to 12 months. A mother should make sure to prepare the finger foods with some precaution to avoid choking.
- It is essential to soften the food well by boiling or steaming.
- Cut the food into bite size pieces so the baby can easily swallow the food.
- It is important to make the child sit and secured properly on steady chair a highchair to avoid choking.
- Your child should be in an upright position and back well supported when eating adult foods.
- Try to avoid giving food in a stroller, rocking chair, swing, or anything wobbly to avoid the possibility of choking.
- Give water when needed in small quantity.
- Make sure that your baby mouth is empty before feeding the next spoon.
This I am telling from my personally experience and couple of rush to the ER. It is equally important to keep an eye on the baby to see what he or she intakes through the mouth and not stuff then into their nose or ears. They can be master’s in it.
Chocking is a serious risk and needs to be looked out for. While it is common for parents to try and baby proof your house. So that we can avoid accidents choking can also be equally as dangerous.
If you have not completely baby proofed your house. Now is a time that you should do it. Because your little one is getting bigger and will get more naughtier, more active and will run all around the place. To get some ideas and tips on how to baby proof your house read article 17 ways to effectively baby proof your House.
It is very common for babies to get constipation when solid feeding initiates. The reasons vary from new food to not enough water intake. Mothers should be aware of some things to avoid chronic constipation.
When starting solid food, it is recommended to keep an eye on the stool the baby passes.
If you suspect that the baby’s stool is a bit hard or he or she has not passed stool all day, take action immediately to avoid further constipation complications.
Make sure the baby has one meal of fruit puree. Bananas and guava purees are very good to resolve constipation.
In addition, fresh fruit juices are excellent to get rid of constipation. Grapes, prunes, and oranges are considered to be the best options when it comes to constipation. These fruits contain special sugars, which initiate bowl movement.
Always make sure after age of 6 months that the baby is getting enough water.
At first, the baby will play around by spitting and making a mess. Eventually, the baby will start to intake the water from the sippy cup.
Start developing healthy food habits right from the beginning so it becomes much easier as your child grows up. To know more about healthy food habits and how to get your family interested and follow healthy habits read article All you need to know about kids’ nutrition.
This is crucial stage for all mothers in starting solid food. Your baby is no more a baby who only needs milk. It is important to give your baby the proper nutrients with the right timing.
This stage should be handled slowly with the proper guidelines. There is no need to rush the process. Make the feeding process a pleasurable one.
The more the baby feels that it is a pleasurable activity that they do with you. The more your baby is receptive to eating and trying out new food. And Less likely you are going to have a picky eater at hand.
When you do this right it also increases your bonding with your little one. There are many ways that you can bond with your baby. Few of them we have listed in our article How to Bond with your baby easily?.
Furthermore, it is important that the parent should be aware of some things to avoid allergy or constipation in babies.
When you start introducing solid foods and your baby starts to appriciate and consume them.
It is also a sign of growing independence of your little one from you. And needs to be acknowledged and respected. All in all, it is a very exciting stage for both the parent and the baby and should be enjoyed.
However, I am a mother growing 3 kids. Am a concerned parent.
I have written this article, basis my experience, my talk with experts in this line and research on this topic. Also I have implemented it in my life with my kids, my niece and nephews.
I like to emphasize that this is only for knowledge sharing and information purpose. This is not a substitute for any medical or professional advice.
If you are feeling concerned and worried about your kid. Your instinct tells you to be concerned.
As a parent to parent. I would say trust your instinct. No one knows better than you as a parent to your child. It is best to reach out to a qualified practitioner to address your concern.
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What food did you first introduce for your baby? At what age did you introduce solid foods to your baby?