On the day when your baby is born the only thing which he gets to feed is breast milk or formula. And of course, this is very important. According to AAP breastmilk should the permanent source of nutrients for the baby’s first six months. But after six months as your baby grows he needs more nutrients and proteins in his diet. That is why the introduction to solid food is necessary at 6 months of age
Introduction to solid food is the most exciting milestone for babies and parents. It not only opens a new way to a baby’s nutrition but also paves the path of healthy living.
So lets get started !
When do my baby start solid food
Babies usually become ready to start solid food between 5-6 months of age. But on the other side, it completely depends on the baby’s development and growth.
As a newborn, your baby’s stomach is not enough strong to digest every food and this is the reason why paediatricians recommend breastmilk or formula for the first six months.
Starting solids too early can also lead to the risk of choking. And too late say 9 months might slows down the baby’s growth as he becomes addicted to a monopolised menu of milk and formula. AAP recommends that the ideal age for introducing solid to babies should be around 6 months of age.
And the best part is here are some of the signs that you will observe when your baby is ready for an introduction to solid foods
Signs that your baby is ready for solid food
- He can control and support his head by his own and is able to sit upright.
- He lost his tongue reflux- You can test it by placing an appropriate food (suitable for babies) dipped in breastmilk or formula in the baby’s mouth. If the food comes out after several attempts this means that the tongue reflex is still present
- He becomes attracted to what you are eating– If your baby seems attracted to what you are eating or picks up the spoon while curiously looking at you eating your meal. It can be a good sign that he can now be introduced to solid food
- He is hungry even after getting his daily portion of breastfeeding(8-10) feeds and for formula drinkers almost 32 ounces.
Extra tip:- Don’t be too quick while introducing solids and never introduce solid when baby is 4 months old.
How to start solid food
Introducing solids is a gradual and slow process. It’s less about providing nutrition but gives more emphasis on making your baby habitual to chewing and swallowing solid food. AAP says that parents must do supplemental breastfeeding their babies until their babies turn 1.
And that’s not all…
Here are some guidelines you should follow while introducing your baby to Solid foods
- Start at the right time– One of the first things you have to do is to look and start at the right time. By this, I mean that you can introduce your baby to solid food early morning. This is the time when your baby is more hungry than other parts of the day.
- Look after his Mood– Always look at your little one’s mood when introducing any new thing to him. If he seems fussy, cranky or sleepy just simply skip the introduction and try it the next time.
- Make some introduction first– One thing you can do before starting solid is to introduce your little master to some soft solid food. Just put some food in front of him on the table and let him experiment with it by crushing, smashing and even tasting it. This will eventually help you when you start feeding him with solids for the first time. As he becomes is familiar with foreign objects.
- Start slowly and with one spoon at a time– Don’t be too pushy to start solids for your baby. Always wait for the right time and also start slowly. Start with one spoon of solid food at a time and gradually and slowly increase its supply. If your baby doesn’t seem to get interested leave it and try after a week or so.
- Stick to the same food for some time– AAP says that while introducing solids stick to the same food for at least 3-4 days. This will help you to get notified from any allergic reactions if your baby had any with any particular type of food
A simple technique for starting solid food
This is a simple technique you can follow while introducing solid to your breatfed son/daughter
Here’s the deal: According to parents.com If you have a baby who drinks a bottle of milk at one time, introduce him to a spoon of solid food before giving him milk. And if you have a moderate drinker just do the opposite. But remember every baby is different and you have to experiment with it with your little one
With that now the question that might come to your mind is:- Hmm I’ve understood this but what are those first foods that I should give to my little one while introducing solid foods?
Suggested:- Feeding Schedule for Baby’s First year
Best first food for baby
Now as you have learned all the guidelines and the technique on how to start solid food you will be now eager to know what are the first baby food.
Well, there is no specific first food for a baby as there are no specific guidelines to start any particular food before the other. The only caution is that you should not include any food that can cause choking. This is the main reason why you should start with thin purees and not textured food at the beginning.
Also, introduce something that your baby might like. Earlier it was said that “sweet fruits should be given only after vegetables” but this quote does not support any evidence. You can start with anything you wish
But the deal is mash it well or make puree before giving it to your baby
Some of the first foods that you can give to your baby are:-
At 6-7 months give him cereals (Rice, oatmeal) purees. Include more textured food when your baby is seven months old. You can give him soft fruits and boiled beans but mash them properly with a fork before giving them to your little one. At this age, you should give your baby at least 20-25 ounces of breastmilk or formula and solid must contribute to a small part of his daily diet.
At around 8 months you can start giving your baby finger fruits. During this stage, he will work up and by the age of 9 months, you can start giving him finger fruits, an egg, yoghurt, and vegetables (your baby’s most nutrition till this age must come from breastmilk or formula).
By the start of 10 months, you can start giving him meals more like an adult with the caution of choking foods. You can start giving him more textured and minced food at this age.
And that’s not all
Here is a handy guide that will help you introducing first food to your little one
Introduction and dealing with Allergic food
There is much confusion among parents when and how to start food that our baby is allergenic with. According to WebMD, the main allergenic food among babies is- Cowmilk, eggs, peanuts and fish etc.
Earlier parents were advised to hold off to these foods and was told to introduce these later. But now doctors suggest starting these early and according to an appropriate age. But make sure you never straight away introduce it to your little one. Introduce some purees and textures first.
In fact, AAP says that introducing allergic food between 6-11 months can reduce the risk of developing the allergy. But make sure that you have introduced some textures and purees first.
Signs that your baby has a food allergy
Foods you should avoid till age 1
Introducing solids doesn’t mean that you can give anything to your baby. Instead, you should give your baby soft eatables and a puree of vegetables.
Honey and cow milk should not be given until the baby turns 1 year old. This is because the baby’s stomach is not enough strong to digest cow milk and even this sweet honey can cause infant botulism.
Along with honey and cowmilk, choking hazard food like peanut butter, nuts, fish, chocolate and egg white should not be given to your little one.
What to do if my baby is Choking
Choking means that there is an obstruction in the airway due to which a human becomes unable to breathe. in babies, it generally causes due to food that are inappropriate for them.
If you saw your little one suffering from choking and is unable to breathe, straight away pat him on his back with your palms so that the obstructed food can come out from the air pipe. You can also give him a chest thrust to remove/dislodge the food.
If you can see the obstruction don’t try to remove it with your hands as in many cases it can slip down even deep into the throat. Instead, pat him as said earlier this will help him to gag the obstructed food.
Tips while starting solid food
With the responsibility of family and baby care, many parents choose packaged food over-preparing home meals for their little one. If you are the one looking for packaged food buy small packets or containers that only meet the strict demand of baby needs. Avoid brands with additives and sugars.
If you are preparing food for your baby by your own follow these guidelines:-
- Wash your hands before preparing meal and also before feeding your baby.
- While preparing food for your little monkey always look for consistency. Start by adding more liquid or milk and slowly reduce it introducing them to more textured food.
- Introduce him to pureed single grain food first and later on add more variety of mixed food together.
- At age of 7 months encourage and introduce your baby to sippy cups ( one with handle and lid). This will help him to learn to grab and drinking on his own. Moreover, you can use water first to avoid messy cleanup
- Introduce him to a variety of food over the next few months so that he becomes familiar with a variety of food. This will help you eliminate the chances to have a picky one