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The transition to eating solid foods is an exciting time for both the parent + the baby. It means the baby has grown so much that she needs more nutrients + it’s time to supplement her formula or breast milk. Here are some tips for helping you when introducing food to baby.
When It’s Time for Introducing Food to Baby
Most babies are ready to begin solid foods somewhere between four + six months of age. Rather than introducing solids at a particular age, you should wait until the baby has reached the right developmental milestones.
Some of the signs you can look for are that the baby can hold up her head steadily + sit up with support. The baby should also be able to swallow food from a spoon rather than pushing out her tongue every time you try to introduce a spoon.
Seeing that your baby appears very interested in food is another sign that she has developed enough to take on the milestone of solids. If she’s watching every bite you take, this is a sign that she’s ready for solids.
Type of Food
The recommended first food for babies is a special cereal, usually made of rice or oatmeal, that is fortified with iron + other important nutrients. The texture makes it a nice bridge between the baby’s liquid diet + the more substantial food that comes later.
Thin out the cereal with formula or breast milk + feed the baby with a spoon. Gradually thicken the cereal over time as the baby gets used to eating. Pureed fruits + vegetables are other excellent options for introducing food to baby.
You can either choose a trusted brand of baby food or make your own at home. Introduce foods one at a time, giving about three days in between, so that you can quickly identify any allergy or digestion problems.
As the baby gets older, usually at around seven to nine months old, she is ready to begin eating tiny pieces of soft foods. You can start offering finger foods once you notice the baby can bring foods to her mouth.
Since children under the age of two do not have all their teeth, food should always be cut into small pieces to prevent choking. The right foods are small and soft enough for the baby to swallow without chewing, such as small pieces of bananas, scrambled eggs, and cooked vegetables.
If you decide to take the baby-led weaning route then the opposite is true. You want to cut meats + other foods so they are long + thin. For example, you would cut a piece of chicken breast so that it is approximately the length of your finger.
Same goes for steaks + other meats.
Foods to Avoid
Avoid giving the baby fruit juice (even if it’s 100 percent fruit juice) because of the excessive sugar content. Pureed fruit is more nutritious + does not create harmful habits.
Your baby is not ready for certain foods yet, including raw honey, which is a botulism risk for infants + babies under the age of 2. It’s also too early for dairy products such as yogurt or cow’s milk because babies are not able to digest it well yet. After baby celebrates her first birthday, you can introduce milk.
Being introduced to solid foods opens up a whole new world of flavors + textures to your baby. Be patient + don’t be discouraged if your baby doesn’t like certain foods. Enjoy watching her learn + experiment with all the new foods you’re introducing.