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Introducing Solid Foods To Your Baby
Like any other developmental stage, the onset of when babies are ready to eat solid foods happens at slightly different ages. Some start at as early as 4 months old while others are not yet ready until 6 months old. The ideal time to introduce solid foods to your baby depends on him/her. Your little one will show signs that he/she is ready for spoon-feeding.
One of the obvious signs that your baby is ready to eat is when he/she begins to show interest in foods. For instance, he/she looks at the food in front of him/her, opens mouth when offered food, or grabs food as you eat. Good head control and sitting with minimal support are also signs that your baby is ready for spoon-feeding. The baby is not yet ready to eat when extrusion reflex is still present. This reflex is the automatic movement of babies’ tongue to stick out when anything is put inside their mouth. You can easily observe extrusion reflex in newborn babies. This reflex helps protect babies from choking.
It is not recommended to start offering food to babies below four months old. It poses a risk of choking as food can block in their small airways. ...
... There are also scientific evidences that giving solid foods to babies below 4 months old increases the risk of developing food allergies. So, it is better to hold your excitement in spoon-feeding your baby until he/she is old enough.
Planning the first solid foods for your baby is highly critical. Babies’ digestive system is very sensitive and may not be ready for some types of foods. Here are good first solid foods to start with for spoon-feeding babies:
Fruits – It’s great to start with mashed fruits as they are easy to digest, delicious, and nutritious. I suggest starting with pureed ripe avocado mixed with breastmilk or formula milk to lessen the thickness. Avocado is loaded with healthy fats and iron. Bananas, peaches, pears, and apples are also good starters.
Vegetables – It is better to offer yellow or orange vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and squash first before introducing green veggies such as peas, and string beans. The reason behind is that yellow and orange vegetables have milder flavor than the greens.
Cereals – Many mothers prefer feeding their babies with infant cereals as they are easy to prepare. There are single-grain iron-fortified infant cereals that are great for babies.
Introduce solid food one a time and wait for three to five days before trying another food. This will help you determine if your child is allergic to a food. Watch out for rashes, hives, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and blood in stool every time you introduce a new food to your child. Most common foods that cause allergies are: eggs, shrimps, seashells, soybeans, and cow’s milk.
The texture of babies first food should be dripping off the spoon to prevent choking. Add breastmilk, formula milk, or distilled water in baby’s food to lessen consistency. Adjust the thickness slowly as time passed by. At 8 months, you can start giving your child finger foods such as boiled broccoli or strawberries. Always keep your eye on big bites as this can cause obstruction. Also avoid giving choking hazard foods such as peanuts, grapes, and muffins. Do not add salt or sugar to baby’s meal as these are unhealthy for them.
Introduce solid food to your baby in a calm and relaxing environment. No mobile phones or television so that the baby can focus solely on the food. Distractions during meal time can develop unhealthy eating habits. After all, although there are challenges this is a happy time for baby and you when memories are made.
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