Introducing solid foods to babies is not done until they are six months. Until six months babies should be exclusively breast feed as mother’s milk supplies all the nutrients the baby needs. For the first few months it’s hard for babies to swallow and digest any solid foods, as their digestive system is not mature enough. As suggested by doctors, baby’s first food after mother’s milk should be introduced when they are 4-6 months. But once the baby turns 2-3 months, every mom starts to think about introducing solids to her baby. She worries about baby’s growth and development. She is in a state of dilemma as to when should she start weaning solids. The best solution is to talk to your pediatricianif you feel that your baby needs them earlier. But don’t forget that milk is still the best and the most needed food for developing babies as it contains components that protects infants from infections.
Signs that your baby could start solid
- Baby can support her head and neck well when sitting.
- Baby is not satisfied by mother’s milk or formula.
- Baby demands for frequent milk feeds.
- Baby is waking often at night to feed.
- Baby watches others when they are eating.
Solid food is introduced to a baby’s diet to addnew tastes, textures, and flavors. Moms not only try to provide healthy and yummy food to babies but also make them learn to eat, chew and swallow. Baby’s food is not just limited to rice cereal or oats, but over the time you can give them pureed fruits, vegetables, lentils, meat, fish, eggs. Many pediatricians suggest not giving fish and eggs during the first year as it can cause allergic reactions. Honey should also not be given to babies under one year as it can cause infant botulism.
Different varieties of baby cereals are like oatmeal, rice, and whole grains are easily available for one to start with. But remember to get the ones which are made for babies and iron fortified. You can always feed your baby fresh and homemade food. You could start with banana, sweet potato, pear, or avocado. Introducing solids is like experimenting, you need to keep on trying different food that the baby likes. Try giving one food at a time, and wait for 2-3 days before starting another. You need to be very cautious while giving different foods to your baby. Check for any allergic reactions after feeding the baby. If symptoms like rash, vomiting, or diarrhea occurs, stop using that food and consult with your child’s pediatrician.
Different fruits and vegetables can be mixed with baby rice during the first stage of weaning. The food should be smooth and pureed which can be easily swallowed by babies. You can always start by feeding purees made with apple, pear, sweet potato, potato, carrot, or butternut squash. Initially, start with 1-2 teaspoon when feeding your baby, and don’t expect your baby to eat more on the first day or during the first week. Starting solid foods is a slow process, and your baby will still be getting most of the nutrition from breast milk and formula.
All babies are different, some babies easily enjoy their first solid food and others take some time.
Check out our post on “Baby’s First Food Recipes”