6 Tips When Starting to Introduce Solid Food to Your Baby
Hello, there lovely parents!
Yay! Your baby is now turning 6 months and another milestone is to be discovered and unlocked; The introduction to solid food.
Are you excited? Nervous? Or just need a little guidance?
Shy away from your baby’s solid food worries for a while and read our helpful tips for you below!
Let’s go on.
We’ve all heard the line “Breastmilk is the best for babies”. Yes, that’s true because mom’s breastmilk is wonderful and healthier than any other formulated milk out there. It contains antibodies that can protect babies from various diseases. Want some deeper thoughts about it? Read here.
However, your baby will grow, continuously, and so as his/her tummy and appetite will. Therefore, the need to introduce solid food to your baby will be needed. As your baby grows, he/she’ll be more physically active and will need solid foods to sustain their growing body’s need.
To make feeding your baby easier, here are the 6 tips when starting to introduce solid food for your baby.
Introducing solid food to your baby doesn’t have to be a battle of tears. No need to force it. Why? Because forcing may only lead to trauma for your baby and make feeling solid foods harder.
So, the best time to introduce it is when your baby is in a good mood, relaxed, and happy. This/her is the time where your baby will be more cooperative and interested in trying what you’ll offer. Try offering solid food when they’re not too hungry or when they just finished milking.
Don’t fret if your baby doesn’t go or try it immediately the first time. He/she might refuse you but that’s okay. Don’t force or push it too hard. You can both try it again the next time. Please bear in mind the mess as that’ll be natural for babies whose starting to eat solids. With time, the mess will be less. That’s a promise.
Read your baby’s cues
There’ll be signs such as the following your baby will show and tell you that he’s ready for it:
- Can sit upright by him/herself
- Can control his/her head and neck
- Shows interest in the food you’re eating
- Opens mouth when you try to offer your food
You need to consider that every baby is different; They grow and develop differently. Some may show these signs as early as 4 months old, while some may go for it by 6 months. Regardless, 6 months old is the recommended age by the department of health to start introducing solid food to babies. So we suggest following this/her to keep your baby safe.
List down family foods
One type of food at a time
Knowing the right foods to introduce your baby is easy. As long as it’s nutritious and has the right texture then it’s going to be okay. You can go with purees and baby cereals as a start, then, later on, you can slowly switch to mashed and finger foods.
Just make sure to give it in variety one at a time to avoid getting your baby bored with the food. You can try the following foods below:
- Cooked fish
- Minced meat
- Mashed boiled eggs
- Mashed beans and lentils
- Mashed fully cooked vegetables
- Dairy foods like yogurt and cheese
- Toast or bread crust
Here’s a sample of how you can prepare your baby’s food. Just a piece of advice, should you see any allergic reaction after feeding your baby a certain food, stop giving it and call your pediatric doctor immediately. That’s why it’s important to introduce food slowly and one variety at a time. In that way, you can know which food had caused the allergy to your child.
Texture is equal to success
Introducing solid foods to your baby allows him/her to learn and experience new textures and tastes. This/her will also help develop your baby’s jaws and eventually learn to chew; Which is an important practice for his/her language development.
Since your baby is new to eating, you need to start with soft-textured foods that they easily swallow. Let him/her get acquainted first with eating. After some time, you can move on to mashed food with a little more chunks to chew but still soft for your baby. You can also start giving him/her finger foods like bread crusts and cooked vegetables to encourage him/her more to eat.
Helping your baby get by with his/her food transition is important so that by around 12 months of age, he’ll be ready for a wider variety nutritious foods.
Now, keep this/her in mind when you’re starting to introduce solid foods to your baby, iron-rich foods. Iron is very important for a healthy brain development of babies. They’re born with it since they got it from their mother when they’re still in the womb.
However, once they’re born and start to grow up, their iron level depletes, especially once they reached 6 months old. Breastmilk or formulated milk will not be enough. That’s why you need to focus on iron-rich foods once you start introducing him/her to solids. You may refer here for the iron-riched foods you can start giving your baby.
After knowing the signs and the iron-rich foods to give your baby, the next tip you need to know is to start small. Your baby is still small, so as his/her stomach. Since your little angel is just starting with solids, he doesn’t need to eat a lot.
You may give 1 to 2 teaspoonfuls of food at first, then increase it gradually and depending on the appetite your baby has. See here how the comparison of a baby’s stomach to fruits to know how small or big it’ll be now.
By the time your baby is around 12 months old, he/she should eat at least 3 times a day along with breastmilk or formula.
Here are some additional tips when you start introducing solid foods to your baby.
Choking hazards and foods to avoid
When you start feeding your baby with solid foods, be attentive and keep your eyes with him/her. His/her small throat can be easily choked by hard and large pieces of food. Make sure to have your baby properly sitting when eating to prevent choking.
See to it that you chop, mince, smash, and cut the food into smaller pieces before giving it to your baby. As much as possible, make it smaller than the size of the pea to eliminate the chances of choking. Check here for the list of food that can be a choking hazard for your baby.
For safety measures, read here what you can do should your baby got choked. There are also certain foods that are NOT allowed to be given for babies such as the following.
- Cow’s milk
- Reduced-fat dairy foods
- Whole nuts
- Unpasteurised milk
- Too much sugar, salt and other food preservatives
- Tea, coffee, juice, and other sweetened drinks
Make sure to avoid these foods as they can be dangerous to your child’s health and development.
Hopefully, we’ve helped and ease you with your worries about introducing solid foods to your little tot. Should you have any medical or health concerns, it’s best advised to call or go to your doctor.