Introducing solid foods to your baby
Indiranagar, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
There are many exciting phases and milestones experienced by both mother and child, as the child grows. One of the earliest milestones is when the baby can begin having solid foods. We all know that at the time of birth, the digestive system of the infant is not developed enough to deal with solid food. It takes at least 4-6 months to reach that point. So until then, most babies are suggested to be breastfed, i.e. have the breast milk. In some cases, such as if the mother is taking medications, or if she is not in a state to breastfeed the child, the doctors recommend a baby formula.
Both breast milk and formula milk contain the required amount of nutrients, vitamins and calories for your baby to grow during its first initial six months. But after that, the baby is ready to move on to solid food.
This is an exciting as well as quite a scary phase for the mothers. They have to be careful about what they give the baby. They want to be sure if it is the right time to introduce solid food.
Well, there are certain signs you can look for to know whether your baby is ready for solid foods. But remember, at initial stages, your baby must have the ability to sit upright, keep her head up as well as hold her chin up while she is being fed.
Signs That Your Baby Is Ready For Solid Food
There are certain signs that a mother needs to look out for before she starts feeding her baby solid food. Below are some such signs.
One sign to look out for is when the baby starts putting objects into her mouth. You also have to be careful around such phases and see to it that she does not have small-sized objects lying around her, as she may try putting that in her mouth and swallow it.
If you have food in your hand, if you notice the baby opening its mouth while you bring the food close to its mouth, then that is a good sign.
The baby is not completely satisfied after being breastfed. It cries for more food after the session or when it notices the feeding bottle is empty. The baby appears to be hungrier than usual.
The baby appears to be interested in the food that is being eaten by others around her.
You will notice your infant has developed the ability to put small food in her mouth and push it to the back. This means she can eat and swallow food.
There is a significant change in the baby’s weight. It appears to have doubled since the time of her birth.
Now that you know the signs that indicate your baby is ready for solid food, here comes the next question. What kind of solid food is good for my baby. We know that she cannot eat whatever it is that you consume. There is also a certain way of how the food is presented and fed to your baby.
Read on to find out what it is that you can feed your baby.
Solid Foods That You Can Give to Your Baby the First Time
When we refer to solid foods for the baby, we don’t mean proper solids. We just mean that the baby is ready to transition from breastfed milk to other types of food. The consistency of the food must be liquid or at least semi-solid as the baby has not developed its teeth, so it won’t be able to chew the food down.
Once the babies have been fed liquid or semi-solid food, you can slowly transition into solid food. Maintain consistency with the type of food you feed the baby. This way, you can understand if your child could have an allergic reaction to the food you give it. Observe her stools, i.e. her poop to see if things are normal. The faecal matter of the baby alerts you to various problems, so always study it.
Now once you notice that the baby is not allergic to one kind of food, move on to the next one. The allergic reactions that you need to look out for include vomiting, rashes, diarrhoea, etc.
Below are some of the foods you can feed to your child:
You can start by boiling vegetables such as pumpkin, carrot, avocado and then puree it to a sort of paste.
Similarly boil single-grained cereals like rice, lentils or ragi, and serve it your baby in pureed form
You can also mash fruits like apples and bananas
Give them foods like yoghurt, or other healthy foods that have a similar consistency
You can also feed your child some custard
Things to keep in mind when introducing solids to your baby
Now that you know a little bit about the type of food you can give to your child let us learn about the types of food you may need to avoid and other things that you must keep in mind while introducing your baby to solids.
Given below are some such points:
It is best to avoid foods that are rich in nitrate content such as vegetables like beetroot or spinach because the nitrates are said to cause a type of anaemia in small children.
It is best to keep your food bland, do not try to enhance the flavour by adding in more sugar or salt.
Do not force a lot of food at one sitting, start with a few spoons and then gradually increase the amount of food you feed your child.
If you use commercial or packaged baby food, see to it that you boil the water before mixing it with the baby food formula.
Do not feed the baby solid foods through a bottle. Developing a child’s eating habits also helps understand its perspectives. So, in providing solid foods through a bottle, the baby might find it hard to differentiate between the two. Giving them in separate containers will prepare your baby for other types of solid foods.
After the first few months of feeding your child solid foods like the boiled and pureed fruits, vegetables or cereal, you can slowly introduce your child to other varieties of solid food. This is for when your baby just begins to chew, although, it hasn’t developed proper grinding teeth. You can start with small food that can be easily chewed by babies.
Some of the small foods that you can give the baby include;
Tiny pieces of boiled veggies
Fruits that have been thinly sliced
Minced meat or minced chicken in really small portions
Feeding babies can get a little messy. Always have some clothes and tissues so that you can keep the surroundings clean. Remember that babies take a while to eat the food properly, so you need to have the utmost patience. Make the feeding a fun, learning process, and do not surround the baby with distractions while feeding it.
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