Useful Health Tips

Introducing Solid Foods to Baby: 10 Helpful Tips to Remember

Introducing Solid Foods to Baby: 10 Helpful Tips to Remember
January 06
13:20 2018

What Food should you introduce to your Baby First?

The thought of introducing solid foods to a baby usually fills parents with a mix of both excitement and nervousness.

Introducing baby solid foods is really a milestone and this milestone is a lot of fun and worry as well. There’s the delight that comes with reaching such a significant milestone and starting a new chapter in baby’s life, but then:

  • What about choosing the right foods?
  • What about the risk of choking or allergies?
  • What if they don’t enjoy eating?

10 Tips to Introduce Solid Foods to your Baby

There are so many considerations, no wonder parents often feel like a bundle of nerves at this point.

By following the advice of pediatricians, however, and with some practical guidance on the best ways of embarking on weaning, it can be a really enjoyable stage of parenting. Here are 10 tips to help guide you through this exciting but nerve-wracking stage of your baby’s first year.

1. Be confident your baby is ready

Current advice from both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that your baby should start on solid foods at around six months of age. It is at this age that most babies are developmentally ready and that breast milk alone starts to no longer provide for a baby’s entire nutritional requirements (although it will remain their main source of nutrition for some time yet).

For your baby’s safety and for their optimum health, you should look out for the following signs that they are able to begin eating solid food:
· Good head control: To be able to swallow safely, your baby should be able to sit up in a high chair and hold his head up.
· Is interested in food: If your baby has shown a keen interest in your food and seems eager to try it, then he may be ready.

If in any doubt about your child’s readiness to eat solids, contact your pediatrician.

2. Keep it simple and choose straightforward, nutritious first foods

Baby rice cereal mixed with breast milk is what many parents consider their child’s go-to very first food. This is because the taste will be almost identical to the only other food your baby has ever known, milk, so baby only really needs to deal with a different texture first time around.

There’s no reason, however, you couldn’t provide vegetables such as carrot or even pureed fruit such as apple for baby’s first foods. You’ll be adding lots of great nutrients to her diet this way.

Many parents opt to puree their baby’s first foods, but if you choose to introduce finger foods early on, just remember they need to be very soft and easy to swallow; banana or very well-cooked pasta are good examples of safe first finger foods.

3. Get your kit ready

You don’t necessarily need much equipment for this stage of your baby’s development, although there are many useful items. The one essential is somewhere safe for baby to sit up to eat (i.e., a highchair). Other than that, your needs will depend on how you choose to feed your baby and how tolerant you are of a mess.

You may want to acquire:

  • A blender for pureeing foods
  • Soft-tip weaning spoons for feeding puree and ready-prepared baby foods
  • Bibs or coveralls for protecting clothing
  • Protection for your flooring

4. Safe, healthy and fun

Safe, healthy, fun: This is a great mantra to have in mind for your baby’s first solid-eating experiences. If what you are putting in front of your baby doesn’t meet all of these three criteria, then it may do more harm than good.

We’d all like our children to have a positive relationship with food from the get-go to avoid problems further down the line. Also, consider that a baby’s nutritional requirements from food are very small at this stage, so there’s never any need to panic if they reject something, and force is never needed. Keeping the whole experience fun and relaxed is just as important as the food is safe and healthy.

5. Embrace the mess (it’s part of the process)

When your baby takes solid food for the first time, there’s guaranteed to be some mess. Using the tongue to move food from the front of the mouth to the back to swallow is new to the baby, so it’s going to take some mastering. If they reject it all or are still struggling to swallow any after a few goes, it may be that your baby is not quite developmentally ready and you may need to wait a short time before trying again.

If your baby is happy and swallowing some of what you give them, then let them carry on having fun.

6. Take it slowly, one food at a time

There are two significant benefits of not rushing to introduce lots of tastes early on.

Firstly, you can more easily spot and pinpoint allergies if you introduce one food at a time by being on the look-out for a rash, or upset tummy.

Secondly, it may take a few tastes of something before a baby accepts it, so it may pay to try something a few times over a few days, even if baby’s first impressions are not favorable.

7. Go on a baby first-aid course

If you’ve followed the correct advice from bodies such as the WHO and AAP, then the chances of choking are small. However, for your peace of mind and for you to enjoy the experience too and not be overcome with worry, it really helps if you have up-to-date knowledge of what to do if your baby chokes, or has a severe allergic reaction.

8. Be prepared. What goes in must come out!

Changes to your baby’s diet always inevitably lead to some surprises when you change nappies. You’ll almost certainly notice immediate changes to the texture, color, and odor of your baby’s stools. You may also notice small amounts of undigested foods too, such as tomato skin, hulls of peas and the black fibrous threads from the banana. This is completely normal and is down to a still maturing digestive system.

However, if your baby’s stools are particularly watery or mucus-filled, it would be best to take advice from a pediatrician.

9. Enjoy family meals

Baby will love being part of family mealtimes, so if you can combine their solid feeding times with your own meal-times, then go for it. They can learn a great deal from watching you eat, and you can act as great models for exploring new foods, textures, and healthy foods. Sitting down for a meal together has been proven to have a really positive influence on child development in so many ways.

10. Give water with meals

Finally, babies will still be getting all the liquids they need from their milk at first, but they’ll still love to learn to drink from a cup, too. Giving water allows them to practice this skill now, so by the time they start to reduce their milk intake, they’ll be able to more easily take water. Drinking water with meals is a really healthy habit to get into, too, and always remember that a child younger than 12 months should not be given juice.

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