How To Introduce Solids
Try these simple tips when introducing solid foods to your baby:
- Be calm and relaxed when you begin.
- Make sure they sit comfortably and are not too hungry.
- Be patient. They may only take a spoonful at first, but this will increase with time and practice.
- Be prepared for a mess all babies will do this when they learn to eat.
- Stay with your baby while eating to encourage social interaction and to avoid any accidents .
- Try again in a day or so if your baby refuses the first time.
- Offer foods on a small, infant-sized spoon.
How To Start Solid Foods
In the beginning your baby will only need a small amount of food before their usual milk feed.
Do not worry about how much they eat. The most important thing is getting them used to new tastes and textures, and learning how to move solid foods around their mouths and how to swallow them.
They’ll still be getting most of their energy and nutrients from breast milk or infant formula.
There are some foods to avoid giving to your baby. For example, do not add sugar or salt to your baby’s food or cooking water.
Babies should not eat salty foods as it’s not good for their kidneys, and sugar can cause tooth decay.
Tips to get your baby off to a good start with solid foods:
What’s The Right Age For Babies To Start Eating Solid Foods
Spooning up the first mouthfuls of baby food to a growing infant is an important milestone, but new research suggests many parents are doing it too soon. The study, published today in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, finds more than half of all babies in the U.S. are introduced to complementary foods meaning foods or drinks other than breast milk or formula earlier than they should be. Experts say that as a result, children may not be getting all the health benefits they should from nursing.
“Introducing babies to complementary foods too early can cause them to miss out on important nutrients that come from breast milk and infant formula,” lead investigator Chloe M. Barrera, MPH, of the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, said in a statement. “Conversely, introducing them to complementary foods too late has been associated with micronutrient deficiencies, allergies, and poorer diets later in life.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast-feeding exclusively, when possible, for about the first six months of a baby’s life. Babies who are breast-fed for at least six months tend to develop healthier immune systems and are less likely to be overweight or to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Some research suggests they may even grow up to have higher IQs.
According to the AAP, babies should first be introduced to solid foods at around the age of 6 months.
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Kittens Are Ready To Try Solid Foods At 4 Weeks Old
Weaning a kitten from a 100% milk diet to solid food is a delicate business. Some kittens might start showing interest in their mothers food from 3 weeks of age. Most will be ready to be introduced to kitten gruel by 4 weeks of age. At this stage, you should be actively encouraging kittens to eat solid food. Kitten gruel is a mash of high-quality kitten food mixed with kitten replacement milk formula. It is designed to be easy for the kitten to lap up.
As kittens get used to the gruel, the amount of milk added can be reduced gradually. It helps to serve the gruel in a flat dish. Such as a saucer or even an upside-down Tupperware lid if there is one to spare. This allows easy access to the food. Expect feeding to be very messy for the first few days. But most kittens should complete the transition to kitten food by 6 weeks of age.
Signs Your Baby Is Ready For Solid Food
Your baby may be ready for solid food if they:
- seem hungry after breast or formula feeds
- can hold their head up well, and can sit upright when supported
- are interested in watching you eat – they reach out, open their mouth when youre eating, and put their hands and toys in their mouth
- make chewing movements
- easily open their mouth when you touch their lip with a spoon or bring food to their mouth, and their tongue doesnt push the food out
- move food to the back of their mouth and swallow.
If your baby’s hungry, they might:
- get excited when they see you getting food ready
- lean towards you while sitting in the highchair
- open their mouth as you’re about to feed them.
Signs your baby isn’t interested include:
- turning their head away
- shutting their mouth when you offer food
- losing interest or getting distracted
- pushing the spoon away.
If your baby is nearing seven months and hasnt started solids, you might like to get some advice from your Plunket nurse or GP.
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How Can I Avoid Raising A Picky Eater
There are some factors beyond your control. As I explain in this opens in a new windowevidence-based article about the origins of picky eaters, some individuals inherit traits that make them more resistant to eating new foods .
But parents can make a difference. As noted above, the flavors in a mothers diet make their way into her milk. And studies reveal that babies develop preferences for these flavors.
So breastfeeding may be one way to program your child to accept a wider range of foods.
Consistent with this idea, researchers have found that toddlers tend to eat more vegetables if they have a history of breastfeeding longer .
And the other important factor is exposing your baby to a variety of solid foods.
When researchers have tracked children over time, theyve found a correlation between early food experiences and later eating habits. Kids who are introduced to many different foods during infancy tend to eat a broader array of fruits and vegetables.
So its probably a good idea to resist offering your baby only a small number of favorite foods. Keep introducing your baby to new flavors and textures especially vegetable foods that infants may take longer to develop a liking for.
Observe How Often Your Baby Places Objects In His Or Her Mouth
When you see babies putting objects like small toys in their mouths, this indicates a readiness for solid food. In fact, this might even be a sign that they are old enough to start learning how to use a spoon. Either way, this development of fine motor skills clears the path for picking up small pieces of food as well as learning how to hold a sippy cup and to use utensils.
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In Brief: Feeding Your Baby Solid Foods
Before 6 months, breastmilk alone meets all your babys energy and nutrition needs.
Start to introduce soft foods at 6 months when your baby needs more energy and nutrients than your milk alone can provide.
At 6 months, start giving your baby just two to three spoonfuls of soft food, such as porridge, mashed fruits or vegetables, twice a day.
Start feeding both breastfed and non-breastfed babies solid foods at 6 months. Waiting too long can put your baby at risk.
Up to 6 months old
From the first hour of life, through to 6 months old, your baby can receive all of the nutrition she needs to grow and develop from your milk. She doesnt need anything else no water, tea, juice, porridge or any other foods or fluids during this period.
Myth: Babies need solid food sooner than 6 months old
When you breastfeed your baby frequently, starting foods earlier than 6 months is not necessary and can even be harmful.
Introducing foods or fluids other than breastmilk to your baby before she is 6 months old can increase her risk of illnesses, such as diarrhoea, which can make her thin and weak, and even be life-threatening. Your baby may also breastfeed less often, so your supply of milk, her most vital food, may decrease.
A mothers milk is the safest and healthiest food for the first 6 months of life for all children everywhere. It is a constant, safe source of essential nutrition, wherever you and your baby live in the world.
Myth: Boys need more than breastmilk
What If A Baby Grabs The Spoon During A Feeding
Babies are smart and full of curiosity, so its understandable if they want to examine the implements were trying to stick in their mouths. Let your baby take the spoon and look it over. Meanwhile, you can continue the feeding with another spoon.
Does your baby try to grab that one as well? Some parents have found success by adding even more spoons to the mix one or more for the parent, and two for the baby. The idea here is to keep both of the babys hands occupied while you feed.
But you might also try handing your baby a spoon thats been loaded with food. Help guide the spoon to your babys mouth, or let your baby attempt it on his own.
Your babys behavior can be frustrating, and cause a lot of mess. But keep in mind: This isnt a feed-or-starve situation.
Your baby doesnt have to ingest much solid food during these sessions. They are mostly about learning. And if your baby is very keen to hold and use spoons, shes probably ready to learn self-feeding, which is a good thing. Allowing your baby to practice will hasten the day when she can eat independently.
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What If My Baby Is Not Interested In Solids
If your baby is not interested in solids during your first attempts, relax and try again in a few days.
While most babies naturally spit food out when first given solids, they soon learn to accept foods if you continue.
Eventually you will learn when your baby is hungry or full so you can enjoy mealtimes as a family.
Remember, they are also picking up cues from you this includes learning how to socialise and eating healthy foods.
Starting Solids For Breastfed Babies
Interestingly, the 2011 study also found that for babies who were breastfed, the timing of introducing solid foods was not associated with increased obesity risk.
There was little difference in the rates of obesity between breastfed infants who started solids before four months, those who started between four and five months, and those who started at or after six months.
It seems the rates of obesity in breastfed babies were quite similar, but does that mean that parents who breastfeed should feel confident that they can start solids as soon as they want? Not exactly.
Keep in mind that this study considered only one health risk: obesity. While there was no substantial connection between the timing of introducing solids to breastfed infants and their risk of preschool obesity, the study still urged parents to stick with the AAP’s suggested timing for starting solidsabout six months of age.
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When Can Baby Start To Eat Solid Foods
When Can Baby Start to Eat Solid Foods is a question a lot of parents have asked, and in this article we are going to answer this in detailed approach, while also telling you those signs which shows your baby is ready to start eating solid foods.
All babies rely solely on breast milk or industrially prepared milk when they are born. As they grow older, their bodys increased metabolism leaves them hungry almost all the time. Due to this, they request for food at regular intervals.
To meet their increasing demand for food, parents start to feed their children solid foods. Some parents do this without a doctors permit and its wrong. Other parents wait until the baby is older than six months as this is a common culture.
Every parent wants to be intentional about raising their children, and many cannot afford to follow the crowd. At the end of this article, you will be equipped with the right knowledge to help your baby smoothly transition to the world of eating solid foods while knowing the exact time when your baby can start to eat solid foods.
Dangers Of Feeding Your Baby Solids Too Soon
Paul A. Rufo, MD, MMSc, is an assistant professor of pediatrics and senior investigator in the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Boston Children’s Hospital.
If you’re a new parent, the question of when to start your baby on solid food can feel daunting. Well-meaning family members and friends have their own beliefs about introducing solids and may expect you to agree with their opinions. But starting solid foods too early can have health consequences.
If your baby seems to want solids, or you’re hoping solid food will calm fussiness, you might be eager to get started. Before you do, take a look at what the research says about when to start your baby on solids, including baby food.
How Should I Introduce My Child To Foods
Your child needs certain vitamins and minerals to grow healthy and strong.
Now that your child is starting to eat food, be sure to choose foods that give your child all the vitamins and minerals they need.
Click here to learn more about some of these vitamins & minerals.
Let your child try one single-ingredient food at a time at first. This helps you see if your child has any problems with that food, such as food allergies. Wait 3 to 5 days between each new food. Before you know it, your child will be on his or her way to eating and enjoying lots of new foods.
Introduce potentially allergenic foods when other foods are introduced.
Potentially allergenic foods include cows milk products, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, and sesame. Drinking cows milk or fortified soy beverages is not recommended until your child is older than 12 months, but other cows milk products, such as yogurt, can be introduced before 12 months. If your child has severe eczema and/or egg allergy, talk with your childs doctor or nurse about when and how to safely introduce foods with peanuts.
When To Start Solids
Ultimately, your baby’s age and a conversation with your pediatrician should be what determines when you introduce solid foods into your little one’s diet. You might notice signs that your baby is ready for solid foods, such as strong head and neck control and the ability to sit up independently. However, these indicators do not replace a discussion with your baby’s doctor.
Once you decide to start your baby on solids, it’s common to have lots of questions, such as whether to start with baby cereal, which foods to introduce , and whether they should introduce juice too. Ask your pediatrician any questions you have about your baby’s nutrition and diet.
Always Supervise When Your Baby Is Eating
Babies can choke easily when they are learning to eat so its important to supervise and engage your baby when eating. Your baby should be sitting upright and not lying down, walking, running or be distracted when eating. For proper supervision, include your baby in family meals. Parents should be able to tell the difference between gagging and actual choking, and that gagging is a natural reflex that helps older infants avoid choking.
Q What Should My Baby Drink With Their Solid Food
A. Its OK to give baby a little water with food, but not more than 4 to 8 ounces in a day, Dr. Prabhakaran notes. Babies still need formula and breast milk at this point.
But avoid juices. They can eat the fruit itself, but juices are not good, especially if they have some teeth, she says. The sugar in the juice may cause decay.
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What Are The Best First Foods For A Baby
No matter what’s on the menu, if you’re introducing solids in the form of purees , the texture of your baby’s first foods should be super smooth and practically dripping off the spoon. If you prepare your own baby food, you should strain, puree or finely mash it, and then thin it with liquid if necessary.
As your baby becomes a more experienced eater , gradually reduce the liquid you add and thicken the texture.
Here are good first foods to start with for spoon-feeding:
Those early-bird specials get pretty old after a few dozen meals. Spice things up by adding:
- Minced meat
- Mashed eggs
At 8 months, you can start trying finger foods to add a whole other dimension to eating.
Ready to serve up a combo platter? That’s fine, as long as you keep the foods separate for a while. Your goal is to get your baby acquainted with the taste of particular foods, so if you mush the meats and veggies together, she may never know the joy of just plain peas. Once she likes the taste of a variety of different flavors, feel free to mix things up.
Always hold off on honey and cow’s milk until your baby is at least 1 year old. Most doctors will, however, green-light whole-milk yogurt, cottage cheese and hard cheese by 8 months or so, or even sooner.
Foods To Avoid For Children Under 12 Months
Some foods are not suitable for babies under 12 months. These include:
- Honey and any food containing raw egg may contain harmful bacteria.
- Caffeinated drinks contain tannins that can restrict vitamin and mineral uptake.
- Whole nuts and hard uncooked vegetables should be avoided due to the risk of choking.
- Fruit juice, cordial and soft drinks have no nutritional value and usually contain high amounts of added sugar and are linked to weight gain and poor oral health.
- Reduced fat milk is not suitable for children under 2.
- Certain milks such as goats, soy, rice, oat.
- Unpasteurised cows milk due to the risk of serious gastrointestinal illnesses.
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