Plan Wisely For Your Baby
You want your baby to get the nutrition they need to grow up strong and healthy. Today, most women breastfeed their babies. Breastfeeding is important and gives your baby just the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Breastfeeding provides antibodies and other immune factors. These help protect against infections and disease.
When Should I Start Feeding My Child Solid Foods
The best time to begin using a spoon to feed your child is at around 6 months of age, when your baby can sit with some support and move his head to participate in the feeding process. Babies also have less risk of colds and diarrhea if they wait until around 6 months for solids. Breast milk meets all of your baby’s nutritional needs until 6 months of age. Research has shown that in most cases solid foods won’t help your baby sleep through the night.
Breastfed infants need high- iron solids because the iron in breastmilk is harder to absorb once infants start on solids, and the amount of iron in breastmilk might not be sufficient for some babies past 6 months. Many foods are high in iron, particularly meat, legumes such as beans, peas and lentils, and dark leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach. Dried fruits such as prunes, dates and raisins are also high in iron and can be stewed to soften, then pureed. All of these can be first foods for infants. See the section on Iron below.
Generally it is best to introduce no more than 1 new food every 2-3 days, in order to watch for allergic reactions.
How To Start Baby On Solids
At 4 to 6 months, most of babys nutrition will still come from breast milk or formula, so dont worry if baby doesnt like eating food right away. Introducing solids is a gradual process, and every baby learns in their own time. Here are some general guidelines for how to start baby on solids:
Feed baby with a spoon. Letting your child go at it with their hands may seem tempting , but its best that they learn the right way from the get-go. Also, never put cereal in babys bottleits a choking hazard.
Start slowly. When introducing solids, a half spoonful will do at firstyou may even want to talk baby through it . To make it easier for baby to get accustomed to the idea of swallowing solids, start mealtime with a little breast milk or formula, then offer some food and finish off with more breast milk or formula. If baby cries or turns away when you present the spoon, try again some other time. Start off with introducing solids at one meal a day, then slowly work your way up. The morning is a good place to start, since baby is often hungriest at that time. When starting solids, baby typically wont eat more than an ounce or two in one sitting.
Try new foods more than once. Since babies tastes will evolve, you may need to try a food 20 times before a baby actually likes it, says Kupersmith.
Stick with the same food for three days before trying another one. This makes it easy to track whether baby is allergic to a particular food.
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Ultimate Guide To Baby Led Weaning
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Learn the basics of how to do the feeding approach known as baby led weaning and the best first foods for baby to make starting solids easy and fun. Plus: Learn why its perfectly okay to use a combined approach of blw and purees.
The Poop Will Smell Even Worse
Now, poop never smells great. Theres a reason you wont find any poop-scented perfumes on the market! But up until the time you start your baby on solids , the poop probably didnt stink to high heaven.
Once you start your baby on solids, though, thats going to change. Solid food produces smellier poop, and as your baby eats more and more solid food, the poop will only get stinkier. Theres no way around it. Just plan on doing lots of mouth-breathing during diaper changes.
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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.
Weaning A Premature Baby
If your baby was born early you should begin introducing foods other than milk sometime between ‘corrected age’ 4 and 6 months. Corrected age, or adjusted age, is your baby’s age minus the number of weeks or months they were born early.
It is important to look for the signs listed above that your baby may be ready for solids.
Recommended Feeding Guide For The First Year
Don’t give solid foods unless your child’s healthcare provider advises you to do so. Solid foods should not be started before age 4 months because:
Breast milk or formula provides your baby all the nutrients that are needed for growth.
Your baby isn’t physically developed enough to eat solid food from a spoon.
Feeding your baby solid food too early may lead to overfeeding and being overweight.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants, children, and adolescents take in enough vitamin D through supplements, formula, or cow’s milk to prevent complications from deficiency of this vitamin. In November 2008, the AAP updated its recommendations for daily intake of vitamin D for healthy infants, children, and adolescents. It’s now recommended that the minimum intake of vitamin D for these groups should be 400 IU per day, starting soon after birth. Your baby’s healthcare provider can recommend the proper type and amount of vitamin D supplement for your baby.
How To Start Solid Foods For Babies
We have seen in another article how much baby food your baby should be eating when starting solids. But in fact, we forgot one important thing before that: How to start solid foods for babies?
To be honest, at the beginning I was completely lost. I knew this was going to happen. I was really happy to cook for my baby, but I was also, and above all, very anxious!
Will my baby like what Im cooking?Will he prefer industrial baby jars?Will my baby refuse everything categorically and spit out everything? So many questions that cause unimaginable stress in parents!
This 4-months-old baby doctor appointment, we look forward to it, but when the pediatrician tells us:
Your baby can start solids!
Well actually, ok, but what exactly do I have to do? The pediatrician will carefully answer all your questions, guide you, give you the list of fruits and vegetables with which to begin solid introduction
I have tried to synthesise everything to help you start your baby solid food introduction as safely as possible without too much stress. For that I have created a 30-day schedule.
Before checking this 30-day solids schedule, few tips:
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Feeding Between Three And Six Months
Milk provides your baby with all the nutrition they need to grow and develop in the first six months.
At around three months of age, your baby might start making more saliva and putting their fists or toys in their mouth, or experience a growth spurt and want to feed more often. These are part of normal development rather than signs that theyre ready for solid food.
Solid food shouldnt be introduced too early because babies arent physically or developmentally ready for it.
Some of the reasons are:
- your baby may feel full and not drink enough milk to grow well
- they cant coordinate their swallowing to cope with solid food
- their kidneys and digestion arent well-enough developed to cope with solid foods
- they may be more likely to get eczema, asthma, food allergies, respiratory infections.
Things No One Told You About Starting Your Baby On Solids
Starting to eat solid foods is a big milestone in your little beans life. After several months of a milk-only diet, theyre ready to add in some variety. As parents, this can be a time when lots of questions come up. How the f*& $ do I do this?! Dont worry we got you.
1. Babies start solid foods at different ages
While the average age to start on solids is 6 months, some babies may be ready as early as 5 months, while others may take their time and wait until 7 months. Here are some signs your baby is ready for solids:
- Theyre able to sit up & hold their head up on their own.
- They dont automatically push solid foods out of their mouth with the tongue-thrust reflex.
- They have begun to develop their pincer grasp, meaning that they are working on their ability to grab things between their thumb and forefinger.
- They are beginning to show an increased interest in watching you eat.
- Youve gotten the go-ahead from your childs pediatrician. When in doubt, it doesnt hurt to get your main docs opinion.
2. Feeding your baby is a spectator sport
Ill try to keep this light on the sports analogies but youll want to keep your eyes on the player its important to constantly pay attention to your babys reaction to new foods and keep an eye out for any potential gagging. No baby should ever be left alone with food.
3. Theyre going to be eating constantly
4. It takes time
5. Youre going to need really good quality bibs
6. When babies eat, its messy
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The Poop May Be Colorful
Before starting solids, your babys poop was probably a consistent yellowish-brown color. Nice and predictable. After starting solids, though, thatll likely change. Feed your baby plenty of tasty spinach for lunch, and you may very well see green poop at bedtime. Offer a big bowl of yummy steamed carrots for dinner, and you might wake up to a diaper full of bright orange poop the next morning.
This is nothing to be worried about brightly-colored poop is normal at this stage. Your babys digestive system is still fairly immature and is learning how to process solid foods as she grows, her poop will change to a more normal color, regardless of what she eats.
When To Introduce Your Babys First Solid Foods
Choose a time when both of you are relaxed, like around lunchtime or early afternoon.
When babies are really hungry, they just want the breastmilk or formula they know will satisfy their hunger, so start by breast or bottle feeding your baby. Theyll still have room to try new foods after theyve had a feed of breastmilk or formula.
Wattie’s guide to baby feeding
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Best Tips For Starting Blw
Here are a few more tips to consider and review before you get started.
- Understand the gag reflex. Gagging is different than choking though and is most often a sign that baby is learning to move food around in their mouthsand to get it out of their mouths, which is a skill you want them to have!
- Brush up on the basics of how to know when baby is ready to start solids.
- Set them up for success with a highchair that allows them to sit up straight and has foot support.
- Sit with them as you offer food.
- Check your own expectations of what will happen and simply allow your baby to take the lead.
- Start with one new food a day or every few days.
- Vary the textures of foods you offer to start exposing baby to many right from the start.
- Offer water in a sippy cup or small open cup.
TIP: Remember that breastmilk or formula will continue to satisfy babys hunger for the first few months of eating solids. Do not expect solids to replace milk feedings at this age.
What Age Should I Start Baby Led Weaning
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a baby is ready to start solids with baby led weaning when:
- Theyve doubled their birth weight .
- They can hold their head up well and are starting to sit up unsupported.
- They show signs of being interested in food .
- When you feed them, they are able to move the food around in their mouthsrather than spit it right out.
TIP: Look for a highchair that allows a baby to sit up relatively straight so they can have good posture and better control over their arms and hands.
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How Should I Start Solids
When the time is right, start with a single-grain, iron-fortified baby cereal. Rice cereal has traditionally been the first food for babies, but you can start with any you prefer. Start with 1 or 2 tablespoons of cereal mixed with breast milk, formula, or water.
Another good first option is an iron-rich puréed meat. Feed your baby with a small baby spoon, and never add cereal to a baby’s bottle unless your doctor recommends it.
At this stage, solids should be fed after a nursing session, not before. That way, your baby fills up on breast milk, which should be your baby’s main source of nutrition until age 1.
When your baby gets the hang of eating the first food, introduce others, such as puréed fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, or yogurt. Wait a few days between introducing new foods to make sure your baby doesn’t have an allergic reaction.
Experts recommend introducing common food allergens to babies when they’re 46 months old. This includes babies with a family history of food allergies. In the past, they thought that babies should not get such foods until after the first birthday. But recent studies suggest that waiting that long could make a baby more likely to develop food allergies.
Offer these foods to your baby as soon as your little one starts eating solids. Make sure they’re served in forms that your baby can easily swallow. You can try a small amount of peanut butter mixed into fruit purée or yogurt, for example, or soft scrambled eggs.
How To Start Baby Led Weaning
The first time you offer solids is such a fun milestone, so youll be ready once you follow these simple steps.
- Make sure baby has hit the milestones listed above to let you know that hes ready to start.
- Get the highchair ready and adjust the straps and foot rest as needed.
- Plan to introduce water when you start solids. I recommend a trainer cup.
- Choose one food to start with and plan to offer only one food at a time.
- Stop when baby starts to fuss, turns his head away, or shows any other signs of not wanting to continue. Its usually fairly obvious when they are done!
TIP: If you start offering solids and baby just doesnt seem interested at all, its okay. Take a break for a few days or a few weeks and start again. Each kiddo has their own unique timeline.
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When You Think It Is Right
As well as watching your baby for the signs they are physically ready for solid food you will also notice them take an interest in what you are eating they might even try to grab it out of your hand while you eat. Take advantage of their curiosity if theyre also physically and developmentally ready and start them while they are keen! It will make starting solids less stressful for you!
Youll also notice around the six-month mark that milk feeds may not be as satisfying as they once were for your baby.
Trust your instincts and the current recommendations and youll know when your baby is ready. Try not to compare your baby with others or listen to unsolicited and conflicting advice from other parents, grandparents .
Solids Or Breast First
There seems to be considerable worry when a child is starting solids about whether to give the breast first or give solid food first. If breastfeeding and the introduction of solid foods both are going well, it probably does not matter much. Indeed, there is no reason that a baby needs both breast and solids every time he eats.
This handout may be copied and distributed without further permission, on the condition that it is not used in any context in which the WHO code on the marketing of breastmilk substitutes is violated.
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Baby Feeding Chart: How Much Should I Feed My Baby In One Sitting
A good rule of thumb when you’re figuring out just how much to give your little one during each meal: Start small and work your way up.
While your baby’s first meals may have consisted of a teaspoon or two of solid food, once she gets the hang of eating, you can use the following baby feeding chart as a general guideline: