Should I Give My Child Snacks
Once your baby eats 3 meals a day or at 5-hour intervals, he may need small snacks to tide him over between meals. Most babies begin this pattern between 6 and 9 months of age. The midmorning and mid-afternoon snack should be a nutritious food that would be typically given at a meal. If your child is not hungry at mealtime, cut back on the snacks or eliminate them.
Why Can’t I Give My Baby Solid Foods Before 6 Months
Babies need to be developmentally ready to eat solid foods. Learning how to move food from the front of the tongue to the back of the mouth then swallow is a skill that needs practice.
Until 4 to 6 months of age, babies still have a ‘tongue extrusion reflex’ this means they push food out of their mouth with their tongue. Giving solids before 4 to 6 months can be a choking risk. Until they’re old enough, babies only know how to suck and swallow milk, not how to move more solid textures to the back of their mouth to be swallowed.
Giving solids before your baby is ready can also mean they fills up on solids and won’t drink the milk they need to grow and thrive.
When To Start Solids For Breastfed Baby
Start to introduce solid foods when your baby shows signs hes ready. This is around six months old, but not before four months. First foods might be smooth, mashed or in soft pieces. Your baby can go on to minced and chopped foods. Introduce different foods to your baby in any order, as long as you include iron-rich foods.
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How To Start Babies On Solid Food: An Evidence
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Introducing solid foods to your baby is a messy, amusing, and sometimes frustrating business. How do you start?
The first thing to understand is the goal. You arent trying to replace your babys breast milk or formula intake with solid food.
Thats because solid foods dont provide the complete nutrition that young infants need. If young babies reduce their breast milk intake, and replace it with cereal or other baby foods, they are at risk for poor nutrition .
So when you introduce solids to your baby, you are entering a transitional period. Your baby will still rely on breast milk or formula for the bulk of his or her nutritional needs. But your baby will be learning about solid foods learning how to eat, and how to accept new flavors and textures.
And this understanding can keep you from becoming overly frustrated. Your baby doesnt have to empty a jar of baby food in order to make progress. Repeated tasting of foods and practice moving food around in the mouth is important progress by itself.
With that understanding in mind, what else does the evidence tell us about introducing solids to babies? Here are some common questions and answers.
Milk Feeds Or Solids First
Milk is still the priority nutrition until 12 months old, but food is still an important part of the diet from 6 months as it provides nutrients, in particular, iron which is important to meet the needs of the growing infant. Its important to find the right balance between the two, where milk feeds are prioritised, but your little one is also eating solids.
It can be tricky to balance all of the above, so take the guesswork out with our Sleep & Nutrition Program, which has been created to provide lots of suggestions around food and meal planning and include access to our nutrition village where you can ask a qualified Dietitian any of your burning questions.
Disclaimer: The advice and information provided in this post is general in nature and based primarily around the Australian guidelines so might not be appropriate for all circumstances. It is important to understand that the advice is intended as a guide only and is not intended to replace an individualized consultation with a medical doctor or qualified health professional.
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Where Can I Go For More Information
For more information on how to introduce solid foods, check with your child health nurse, or call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436 to talk to a maternal child health nurse.
What Are Some Signs Your Baby Is Ready For Solid Foods
Before you start filling your babys high-chair tray with solids, it important that your baby shows you that theyre up for the challenge. While they may not have too many questions for the chef about whats on the menu, they will be able to do a few key things that demonstrate their bodies are able to handle solids.
Signs of readiness include:
- The ability to sit upright and hold their head up without assistance
- They no longer automatically “tongue thrust”meaning they don’t push food out of their mouth when you try to feed them.
- Your baby gives your signs of hunger, and milk alone no longer appears to be enough to keep them full.
- Your baby starts smacking their lips and reaching out to grab your fork when they see you eating.
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To 9 Months Old Feeding Schedule
Expressed breast/human milk or formula: 24 to 32 fluid ounces per day4
Solids: 2 meals
Baby is likely bottle-feeding five to eight times per day, with most still taking one or more bottles during the night. At this age, some babies may be more confident eating solid food, but breast/human milk and formula should remain babys primary source of nutrition. Although baby may be drinking slightly less, you shouldnt see a large drop in milk feeds some babies do not change their milk intake at all yet. If you have noticed a large drop, consider offering fewer solid foods. Breast/human milk or formula is still important at this age, and weaning should be slow.
Baby is likely awake for about 2.5-3 hours at a time, and most babies will nap two times a day, though some 8-month-old babies hang on to their third nap a little longer, until around 9 months of age.
Please note that many babies and parents prefer to offer bottles right before nap as part of the nap routine. This works as well. Our sample schedule shows separate naps and bottles for those who choose to work on disassociating sleep and eating . However, if this is not a priority for you and your family prefers bottles as part of the sleep routine, you can modify the timing of bottles accordingly.
Continue offering small amounts of water in an open or straw cup at mealtimes, alternating between open and straw cups for practice.
Is Your Baby Ready For Solids
How can you know if your baby is ready for solids? Follow their cues, says Dina DiMaggio, a pediatrician from New York City and co-author of The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers.
Most babies show signs of readiness between five to six months. They include:
- Having good head control. Even if your baby can’t quite sit up on their own yet, they need to be able to hold their head up in order to start eating solids.
- Being able to sit up with support.
- No more tongue thrust instinct. This reflex causes a baby’s tongue to automatically push food out of their mouth, and it’s meant to stop choking.
- Showing interest in trying food. “When your baby is staring at you while you are eating and trying to grab your food, it’s a good sign it’s time to start solids,” Dr. DiMaggio says.
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References: How To Start Babies On Solids
Abrams EM and Becker AB. 2015. Food introduction and allergy prevention in infants. CMAJ. 187:1297-301.
American Academy of Pediatrics. 2017. Starting Solid Foods. Retrieved from opens in a new windowhttps://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Switching-To-Solid-Foods.aspx .
American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. 2000. Hypoallergenic infant formulas. Pediatrics. 106:346-9.
Cameron SL, Taylor RW, Heath AL. 2015. Development and pilot testing of Baby-Led Introduction to Solidsa version of Baby-Led Weaning modified to address concerns about iron deficiency, growth faltering and choking. BMC Pediatr. 15:99.
Coulthard H, Harris G, Emmett P. 2009. Delayed introduction of lumpy foods to children during the complementary feeding period affects childs food acceptance and feeding at 7 years of age. Matern Child Nutr. 5:75-85.
Daniels L, Heath AL, Williams SM, Cameron SL, Fleming EA, Taylor BJ, Wheeler BJ, Gibson RS, Taylor RW. 2015. Baby-Led Introduction to SolidS study: a randomised controlled trial of a baby-led approach to complementary feeding. BMC Pediatr. 15:179.
de Lauzon-Guillain B, Jones L, Oliveira A, Moschonis G, Betoko A, Lopes C, Moreira P, Manios Y, Papadopoulos NG, Emmett P, Charles MA. 2013. The influence of early feeding practices on fruit and vegetable intake among preschool children in 4 European birth cohorts. Am J Clin Nutr. 98:804-12.
title image of baby touching hands in high chair by lmnop88a / flickr
How Do I Know When My Baby Is Ready For Solid Food
Before making the switch to solids, a child must have good head control, and have outgrown their tongue-thrust reflex, meaning they no longer push food away with their tongue.
When ready for solids, your child will open their mouth to accept food without spitting or pushing it out. But because its a new experience, the first few times may not go smoothly even if your baby is ready. Keep trying if they spit out their food!
Babies who are ready to try solid foods will show interest in what family members are eating. They should also be capable of moving food from a spoon to their mouth and swallow without choking.
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First Foods For Baby Led Weaning
As much as we want to delight our babies with all kinds of foods, seeing too much food can be overwhelming for them. So keep it simple and always be sure to include an iron-rich food. Have fun exploring this new world of food through the lens of your baby!
I want to mention this again because its that important! Come to the table with No expectations. No agenda. Lots of smiles, encouragement, and curiosity.
Finally, rather than watching your baby, make yourself a plate, preferably the same foods as your baby, and enjoy your meal alongside your baby. Teach your baby how to feed themselves by SHOWING them.
Here are the exact meals I served to my baby during her first month of starting solids. Hope this provides you with some ideas! Simple. Well-balanced. Delicious!
I actually filmed EVERYTHING I made for her as well as my toddler, husband, and me from Day 1 to Day 84 in real time and turned them into an easy to access and follow program!
You are here because youre spending time researching everything you need to know to give your baby the best. I have a feeling youre spending a lot of hours googling, going to all the different sites seeking answers to your burning questions, gathering recipes, etc.
What if I handed you a complete roadmap that would show you through daily videos and photos of what foods and how to serve them to your baby AND the rest of the family at the same time? Everything you need to know all in one place.
Which Is Better Bought Or Homemade Food
Many babies eat a combination of homemade and bought food. Store-bought food is convienant and easy to prepare. It’s also handy for when you are not at home or travelling. When buying store-bought food for your baby, read the labels and try to avoid foods that are high in sugar and salt.
Although making your own food might be a bit time-consuming, the advantage is you know what’s in it. Making one big batch and freezing in portions will go along way. Homemade food will help your baby become familar with family cooked meals. You can serve small portions of meals made for the rest of the family before any salt or spices have been added. Making your own baby food is also more affordable.
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How Important Is Variety
Aim for variety when it comes to your baby’s foods. Colour, texture and taste are all important characteristics of first foods.
Where possible, cook and prepare your baby’s foods so you know what’s in them. Aim for fresh fruits and vegetables, cooked with a minimum of water until they are soft enough to chew. Freeze small containers or ice-cube trays containing freshly cooked meals.
Most babies show some hesitation when offered new foods and textures. It’s worth reoffering foods a few times until they show interest or it’s clear they’re not keen and would prefer something else.
Tips For Introducing Solid Foods
- Until your baby is 9 months, offer them milk before solids. After 9 months, they can have milk after their solids.
- Be sensitive to your baby’s cues or signals that they are hungry or full. Don’t force them to eat or keep offering food if they’re turning away, closing their mouth or not swallowing.
- Give your baby plenty of time to practise their new eating skills. At first, they’ll spit the food out, may seem unsure or pull faces at the taste of certain foods. Remember, eating solids is as much about learning as it is about nutrition.
- Let your baby make a mess. As soon as they are ready, offer them finger foods and the opportunity to pick up food and put it in their mouth.
- Always supervise your baby when they are eating solid foods. Small, hard foods can be a choking hazard although babies can choke on any food of any texture.
- Make sure you cook and store your baby’s food safely. Never reheat food that has been reheated previously, or that has been sitting at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
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When Did You Start Feeding Your Baby Meat
Feeding Your Baby You can start to add cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese for protein and calcium. Even if your baby doesnt have teeth, you can add ground meat or small pieces of deli meat. Choking prevention is important, so make sure foods are cut into small pieces for safety. Never leave your baby alone while they are eating. More items
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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Start With Small Portioned Servings
Once youve scooped a second bite out of a container with a used spoon, the saliva on the spoon means the food in the container isnt safe to save for another meal. Portion out foods into smaller servings to avoid waste. In the early months, your little one will probably only eat a tablespoon or two at most.
What If The Baby Makes Faces While Eating
What if a baby makes dramatic, negative facial expressions after tasting a particular food? Does this mean you should stop offering it?
Babies are notorious for making faces in reaction to new foods .
For example, in one study, researchers recorded the facial expressions of babies tasting pureed green beans for the first time .
These were the most common reactions:
- 95% of the babies squinted
- 82% waggled their brows
- 76% raised their upper lips
- 42% wrinkled their noses
In short, babies looked disgusted, and the more disgusted they looked, the more slowly they ate!
But heres the important point: They got over their initial dislike for green beans. It just took time.
After following an 8-day regimen of repeated feedings, the babies were eating three times as much pureed green beans as they had eaten during their very first experience.
But none of this means you should force your baby to eat. Thats not a good idea. Instead, hold a spoonful of the food up to your babys mouth until he or she has pushed it away. Then wait a bit, and try again, for a total of three tries.
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