Tuesday, March 21, 2023

When Should You Start Solid Foods For Baby

How To Make Salmon Baby Food Puree

Feeding Babies: Starting Solid Foods | Kaiser Permanente

I used grilled salmon as that is what I had on hand, but any cooked salmon would work. Place 1/4 cup of cooked salmon along with 1 cup of cooked sweet potato or squash into a blender and puree for 1-2 minutes, adding 1/4 cup of liquids until smooth. You can use any fruit or veggie your baby prefers in this recipe. Adding another veggie to the puree also helps the salmon blend into a nice, smooth puree.

When Can Babies Eat Solid Food

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about the first six months. While each baby will grow and develop at their own rate, there are a few signs to look for to let you know your little one is ready to start solids.

It may be time to introduce solid foods if your little one can:

  • Hold their head up and show good head control.
  • Open their mouth when food comes their way.
  • Move food from a spoon into their throat.
  • Has roughly doubled their birth weight.

Be sure to check with your pediatrician prior to starting solids to get the go-ahead and talk through any questions or concerns you may have.

For How Long Should I Keep Breastfeeding Or Bottle Feeding

Breastfeeding or formula feeding should continue until your baby is 12 months old. After that, water and cow’s milk should be your baby’s main drinks. Some babies can have an intollerance or allergy to cow’s milk, so they may need an alternative, such as soy. Follow your doctor’s or allergy specialist’s advice and read food labels carefully.

Breastfeeding can continue for as long as you and your baby are happy to keep going, but infant formula is not needed after 12 months.

Read more about balancing solids with milk feeds.

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When To Start Solid Food

We recommend that you wait until 4-6 months to start giving your baby solid food. Up until then, breastmilk or formula should be their sole source of nutrition . If babies are given solid foods, including baby cereal, before 4 months, their digestive system may not be ready. It may increase their risk of food allergies and may increase risk for obesity. Also, its important that you do not give your baby cereal in a bottle, unless your doctor recommends it.

Not all babies will be ready to start solid foods at the same time. Youll want to make sure your baby is doing the following: Can sit up in a high chair or your lap with good head control and minimal support. They dont, however, need to be able to sit independently

  • Seems interested in food
  • Can move food from their mouth and swallow. If you give your baby a spoonful of cereal or baby food and they push it back out or it dribbles down their chin, they may not have this ability yet. Wait a week or two and try again.

How Important Is Variety

The Complete Guide to Starting Baby on Solids

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.

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How To Introduce Solids

When introducing solids for the first time, you want to start small. Do not expect your baby to eat a lot at once. It is also important to be responsive to your baby’s cues when it comes to eating and allow the opportunity for self-feeding whenever possible.

What this means, is that you should offer your baby some spoons pre-loaded with the puree or cereal you are offering and allow them to pick up the spoon and feed themself. Of course, your baby may need some help in the beginning because their skills may not be fully developed. But allowing them the option to feed themselves gives them a sense of autonomy and helps build their independence.

Remember, though, that breast milk or formula is still your baby’s primary source of nutrition. Even if they start to become less interested in the bottle or the breast, you should not cut back on their feeding sessions.

While solid foods are an important part of their feeding journey, the bulk of their nutrition still comes from breastmilk or formula. Try to offer breastmilk or formula on demand and do not alter or reduce their usual feeding schedule.

What Are Signs My Baby Is Ready For Solid Food

To decide if your baby is ready for the big step into the world of solid foods, look for the following clues and then consult your doctor:

  • Your baby can hold her head up well when propped to sit. Even strained baby foods should not be offered until then. Chunkier foods should wait until a baby can sit well alone, usually not until 7 months.
  • The tongue thrust reflex has disappeared. Try this test: Place a tiny bit of baby-appropriate food thinned with breast milk or formula in your baby’s mouth from the tip of a baby spoon or your finger. If the food comes right back out again with that tiny tongue, and continues to after several tries, the thrust is still present and baby isn’t ready for spoon-feeding.
  • Your baby reaches for and otherwise shows an interest in table foods. If she’s grabbing the fork out of your hand or watching intently and excitedly with every bite you take, that may be a sign that she’s hungry for more grown-up fare.
  • Your baby is able to make back-and-forth and up-and-down movements with the tongue. How can you tell? Just watch carefully.
  • Your little one is able to open wide. That way, food can be taken from a spoon.

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Risks Of Weaning Too Soon Or Too Late

You should not give your baby solid foods before 17 weeks because:

  • their kidneys are not mature enough to handle food and drinks other than milk
  • their digestive systems are not yet developed enough to cope with solid foods
  • breast milk or formula milk is all your baby needs until they are 6 months old
  • introducing other foods or fluids can displace the essential nutrients supplied by breast or formula milk
  • introducing solids too early can increase the risk of obesity in later life
  • it can increase their risk of allergy

You should not wait later than 26 weeks because:

  • your baby’s energy needs can no longer be met by either breast milk or formula milk alone
  • iron stores from birth are used up by 6 months and their iron needs can no longer be met by milk alone
  • it delays their opportunity to learn important skills, including self-feeding
  • introducing different textures stimulates the development of muscles involved in speech

How To Introduce Baby To Solids

How to Start Feeding Your Baby Solids | Parents

The AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, as well as supplemental breastfeeding until your infant turns one. . Introducing solids is more about getting them used to chewing and swallowing food than providing any significant nutritional benefit.

Give your baby the breast or bottle first thing in the morning, before or after meals, and before bedtime. At the beginning, you’ll have to experiment to find what works best. If they’re a big drinkersay, if they’d drink a whole bottle before a meal, given the chancefeed them first with food and then with a bottle. If they’re a moderate drinker, try the opposite.

  • Up to 9 months, feed your baby 20 to 28 ounces of formula daily or breast milk every 3 to 4 hours.
  • At 9 to 12 months, feed them 16 to 24 ounces of formula daily or breast milk every 4 to 5 hours.

As soon as your little one understands the concept of eating and shows interest in mealtime , start them on a routine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even if they aren’t hungry at times, they’ll get used to the idea of eating on a schedule.

“My goal for the babies I care for is to get them on a big-boy or big-girl eating schedule by the time they turn 1,” says pediatrician Sara DuMond, M.D. “This means they should eat three meals a day with two to three snacks in between.”

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When To Start Baby Food

Knowing when to start baby food is both crucial and tricky. Starting baby on solids too early means you might increase the risk of choking, obesity and bellyaches, but introducing solids too late means you might slow babys growth and encourage an aversion to solid foods, among other conditions. Fortunately, doctors have zeroed in on a sweet spot for starting baby food, which is sometime between 4 and 6 months of agethough, ideally, baby should be receiving their nutrition exclusively from breast milk until the six-month mark, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics . How to tell if its time for starting solids for your little one? Baby will give you clues, including:

Baby can sit in a high chair comfortably on their own. This is a major sign in terms of when to start baby food, says Lauren Kupersmith, MD, a pediatrician at Hassenfeld Childrens Hospital at NYU Langone in New York City. It means baby can hold their head up and doesnt need to be propped up to stay in the upright position, which is important to avoid choking.

Baby looks interested at mealtime. Babies likes to mimic what we do, so if your child likes to sit up like a big kid and watch you eat, then by all means let them try eating too.

Baby can move food to the back of their throat to swallow. But if baby tends to push the food out of their mouthnot because they dont like it, but because they cant seem to get the food to where it needs to gohold off on starting solids.

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.

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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:

Which Foods Should Be Avoided

Starting Solids with Your Baby

Wheat-based foods contain gluten, which is not recommended for babies under six months . After six months, babies can eat most foods except whole nuts and similar foods that could cause them to choke .

The NHS also recommends avoiding foods that might cause food poisoning under the age of one year, such as raw egg and raw shellfish. You should avoid giving your baby honey because of the risk of botulism .

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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.

What Are The Signs Your Baby Is Ready For Solid Food

Between 4 and 6 months, its a good idea to look for the following signs that mean your baby is ready for solid foods, including:

  • Good head and neck control

  • Sitting alone or with mild support

  • Leaning forward and opening their mouth when they see you eating

  • Grabbing objects and putting them in their mouth

  • Allowing a spoon into their mouth without pushing it away with their tongue

These abilities prevent choking so your baby can eat safely. If your baby hasnt developed these skills yet, its best to hold off on introducing solids.

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What Are The Best First Solid Foods For Baby

Baby cereals have traditionally been a common first food for babiesbut not anymore. While theres nothing wrong with baby cereal , theres no medical evidence that introducing solid foods in any particular order has any advantages or disadvantages for your baby. Theres also no evidence that starting with fruits before vegetables will cause your baby to develop a dislike for veggies.

A few tips:

  • Start with simple fruits, veggies and grains, and be sure to include a variety of healthy options.
  • Offer purees or check out baby-led weaning for a different approach.
  • Be sure to let your little one take the lead, and never force them to eat more than they want.
  • Always avoid honey for babies under age one, as well as cows milk on its ownalthough its fine to offer milk in other foods such as full fat yogurt or cottage cheese.
  • Get familiar with common choking hazards for babies and toddlers.

Sample Baby Feeding Schedule For 4

When to Start Your Baby on Solid Foods

This schedule assumes that your 4- to 6-month-old is taking three naps and you’re introducing solid foods by spoon-feeding purées.

If your family is following a baby-led weaning approach, solids would not be offered until after the 6-month mark, when your child is likely more capable of self-feeding.

  • 7:00 a.m.: Wake and nurse or bottle
  • 7:45 a.m.: Breakfast
  • 8:45 a.m. 10:45 a.m.: Nap
  • 10:45 a.m.: Wake and nurse or bottle
  • 12:00 p.m.: Nurse or bottle
  • 12:30 p.m. 2:30 p.m.: Nap
  • 2:30 p.m.: Nurse or bottle
  • 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Nap
  • 5:00 p.m.: Nurse or bottle
  • 5:45 PM: Dinner
  • 6:45 PM: Nurse or bottle
  • 7:00 PM: Bed

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Start With Purees Or Finger Foods

Traditionally, pediatricians have recommended starting with thin fruit or vegetable purees or baby cereals, and then gradually advancing in texture to soft finger foods, like pliable pieces of fruit, cooked vegetables, scrambled eggs or tender chunks of meat or fish over the course of a few months.

But interest in baby-led weaning, in which babies skip the purees and start feeding themselves solid foods straight from the family table, is growing. Some proponents believe that this approach encourages more adventurous eating, as well as an improved awareness of fullness cues which may even decrease the risk of obesity.

But those benefits are still up for debate. A recent clinical trial of 206 mothers in New Zealand, for instance, found that babies who started solids around 6 months with the baby-led approach were similar to those who started with purees in terms of weight, appetite regulation, and calorie- and nutrient intake at 12 or 24 months. Those in the baby-led weaning group did seem to enjoy their food more at 12 and 24 months and were less fussy about food at 12 months compared with the group that started with purees.

The trial also assessed the risk of choking, which is a common concern about baby-led weaning. At 6 months, the baby-led weaning group experienced more gagging than those who were fed purees, but were not more likely to choke.

Keeping Your Baby Safe

You wont be alone in worrying that your baby starting to eat solids puts them at risk of choking. Here are some precautions you can take to keep them safe when youre feeding your baby food:

  • Make sure your baby is sitting upright and steady.
  • Always stay with your baby while they are eating.
  • Dont rush your baby let them take their time.
  • Cut food items like grapes and baby tomatoes lengthways.
  • Avoid foods like whole nuts, which children under five years should not have, because they are a choking hazard.

As well as being extra careful, you could learn what to do if your baby is choking. If they are choking, they wont make any noise at all . You might find it helpful to attend an NCT baby first aid course at this stage to help build your confidence.

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