Introducing Solids to Your Baby
As parents we have challenging decisions to make for our children. Quite a few decisions revolve around food in the baby’s first year of life. Do I breastfeed or bottle feed? Which formula brand is the best? And where do I begin when introducing solids?
There are varying methods of how to introduce our babies to “real” food. The first thing to note that seems to be agreed upon though, is that before the age of one babies should have milk (whether it be breast milk or formula) first and solids to supplement or complement after.
Basically, when you would normally feed your baby, nurse or bottle feed first and then offer solids.
Babies generally begin trying food between 4-6 months. A couple questions that can be good indicators as to whether or not your baby is ready are the following:
Is my baby sitting up with support and holding his head and neck well?
Has my baby at least doubled in birth weight?
Is my baby interested in my food while I am eating?
Is my baby wanting to drink more milk during the day?
Generally, parents choose to begin with a rice cereal or pureed vegetables and fruits, such as sweet potatoes or bananas. After the baby seems to have mastered this skill (and maybe gained a couple teeth!), the next step would be mashing up those same foods. A good rule of thumb would be to focus on one food every four days. This is beneficial so that if the baby has a negative reaction to a specific food, you will know which one to immediately omit from your baby’s diet. There aren’t really any cons to this other than you might need patience as it will take several weeks or months for your baby to add an assortment of different foods to his palette.
Another way of introducing solids is “Baby Led Weaning” and it is a bit contradictory to the pureed way. They say toss the purees and mush! The idea is that a six month old is at the age where they are developmentally able to feed themselves what you are making for dinner. Just be careful to give the food in small pieces. This can make it easy to begin feeding your baby because you don’t need to worry about making a separate meal. The con to this is if the baby does have an allergic reaction, it could be difficult to diagnose what caused the reaction. You can try keeping a diary of what your baby is eating throughout the week to help with this.
Sometimes babies have negative reactions immediately following the introduction of a new food. This can be in the form of hives, vomiting or diarrhea to name a few. If allergies run in your family you might want to be careful with certain food items. Otherwise, it is all right to try these foods with your baby.
So are you ready? There is no one right way to begin this journey into solid food. Be sure to continue reading and talking with fellow parents, but ultimately, you know what is best for you family!
Perhaps you are in the midst of these decisions right now or are long past this stage of childhood. Let us know below with your stories! We would love to hear your input.
By: Bethany Lammott | punkandbird.com | @bird521
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