Till now you have been feeding your baby only on breastmilk.
Introducing solid food is a big leap not only for the parents but for the baby as well.
Toddlers are most of the time interested in what elders are doing, and if you feel your child is suddenly taking a lot of interest in your plate than his/hers, it might be time to introduce him/her to solid foods. This transition from breast milk to solid foods needs to be calculative and supervised. If you are a new parent and concern about the switch, this blog may prove to be quite helpful.
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Knowing When the Baby Is Ready
Generally, breastmilk is the only form of food and nutrition for the newborn. However, by the time the baby is four to six months old, she might be ready to supplement breastfeeding. Also, it is mostly during this time that children learn not to push the food out of their mouths with their tongues. They begin developing the coordination to move the solid food from the front of their mouth to the back and swallow it.
Besides age, there are various other signs that you must look for to ensure your baby is ready for solid foods, some of which are:
- Is the baby able to hold his or her head in a steady, upright position?
- Is the toddler able to sit properly when supported?
- Has the interest of the baby increased in what you’re eating?
- Has the baby’s appetite increased?
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If the answers to these questions are yes, and your baby’s doctor has said OK, you must start feeding your baby solid food.
Introducing Solid Food to the Baby
Even though the baby needs breast milk or formula till she/he turns one, you must not deprive him/her of the nutrients that solid foods offer. Here is how you can introduce solid food to your baby.
• Start with Baby Cereal
Many parents decide to start with rice cereal. If you want to begin with cereals, you can even start off with a single-grain, iron-fortified baby cereal. However, make sure you are mixing it well enough with formula or breast milk to make it in a semi-liquid form. Feed the baby with a small amount of food on the tip of a soft-tipped plastic spoon. After the baby gets comfortable with swallowing runny cereal, gradually increase the amount of cereal and decrease the liquid.
• Add Pureed Vegetables and Fruits
There’s no medical evidence to prove that solid foods must be introduced in a particular order.
You may start with pureed solid vegetables and fruits as well. Pureed sweet potatoes, applesauce, bananas, peaches, pears, and squash are some tasty foods to start.
Only introduce new food once your baby masters the previous one. So, it is ideal to wait for a few days (maybe three to five days) before serving new food. This will help you know if your baby has a reaction to a particular food, maybe diarrhoea, rash or vomiting. Later on, you can feed the baby with a combination of a variety of single-ingredient foods.
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Your child may eat less on some days and more on others, so you cannot keep an account on how must s/he is eating to know if they had enough. Instead, look for these signs to ensure your baby has probably had enough:
• The child leans back in the chair
• Turns the head away from the food
• Does not open the mouth for the next bite (though, babies sometimes keep their mouth closed for they have not finished the previous bite, so ensure you give time to swallow)
Continue with Breast Milk
Both breast milk and solid food provide essential vitamins and protein in an easy-to-digest form. So, in no ways can you just rely on serving solid food to the baby. Solid foods in no ways can replace the nutrients that breast milk or formula provides during that first year.
The introduction of solid food is a significant step in the development of your baby.
So, enjoy your child’s messy tray, slushy hands and sticky face as it is a part of the foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating
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