When the time comes to give your baby solid foods, you may be a little apprehensive. You don’t want to give the wrong thing or feed them something that will hurt their tiny tummies. However, there is no need to be concerned because there are many foods they can eat pretty early on, which will help get their systems used to real foods. Here’s a look at what you can feed them and how the process works.
When to Start
Although there is a bit of a debate, many agree that the correct time to start introducing your baby to solid foods is around 6 months of age. This doesn’t mean that they should have a solids only diet starting from this time, but they should be able to eat some foods starting at this stage in their lives.
It is recommended that you try one food each day to see how they react to it. Make sure they aren’t being too fussy and they aren’t too hungry, as this may not get you the reactions you’re hoping for. A couple of pieces of one type of food each day are enough to start with, and then you can see what happens. They may like certain foods and not like others, so you can either remember what they liked or write it down. Then proceed to give them other items on subsequent days, preferably items that are similar to what they liked. One example would be if they liked bananas, and you then gave avocados or applesauce, since all three are mushy.
If you are feeding using purees or baby food, and not small pieces of food, you should start with around 1 teaspoon a day. Let your baby eat it off of your finger, instead of using a spoon at first. After a while, you can then use a spoon sometimes. Eventually, this will lead to showing your kid how to use a spoon to eat, which will happen soon after they turn 1 year old. They will be able to hold a spoon before that time however, so let them practice whenever they look interested. It’s never too early to start learning table manners.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should be giving this to them in between their regular meals of milk. You’ll know they are ready when they keep trying to steal food off of your plate and always seem interested in what you are eating. If they are able to put items in their mouth by themselves, that’s a good indication that they are on the right track to start eating without much help. This is what you want to see.
This doesn’t mean that they should be able to feed themselves at 6 months old, but it does mean that they are starting to understand the process.
There are a number of foods that are fine to start introducing to your baby whenever they need to be weaned from breast milk or formula. You’ll want to stick to organic foods whenever possible, as well as items that do not contain GMO ingredients. Be sure to read all the stickers and tags that come with the food you buy, so you’ll know exactly how it’s grown. This can protect your family from pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
Fruits: There are a number of fruits that babies can eat. Try something like bananas, grapes, avocados, peaches, or apples. Make sure that all the fruits you choose are the correct amount of ripeness, since you don’t want them to have a hard time eating them. Additionally, some foods may cause mouth irritation when they aren’t fully ripe. You should only give them small chunks, large enough that they can chew on them, but small enough that they won’t choke. A good example is grapes. They can’t start off eating whole grapes by themselves, so it’s a good idea to quarter them. Use that for a reference when you’re thinking about proper size portions.
Vegetables: There are also a number of vegetables that a child can be given. This includes cooked potatoes, green beans, carrots, and peas. Again, make sure that the foods are not too hard for them to chew. If they are, you can cook them a little bit, in order to get soften them.
Cereal: Up until recently, it was considered a good idea to start your baby on cereal first once you start introducing foods to them. However, science no longer accepts this as the best plan of action. At the same time, it is still okay to give them cereals, as long as they are made for babies. This will ensure that they have ingredients that are baby safe. There are also certain types of oatmeal that are fine.
Baby Food: When you first starting eating solids, your parents probably switched you to baby food immediately, since that was largely considered the norm for many years. Today, you can essentially stay away from most baby food, or make your own if you want to use it. The best way to do this is to make purees with as few ingredients as possible. For example, you could make sweet potato puree with a little bit of water or milk in it, or something like that. There are many recipes online that you can follow, which only call for 1 or 2 ingredients, and are very healthy and nutritious.
Meat: You may also want to start getting your little one used to meat. You can do this by giving them tiny pieces of meat whenever you’re eating it. Something like a small piece of chicken is a great thing to offer, just make sure you don’t give them any bones or fat, or something that they may choke on. Furthermore, try to keep it as bland as possible at first, until you know that your child can handle different spices and seasonings.
Here are some additional tips to think about when you are thinking about giving your baby some of their first foods.
Start small: It’s best if you just introduce your child to one food at a time, and then work your way up from there. Take note of if they like the first thing you offer them, and adapt, depending on what you think their tastes may be.
Don’t keep giving the same thing: When first starting out, it is a good idea to try all sorts of different items. You don’t want to give them something like carrots two days in a row. You’ll want to wait a little while to see how their stomach responds to each type of food before you give it to them again. That way if it bothers them, you can know exactly what to take out and not introduce again until they get a little bit older.
Think of allergens: If someone in the family has an allergy to something, you should keep that away from your baby until you are sure that they are not allergic to it. On the flip side, common allergens should be avoided as well. A thing like peanuts, for instance, is not necessarily good for a small child to eat for a number of reasons.
Don’t get discouraged: If you keep trying to give them pieces of food and they don’t want to eat it, don’t get upset. They may not be ready to eat it yet, or they simply aren’t up to it that day. You can always try again tomorrow and see what happens.
Ask around: If you still are at a loss as to what you want to start feeding your baby, you can always ask around to see what others have done. Start with some of the mommies you know, and also ask your mother what you ate. You should end up with a lot of different perspectives, which may give you a good sense of what you want to try.
Keep building on it: As your child grows and starts getting used to different types of foods, they will soon become able to eat other foods as well. For example, once they are around 1 year old, they begin to eat things like citrus fruits, honey, and yogurt.
Don’t be in a hurry: Although a child can begin to start eating solid foods at six months, they also need breast milk whenever it is available. It has all the necessary nutrients that a growing youngster needs, and when it stops being produced by the mother, it is gone. This is why you’ll want to make sure that your child got enough of it, so they can get all the amazing benefits and to keep a healthy immune system. After six months, you can still breastfeed and feed them foods, but it isn’t necessary to continue breastfeeding, unless that’s what you want to do and you are still producing. Speak with your doctor about your options and decide what the best course of action is.