For the first five months of life, babies don’t need anything more than mother’s milk. By the time your baby is five-six months old, they will start to show some interest in solid foods. Up to age five months, babies develop skills to enable them to eat. Parents don't necessarily feed them off of their plate, but a little baby cereal, such as a single grain cereal is safe. Gradually, baby will pick up interest in other foods such as fruits and vegetables.
How do you start solid foods and when? Here are some dos and don’ts about starting solid foods that parents must know.
Do know about solid foods before starting
When babies reach 6 months of age, they begin to show signs of readiness for solid foods. You should not hurry to feed solids to your baby before 6 months. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breast milk or formula milk should be the sole source of nutrition for babies under 6 months. Feeding them solid foods before 6 months can rob your baby of the nutrients he receives through breast milk and formula, and that may interfere with their growth and development.
Don’t feed hard-to-digest foods
You don't really want to start meats until about nine months of age. You should be wary of hard-to-digest foods. Make sure you bring in foods such as carrots, root vegetables, sweet potato, broccoli and potatoes that babies can easily digest.
Do check for allergies
Your baby may not respond well to foods you introduce to them sometimes. They may develop rashes or show some other symptoms. Try the food again to identify an allergy.
Don’t feed the baby from your plate
It sounds good that your family eats together. The same food for the baby when he is under nine months is not a good idea. Give him what he needs not what you need.
Do allow your baby to eat himself when ready
When your baby is ready, allow him to baby to feed himself. This may help your child to become a more amiable eater than a fuzzy eater.
Don’t forget the wait rule
Sometimes parents get too excited when their baby responds positively to solid foods. In that excitement, they introduce them with more solid foods. Parents must follow the four-day-wait rule, which helps tell if the child is sensitive to a particular food or if food had caused a reaction.
You may have heard that ‘start solid foods when your baby is 4 months old’, it has been the norm for many years. Don’t go by the norms. If your paediatrician insists that you start solid foods from 4 month onwards and you don't feel the baby is ready, ask them to explain the health benefits of starting solid foods early.
Parents often worry about how much their baby is or isn't eating. Introducing your baby to solid food should be seen as a fun social interaction rather than a task. If you are unsure of how to introduce solid foods or can’t tell of your baby’s interest in solid foods, talk to your paediatrician.
Read more articles on Newborn Care.
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