Introducing your little one to the first solid food is a big milestone in every parent’s life. The milestone is a lot of fun and a lot of worry as well. Parents should never rush into introducing solids to babies’ diet, instead take careful steps so that the baby could get used to it and enjoy eating rather than forcefully fed.
It is important to understand symptoms that your baby shows, when he/she is ready for starting solids. Here are some signs that hint that you can now introduce your baby to solid foods
• Baby is able to hold his/her head in a steady upright position.
• Should be able to sit upright with or without support to swallow properly.
• Chewing motions – Your baby’s mouth and tongue develop in sync with his digestive system. Baby should be able to move food to the back of his mouth and swallow.
• Most babies are ready to start solids when they are double their birth weight or are at least 4 months old.
• Growing appetite - He/she looks curious and looks at everything around and seems hungry even after having eight to ten feedings of breast milk or formula in a day.
• You can introduce solids to babies any time between 4 and 6 months if your baby is ready.
Here is the guide to starting solids to your baby. The transition from breast milk or formula to starting solids should be smooth and well planned.. Here is a list of some solid foods for baby and guide to starting solids in your baby’s diet.
Single-grain cereals (4 to 6 months)
The level of iron that is stored up while in utero drops after birth, and a baby reaches an all-time low at around 9 months. That's why cereals are fortified with iron and are a good choice as a first food. Combine one teaspoon of single-grain cereal with four to five teaspoons of breast milk or formula. Once your baby is used to swallowing runny cereal, thicken it by adding more cereal.
Pureed veggies, fruits, and meats (4 to 8 months)
It is good to add bananas or carrots in baby’s first food to get adequate nutrient and calcium for development of bones.
Chopped, ground, or mashed foods (9 to 12 months)
If your child isn't ready to move to this stage, it's fine to stay with pureed foods a little longer. When he's ready, offer him some finely chopped or mashed finger foods -- try graham crackers, soft fruits and veggies, and ground meats. It's also safe to feed your child soft rice and casseroles at this point.
Introducing solids to babies diet should be continued along with breast feeding or formula until he/she is a year old. Both provide important vitamins, iron, and protein in an easy-to-digest form. Solid food can't replace all the nutrients that breast milk or formula provides during that first year.
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