As a mother, one of the best things about having a baby is to see your baby eat and enjoy new types of food. Experts believe that it is good to start solids for babies after they turn around 6 months. As the baby grows older, we need to start external feed, apart from breastmilk, since the infant’s body starts to need more nutrients, and often just breastmilk may not suffice.
When Should I Start?
Experts suggest the ideal time to start solids is around the time the baby is 6 months old. Your baby will give you indications that he or she wants solid foods. Some signs to look out for include.
- Having a good head and neck support, so that you can feed the baby
- Shows interest in what you are eating, like grabbing the plate
- Shows the motion of opening her mouth when you get some food near her mouth
- Starts to grab food from your hand
How Should I Start?
Start slow. Remember that babies are still ‘learning’ how to eat. While it is a natural instinct, babies still learn to be taught to eat. One of the first things is to confirm that you and your baby both are in a happy mood. Try feeding your baby, either breastfeeding or the bottle, and then towards the end, introduce some solids. If you start off with solids directly, the chances are the baby would not understand what you are doing, and may throw tantrums and cry. So start off with breastmilk/ bottle milk and then slowly introduce the solid food.
What Should I Start With?
The first solids can be either pureed or it can something that is mashed and soft. Fruits like banana, mashed apple, pears or soft vegetables like potato, sweet potato, mashed carrots, or even lentils which are boiled and mashed are good starting food. Other solid foods which can be introduced include small amounts of rice, millet, cornmeal, or sago. You can even add a bit of breastmilk to your food so that transition is easy for the baby. I started with boiled and mashed apples for my baby and then proceeded to give her cooked and mashed lentils. Once she got a bit used to eating new types of food, I introduced vegetables like boiled broccoli, mashed potatoes, and mashed carrots.
What Should I Use To Feed The Baby?
It is important that you use a clean spoon and cup for feeding food to your baby. While the vessels need not be sterilized, do ensure that they are cleaned well. Use a very soft spoon to start solids because the baby needs to get used to foreign object put into its mouth. Some babies have the habit of biting into the spoon. My baby used to try and chew the spoon and sometimes would just keep it in her mouth without releasing it. Hence it is very important to ensure the spoon is really soft and made of a sterile material, free of BPA.
Just as a breastfeeding schedule, try and keep a schedule for solids. You can feed your baby solids three times a day, and rest of the time, you can give breastmilk. It takes time for babies to accept solids. So at the start, give your baby solids in the afternoon during lunch time. Then slowly increase it to two times, once in the afternoon and once in the evening. After the baby seems ready to start eating, then you can give her solids three times a day.
You should also introduce your baby to water. While you will be still be breastfeeding your baby, it is a good habit to give small sips of water to the baby, after the solid food. This develops a habit for the child to drink water and it is also good for the baby’s digestion. Boil and cool the water before giving it. You can give slightly lukewarm water as well since it is good for health.
Remember It Takes Time
When I started food for my baby, she would just not take it. She would just keep spitting it out all the time. This got me very frustrated and I just stopped solids for her for a week. Then I realized that for the baby, it is something new and something different from the usual. So I started slowly again, this time, one spoon at a time. She would still spit out the food, but I was patient. I gave her mashed apples to start with and moved on to other fruits. Then after a couple of weeks, I introduced vegetables and wheat porridge. My doctor told me that it would be good to introduce babies to all kinds of food by the time they turn one year, so that they get used to different tastes and textures. A baby can eat all kinds of food by the time he or she is one year old. And it is always good to introduce a combination of fruits, vegetables, lentils, cereals, seafood, and meat so that the baby has exposure to all kinds of food types and tastes.
Remember to continue to breastfeed your child even after the introduction of solid food. It is essential for the baby’s good health.
How has your experience been while introducing solids to your baby? Do you have any practical tips to share with us? Do let us know.
Are you looking to transition your baby into solids? Wondering what to do and how to do it? Moms often wonder how to introduce solid foods to their baby. They worry about what to start with, how to start it, and what food to introduce. Should it be fruits or vegetables? Should it be in the morning or evening? What should be the texture of the food? Pureed or lumpy mashed food? Should I give with a spoon or with hands? Read on to find out practical ways to start solids for your baby, and remember it is all about patience and love.
Author’s Bio: Serena is a mother of three children and founder of Kittymoms.com. They homeschool and focus on living an active, natural lifestyle. Our family loves to travel, but most of the year, you can find them at their house gardening and taking care of their small homestead.