Being a parent is never easy, especially during the early years of your child’s development. Starting your baby on solids is not a task that you should overlook as a parent. One of the first solid foods that most parents will introduce to their babies is baby cereals as it is easy to consume and is filled with nutrients. Below are some useful tips and advice to remember when you need to feed solid food to your baby:
When to Start Feeding Solids
You can start your baby on solid food any time around 4 to 6 months once they show signs of readiness. Until then, it is best stay with breast milk to provide them with the necessary nourishment. Typically, your infant’s digestive system is not ready to handle solids until they are about four months old. Consult your doctor for advice to see whether your baby is ready for solids.
How to Know When Your Child is Ready
There are indications to look out for to determine if your baby is ready to consume solid foods. These signs suggest that your baby is likely ready to try solids:
- Can keep his head in a steady, upright position in a highchair.
- Shows significant weight gain, double his or her weight during birth. Weighs at least 13 pounds and is at least four months old.
- Increase in appetite, seems hungry even after consuming a full day’s portion of milk.
- Has mastered tongue movement. Your baby should be able to move food to the back of his mouth and swallow it instead of pushing the food out of his mouth.
What Solid Foods should You Start with
Every baby is different, so you should consult your child’s doctor about which solids to start your baby with and when. Most infants can start with vegetables, fruits, or meat such as sweet potatoes, bananas, chicken, etc. However, it is best to have a single-ingredient puree without adding any salt or sugar. Baby cereals are also popular introductory solids that parents like to feed their child with as they can be swallowed and digested easily by infants. Make sure that the cereal is in semi-liquid form for easier consumption.
Traditional first foods such as infant cereal and pureed food typically do not cause allergic reactions. If your baby seems to be tolerating them well, you can start introducing more allergenic foods such as soy, eggs, wheat, and so on. Introducing these food at an early age can be beneficial as it may help prevent the development of food allergies later on.
How Much Should You Feed
In the beginning stage, the food should be runny so you should mix one teaspoon of pureed food or cereal with 4 to 5 teaspoons of milk formula. Subsequently when your baby is used to consuming solids, you can thicken the consistency by increasing the portion to 1 tablespoon of solid mixed with formula and feed twice a day.