Giving Your Baby His First Solid Food – When to Start, Kinds of Foods & Other Helpful Tips
During the first few months of his or her life, feeding your baby can be easy, as they will simply drink milk formulas. However, as their food intake diversifies, it can become more challenging to get them to feed. This is especially the case when finally getting them to eat solid foods.
So, how do you get your child to take his first bite of solids? We at Baby Insider decided to put up this guide to help you out.
When do you start feeding your child solids?
This is the first question that you will commonly encounter when it comes to the topic. Here, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you maintaining breastfeeding, or formula feeding, for at least six months. However, some parents attest that solids can be introduced earlier than that.
For this reason, it is agreed upon that you can start introducing solids at around your child’s 4th to 6th month, provided that he shows the following signs:
Able to keep his or her head upright
Able to sit well when supported
Weight gain, usually when they are around 15 pounds already
Getting curious about what you are eating
Their mouths already making chewing motions
Losing the “extrusion reflex” or the tendency to use his tongue to push food out of his mouth.
What kind of solid foods should you introduce?
As it is, there is a myriad of solid foods that you can start introducing to your child once they are ready. However, instead of just randomly going him food items, it would be better to start with iron-rich ones. This is because as your baby hits his fourth month, his iron reserves start to get depleted, so you want to replenish that to sustain his body’s growth.
One such food item that you can introduce early is iron-enriched cereals, such as oatmeal or rice cereals. These are specially formulated to be easily digested by your baby. However, to help them better chew these, you can mix the cereals with either water or baby formula. At this point, you can also start introducing pureed fruits and vegetables to their diet Here, some parents would tell you that it is better to introduce vegetables first so that your child won’t dislike them later on. However, as you already learned from previous articles, this is merely a myth. You can introduce whichever you want first, provided that you give him varied servings.
Serving his first plate
Once you have decided that it is time for your baby to take his first solids, you should be prepared, as this is going to be a bit of a challenge.
Here, you might want to get yourself the right gear. In particular, get a bunch of small, soft-tipped spoons, as these won’t hurt your baby’s gums. A sturdy high chair is also a must, as are waterproof bibs. Finally, use plastic plates and bowls, as these won’t break if they are knocked off to the floor (and be prepared, as this will happen often).
So how do you get him to finally take his first bite of a solid food? The trick here is to give him some liquid food first, but not to the point where she is already full. Then, you can bring in the solids as his last course for that meal. Once he gets his first taste, you can then alternate giving solids and liquids as his first bite in later meals.
However, there might be instances when your child will reject his first solid. If this happens, you might want to wait for a few days to try again. By 2 or 3 days’ time, they will already have forgotten the initial experience and be more receptive. Offer a different food item from last time for it to be successful
A common worry by many parents here is whether or not they are giving their babies the right amount of solids. Luckily though, it isn’t all that hard to keep track as long as you schedule his solids intake. For the first few meals, give solids once every day, or once every two days if your child is a bit reluctant. By around his 8th or 9th month, you can expect your baby to be eating three “solids” meals each day.
Some safety precautions
Choking is a particularly common concern when you start feeding your baby solids. To avoid this, it is crucial you put him in an upright sitting position, with his back supported so that he won’t get into a reclining position. Also, make sure that the foods you give are cut into small bite-sized pieces. You will have to do this until he is 4 years old, as this would be the time when his molars are already developed, as well as being fully knowledgeable on how to eat properly.
With regards to food allergies, some people will tell you that you need to hold off commonly known allergy-causing foods until after your young one has reached his first birthday. There is, however, no scientific basis for this. In fact, in a study made by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it was found that giving certain allergy-causing foods early can actually help your baby develop immunity against such allergies. With that, the Academy has since revised its recommendations regarding the matter.