Beast-milk is still an important source of nutrition at 6 months of age, but it isn't enough. So, to keep up with your child's developing needs, you'll need to give solid food in addition to breast-milk. In this blog, you'll know what to serve to your child when.
First and foremost, you have to know if your child is ready to start eating solid foods or not.
Your newborn's main feeding options are breast milk or formula. Breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months after delivery is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
However, most babies are ready to start eating solid meals as a supplement to breast-or formula-feeding by the age of four to six months. At this age, babies begin to develop the coordination needed to move solid food from the front to the back of the mouth for swallowing.
There are some signs that your baby is ready for solid foods. For example:
- Sits alone or with your help.
- Is able to control the movement of his head and neck.
- When food is provided, he opens his mouth.
- Swallows food.
- Bring everything he found to his mouth.
- Attempts to grip little items like toys or food.
When should you serve and what?
It is preferred to continue breastfeeding up to 32 ounces per day. Then:
1. Begin with the basics.
Offer food without sugar or salt. Then wait 3 days between each new food to see if your baby has a reaction such as diarrhea, a rash, or vomiting. Then you can combine them.
2. Important vitamins and minerals
At age of six months, iron and zinc are essential to your baby. These nutrients can be found in pureed meats and iron-fortified single-grain cereals.
3. Baby cereal basics
Take a tablespoon of iron-fortified single-grain baby cereal and add 4 tablespoons (60 milliliters) of breast milk or formula, and help your child sit upright and provide them with a little spoon once or twice a day. Once your child has swallowed it well, reduce the amount of liquid gradually and increase the serving sizes. You can also introduce rice, oatmeal, and barley.
4. Vegetables and fruits
Introduce single-ingredient pureed vegetables and fruits without sugar or salt gradually. you have to wait three to five days between each new food.
5. Offer finely chopped finger foods
By 8 months to 10 months, you can introduce small portions of chopped finger foods such as soft fruits, vegetables, spaghetti, and cheese.
What can I do if my baby refuses his or her first meal?
Some babies reject eating their first meals because the taste and texture are something new to them. Don't force your child to eat if he or she refuses, and try again after a while. If the problems continue, speak to your baby's doctor to be sure the resistance isn't an indication of something more serious.
What about food allergies?
When introducing complementary foods to your child, it's better to start with possible allergic foods such as:
- Tree nuts and peanuts
- Cow's milk
And you have to know that delaying the introduction of these foods will not avoid food allergies, and introducing them early may reduce your baby's risk of peanut allergy.
Is it okay to introduce juice?
After age 1, you can give juice to your child. Juice isn't as important as whole fruit for babies. Drinking too much juice might lead to weight gain and tooth decay.
If you want to give juice to your child, make sure it's 100% fruit juice and keep it to 4 ounces per day.
Know what's off-limits
Certain foods aren't appropriate for babies. Consider these guidelines:
Foods to avoid
There are some foods that are not suitable for babies, such as:
cow's milk or honey before 1 age
Cow's milk does not meet an infant's nutritional demands and can raise the risk of iron insufficiency because it is not a good source of iron. In addition to that, honey may contain spores that can cause newborn botulism, a deadly sickness.
Foods that could choke your baby
Don't give your infant hot dogs, chunks of meat or cheese, grapes, raw vegetables, or fruit chunks until they're broken up into small pieces. Also, don't provide hard foods that can't be modified to make them safe, such as seeds, nuts, popcorn, and hard confectionery. Peanut butter and marshmallows are two other high-risk foods you have to avoid at this age.
Introducing solids to your infant is an exciting milestone. Your baby's food intake and interest in eating may fluctuate from day to day. This is natural and shouldn't worry you if your baby is developing normally.