Introducing solid foods to your baby is what every new mummy can’t wait to do. It is an exciting milestone for us mummies and a nerve wrecking one too. There is always the question on when a child should really be introduced to solid foods. It’s always recommended for a baby to be introduced to solids as soon as they turn 6 months of age. Bare in mind that before introducing solid foods to your baby, make sure your baby is doing the following:
- has good head and neck control and can sit upright when supported
- shows an interest in food – looking at what’s on your plate
- reaches for your food
- opens her mouth when you offer her food
Solids do not replace breastfeeding or formula. Your baby will still need breastmilk and/or formula along with solids until at least 12 months. If you replace breastmilk and/or formula with solids too quickly, babies can miss out on important nutrition.
Baby’s First Foods
Cereal. If you start with cereal, pick a single-grain variety (rice, barley, or oat — hold off on wheat, a common allergen for many babies, for now). Mix a small amount of cereal with formula, breast milk, or even water to create a soupy like texture. Try not to sweeten the taste by adding things like mashed bananas, or juice. If you start off your baby with sugar, she’ll soon want everything you offer her to be just as sweet.
start with cereal, pick a single-grain variety (rice, barley, or oat — hold off on wheat, a common allergen for many babies, for now). Mix a small amount of cereal with formula, breast milk, or even water to create a soupy texture. Try not to sweeten the taste by adding things like mashed bananas, applesauce, or juice. If you start off tempting baby with sugar, she’ll soon want everything you offer her to be just as sweet.
Vegetables.Veggies are wholesome, nutritious, and not likely to trigger allergies. Start with sweet potatoes and carrots before moving on to things like peas and string beans, which have slightly stronger flavours. If your baby rejects what you have given her, try again the next day and the next day and the next. Some babies need to be introduced to a new food a few times before they accept it. Don’t give up, all this is new to your baby too.
Fruit. Delicious, digestible first fruits include finely mashed bananas, papaya, or cooked pears. Babies just love the sweetness of fruits.
Food allergies are pretty common in babies but the good news is that most children usually outgrow them. Even so, allergies are to be taken seriously! A Baby’s reaction to food can range from gassiness, diarrhea, or even mucus in the poop, to vomiting and rashes — especially around the mouth and/or bum. Other symptoms include a runny nose, watery eyes, wheezing that doesn’t seem to be due to a cold, and unusual wakefulness or crankiness, day and/or night.
If you think your baby may be allergic to something you’ve fed her, wait about a week before trying the food again. If you get a similar reaction two or three times in a row, you can probably assume she’s sensitive to it. Eliminate that food from her diet for several months, then try it again if your pediatrician gives the go ahead. If your baby seems to react to almost every new food you offer, or there’s a history of allergies in your family, wait a full week between trying any new item, and do check in with your doctor.
Once your baby has had a taste of her first foods, it’s time to expand her world of taste and introduce more foods. Chicken, beef and other types of vegetables. By now your baby is able to eat foods with a little more texture – try not blending too fine. Meats however are harder to digest hence blending meat as fine as possible would be best. Think outside the box, just because you may not eat certain foods doesn’t mean your child may not like it.
Best To Avoid
Processed foods with high levels of fat, sugar and/or salt – eg. cakes, biscuits, chips, fried foods – aren’t good for babies and children. If you start your baby with healthy eating, this helps set up good eating habits for the rest of her life.