When to start baby food? You need the right information about when and how much to feed your infant. You want a guideline that will help your child gr
When to start baby food? You need the right information about when and how much to feed your infant. You want a guideline that will help your child grow and develop healthy eating habits. It’s important for your child’s health and development, as well as for your peace of mind. Here is some guidance from experts on starting solid foods and what kinds of foods are best for babies at different ages.
The baby food market is big business and it seems like they are trying to capture every age group. But do you really need baby food? What does baby food offer your baby that he or she can’t get from mom’s milk or formula?
The good news is baby food isn’t just for babies anymore! There’s baby soup, baby cereal, baby veggies, and even baby ice cream. You will find a wide variety of flavors ranging from banana-flavored rice cereal to zucchini biscuits. If you’re pregnant and thinking about starting baby food early, here are some things you should know first:
Although the goal of starting solids early is to help with constipation, there is little evidence that this works because when baby first starts baby food, he or she will usually have a bowel movement around the same time as they normally do.
Early baby food sometimes makes babies gassy and causes problems sleeping, but this is usually because the baby isn’t used to new textures and new tastes in his or her diet.
Starting a baby on baby food early doesn’t make the baby smarter, more advanced or healthier than later starters when it comes to teeth, speech and other milestones. In fact, oftentimes you can delay these things by starting the baby too soon.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that there are possible long-term disadvantages of starting solids before four months of age that include: consistently eating solid foods may lead to an increased risk for obesity; eating solid foods quickly increases a baby’s chance of choking.
For a baby to have the best start in life, it is important that the mom breastfeed or formula feed the baby as much as possible and then introduce the baby to baby food and a schedule of three solid meals a day once the baby reaches four to six months of age. At this time, the baby should also be introduced to water in between meals. The AAP also suggests not giving the baby any other liquids until one year of age.
Although the early introduction of solids can reduce or even eliminate breastfeeding sessions at some point during the next few months, there is no evidence that starting a baby on baby food earlier will lead to longer nursing sessions later.
If your baby is 6-9 months
In fact, if you wait too long (after 6-9 months) to give a baby food, the baby may begin to refuse the baby food and become frustrated because the baby can’t communicate his or her needs. Remember that it is normal for a baby to refuse baby solids up until one year of age and even after that baby may choose not to eat baby food for a while.
The AAP states that this is okay as long as the baby continues to take in breast milk or formula during these times and encourages parents not to force their child to eat baby food if he or she isn’t interested.
Give feed according to baby’s need
Regardless of when you choose to introduce your baby to baby foods, remember that the baby will eat what they need when they need them most and forcing them before then only increases the chance for a negative experience with eating solids.
How to start baby on solids:
As soon as he or she turns six months, you can start your baby on solids by making it a positive experience.
Here are some tips to make introducing solid food an enjoyable experience for both of you:
-Make sure that you have all the items needed before starting. You’ll need: -water
You won’t need a bib if you feed a baby with his or her head and body supported and their arms free from anything that may obstruct them from picking up the spoon.
Prepare your area. Clear off a space large enough for the baby to move around comfortably. Make sure there is nothing within the baby’s reach that could be dangerous when he or she starts grabbing and holding things. Let the baby put his or her hands in the food. The first time you give your baby solid food, let him or her eat with their hands. This helps develop their fine motor skills and can make the experience more fun for them.
-Make sure that feeding is a positive experience. Always be upbeat when it’s feeding time. Babies are really good at sensing when their parents don’t look forward to mealtime. Be enthusiastic about giving the baby his or her food, as this will make eating seem like a new adventure every day. If you stay calm during feedings, so will the baby. It also helps prevent picky eaters as they will become accustomed to flavors and textures
-It’s okay for a baby not to love every flavor, texture, or taste. Not all babies like the same foods just as adults don’t all enjoy the same dishes. Even if your baby doesn’t eat something one day, there are a lot of different tastes he or she can experience over time.
-Introduce new food gradually. Don’t bombard the baby with too many changes at once. When you introduce a new food, wait about three days before trying another new food so that if the baby has an adverse reaction to it, it won’t keep you from knowing which food caused it. Try adding one new type of solid per week instead of five at once
-Watch for signs of allergies. If a baby has severe diarrhea, vomiting, and/or breaks out in hives after eating a specific food, stop giving that food to him or her.
-Keep the first feeding short. Your baby doesn’t need long feeding sessions just yet. Feed your baby for about 10 minutes each time he or she is introduced to new foods. This will help ensure that you aren’t overwhelming him or her with too much newness at once and it will also help prevent unnecessary messes! Also, make sure never to leave your baby alone during feedings.
*If you don’t want to be locked into how often your newborn eats, set an alarm while feeding him or her to remind yourself when it has been about an hour
-Let baby guide you. Your baby is the best judge of how much food he or she needs. He or she will show you what they can do by grabbing and putting things into their mouth, chewing and swallowing them. Pay attention to these cues instead of always trusting your judgment about how much your baby should eat
-Make sure that if you introduce new foods, you reintroduce old ones also. This ensures that your baby’s body doesn’t get too used to some flavors and ignores others. -Cook all meat until very well done. The only exception to this rule is fish which should be cooked slightly underdone because there have been cases of bacteria making babies sick
-Be careful with commercially prepared baby food. While it’s convenient, it doesn’t have the same nutritional value as homemade food.
-Make sure you’re eating healthy too. If you eat a lot of junk or sugary foods when preparing a baby’s meal, he or she will begin to crave those things and may refuse to eat other nutritious foods. Make sure that you are offering your baby well-balanced meals also so that they naturally learn what good nutrition is. Remember that breast milk/formula should still be your baby’s main source of nourishment until at least six months old.
If you are still confused about when to start baby food, this article will help you. We have compiled a list of the most important things to consider before starting your baby on solid food. Check this out.