Introducing your baby to solid food can be equally exciting and challenging. As parents, we play a very crucial role in our child’s very first experience with solid food. The following are 4 quick tips to get you off to a good start.
Introduce your baby to solid foods between 4 and 6 months of age. The World Health Organization doesn’t recommend solid foods before 6 months. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), however, says to start solids between 4 – 6 months.
How do we know our child is ready? You can look for these signs that your child is developmentally ready to consume solids:
- Your child can sit with little or no support.
- Your child has good head control.
- Your child opens his or her mouth and leans forward when food is offered.
APP says you may start with any food you like. These foods may include infant cereals, meat or other proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, yoghurts and cheeses. Avoid honey and cow’s milk. Honey is not safe for children younger than 1 year of age. The bacteria in honey can be harmful, whereas cow’s milk, on the other hand, is not nutritionally appropriate.
The AAP also advises that parents should wait several days before they introduce new food to infants. Doing this allows you to see if the baby begins showing signs of food allergies.
3) How Much?
Start with one solid meal per day. A tablespoon of highly-pureed food or two at first is a good start. See if your baby shows any interest in eating more. If the baby does show some interest, you may increase the amount of food up to three solid meals per day; but let your baby set the pace.
As your baby gets more and more calories from solids, you may slowly decrease the number of milk feedings.
4) What Food and Drinks Should I Avoid?
a) Do not add salt, sugar, butter or margarine to your baby’s foods.
b) Avoid nuts, seeds, raw carrots, celery sticks and chunks of apple. These foods are choking hazard.
a) Cow’s milk and goat’s milk (until 12 months).
b) Skim or low-fat milk.
c) Soy beverages.
d) Tea, herbal teas, coffee, chocolate drinks, and cola drinks.
e) Soft drinks or cordials.
f) Energy drinks.