Introducing solids to infants
Milk isn't fulfilling my baby's hunger!
My baby is cranky most of the time
My baby has started recognizing food colors and smell
He is a foodie like his mother
My baby is 4 months old
Is this the right time to start with solid foods??
The above parameters neither justify nor serve the purpose of feeding solid foods to a 4-month-old.
The age of 4-6 months is the appropriate period for parents to take the plunge and start feeding their infants liquids. They can obviously start with liquid porridges, soups, kheer, purees, etc. And once the baby starts accepting and enjoying the liquids, you can begin with the trial and error of introducing solids.
What's the right age to introduce the food solids?
📌 Age - 5-6 months-
only when the infant is completely comfortable digesting liquids. Every child is different and the age when they are completely comfortable digesting liquids differs. Don't get panic if your child starts being comfortable with this even after a few more months.
How do you know that it is the right milestone to introduce solid foods?
📌 Flexibility to hold neck & back-
At around 6 months, the baby starts holding his neck and back properly, so it becomes easy for them to digest the solids.
📌 Accepting food textures-
They actually accept differently textured foods. You can give different textured foods such as pureed food such as sweet potatoes, lumpy as in oatmeal, etc.
📌 Iron & Zinc Nutrition -
During this period, babies mostly need iron and zinc nutrition that they would get from solid food.
📌 Don't push out food-
Between 5-6 months, the babies don't push food out of their mouth as a natural reflex.
📌 Weight & Nutrition Balance -
At 6 months they weigh twice their birth weight, which means they need solid nutrition.
How to introduce solid foods to babies?
📌 Cereal mixes first -
Start with cereal mixes, adding a little milk to them. This is a very sensitive period for children. You must be very careful while giving any food to your child during this time because for the first time they are going to have another kind of food rather than breast milk.
📌 Thick porridges later-
Thick porridges and soft dosas could be followed later. So that their digestive system can also get accommodated with this kind of food.
📌 Eating schedule -
Set the meal timings, have a good timetable. This will help you and your child also to have proper timings to have food as well as their health will also remain good.
📌 Practice spoon feeding -
Let your baby practice eating from a spoon. In these months of age, they can adopt any good habits easily which we teach them.
📌 Food comfort-
Once the baby gets comfortable with the food, only then jump on to other recipes. Don't try any kind of unfamiliar foods with your child.
📌 No overeating -
Make your baby learn to stop when full. Don't allow them to watch a video on their phone or anywhere else. If the child is watching a video while having food, they will either do overeating or will not finish their food. This will impact badly on their health.
📌 Keep a check on allergic foods-
Keep a close check on foods that might be allergic to the baby. Sometimes babies may like some food but it doesn't suit their body. Babies can have an allergic reaction due to some food. The allergic reaction is not always quickly visible. Sometimes it is hard as a parent to figure out the allergenic food. At that time you can try avoiding the food which you have given to them in the previous few days due to which your child may have gotten food allergies. You can consult your pediatrician to know about your child's food allergies.
📌 Explore solid foods-
Let the baby explore and enjoy the solids only then it would benefit their health. Initially, you can start with baby food. When your child is able to digest that baby food, then you can give some fruits and healthy foods to your babies.
📌 The thumb rule -
Try only one food at a time. There is a wide variety of foods in our home. Once you start giving solid foods to your baby, you always want to give all whatever you are eating. Don't give food with different characteristics to your child at one time.
What should be a big no-no?
📌 No added sugars -
No added sugars and sweeteners, use jaggery rather.
📌 No unpasteurized stuff-
No unpasteurized juice, milk, yogurt or cheese ( avoid cheese till you are very sure because cheese might cause allergies in infants)
📌 No hard foods-
No hard foods like raw carrots or apples, make get choked by the baby.
📌 Never force to eat -
Never force or pressure your baby to eat.
Note - Consult your pediatrician before starting the solid foods, they would be of best help!
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