Key Things Parents Must Consider While Introducing Solids To A Baby
Photo by Christian Hermann on Unsplash
After initial few months of nourishing the baby on liquid diet alone, introducing solid foods is a huge milestone for babies as well as the parents. It’s as if the big world of food is set on the table and as parents you are unsure what is the right food for your baby. The uncertainty rises from the fact that safety is a concern for most parents.
Now feeding baby formula or breastmilk may take a backseat, introducing baby food is fundamentally complicated. This is understandable given that in an Indian scenario the whole family has something to say about how to start off this rightly. At the same time, parents generally are concerned about food allergies and what sort of food to begin with. Let me share some important points with you:
- Right time to introduce solids
It may be an exciting thing to finally introduce your baby to solids, one must understand that rushing into the process can have some unintended consequences. Keep an open eye to note few things - if baby is getting enough nourishment from formula or breastmilk, is the baby physically ready to consume solids or is turned off and refusing food the moment it is put in the front of the baby. On the other hand, waiting too long to introduce solids may have its downsides too.
Keeping this in mind, the best time to introduce solids to babies is between the ages of 6 and 7 months. Your baby’s pediatrician may also ask you to begin offering select foods soon, the half-year mark is really the time when you can begin the solid food adventure.
Moreover, all babies are different. Few more signs your baby is ready for solids include the baby can sit unassisted, seems to show excitement in food and make efforts to reach them and importantly, is roughly twice their birth weight.
- Right food type for your baby
When you’re introducing your baby to new flavors and textures, it helps to go slow and steady. Make sure you introduce one food at a time, this way you can easily find if your baby has any adverse reactions after eating that particular food. Research shows that giving baby the same taste several times a month is a great way to get baby to accept the flavor. Some classic starter options include:
- Mashed Banana
- Sweet potato
- Pureed peas
- Have fun with purees
When it comes to purees, moms can easily get creative in the kitchen by steaming and pureeing different baby foods. You can even mix early foods with formula or breastmilk so that your baby easily warm-up to the flavor. As you go further in the journey, you can begin to add seasoning to purees like cinnamon, cumin, turmeric and even a pinch of black chili powder.
- Start off with baby-led weaning
Another important aspect of introducing solids to a baby is how to introduce one. These days, an increasing number of parents are turning to baby led weaning as opposed to spoon-feeding purees. Baby led weaning, in simpler language, is to let your baby take the call. Well, it is the practice of allowing your baby to touch the food and explore its texture with their own fingers. Parents can easily begin with soft to touch fruits like bananas and gradually move to harder foods as the baby age.
One thing that you may not like is the mess that can result from baby exploring the food. Well, if baby led weaning allows your baby to fine tune their motor skills while also helping them self-feed, a little mess doesn’t become a concern. You can also stock up on mats and self-seal bowls and plates if mess is what you do not want.
While breastmilk or formula should still be the primary source of nutrition for the baby during the initial six months; introducing solid food is an important milestone. We can easily say there are very few hard-and-fast rules about introducing baby food. If experts are to be believed, introducing solid foods to baby comes down to giving your infant one new food every three days, watching closely for any allergic reactions, and ensuring no choking hazards. Parents can make this transition to solids fun for babies by giving them a variety of flavors, baby-friendly recipes. Last but not the least, keep the camera handy for the adorably messy photo opportunities that may follow. This will make the journey easy and exciting not only for the parents but also for the babies.
Yogita Verma is a former digital media professional who is currently at the best job in the world- being a #girlmom. A brief journalistic stint in 2008, she is a writer in the making and good at knitting poetry. She loves to travel, cook and read in her free time. On her bucket list- writing a novel and see Northern Lights.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.