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Starting Your Baby on Solid Foods

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:00pm

It’s nice when the only thing you have to feed your baby is breast milk or formula. But soon they will need more than just breast milk or formula to satisfy their hunger.  You may notice that your baby is starting to reach for everything. When you are eating something while holding them, they will be reaching for your spoon, bowl, plate or glass.  You give her a taste and laugh at the funny face she makes. But is it time to start feeding them solids?

Doctors will usually say not to start your baby on solid foods until they are about 6 months old.  This is because a baby gets all the nutrition they need from their mothers breast milk or the formula. Always ask a medical professional before starting your baby on solid foods.  Your baby should also show sign that he/she is ready for solid foods. Your baby should be able to sit up unsupported and have good control of his neck. He should also show an interest by opening his mouth when a spoon is coming towards him, and being able to keep some food in his  mouth.

Most babies are ready for iron-fortified infant cereal at about 6 months of age.  Pureed fruits and veggies may be offered at 6 to 8 months of age. And meats may be introduced at 8 months of age. Start with infant cereal for the first 1-2 weeks.  Then offer them a bland vegetable such as peas or carrots.  Only introduce a new food about every 5-7 days.  You need to be able to notice if something is giving your baby food allergies. After your baby is enjoying several different vegetables, you can try a fruit.  Avoid citrus fruits and strawberries until about 12 months of age.

Watch for signs of allergies or intolerance like skin rashes, wheezing, diarrhea or vomiting. Foods that most often cause allergic reactions are cow’s milk, citrus fruits and juices, nuts, egg whites, and wheat products. Do not force your baby to eat. Stay positive and keep your sense of humor open.  Remember, your baby is more likely to eat if you are not stressed and uptight about them eating.

Foods with different consistency and texture should be offered as your baby gets older as well.  Offer small portions of a wide variety of foods with different taste, smells and textures. Do not force them to eat it if they do not like it. Just try to give it to them again later.

Do not use honey as a sweetener.  It can cause infant botulism, a type of food poisoning that can lead to death. Avoid foods that may cause choking, such as corn, nuts, raisins, candy, grapes, and hot dogs cut in circles.  Introduce new foods one at a time and watch for signs of a food allergy or intolerance as described above.   Avoid foods that may irritate your baby’s digestive system, such as spicy and greasy foods as well as pastries.

Look to Child n’Parent for more parenting help to keep your baby healthy and happy.

By: EA Walker

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