Being a new mom you are scared of starting solid food. Doctors recommend six months of exclusive breastfeeding, but what after that? How to start introducing solid food? Most mothers are worried about the baby developing allergies.
How to know when your baby is ready to eat solid food? Even though doctors tell not to introduce solid foods before six months, most babies are ready for it. To eat solid food, the baby should be able to hold his head and have good neck control. He should also be able to sit on a high chair. If your baby has reached this milestone in the 4th month itself, you can start the weaning process.
But don’t start it before the baby is four months old. If you do that, you will notice that the baby pushes the food out of his mouth, as soon as you put it in. Babies starting losing this natural thrust mechanism by the time they reach six months.
Here are some signs that your baby is ready to start eating solid food:
- Are interested in food i.e., they look at people while eating and open the mouth when the food approaches.
- Have the oral motor skill to push the food down the throat.
- Weighs almost twice the birth weight.
- He has good coordination of hand and mouth i.e., he can grab food and put it in his mouth.
- Makes chewing motions.
Babies who start weaning before four months of age might become obese later in life. Consult with your pediatrician time to time.
When the right time comes, start with iron-fortified rice cereal. Since the iron stores in the baby is almost over by the time he reaches six months of age, iron-fortified products should be your choice. Mix it in one or two tablespoons of breast milk to get the right consistency. Never add cereal to the bottle unless advised by the doctor. Wheat shouldn’t be given to the baby unless the child is a year old. The digestive tract is still underdeveloped and may develop gluten intolerance.
When the baby is in the beginning stage of weaning, solid food should be given only after breastfeeding or bottle feeding, since it has to be the primary source of nutrients until the age of one.
Only after the baby is comfortable with rice cereal, introduce pureed vegetables, fruits, and meat. Wait for a few days before introducing a new type of food, to check if he is suffering an allergic reaction. For example, if you introduced sweet potato today, wait for two or three days and introduce the next food, say carrot. It takes around 15 to 20 tries for a baby to accept a food, so that it slowly.
Avoid giving artificial flavored fruit juices to babies since they are high in sugar and can cause osmotic diarrhea. It also increases the risk of teeth decay and obesity. Homemade fruit juice which has the pulp in it can be given, since they are healthier and has all the vital nutrients.