Introducing solids to your baby can be a challenging task. The nightmare of every mother is making the child accept solids, and keep the baby nourished enough to achieve the key developmental milestones.
Analyzing if your child can take solids itself is a time-consuming and, often, frustrating process. Some signs that you should look out for before giving them solids are –
- Ideally, a solids diet should be started at the age of 6 months or so.
- You need to ensure your child can sit without support, and can hold their head high.
- The child should open their mouth when food is offered.
- The child should take food from the front of the tongue to the back to swallow.
If your baby has started doing all this, then you can think about starting a solids diet.
How to begin a solids diet?
The key is to try different solid foods one by one. Try any food, to begin with, and wait for 3 days to try new food. Ideally, it might take around 7 to 8 months to introduce 5 to 6 foods to your baby.
What are some good foods to begin with?
Here are some foods that you can start with –
- You can begin with cereals. Try the fortified cereals for infants or you can also try oat, barley, and multi-grain cereal.
- Try vegetables and fruits that can be cooked and mashed; like carrots and potatoes. Apples, avocados, green beans, and bananas also offer required nutrition for babies.
Experts advise waiting for a few months before introducing foods that might trigger allergies. Cow’s milk, eggs, nuts, soy, and sesame are a few foods that are potentially allergic. It is a wise thing to try these after the baby reaches 12 months. Nuts can be introduced earlier as well, still, a word with your pediatrician or nurse can ensure safety.
Pro Tip – You don’t need to maintain a particular order in which certain foods should be given; however, in the initial few weeks, it might be helpful to maintain a record. It will help you analyze what your baby likes and how they react to different foods
Tips to Introduce Solids to Babies
Here are some tips that will make it a fun experience for both you and the baby –
- The initial food should be mashed with breast milk or formula as it helps to easily swallow. Or mix it with water and feed the baby.
- Cook vegetables till they become soft and make a paste or puree. Mash them thoroughly and ensure that no little lumps are left.
- Remove skin and seeds from fruits. Cut them into thin slices and mash them. When providing fruits after introducing solids, still thin slices are recommended.
- Any food should be cut in such a way that the particles do not block the airway of the child. This is especially important when you give cylindrical-shaped foods.
- When offering berries, cherries, grapes, or such foods of smaller size, cut them into smaller pieces, and peel the skin, if your child coughs up while eating them.
- Beef, egg, eggplants, and cauliflower can be introduced around 10 months of age.
- Introduce citrus fruits, cow’s milk, and strawberries when the baby turns one.
Remember – You should also keep in mind that even when the baby takes solids, it is essential that he/she still gets breast milk, which supplies essential nutrients.