You will know when it’s time to start baby on solid foods.
Signs of readiness include still being hungry after breastfeeding, the baby is able to sit up on his or her own, and the baby shows genuine interest in the food that others are eating.
For breastfed babies, the APA recommends that the baby should receive only breastmilk for the first six months of life. Some babies may need to start solid foods before six months. One baby wasreceiving 40 ounces of breastmilk a day and was still hungry between feedings. Because the mom was using a breast pump, she knew exactly how much breastmilk the baby was receiving.
At the advice of the pediatrician, the mother began feeding the 4-month-old baby rice cereal mixed with breastmilk. The mixture was mostly breastmilk, with a bit of cereal mixed in. No matter how watery the mixture is, babies should not be fed cereal through a bottle. Use a bowl and a spoon.
A four-month old baby may be hungry for solids foods, but may not accept the spoon immediately. It will take several attempts over a period of a couple of days or more, for the baby to get used to eating by a spoon.
The standard recommendation for starting baby on solid foods in six months. Every baby has different needs and some will start earlier, like the one mentioned above, and some may start later.
Once the baby tolerates the rice cereal, and the spoon feedings, the baby can be fed other foods of the same consistency. The APA and pediatricians all have their time frames of how long parents should wait between trying new types of foods to check for allergic reactions. By spacing out the new types of foods, it is easier to pinpoint which foods may cause a reaction. The time frames that arerecommended can be anywhere between three days and two weeks. Three days is reasonable, or five if you severe allergies run int eh family. Ask the pediatrician for their recommendation.
The rice cereal can be slowly thickened every couple of days, by adding more cereal and less milk. Rice cereal is the easiest for babies to digest, next to breastmilk. Parents can also try other single grain baby cereals like barley or oat. Later on, try the mixed cereal.
At six months and beyond babies can also begin to eat pureed vegetables. Some professionals recommend waiting until seven months. Some good choices are carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, avocado, peas and green beans. Other vegetables like broccoli can cause a lot of gas, and spinach can be too strong-tasting for babies being introduced to solid foods.
It’s best to start the baby learning to eat and taste solid foods with cereals and vegetables, rather than fruit. The cereal and vegetables are lower in sugars. By introducing vegetables early on, your baby will have a better chance at growing up liking theflavor and textures of different vegetables, rather than tending towards only the sweets.
Fruits may also be introduced around eight months. When purchasing commercially-prepared baby food in jars, try to buy the fruit that is only fruit and water. Baby does not need dessert-type baby foods with added sugars. Naturally-pureed bananas and applesauce and other fruits have plenty of natural sugars.
Besides bananas and applesauce, babies may also like pureed pears or peaches. Babies wiht allergies in the family will want to stay away from any product containing strawberries. Citrus is also an allergen for some, although that is not widely known. Avoid citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits.
Pureed meats are best introduced to baby when mixed with a vegetable that he or she already enjoys. Unless you are making your own baby, try the Gerber Simple Recipe baby foods. The Simple Recipe is just a fruit or vegetable mixed with a meat and water. There is not added fat, no added spices, and no added textures or flavors that the baby might not eat. The simpler the foods, the more luck you will have feeding them to the baby.
Eggs and Dairy
Parents can attempt to give cooked eggs yolks to babies from 10 months and up. The texture may be a little dry, and baby might not enjoy it. The cooked egg yolks can be mixed with other foods like fruits or vegetables, or even with plain yogurt. The egg white is the part of the egg that can cause an allergic reaction, so its best avoided until baby is 12 months or older.
At ten months baby can start enjoying some dairy products including plain yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheese. Breastfed babies, or babies in families with lactose intolerance should not get cow’s milk to drink until they are 12 months or older.
Starting babies on solid food can be as fun as it is important. The foods you feed baby now can help determine which foods he or she will eat while growing up.