Starting a baby on solid food is exciting! Little spoons, mouths full of pink baby food, and the happy giggles of a baby who loves mashed bananas are adorable to any adult with half a heart.
Before you rush off to start feeding your little one, here are some tips to ensure that both you and your baby have a positive experience.
Talk to your pediatrician first
When you start feeding your baby solids, there may be different perspectives depending on who you ask. Should you start them at 4 months of age or 6 months of age (as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics in the United States) ? Do you start with fruits or vegetables? Are you starting with pureed vegetables or skipping them? Should you start your baby with baby cereal or skip it?
This topic can be confusing. Before you switch from bottles and burp cloths to jars and bibs, talk to your pediatrician. Let them explain clearly what they think about the following questions:
Your baby is ready for solids
The order in which solids are offered
How much to eat at each meal
How often to offer meals
Compliance with safety measures
Your pediatrician should also be able to offer advice, answer any questions you may have, and provide resources to support you on your feeding journey.
Feeding baby food is easier with the right equipment
Whether you’re starting with a vegetable puree, soft food or a combination dish, it’s a good idea to prepare some simple tools and strategies ahead of time to ensure that both you and your baby are supported. Here are some places to start:
A few days before starting solids, have your baby take the high chair out for a test drive. Get them used to sitting in the chair and make sure they can sit up with very little support.
Use a small plastic bowl and a plastic baby spoon, which is gentler on the gums than metal ones.
To prevent tug-of-war between spoons, give your baby a spoon of their own to play with at mealtime. At first, they are lucky to get food into their mouths with their own spoons, so you may need to do a lot of feeding. If you are using baby-led weaning, your baby will likely not use utensils for food. Nevertheless, it’s important for your baby to play with utensils and get used to them. You can also offer them “pre-filled” spoons – spoons with a little pureed food on them – so your baby can practice picking up the spoon and putting it in their mouth. in their mouths.
Let your baby play with his food
Over the years, “Don’t play with your food! ” has echoed through many restaurants. Playing with their food allows babies and children to experience the texture, smell and appearance of food. This can make the food less intimidating and more fun for the infant.
Remember, this is all new to your baby! Food is really, really interesting to them, and they want to explore it. Before you offer a new food, consider giving your baby some time to explore (“play”) with the food with their hands.
Put a little on their tray and let them explore. This will get them used to the smells, textures and tastes. Don’t worry about —- Just like anything else your baby gets into, food will eventually go into their mouths on its own.
Start eating when your baby is happy or a little hungry
Have you ever noticed how uncooperative and cranky you get when you feel overly hungry or tired? Or when you’re full and the food isn’t appealing? You can expect the same from your baby.
Schedule feedings wisely so that your baby is happy, alert and in the right state of hungerーーnot too hungry and not too full. You may want to start with just a small amount of infant formula or breast milk to boost their appetite, and then move on to the main course.
Constantly introduce rejected foods
Imagine you just tried to give your baby a dinner of mixed sweet potatoes and it didn’t work. The result is either a tightly closed mouth or a mouth that spews orange sticky substance at you. Don’t think it was a waste of time (and sweet potatoes) just because your baby rejected the food. Try again.
Part of starting solids is getting your baby used to the different textures and flavors. Remember, just seeing and touching a new food can bring your baby closer to accepting it. This is also a great way to feed your toddler.
Watch out for food allergies
A potentially serious aspect of first feedings is food allergies. Severe allergic reactions, such as hives, breathing difficulties and swelling, usually take effect within minutes to hours after ingestion. Milder reactions may take several days to appear and include eczema, diarrhea or constipation.
Reactions can also be delayed. Some pediatricians recommend waiting 2 to 4 days before introducing another new food. Although, this can reduce the number of new foods your baby ingests. It is important to talk to your pediatrician about what they recommend for your infant.
Keeping a simple diary of your feedings can help spot a pattern if something goes wrong. Also, if you make your own baby food, be sure to know the precautions for nitrate poisoning.
While it was once recommended that certain foods be postponed for fear of allergies, things are different now.
Pay attention to feeding cues
You want your baby to feel heard, seen, and learn to self-regulate their feedings. When babies are forced to eat, even when giving cues that they don’t want to eat, it sends the message that their internal cues are not being respected.