Solid Food can be introduced to baby anytime around 4-6 months, till then breast milk will provide all the nutrients and calories that your baby needs. Till the age of 4 months baby infants don’t have the physical skills to swallow foods and even their digestive system is not yet developed and not ready for solid foods.
There are two different opinions on this topic as American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies should be exclusively breastfed in first 6 months, the AAP’s nutrition section and guidelines for Pediatrician recommend starting solid foods at 4-6 months.
Your baby will give you clear signs when your baby is ready for solid foods. Hints to look for Includes:
It is good to talk to your pediatrician, about which food should be introduced first and when. You may start with any pureed single ingredient food with no salt or sugar.
In case your baby is breastfed, it is suggested iron rich food as Iron starts to diminish at about 6 months of age. Other Foods Include pureed bananas, peaches, pears, sweet potatoes etc.
Foods like Iron-fortified Infant cereal, pureed veggies, meat, fruit does not cause any food allergy but still observe your baby for the signs of allergy. When you notice your tolerating solid food well, go for introducing more allergic foods like egg, soy, wheat, fish, etc.
As per AAAAI (American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, introducing solid foods at the age of 4-6 months helps to prevent the development of food allergies later on.
There are some special precautions which are needed to be taken care of with certain babies. In case your baby falls in any of the following category then we suggest you to consult your pediatrician and create a customized feeding plan before adding solid food to your baby’s diet.
In first few feedings, give your baby pureed solid foods or infant cereal after nursing or bottle feeding.
Go for Soft-tipped plastic spoon for feeding baby to avoid gum injuries. Keep small amount of food on the tip of spoon and offer it to your baby. By your baby’s reaction, you will be able to make an idea he is ready to have it or not. If your baby doesn’t seem to be interested then the best thing to do is let him smell the food for now and try again later.
If you choose cereal first, give 1-2 diluted infant cereal. Add formula milk or breast milk to a small amount of cereal. When your baby starts eating more than thicken the consistency by using lesser liquid.
Baby may not eat much a first as he need time to develop the habit and get used to it. With time, baby practices keeping food in mouth and swallowing.
Baby-led Weaning is an alternate technique used by many parents for feeding their babies, in this technique you large chunks of solid foods directly on high chair tray or table and let your baby grasp the food and feed himself.
Offer your baby a new food a few times over the course of 3-5 days before trying a new food. In this way you will be able to make out that your baby has allergic reaction to something or not.
Babies take time to get used to different taste & textures. Each baby has different individual preferences but in general it is best to start the transition with pureed or semi-solid food and then move on to strained or mashed foods and finally to finger foods.
If your baby is allergic to any food, you’ll see the signs of reactions within a few minutes or hours like hives, vomiting or diarrhea. Here you need to call your doctor for advice.
In some cases, you may notice difficulty breathing, wheezing etc then it can be Anaphylaxis (a life threatening condition)- See your doctor immediately.
Baby’s appetite will keep varying from one feeding to next. Following signs will help you to know if your baby is done:
Yes, you need to give breast milk or formula milk as it will provide your baby majority of calories and nutrition till the age of one year. Both provide essential vitamins, protein and iron in a form which is easy to digest.
Solid food cannot replace the nutrients that breast milk or formula milk provides for the first year.
In the beginning, give solid food just once a day. By 6-7 months of age, two meals a day of Solid food, by the age of 8-9 months solid foods three time a day.
Here is a typical diet plan at the age of 8 months:
There are some foods which you should avoid to give to babies till the age of one year like Honey (as it can cause botulism in babies). Wait till first birthday for baby to try soy milk or cow’s milk.
When should I Introduce Solid Food to my baby? If you have any other info or query, please add in comments.
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