Introducing Your Baby to Solid Foods
Wow, your baby is growing up! He or she may be old enough now to where they can eat more than just breast milk and formula. Or, you feel that it may be time to start weaning them, and you want to introduce more table foods into their diets. By now you have probably consulted your child’s pediatrician, and told them that you wanted to begin introducing solids into their diet. If not, now is a good time to have that conversation. This is because each child is different, and may require special care. If you have checked in with your pediatrician, and have been given the green light then read on.
When introducing solid foods to your baby, you want to start off with soft foods. This gives your baby a chance to get used to the texture of food, and how to use their mouth in ways of chewing and swallowing. Foods that are soft are easier to chew, and go down easier until your baby becomes more developed. The first solid foods should be pureed. This can be done by you, as there are many good and safe recipes on the web for you to use if you need ideas. Or, you can purchase baby food at your local grocery store. Baby food manufacturers have made it easy to choose the right starter solid foods by placing stage and age on the labels.
Next you should introduce foods slowly. You should try to scoop a little pureed food from the jar or the container of the food into your baby’s bowl or plate. You can feed them to see how they like the food. They may turn away from it as they are trying to get used to solid foods. The smell might not be appealing at first. They may not like the taste either, being that your baby is used to the taste of breast milk and/or formula. The food sampling should be spaced out as well just in case your baby has an allergic reaction. It will be hard to pinpoint what food caused the reaction if you feed your baby several foods at once. So, it is a good idea to space out foods at least three days apart to be on the safe side.
Parents should also begin to add more water to their baby’s diet. Not only do baby’s taste buds have to get used to solid foods but so does the digestive tract. Adding more water to the child’s diet can help the body to digest food better. It also can help to keep your child hydrated. If your child is not hydrated enough, constipation or other digestive upsets can ensue. Giving your child water in a sippy cup or bottle, depending on age can help your little one along.
Lastly, be patient. While being able to give your child solid foods is a milestone, it requires patience and understanding. Your baby is learning right along with you, and the more patient and understanding you are, the smoother things can go!
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- Dan Canfield