Knowing when to start feeding your baby solid food has always been a difficult task for mothers.
While shopping for your baby’s formula and other necessities, you might always see jars with solid food labelled with the age requirement for that food.
It’s actually really confusing as you tend to be very careful with the type of solid food you feed your baby with being their first time.
Mother’s always wonder what type of solid food should their babies eat, at what age should they give them certain types of food, how do they feed their babies theses solid food, how will they know if they are overfed, what if they have allergies, etc. all these questions are always on their mind truth is if you don’t start you won’t know.
Feeding your baby with solid food on time helps their eating Skills. Also, while thinking about trying out solid food for your baby, you should avoid giving them cow milk, eggs, honey, and citrus fruits till they are a year old.
Factors to consider before giving your baby solid food
Can my baby hold his head up:
The first thing you need to check before feeding your baby solid food is if he can actually hold his head up when sitting on an infant seat or his feeding chair. You won’t want him eating with his head dangling from side to side.
Does my baby open his mouth when I try feeding him:
Most babies tend to open their mouths when they see their mothers eating or trying to feed them. If you notice that when eating, they try reaching for your food or always want you to feed them from your food, then they may be ready for solid food.
Can my baby move food from the spoon to his throat:
This is usually for babies within 9 – 12 months. You should check while trying to spoon-feed themselves if they are able to successfully move the food in their spoon into their mouth. This may take a long time getting used to since they’ve never held spoons or eaten anything that thick before.
How big is he:
Lastly, you need to check if he is big enough to start taking solid food. Most mothers start giving their babies solid food once they are four months old others wait till they clock six months.
Stages for Solid Feeding
The following stages have been recommended for babies due to age and physical milestone:
Babies in this stage are between 4-6months old and are just starting solid food. By this time, baby’s swallowing abilities have developed, and are able to hold up their heads by themselves.
Before now, rice cereals were recommended as the first step, but there are other solid foods like vegetable puree or fruit puree. Whatever puree you will be feeding your baby should be smooth and light since it’s their first time, if possible, add some breastmilk or formula to the puree to make it lighter and enable them to swallow.
At this stage, you need to make sure whatever solid food you are giving them, either homemade puree or premixed, contain enough iron and zinc.
Babies in this stage are between 6-8months old and must have been fed with solid food for a period of two months. At this stage, you can feed them with the food they can swallow easily. The food should be slightly thicker than the puree, contain more ingredients and complex flavor.
This is the stage where you expose your baby to different kinds of food and flavors. Do not feel down if, at first taste, they pour out the food from their mouth, it’s going to take some time for them to get used to the new taste and flavors.
This stage is for babies between 8-12months. Your baby’s grasp is minimal, and they can hold unto their toddler silverware and feed themselves. At this point, you can make their meal thicker, with small soft chunks they can chew and also give them finger foods.
There is no specific or stipulated time to introduce one food or the other to your baby. Once you start feeding your baby with solid food, try providing them with different new foods one at a time.
Food such as fish, meat, egg, cereal, fruits, vegetables, breastmilk, and baby formulas should be included in your baby’s diet, especially meat and vegetables, containing more nutrients.
Tips on feeding your baby solid foods
For babies in stage 1, you can start first by giving them breastmilk or baby formula before feeding them with the solid food. Babies naturally get water from breastmilk and baby formulas, but once you start feeding your baby with solid food, you can include giving them a little amount of water.
Baby’s stool may become a bit solid instead of watery since they now consume food containing sugar and fat.
Refrain from feeding your baby processed solid food meant for adults
Mash the baby’s food for it to be soft and enable the baby to swallow smoothly.
Try introducing each new food to your baby at a time for you to know if they are allergic to any.
If you find out your baby is allergic to any good, try talking to a pediatrician.