Moving from exclusive breastfeeding or formula to giving your child a combination of different solid foods is a positive experience, and it shows that he is growing. However, most parents and this is more so the first time ones do not know which are essential nutrients for babies and when to do it or even how to do it. But, things should not always be challenging for you if you have the right information on introducing solids to a baby.
When To Start Baby On Solid Food
Kids are different, and they tend to follow varying patterns of development. Just because your friend’s child started taking solid foods well in his fourth month, it does not indicate that the same will happen to yours. Although experts recommend that you should start feeding the child with solid foods when they are four to six months, it is important to know that it will depend on your baby. Whereas some have a good appetite and are ready to eat by the time they are four months old others will not accept anything that is not breast milk till there are 8 or 9 months old.
Doctors recommend that you should feed your child with breast milk only for the first half year and this should give you a clue on when you should introduce the solid food. But, you should not force the child to eat solids even if he is already six months and you should instead do it gradually. There are also some signs that you can watch out for that indicate that the infant is ready to eat solids.
One of these signs is the ability to control the head because experts will discourage you from trying to feed a child that cannot hold his head in an upright position.
Another sign is the baby developing interest in food or an increase in appetite. You can also use weight as a sign because most kids are ready to eat when they are about 15 pounds. However, make sure that you do not just rely on a calendar to determine when to start giving your kid solids.
6 Steps For Introducing Your Baby To Solid Food
Being able to eat and digest solid foods is a huge step in the development of babies. But, as a parent you have to make sure that the child is ready for the solids. And, that you introduce them in a way that will get them to enjoy the experience while also getting the essential nutrients. For this to be so, here are the important steps that you should follow.
Step 1: Decide On The Baby Menu
Once you determine that the child is ready for solid foods using the signs mentioned earlier on the first step is to decide on what to give him. The menu is vital as it will determine whether the child will accept the food or not.
It is not easy to tell what should be on the menu or what should not be but make sure that it is a balanced diet by including foods from all the groups. If you have challenges developing a menu for your infant’s first meal you should talk to your doctor or consult a nutritionist.
Step 2: Choose The Right Feeding Time
As a mother, you should know and understand your child’s character well such that you can determine the times that he is happy or gloomy. Kids are very moody, and if you find them at the wrong time, it will be difficult to introduce them to new things such as solid food. And so once you come up with a solid foods menu for your infant the next step should be to choose the right time to give them the food. For this, you should choose the time that he is usually happy because the good moods will increase the probability of him accepting the food.
Step 3: Make Him Comfortable Before His First Meal
By the time your kid is six months old, you should have a feeding chair because you will need it to make him comfortable as he feeds. But, not all babies like to sit in the high chair because some will prefer to sit in mom’s lap as they feed. And so, the best thing to do is to determine what your child prefers and use this to make him as comfortable as possible during feeding time.
Step 4: Start By Nursing
Even as you are starting baby on solids, it is vital to keep in mind the fact that milk is still their most important source of nutrients. Contrary to what some parents might think it is important that you always nurse your child before giving him solids. Starving him with the notion that this will make the child eat the solid food without any resistance does not always work. Your child is more likely to develop some interest in the new type of food if he is not hungry. Also, offer him more breast milk after the solid food.
Step 5: Keep The Food Consistency Thin
Persistence is the key when it comes to introducing infants to solid foods. You should be as patient as possible with your child and start with small amounts of food. In the first days, you should start with one teaspoon of smooth and runny food that should be slightly warm and feed him once a day.
Make sure that the consistency is thin like gravy and increase the amount of food gradually as your child gets used to it. The frequency should also increase gradually and within a few days or weeks you will notice that the child is more comfortable with the solids as he will start consuming a substantial amount.
Step 6: Keep Trying
In the first few days, it is about the experience and not the amount of food that the child eats. And so, if the infant just tastes the food and does not swallow anything it is still a significant achievement, and so you should not concern yourself with the amount of food that he eats.
Focus on giving him enough milk or formula and keep trying to introduce the solids. The fact that some kids do not accept any solid food until they are close to ten months should be enough to encourage you to keep trying.
Introducing solids to a baby is a significant milestone, but for most parents, it comes with a lot of anxiety. However, you should do just fine with the six steps above in mind and by remembering that the first food is an experiment and you should make it fun for the infant.