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Your baby’s introduction to solid food

Your baby’s introduction to solid food

Part of the role of parents is to teach their children healthy eating habits And this task begins once a baby is ready for her firstsolid food There is no doubt that breast milk is best for babies up to thefirst 6 months And the World Health Organization fosters this practice and encourages mothers to start complementing food a little after that time Introducing babies to their first solids is a milestone that is not without worries and concerns  from parents Partly because of the differing advice and suggestions out there of when is it best to begin and what kind of food to give to babies starting their first solids Many now claim that there should be no rushat all and to wait until the baby exhibits his readiness as babies develop differently

When to start the transition

As mentioned, breast milk or formula is the recommended main source of nutrition for babies until at least baby reaches 6 months old Although some parenting experts suggest starting solids as early as 4 months,this has been deemed unnecessary as baby’s rate of growth is not affectedThus, it may be best to wait for until after 6 months or when baby is showingsigns of being ready to start his first solids

Signs that baby is ready From four months onward,babies develop the motion of chewing and swallowing rendering them ready totake in food aside from milk Improvement in head control is also noticeablefollowed by the ability to sit with support, both of which are skills vital foreating solid foods So observe whether your baby is starting to show interestin your food and is showing his ability of holding his head steadily and sitproperly with support Then inform your pediatrician of these developments toconfirm whether you can start feeding your baby solids

What to give Once you have the go signal, avoid running to the grocer to grab those cereal and baby food in bottles Head to the market instead and buy fresh fruits and vegetables like carrots, sweetpotato, banana or pear Prepare them well usually through boiling and mashing and make sure the texture is alright for baby Many parents follow the 4 day rule meaning they wait after 4 days before introducing a new type of food This is best so you can observe for any allergic reactions including rash, diarrheaor vomiting Then after a few months of mashed potatoes and other free purees you make at home, start introducing meat, eggs and fish gradually Keep in mind that these solid foods are merely complementary to breast milk or formula and not substitutes The WHO suggests giving infants between 6-8 months 2-3 times a day of solid foods, increasing to 3-4 times everyday when baby reaches 9-11 months

Also be wary of food that pose choking hazards such as grapes, sticky food such as peanut butter and those that are hard to chew such as popcorn or nuts

How to give Keep in mind that eating should be a pleasant time and it is important that the baby recognizes this So prepare your tools, bibs and mats in advance to avoid stressing out about the mess that will likely to happen Remember that your baby will often eat a small serving at a time so only place a small portion on a bowl to avoid waste and spoilage You can opt to feed your baby while he’s on an infant seat or on your lap,whichever works best for you Use a spoon and show the baby how this tool isused for eating  Avoid pushing your baby to eat when he does not feel like it or when he obviously had enough If you are game, let baby play with his food to encourage hands-on development Do not worry if baby is not eating as much as you want as long as he is growing up accordingly

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