Your baby is now six months old, and it is a perfect time for your infant to be introduced to solids. However, all babies are different and some may not be ready for solids at six months old. As parents, it is important to monitor for signs that your baby is ready for solids.
Read on to learn more about weaning and how to introduce solids to your baby.
Parents are recommended to introduce solid food to their babies by 6 months of age. It is not advisable to start your child on solid food at 4 months of age due to choking hazards. Watch the signs below to see if your baby is ready for solid food.
Here are some signs your baby is ready for solid food:
If your baby does the following:
Your baby is not ready for solid foods just yet and you may try again after a week or so.
Once your baby starts exhibiting the above signs that he/she is ready for solid food, what should you do next?
Until your baby is around 12months old, breast milk or formula milk should remain the main component and main source of nutrition for your baby.
When your baby is 6 to 9 months old, solid meals are designed to supplement, not replace, your baby’s milk feeds.
When you are just starting, 1 to 2 teaspoons should suffice. This is your baby’s first taste of something new, and the goal is to offer him a small portion.
Over time, you can gradually increase the amount of solid food to 1 to 2 tablespoons. You can then progressively increase portion sizes to a complete meal, which can replace one of your baby’s milk feeds while he gets adjusted to weaning. When your baby is around 10-12 months old, you can start giving him solid foods three times a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
Do not rush the process for your baby. You should allow your child to select the amount of milk (breast milk or formula) or solid food he desires.
As new parents who are starting to introduce solids to the baby, you may wonder what type or kind of foods are suitable.
6 – 9 months old: The food you feed your infant when he first starts eating solids should be smooth, soft, and fine in texture. You can progressively introduce food that is thicker and coarser as the child grows older and improves his chewing skills—for example, a thicker puree.
10 – 12 months old: At this stage, the food you feed the baby should only be mashed, diced, or cut into little bits.
Here are some food preparation tips to create delicious and nutritious meals for your little one.
Take note of the following as well when preparing food for your baby:
Fruit or vegetable purees can be frozen in ice cube trays for up to a month. This is a good time saving method since all you have to do is take one out of the freezer, thaw it, and reheat. Remember to label your baby food with the date it was prepared.
Your baby is too young to chew on food and does not have full control over his oral muscles. It is therefore important to puree the food before feeding them.
Here are some food types that can be introduced to your little one. You can seek a paediatrician’s advice if you are unsure of any food items to feed your child.
Do not introduce the following to your baby:
Avoid foods that can be a choking hazard for your child.
At the start, allow your baby to try new foods one at a time. This allows you to determine whether your child has any issues with that meal, such as food allergies. Between each new food, wait for 3 to 5 days. In no time, your baby will be eating and enjoying a wide variety of new foods before you even realise it.
Introduce potentially allergic foods at the same time as other foods.
Cow’s milk products, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, and sesame are all potential allergens. Cow’s milk and fortified soy beverages should not be given to your child until he or she is at least 12 months old, although other cow’s milk products, such as yoghurt, can be given before then. Consult your child’s paediatrician about when and how to safely introduce foods containing peanuts if your child has severe eczema and/or an egg allergy.
When new foods are being introduced, parents should keep a close watch on their children for any signs of allergies. It is highly recommended to visit a paediatrician if your child presents a reaction to any food item given.
Some types of allergies include:
Seek medical consult with your child’s paediatrician immediately if your baby displays any of the above reactions.
New parents may be clueless about weaning and therefore have to do a lot of research. The amount of information online may be overwhelming and you may not understand if a certain food item is beneficial for your child.
Here are some quick tips for making the weaning process easier:
Weaning your child is a process that takes time and effort, and it should never be forced on your child. To know when to start weaning, observe your child for any of the signs mentioned. Take extra care when feeding new food items every 3 – 5 days. When in doubt, seek the help of your child’s paediatrician who can advise you accordingly.
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