At about 6 months of age, your baby will be ready for “solid baby food”. Don’t be fooled though: at these very early stages, “solid food” isn’t very solid. It’s all mashed up and gooey.
These next few pages will discuss:
- When is your baby ready for solid food;
- What should you feed him;
- Which food is better Gerber vs Homemade);
- How to prepare your own baby food; and
- Tips that will save you on the long run.
- Old Enough. Your baby should be at least 4 months old and preferably 6 months old before you introduce solid foods. An average, healthy 6-month old’s digestive system is mature enough to cope with mushy baby food.
- He can sit up well. He doesn’t need to sit up completely by himself, but he does need to be strong enough to sit upright. In particular, he should have good neck control so that he can hold his head upright.
- He in interested in solid foods. He watches you eat and makes motions like he wants some a too. He makes smacking noises or chewing motions. He reaches for food from your plate or watches you bring food from your plate towards your mouth.
- He seems hungry even after breast milk and/or formula. A liquid diet is not enough to keep him satisfied anymore. He needs something more substantial to keep up with his level of growth and activity.
Typically. the first thing you feed your baby is baby cereal. These dry flakes are sold in boxes. You add breast milk or formula to the dry flakes and mix it until it is a smooth.
In the beginning, rehydrate one tablespoon of cereal with formula or expressed breast milk. Add enough formula/breast milk so that the cereal slides off the spoon easily. When your baby gets better at eating, you can rehydrate more cereal and use less formula so that the cereal is the consistency of pudding or porridge.
To feed your baby:
– place him in a high chair,
– sit him on your lap, or
– sit him in an inclined car seat (sitting up not lying down)
Spoon some baby cereal into his mouth. He won’t know what to do, so you need to move your mouth around so that he imitates you. Hopefully some of the baby cereal will go down his throat and he will gradually learn how to actively swallow food.
In the beginning, it seems like more food comes out rather than go in. Don’t worry, just scrape that baby cereal off his chin and spoon it back in. It is considered a success if he can eat one Tablespoon worth of baby cereal.
Start with rice cereal. After a week or two of this, try oatmeal cereal and then barley cereal. If there is one grain that he does not like, you can buy a mixed cereal that has all 3 grains in it. Once you’ve exhausted all those options, then it is this time to introduce fruits and vegetables. You can mashed fruits into the baby cereal to make it more interesting. As your baby grows older, you can leave the fruits in soft chunks so that it gives the baby cereal texture.
In general, it is not recommended to give your baby breakfast oatmeal that are designed for children & adults. These tend to be too sweet and have lots of added stuffs (honey, cinnamon) which your child may be allergic to. Go for good ol’ fashion plain, baby cereals
If your baby cries during his first few feedings, or he spits all the baby cereal out, he may not be ready (in the latter case, he may still have the Tongue-Thrust Reflex). Stop offering solid foods and wait a month or two before trying again. Some parents introduce solid food as early as 4 months of age (not recommended by pediatricians) while others start solids after 12 months of formula/breast milk (somewhat extreme), so there’s a lot of flexibility in when you introduce solid baby food.
- which is better: Gerber’s or homemade baby food?
- how to cook your own baby food
- Tips to save you on the long run
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