Babies are born with natural instincts that help them to know what is good or bad for them, and during the first few months of life, natural mother’s breast milk or purchased formula is all that is needed to provide babies with adequate nutrition. Before that time, about four to six months of age, babies don’t have the control their reflexes well enough to be able to eat solid foods. Roughly somewhere between four and six months of age, will most babies be able to control their reflexes enough to take on the eating of anything resembling solid. Here are 5 tips to contemplate before introducing your child to any form of solid food:
1 – Solid foods, such as a mashed banana, infant cereal and baby food, will be the first real foods a baby will ever get to eat. Most experts recommend beginning these kinds of foods when the baby is found to be able to adequately control his or her head movements and tongue reflexes.
While this developmental milestone will naturally occur at different times for different babies, in most cases it usually happens between four to six months of age. The first solid foods introduced to a baby should be easily digestible, such as mashed, soft fruit, rice cereal with the consistency being thin enough for the baby to easily swallow.
2 – If you start to give solid foods too soon, it may result in food allergies, and there are certain foods should be avoided all together until the baby is a little older. Nutritional experts and paediatricians usually recommend selecting simple fruits and vegetables as a baby’s first food.
Steamed carrots, peas, pears, applesauce, and bananas are all excellent healthy choices. Parents should remember that babies naturally have a preference for sweeter foods, and introducing vegetables before fruits will not change this preference. It is much more important to provide them with a well-balanced, healthy and nutritional diet.
3 – When a baby is ready to eat solids, parents should try to introduce each new food individually and wait at least three to four days before introducing another new one. This will allow some time to look out for and identify any allergic reaction to a certain kind of food. If the baby’s stool habits change radically or should a rash develop not long after the introduction of a new food, that food should be taken out of the diet, and the baby’s parents should have a chat with a paediatrician. It’s also a good idea to have organically grown fruit and vegetables also.
4 – As time moves on, a baby will begin to develop a taste for new foods and their desire for breast milk or formula intake will slowly decrease. Babies should not be given whole milk until they are at least a year old, and any foods containing nuts, eggs, and honey should be left until they are a little older. As tempting as it just may be, parents should try to avoid giving a baby any kind of table foods that are prepared for the entire family, unless they are prepared without salt and definitely free from any refined sugar.
5 – Once that a baby has tolerated a wide range of solids, then you can introduce newer textures, such as pastas, rice and breads. And amazingly so, before most parents know it, their children will soon be moving on to the next milestone: self-feeding. By around nine months of age, your baby should be able to eat bite-sized pieces of firmer fruits, vegetables, and meat or meat alternatives.
You can also start to give fruit and vegetable juices, but you should limit daily juice intake to around four ounces a day; because of all the sugar it includes, juice is high in calories and can either take away a baby’s appetite and make the child not hungry at mealtimes, or can help lead to obesity. And no child wants to start displaying that as it really will result in bad health later on. Also, between nine and twelve months, you can begin to offer some dairy products such as yogurt and cheese; but if possible, however, the later that you introduce cow’s milk, the better. Remember that toddlers should only have whole milk, rather than reduced fat milk.
PS – Baby food manufacturers produce their food with an age-appropriate label for your baby. This will remove much of the planning (and fun!) out of introducing your baby to solid foods. Be that as it may, the expense associated with pre-packaged baby foods is not really necessary, as determining and selecting what you can healthily feed your baby on your own, takes only a little research, knowledge and common sense.