Presenting new foods to your baby is an exciting experience, especially for new parents. But for many, it can be a bit intimidating, so we’ve laid out some informational steps for you.
Many memorable joys come with having a baby. You get to experience locking eyes with them for the first time, the first “Mama” or “Dada,” and of course, the first time they try solids. Explained here are the steps to take when introducing your little one to food for the first time.
Consult with Your Baby’s Pediatrician
You should always consult with your baby’s doctor before you consider introducing solids to your baby’s diet. The pediatrician will work with you to determine when your baby is ready for food and will provide you with some professional advice.
They will also guide when to give your baby common allergen foods, so please be sure to consult with them as they are professionals. Also, keep in mind that all babies are different and meet milestones at different times, so take a deep breath and don’t stress about comparing your baby to other babies.
How Do You Know Your Baby Is Ready for Solids?
One thing your doctor will go over is that even after starting solids, your baby will continue to eat formula or breast milk. This is how they get the majority of their nutrition and calories.
Babies are usually ready for solids around five or six months of age. At this time, the Pediatrician will likely recommend having your baby test out small amounts of pureed foods. This is a great way to offer new flavors and textures, but not necessarily to give them a full serving. Here are some common signs that your little one is ready for solids.
- Baby can mostly sit up on their own with some support
- He or she can support and move their head with ease
- Baby watches you while you eat, and looks interested
- Baby shows interest in food by opening their mouth while you eat
- She or He does not push the food out with her tongue when eating solids.
- Baby shows signs of hunger in between formula or nursing sessions
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Common Severe Allergens
Allergic reactions are something to be aware of when introducing new foods. Talk to your child’s pediatrician before allowing your baby to consume any of these common food allergens below:
- Tree Nuts
Also, as you introduce new foods, space out the introductions so you can identify and isolate any foods that your baby reacts to.
If you think your baby is having an allergic reaction, call your pediatrician or 911 right away. Something subtle can turn into severe anaphylaxis, so it’s essential to act fast. Look out for these common signs of an allergic reaction:
- Nausea, Gas or stomach pain
- Swelling of the lips, face or eyes
- Coughing, wheezing
- Irritability, Fatigue
Introducing a New Food to Your Baby
If you’ve decided to take the traditional route and spoon feed pureed baby food (rather than baby-led weaning), then you’ll want to start with one ingredient at a time. Here are some healthy and easy to digest items you can introduce once your baby is ready for solids.
- Brown Rice Cereal
- Green Peas
- Yellow Squash
- Sweet Potato
Make sure you are only introducing one food at a time and that it’s not mixed with any other ingredients besides water. For example, if you are giving your baby sweet potato for the first time, don’t mix it with other foods. This way, if your baby does have any reaction to that food, you’ll know exactly where it came from.
It’s also ideal for introducing new foods early in the day rather than later in the evening so that you can monitor your baby’s behavior after consumption. Once you have given your baby a new food three or four times, you can check it off the list and move on to another new food.
Always Be Patient
Remember to be patient throughout this process. This is an important milestone for your little one. Show your support by smiling and praising them along the way, and make sure not to rush through feedings. When you begin feeding your baby solids, he or she will probably get more on their face than in their mouth, so get that bib out.
With new flavors and textures, your baby might react differently than you expect. Just like us, they have preferences and foods they aren’t a fan of. Encourage healthy eating by continuing to offer foods they aren’t fond of at first. It may take many tries, but their taste buds will eventually adapt to that food.
You’ll know that your baby is no longer hungry when they keep their mouth closed or turn their heads, so never force him or her to continue eating.
Now grab your video camera, and enjoy this wonderful time. It goes by fast.