There might be lots of questions in your mind when it comes to weaning. Starting solid foods is one of the major milestones of your baby’s first year. However, learning how to introduce solid foods to your child can be both exciting and frustrating at the same time. Remember that the goal is to make that experience safe, healthy, and as fun as possible. So, here are 10 tips for introducing foods to your baby.
Know When to Start
Just because someone can do it doesn’t mean you should do it too. Solid food shouldn’t be introduced to under 4-month-old babies. The perfect time to start offering solid foods to your baby is always around 6 months after birth. Because around this age babies will need to start taking iron and zinc from solid foods. On top of that, your baby should have these following signs of readiness before taking their first bite.
- Your baby is able to sit up in a high chair and hold their head up.
- Having signs of interest in food and open mouth when it is offered.
- Able to swallow foods. If you offer a spoonful of food to your baby and they seem to push it right back out. Give your child a few more practice bites, but also consider waiting another week or two.
Have Break Between New Foods
Doing this gives you time to watch for symptoms of a food allergy. If those symptoms appear, you will know that they are likely due to what food. Normally, symptoms of food allergy include diarrhea, rash, and vomiting. And, common food allergies include eggs, wheat, or cow’s milk. However, you shouldn’t worry or hesitate to introduce any of those foods. In fact, delaying the introduction of these foods might increase the chance that your baby will develop an allergy to them.
On the other hand, if your family has a history of food allergies, talk with your pediatrician about when and how to introduce these high allergy foods.
Experiment Different Textures
Your baby may prefer purees or mashed foods. But, it’s boring if you only let them try only 1 type of texture for a long time. Also, with purees, your baby won’t have many chances to practice chewing or manage food in their mouth. Unlike traditional weaning, Baby-led weaning that advocates for skipping purees altogether. So, your baby can try some of baby’s finger foods that not only offer a variety of textures but also benefits your baby’s health better in the future.
Let your Baby Set the Pace of Their Meals
Whether you choose to start with purees or finger foods, your baby should decide how fast and how much food to eat. With finger foods, this process comes naturally. But, if you are spoon-feeding, your baby can’t control the amount of intake foods. So, you should wait for your baby’s cues to know if they’re ready for more before bringing any food into their mouth.
The trick is to encourage your baby to lean forward and open their mouth before every bite. By being responsive to your baby in this way, you are teaching them to listen to their own body and knowing their hunger, a skill that will serve them well throughout life.
Know What to do with Choking
At this age, anything in your house including food can be choking hazards, and you should be ready for that. Just knowing how to deal with choking at home can stop you from panicking and save you a lot of precious time. Also, if you can, taking a child CPR class is a great idea because it includes handling a choking emergency. On top of that, avoiding foods that are small and firm such as raisin is a good way to prevent this from happening.
Changes require time! So, you should offer 1 solid meal per day, which may be just a tablespoon or a slice of avocado at first. At first, your baby will not eat enough solid foods. Therefore, you still need to breastfeed or bottle-feed them between meals. However, as your baby starts to show more interest in foods, you can slowly increase the amount and number of meals up to 3 solid meals per day (around 9-month-old).
Set Up a Healthy Eating Habit
At this time, your baby is curious about anything you let them try. So, this is a perfect time to make “boring” foods such as broccoli become more familiar to them. And, when they grow older, there’s less chance that your child will become a picky eater. Starting a healthy eating habit from this early stage not only benefits your baby’s health but also makes your life easier when preparing their meal in the future.
Every baby is different! So, while some babies will eat like a pro on day one, others might not even touch a thing. If your baby starts a bit slow, don’t worry or rush them because they will get it eventually. Instead, focus more on enjoy this amazing time and have fun in every meal with your baby. We hope these tips help as you embark on your baby food adventure easier! Feel free to share your experience or leave any questions about introducing solid foods to your baby in the comments?