Starting your baby on solid food is an exciting yet intimidating milestone. Baby food is mostly mashed up food, how difficult can it be? It is a bit more elaborate than that. You are essentially teaching your baby how to eat. That’s right, babies have to learn how to chew and swallow. And their body is becoming accustomed to digesting something other than breastmilk and formula.
Typically, 5 to 6 months is the ideal age to introduce solid food to a baby’s diet. This is when a baby can sit with support and has neck and head control. However, you shouldn’t rush feeding solids; duly consult your pediatrician to learn the right time to begin.
We have put together some helpful tips to help you embark on this tricky new phase.
Eating food is an entirely new experience for your child. Taking that into account, try to space out introducing a new food by 2-3 days. Not only will this allow your baby to familiarise with different tastes and textures, but it’s also easier to detect any allergies or intolerances.
Usually, symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or rashes appear within a few hours of eating. In such cases, consult a physician immediately.
Take your time
Even adults need time to get accustomed to a new cuisine. Similarly, your baby will start enjoying solids only after a few tries. It takes 10 or more tries before your baby will accept a new food.
So don’t throw in the towel if your baby initially rejects the food. Keep trying with gaps in between or mix it with something your baby already enjoys.
Don’t shy away from the variety
The assortment of baby food available will truly astonish you. You can start with simple foods such as apple sauce, rice cereal, mashed bananas and pureed squash and then move on to complex items.
Alternating between different foods will keep your baby interested, and something will certainly strike his/her fancy! You can get everything from apple cereal to pureed meat on BritSuperstore.
Seasoning is fine
Of course, at first, you should start with completely bland food. But eventually, there is no harm in introducing some seasoning into the mix. A bit of salt, cinnamon or cumin is perfectly fine.
Meat is fine too
Baby food isn’t just limited to fruits and vegetables. You can add pureed beef or chicken to your baby’s diet. Eating meat ensures proper intake of iron and zinc, which are important nutrients for growth and development.
Veggies before fruit
Though there is no solid evidence that a baby would prefer fruits over vegetables, it’s better to stay on the safer side. It’s recommended to start vegetables before fruits as the baby isn’t used to the sweetness of fruits.
Avoid sugar and other additives
Carefully read the label and reviews before purchasing any baby food. Stay clear of added sugars and preservatives. Thickening agents such as flour and starch are a big no-no. They are difficult to digest and lack nutrients. Also, avoid highly salted food.
Get organic food
Organic food is highly nutritious and safe. Look for organic baby food with no added preservatives or sugars. If you are unable to find affordable, organic baby food, you can always get organic ingredients and make it at home.
Focus on solids
When you are introducing new foods, keep it limited to solids. Avoid overly sugary juices that promise nutrients and vitamins. These just add unnecessary sugars and preservatives to a baby’s diet.
Use a spoon
Though food pouches are quite convenient for feeding, they don’t actually teach your baby how to eat. Whether you are feeding from a jar or a pouch, use a spoon.
In conclusion, learning how to eat and enjoy food takes time, so be patient. If you are confused about anything, it’s always advisable to reach out to a doctor.