When your baby begins eating solids, it can be a very exciting time. Baby feeding becomes slightly more involved once your child is eating real food, but it also signals a new level of independence. Knowing the correct way to introduce foods, as well as how to prepare them, can make this new stage easier and and a lot more fun.
Don't Rush It
The first step in feeding your baby solid food is determining whether she is ready to eat it. Many babies start eating solid foods between four to six months. Most pediatricians agree that solid foods should not be given before the age of four months.
Do Look for Signs of Interest
There are several indicators that a baby is ready to move on from just breast milk or formula. The ability to hold his head up and to sit straight in a highchair are important. He may be interested in food, such as what you are eating, and you may notice him making chewing motions. This is his body's way of preparing for the next stage of feeding. If he's still hungry after breastfeeding 8 to 10 times a day, or after consuming 40 ounces of formula in one day, he's probably ready for solid food.
Don't Get Fancy
You must acclimate your baby to the process of eating solid food. Baby's systems are delicate and can't handle too many new foods at once. Introducing foods separately also helps you to identify any food allergies she may have.
Do Start Feeding Baby Cereal
Most physicians recommend starting with rice cereal. When your baby is first starting to eat, mix one teaspoon of the rice cereal with four to five teaspoons of breast milk or formula. Once he can successfully eat that, you can begin increasing the ratio to one tablespoon of rice cereal with the breast milk or formula. When your child is accustomed to rice cereal, you can begin trying other cereals, such as oats or barley.
After your baby is regularly eating cereal, you can start offering other types of food. This usually happens between the ages of six and eight months. When introducing new foods, do so with at least three days in between each and keep an eye out for allergic reactions. Try pureed fruits and vegetables, and make sure that you're still feeding her cereal as well as breast milk or formula. You can either buy pureed fruits and vegetables at the grocery store or make your own with a blender. Juicier fruits, such as peaches, pears and watermelon, are the easiest to puree.
Don't Expect Your Baby to Like Everything
Don't get discouraged if your child doesn't seem interested in a certain food. It can take children multiple tastings of one food to truly determine whether they like it. Make sure you talk with your child's pediatrician before making a major change in her diet.
There are common baby food allergies that should be avoided if possible. Introducing your baby to new foods can be a fun experience, but it can also be a scary experience since you don't know how your baby will react to those foods.
Babies can begin eating pureed foods as early as four months. Some pediatricians encourage you to wait until your baby is six months old. However, you do not have to purchase commercial baby food products.
Making your own baby food sounds like an undertaking that is difficult but with the right equipment and just a little time, it is not very difficult.