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Between 5 to 7 months of age, your baby will be ready to start his solids. If you have just started your baby on solids, you may face many doubts and questions. The time that babies start feeding on solids is also one of the times when they might drop weight. However, this is not because of a health problem, but because of a few common things that start happening when babies wean from breastfeeding into a solid diet. If you just observe these associated precautions, you will not have to worry about your baby’s appetite or his weight!
If your baby is nearing or has reached the age of 6 months, you might have started noticing these signs. He may have started looking at different foods with interest. He is curious about your meals. He moves his jaws whenever you are chewing something. Your baby is finally ready to start solids and semi-solids in his diet!
However, before you tie that colorful bib around his neck and start feeding him, there are a few things you must know. Many babies face a number of feeding problems at this time, which can have an impact on their overall appetite and weight. Knowing about these problems will help you deal with them in the right way.
4 Common Eating Problems In Babies and Their Solutions
1. Spitting Problems
Babies spit a lot. It is a reflex. While it may look harmless in the beginning, a baby’s spitting almost always concerns the mother when she starts feeding him on solids. The reason being – babies tend to spit out their food too!
What You Can Do:
- As long as your little one is gaining normal weight, and is being his normal playful self, these spitting episodes should not worry you. Wipes are an easy way to clean up the mess. That said, these spitting episodes normally reduce between 6 months and one year of age.
- To reduce these spitting episodes, feed your baby only when he’s hungry and avoid force-feeding.
- It might worry many parents if their baby seems to be crying continuously, and is not gaining weight and spitting more often. Consult his paediatrician to rule out any chances of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
2. Reduction in Breast/ Bottle milk
As your little one discovers the joys of solid food, he might start refusing breast milk more often. This is one of the reasons why babies may lose weight after starting on solids. However, milk contains nutrients that are essential for the baby’s brain development, and is crucial for the healthy development of his bones. At least for the initial couple of months, you must feed your baby both – breast milk and solids.
What You Can Do:
- Experts recommend milk as the first course or first meal of the day, keeping the solids for second course.
- Some babies may get used to this routine and may figure out what’s happening. They may start categorically refusing the first meal of the day! So, keep alternating between milk and solids as the first and second meals of the day.
3. Developing Your Baby’s Taste Palate
Your baby’s digestive system is not yet fully developed. Neither is his palate. There is a good chance that he may refuse or reject many foods you try to introduce to him. And for a brief period it might feel like your little one is never going to like anything!
What You Can Do:
- You need to introduce foods to the baby in a phased manner. Experts recommend the ‘3 Day Rule’, or giving your baby the same new food for three days to understand if it suits him or not.
- Observing your baby would also tell you about how he’s able to retain different types of food.
- You can start with pureed, or semi-liquid food and graduate to mashed food. Check this useful list to see some solid foods that are well-liked and digested by babies. You can start with these
- Finally, when you feel your baby is able to digest everything you’re feeding him, you can start giving him finger foods.
4. Food Allergies
Food allergies are every parent’s worst nightmare. Not only do they limit the options of food you can offer your little one, they can also be fatal. If by chance your baby is allergic to a food that can in fact be used for healthy weight gain, allergies may affect his overall health too. Yet, there is good news around – experts say that not every baby born in a family that has a history of allergies, will necessarily develop allergies. Isn’t that good news!
What You Can Do:
- According to many doctors, the more you delay the introduction of solid food, the more are the chances that your baby will develop food allergies.
- There is no need to specifically keep away those eggs and peanut butter for later years. Proceed with due precaution. If you fear that your baby might be allergic to a certain class of foods, introduce them in a phased manner.
- Consult your paediatrician about first-aid in case of an allergic episode. Be prepared when you are feeding your baby with any solid that you suspect might give him an allergy.
- If your baby has been diagnosed with a food allergy, come out with a suitable plan of action in consultation with his doctor. Also, make sure that your baby’s day care (if he goes to one) is thoroughly acquainted with a plan of action.
Feeding times should be used as a time to connect and bond with your little one; snap a picture of him as he gingerly picks up a tiny piece of bread for the first time and puts it into his mouth. Record his reaction when he puts an orange pip in his mouth for the first time. After all, ‘first times’ are always special for parents, aren’t they!