First Foods For Baby – What Foods You Should Introduce?
- What is the Right Time to Introduce Solid Food to your Baby’s Diet?
- Signs that your Baby is Ready for Solid Food
- How to Introduce First Foods to Infants?
- List of Best First Foods for Babies
- What If your Baby Refuses The First Food?
- Precautions to Prevent Choking
- How Much Food Will Be Enough?
- Things to Keep in Mind
- Watch Out for Food Allergies
You might be wondering when you can start feeding your baby regular food, now that they have grown a bit. You can’t keep breastfeeding them forever! Below is a detailed guide of how and what you need to introduce your child as their first solid food.
What is the Right Time to Introduce Solid Food to your Baby’s Diet?
The exact time to start the introduction of solid foods is largely dependent on your baby’s developmental progress. However, the golden period for this is when they hit the 6-month mark. Anything earlier, and there is a chance of the intestines giving your child trouble as they are still developing. If you wait for too long, there is a risk of your child showing resistance to being introduced to solid food due to their comfort zone being rooted in breastfeeding.
Signs that your Baby is Ready for Solid Food
Observing your baby is fascinating, and you’re bound to catch a few of the signs such as:
- They can sit upright without any assistance. This is essential as eating solid food while lying down increases the chances of food going down the wrong pipe.
- Babies can get a little apprehensive about solid food and tend to thrust out anything they can with their tongues. As a test, mix a little solid food along with your breastmilk and feed it to your baby. If you don’t see them spit out any solid food, your baby is okay with it.
- Your baby is likely to start showing interest in the food you eat. This means they may watch you with an intense gaze while you eat or make attempts to grab onto your spoon or fork.
- You notice that your baby’s motor skills are refined enough that they can perform a rolling action with it.
- You notice that your baby can open her mouth wide enough for solid food to enter.
How to Introduce First Foods to Infants?
- You can use a combination of solid food and breastmilk to help them transition to solid food.
- Give them small amounts no more than a tablespoon at a time.
- Once they get used to the foods, you can start mixing things up, such as yogurt and apple.
List of Best First Foods for Babies
Starting simple is key as your baby’s digestive system is still in its nascent stages. Remember to keep them upright while serving the following foods:
Apples serve as a good starter food as babies love its sweet and sour taste. Its high fiber and low-fat content make it a healthy delight. When you’re serving them, go with the pureed form without its skin.
Many babies have an instant liking for this, so make sure beet is boiled well enough for it to melt in their mouth. Beetroots have high nutritional value as they are a rich source of folic acid, which helps in brain development.
Pears add a good amount of roughage to your baby’s digestive system. They also contain a good amount of phosphorus and calcium, which aid the bone-building process. Remember to peel the skin, remove the seeds and serve in a pureed form.
Fish and chicken are ideal meats for your baby as they require the least amount of energy to get digested but should be started when the baby is around 8 months old. They are a rich source of protein and keep anemia at bay. Fish should have all its bones removed; otherwise, it could distress her throat. For best results, make the meat into a puree to avoid any incidence of choking.
While ideally suited for infants 7-8 months old, many pediatricians recommend this as a first food due to its soft texture. It is an excellent source of calcium and helps revamp your little angel’s digestive system.
Its sweet taste and soft texture make it a front-runner in baby foods. Its high folate content helps in the upkeep of brain activity and is known to improve the stomach’s mucosal lining.
7. Sweet Potato
Sweet potato for baby first food is a good choice as its soft gooey texture is relished by infants. It also contains beta-carotene, which helps improve their vision and boost the immune system.
What If your Baby Refuses The First Food?
Avoid forcing anything on them! You can try out different food variations until they pick something that they like.
Precautions to Prevent Choking
- Ensure they are upright to minimize the risk of food going down the wrong pipe.
- Avoid nuts as they are small enough to get stuck in the windpipe.
- Make all the solid foods into a puree or mash them up thoroughly before feeding.
- Items like grapes, peas, and popcorn are known choking hazards.
- Make sure your child is alert and active before feeding them.
- You can purchase a high chair with a firm base so that they don’t sink into their seat. This minimizes the chances of you accidentally shoving the food inside their mouth too hard, which can cause choking.
How Much Food Will Be Enough?
How much a baby will eat depends on their appetite and mood. Avoid giving them more if they turn their head away or begin to cry.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Playing with our food is usually frowned upon, but you need to make an exception here. Infants are inquisitive and may refuse to eat something without proper inspection.
- You can try feeding breastmilk or formula food using a bowl and a spoon. This can help your baby transition towards solid foods as it familiarises her with the use of utensils.
- Avoid adding sugar and salt to any of their meals. While salt can damage your baby’s kidneys, sugar has been linked to increasing the chances of diabetes and obesity.
- Just like Goldilocks, infants can be a little strict about the temperature of their food. You can test it yourself by either tasting it directly or using your wrist to feel how hot or cold it is.
- Once the milk teeth start coming out, start giving them slightly crunchy or chewy food so they can improve their chewing abilities.
- Never mix new solid foods that you are introducing to your baby instantly, as it may be difficult to pinpoint the source of an allergic reaction. You can start adding new solid food every four days.
- Contrary to popular belief, cow’s milk is not a good option as it is difficult for babies to digest it and can cause lactose intolerance.
- Avoid giving them solids when they are sick or in a bad mood, as they may associate it with an unpleasant experience.
- If your baby is active and moves around a lot, you can fasten them onto a chair with a strap. However, avoid it if your baby is uncomfortable with the strap, as it can make them anxious and lose interest in eating.
- Avoid giving them honey as it can cause fatal infant botulism.
Watch Out for Food Allergies
While introducing the first foods for your baby, avoid giving them foods with a high risk of causing an allergy. These include eggs, shellfish, and peanuts and can be given once the baby is a little older, such as eight months. To find out if your baby may be allergic, set up the baby’s first food schedule. Feed them early in the morning and keep an eye out for any reaction later during the day.
Babies are creatures of habit and need to be weaned off breastmilk/formula in a phased manner. The initial few weeks may prove to be difficult as they might be resistant. However, with a little bit of patience and consistency, your baby will be munching on solid food in no time.
Also Read: Rice Water for Infants