In today’s hectic lifestyle and busy work schedules, people are looking for ways to improve their overall health. Some will look for ways to improve their general condition. People, however, look for food items that they can give to their babies without any worries. Parents will naturally look for foods that can enhance and maximize their children’s growth and development. Hence, it is not surprising for parents to ask the possible dos and don’ts in terms of their baby’s growth and development. In this article, we will look at the do’s and don’ts and a list of first foods for baby.
Baby’s First Foods: A Brief Backgrounder
As supported by numerous prestigious health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, babies should ideally be breastfed for the first six (6) months of life. This is to ensure that optimal development and growth.
Starting at six (6) months, the baby can already be introduced to solid foods. After the introduction to solid foods, experts recommend continue breastfeeding the baby until 12 months of age. The said provision may extend even beyond 12 months if and when the child or the mother chooses to.
The introduction to solid foods can be a very exciting stage in the life of a family and some even consider it a milestone. One can say that it is special as the simple act of introducing solid foods can mean the establishment of healthy eating habits and individual food preferences.
How to Wean Babies from Breastmilk
As stated earlier in the article, weaning babies from breastmilk may start at around six (6) months of age. During this period, parents may start introducing or giving formula based or cow’s milk to the baby. Ideally, babies who are six (6) months to twelve (12) months of age may be given infant formula that is fortified with Iron. Babies who are older than twelve (12) months may be given whole cow milk along with breastmilk. The way milk is introduced should also be given consideration by parents. For babies between four (4) to six(6) months, drinking or sucking milk in small amounts may best be achieved from a cup or a glass when someone else is holding it for them.
For toddlers, fluids can be taken using a straw or through a cup. Those infants that are younger than six (6) months old, though, should be limited to drinking using a bottle.
When to Know When the Baby is Ready for Solid Foods?
The best way to know if the baby is ready for solid foods is to check with your pediatrician. Pediatricians normally recommend the introduction of solid foods to babies at around six (6) months of age.
Other indications that a baby may be ready to take in complementary foods include refusal to drink milk from bottles or by being breastfed, reaching or grabbing for food from the plates of other people, better or improved head control or movements, and the ability to sit up with little to no assistance.
There is no specific order or hierarchy of how solid foods should be introduced to babies. People normally introduce solid food to babies by giving them cereals fortified with iron mixed with breast milk or formula. This can then be followed up with meats, fruits, and veggies.
Babies who have been mostly breastfed may require a more pureed version of poultry and meat products. As their bodies will need Iron and Zinc that can easily be absorbed by their young bodies. In general, food items should be pureed to avoid any possibility of choking and should also never be placed on feeding bottles.
How to Start Solid Foods for Babies
There is no exact science that can indicate the best time to start giving babies allergy-inducing solid foods. Such food items include fish, peanuts, soy, dairy, and eggs.
Feeding spoonfuls of food per day is the best way to start with the introduction of solid foods. Then eventually add other and new food items as the days progress. This will help you better monitor any possible allergies such as vomiting, rash, and diarrhea. Parents with allergic reactions to certain food items may also seek further medical assistance or advice from their child’s pediatrician.
Once a wide range of food items have been tried out without any negative reaction from the baby, new food items may be introduced. Babies may also require being exposed to certain foods multiple times before the taste can be tolerated or enjoyed. Textures should also be considered, as babies would usually prefer smoother or softer textures.