If you’re starting to think that your baby may be ready for more solid foods, then you may be right. Most babies are ready to start eating more foods than simply formula or milk by the time they are around six months old. In fact, the American Association of Pediatrics believes you should not even start feeding your baby solid foods (nothing but breast milk) until after about six months. Some parents, however, choose to start feeding their baby cereal or rice before this point in time.
If you’re thinking about feeding your baby solid foods, then there are some things you should look for first. Babies ready to handle solid foods are able to hold their heads up and are able to swallow foods on their own. If the child can’t hold his or her head up, then he or she will not be able to eat anything but formula or milk. A baby who simply spits the food back out is probably not ready for solid foods either. Make sure your baby is ready for these foods before you try switching to baby cereal or rice.
Of course, once you know it’s time to start feeding your baby solid foods, you’re going to need to know what you can feed the child. A baby isn’t going to be able to start eating everything that you do. For one thing, the baby doesn’t have any teeth yet, so you’re going to want to feed him or her soft foods that don’t need to be chewed up. For most parents, this means starting with a type of infant cereal or rice. These things are generally the consistency of grits and don’t need to be chewed, so your baby can simply swallow them.
You want to make sure that you are not putting too much on the spoon each time you offer it to your baby. This means you want to use an infant spoon (these are typically smaller and have rubber covers rather than hard metal) and fill it only halfway at most. You would then offer it to your baby. You may want to try to get the child to eat just a few bites the first time, and you may not be able to get the baby to eat any more than that for the first several times you offer solid food; however if you keep introducing it again and again, the child will come to eat more of it each time.
Once your baby is used to these types of cereal, you may want to start introducing fruits and vegetables. These come in special infant form in jars. They typically have different “stages” ranging from stage 1 up to stage three, when your baby will be eating food that is almost normal consistency. When you first start out, be sure you are giving your baby only stage 1 foods because these will not require the child to chew and will not have big pieces.
You will find a wide variety of different food options to choose from, and you can try as many different ones as you want until you find some that your baby really likes. You want to make sure that you are adding in new foods gradually. That means adding in only one new thing at a time to allow your baby to adjust. It is also very important because this is a way to determine if your baby has any allergies. If you add too many new things at once, you will not be able to tell what is causing the reaction.
As your baby continues to grow, he or she will be able to eat more and more foods and move on through the different stages of store-bought baby food. These different stages gradually introduce foods of thicker consistency to encourage babies to use their teeth as they develop. Of course you will likely want to supplement these meals with snacks or other foods that your child can eat with the family.
By this point you will be able to start weaning your baby away from formula or milk even though he or she may still want it before naps or before bedtime. If you choose to continue to supplement their meals this way, you are definitely allowed to; however, you will want to be sure that your baby is getting enough solid foods and nutrients. As they grow older, babies are not be able to get everything they need from breastfeeding or formula alone, so they need to eat more and more solid foods.
When your baby is able to feed himself or herself (this is typically a messy process, but occurs when the baby can bring things to its mouth on purpose), you can start providing finger foods. You will want to be sure that anything you feed your baby is cut into very small pieces and is not circular. This means you can give the baby pieces of banana that are cut into small square pieces, not simply in half. You can also offer soft cookies as well as pasta or different types of vegetables.
Your baby will gradually start getting used to these increasingly solid foods, and you will be able to wean of the child away from baby food out of jars. You will then be able to switch your baby gradually to more solid foods as he or she begins to develop teeth and is able to chew food. You will still want to be sure that you are avoiding anything that your baby or child could choke on. Small children have a high likelihood of this as well, which means you want to be sure you are cutting foods into small pieces since they are not able to do this for themselves. As they grow older, you will be able to teach them to take bites; however, as young children they will not understand.
Make sure that anything that could be difficult to eat is cut into bite-size pieces and things like corn are cut off the cob so that your child can eat them easier. Remember that your baby’s teeth are very soft, and they will not be able to eat a lot of the things that you can. For example, they cannot eat very tough meats or very hard foods. Keep this in mind as you begin cooking more family meals that include food for your child. You want to be sure that you are offering foods the child can actually eat.
Foods To Avoid For Your Baby
When you have a newborn just starting to eat solid foods, there are some foods that could prove dangerous to your baby and you should definitely avoid. Foods that many people have allergies to such as nuts are definitely to be avoided. (Of course nuts are too easy to choke on for a baby to eat anyway.) You would also want to avoid feeding your baby things like fish or eggs because these can be harmful and can also cause severe allergic reactions.
You will also want to avoid foods with high levels of nitrates. This means that you want to keep away from any types of spinach, beets, carrots or other vegetables known to have higher levels. You will generally be safe with store brands of baby food because these are tested for nitrates; however, you will still want to be on the lookout.