When should you introduce solid foods to your baby?
Doctors recommend exclusive breastfeeding till 6 months of age. After that, you can begin solid food once a day to complement breast milk. It is typically at this age that your baby will be able to push the solid food to the back of the throat with the tongue.
You should continue breastfeeding till your baby is a year old. If it suits you and your baby, you can even continue after that.
How Do I Know My Baby Is Ready For Solid Food?
Watch out for these behaviors as signals indicating that your baby is ready:
- Your baby can sit up with support.
- Your baby holds the head up with good control when seated.
- Your baby’s weight has doubled since birth.
- Your baby seems hungry even after breastfeeding.
- Your baby shows interest in what you are eating – by reaching for your food or opening the mouth when you eat.
- Your baby starts putting toys in the mouth.
What To Expect
At first, your baby may not be fully able to swallow what you feed, and food may dribble out of the mouth and onto the chin. It is also likely that your baby may refuse solid food since the taste and texture is new, which is normal. Keep trying to introduce small amounts every few days. Some babies are slower to take solids than others – watch out for the signs of readiness, and don’t hurry. After a while, your baby may be ready for finger foods that can be eaten independently.
Foods To Begin With
Mash a ripe banana with breast milk for your baby’s first food. Buy organic brown rice cereal made especially for babies, and prepare it with breast milk. Fruit and vegetable purees and smoothies are convenient, easy and colorful. Closer to a year, your baby can start eating soft pieces of fruits such as pears and vegetables like pumpkin and sweet potato.
Tips And Tricks
- To introduce solids, choose such times of the day when your baby is calm and relaxed.
- You can dilute the solid food with breast milk to make it easier for your baby to swallow.
- Breastfeed before and after giving solid food to ensure that your baby is full.
- Do not add any spices or condiments in the beginning.
- Wait three to five days before starting any new food.
- Introduce combinations of foods only after you have individually introduced each food.
- Do not feed foods that can be choking hazards in the first year: grapes, raisins, nuts, seeds, peanuts or corn.
Here’s wishing your baby a healthy and happy start to a lifetime of plant-based whole food!