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Feeding your baby is fun but equally challenging as babies tend to grow fast and with time, their appetite too. Introducing your baby to solid baby food also does not mean to reduce the intake of breast milk. It is not advisable in any case to replace breast milk with solid baby food because it may not help in providing essential nutrients that come from mother’s milk.
Even the smallest intake of daily breast milk replaced with baby food would put the baby at risk of nutritional deficiency. Hence, you don’t have to overcomplicate it for yourself and the baby.
But, remember, Baby feeding has to be fun, so don’t miss out on your colorful Baby Feeding Set from babyshop online. Get your Baby Cutlery Set and let the fun begin!
However, this is mostly true for babies younger than 4 months of postpartum. As for babies 6 months old and above, there may come a time when a mother’s milk may not be enough to meet the growing nutrition needs of the baby. So, you may want to start with solid foods as your baby’s nutritional diet needs an upgrade as they grow into a toddler.
To help you when to start and decide upon which foods to feed at what time and ensure that your baby develops healthy eating habits, we have designed this step by step guide for you to help your little one make a smooth and healthy transition to solid foods. We will also touch on the necessary precautions you need to take while feeding solid.
Choose the Right Time to Introduce Solid Food to Your Baby
There is a lot of debate when it comes to starting with baby food. Most of the time, the baby’s age is the concern, whereas there is no clear evidence on which technique suits the baby. Whether it is baby-led weaning or spoon-feeding, there is no conclusive evidence, which technique supersedes the other.
If your baby is pushing the food contents out of the mouth, then it is recommended to stop giving solid foods to your baby. Researchers suggest that the baby may have a tongue thrust reflex. The tongue muscles may still be under development. A forward push with the tongue indicates that it is familiar with suckling, but hasn’t learned to ingest food.
However, if the baby has reached the age of six months, and is still pushing food out of the mouth, then it is advisable to spend more time with them as they need more practice. Helping your baby learn to push food back in the mouth will require great care and patience. A good recommendation by most is to use silicone baby spoons.
You may also want to include a baby cutlery set. Getting cutlery is also great when your baby shows interest in your food. So, the next time you find your baby staring at your food or reaching for it, get baby cutlery set for your little one. It’s the cornerstone for starting with feeding solid foods to your baby.
Before we touch on the flavors, let us highlight some precautions. While Feeding the Baby for the First Time, there are certain precautions parents should take;
- The Baby’s head position should be vertical and the baby should be able to sit with a straight back
- Any compromise on the posture could cause difficulty to swallow food
- If the baby is unable to sit straight on the chair or anywhere, you may not want to start since there’s a risk of baby choking food
To achieve better success with your baby cutlery and baby foods, start when your baby;
- Shows great interest in your food
- Has developed the muscles to move back food in the mouth
Add Flavors to Baby Food
You may want to start with your pureed foods initially. However, research suggests that pureed foods should be introduced after the baby is six months old. Adding flavors to baby food may be questionable.
However, research suggests no harm since babies taste all the flavors from the foods their mothers consume during gestation. But, make sure you add good, natural flavors. Spicing up the food too much for your baby may irritate the little one’s tummy.
Start with Pureed Foods. Get Silicone Baby Utensils
You may want to start with pureed foods. Use silicone baby utensils since silicone baby spoons can stand hot foods and don’t expose orally your baby to harmful chemicals. Even the FDA has approved its use in making baby utensils such as silicone baby spoons, nipples, and baby cutlery sets.
Take precautions when feeding babies initially;
- Babies might be tempted with finger foods. But, it is not for you to put them in their mouth. Let them do it on their own
- Try the food by yourself first. Press in between your tongue and mouth. Make sure it’s soft and easily chewable for the baby
- Honey is sweet. Your baby will love it. But, you don’t have to add it since it can disturb the baby’s stomach
Be Patient if the Baby Turns down the Food
Just like us, babies require a lot of time to familiarize themselves with new foods and tastes and decide upon liking or disliking them. If your baby turns away from the spoon, you don’t have to force it. You have to be extremely patient.
However, this is what you can do. Babies while sitting on their chairs tend to be more playful with small objects. You can hand them silicone baby utensils to distract them. Get a baby feeding set. It has a few silicone baby spoons. You can hand one to the baby and feed with the other. Remember if you can make feeding fun for the baby, you may not have troubling reactions.
Appreciate the Baby Grabbing the Spoon. It’s Progress
On the other hand, if you find your baby trying to reach out for your spoon or grabbing the silicone spoon (for babies), it’s time to celebrate! Babies are usually making progress when they do so. It’s more like a level-up in feeding.
Plus, this also indicates that your baby is curious about food and Baby-led weaning or finger feeding may be very close to starting with. Baby grabbing the spoon is healthy. To develop your baby’s interest in food, give silicone baby utensils to them.
Visit Your Paediatrician for Allergic Reactions
If you find the baby’s system reacting negatively to the foods, you need to check-in with your family pediatrician. Checking on other kids does not always help as each family has different tastes and allergic reactions. So, get a check with your pediatrician.
Some researchers have argued that introducing babies earlier to solid foods until 4-6 months of postpartum can help prevent allergies. It also helps to make your baby taste new foods as they grow older. In addition, recent research also contends that introducing foods at six months of postpartum can save your baby from the risk of developing allergies.
As a precaution, ensure that your baby’s intake of food is done with a baby silicone spoon. It’s small and ideal for the baby’s mouth with no chemical side effects.
Wait for 8-10 Days for Unfavorable Facial Expressions to Food
It may seem funny but babies do make a lot of faces when they experience or taste something new. According to research, it takes at least 8 days for a baby to familiarize themselves with the taste of new food. After 8-10 days, they may consume in growing amounts.
Since your baby is likely to give a look of disgust or dislike to the food, you may want to spoon-feed the baby. You don’t have to give up. You may need to hold the silicone baby spoon and wait for some time as well.
Make sure that Foods are Soft Enough
Research shows that babies could be easily introduced to lumpy, soft foods before they reach nine months. You may want to make sure that lumps are long since babies may find it difficult to swallow crumbles of food. In addition, lumpy foods could be the best choice for your baby as they help the baby develop good eating habits as they grow up. So, with the help of a silicone baby spoon, feed lumps of soft foods to your baby.
Develop a Taste for Your Baby
A good practice for introducing your baby to new foods is to do it in the morning or during the day. Giving your baby new foods to taste early in the day, will leave you with enough time to monitor them for reactions to the new food. It has also been said that babies develop a taste during gestation as they are exposed to a lot of flavors.
While introducing new foods to your baby, having silicone baby utensils around could be helpful too. Babies like colors and might be more playful with colorful, silicone utensils.
This can also help you to distract the baby and make them ingest new foods. Research shows that babies often take 8-10 times to familiarize themselves with a new food before they can feed on it comfortably.
Please know that vomits, gagging, rashes, constipation as reactions to food are nothing to worry for. However, if your baby starts wheezing or experiences shortness of breath, you should immediately see a pediatrician.
Moreover, for allergic reactions, you may need to be careful as the redness of baby skin is common and not a serious concern. However, in case of an allergic reaction, you may need to consult with your family pediatrician immediately.
So, in conclusion, focus on developing good taste for your baby. Understand their behavior and be patient. Check on posture, interest for food, and eating habits. Refer to the pediatrician in case of allergic reactions or breakouts on the skin. Remember, feeding solid foods to your baby has to be exciting for you and the baby all the way.