Introducing Baby to Solid Food

Introducing Baby to Solid Food

The transition from a purely liquid diet to solid food is a milestone for babies. The signs that your baby may be ready to try solid foods begin to show anywhere around 4 to 6 months. When your baby is able to control their head movements and sit up with support, you can start to introduce solid food. Babies, though, have an extrusion reflex that causes them to push food out of their mouths with their tongue, making it difficult to introduce solids. It will take practice for some babies to learn to swallow the food; others have discarded the reflex quickly and will be able to swallow easier than babies with this reflex. Other signs your baby may be ready are: a doubling in their birth weight, they exhibit curiosity over your food, and they make chewing motions with their mouths.

If your baby displays any of these signs, try introducing a single grain cereal first, like rice cereal, because they are softer on their stomachs than beginning with vegetables or fruit. As well, you can control how thick the food is by mixing the cereal with formula or breast milk. If you make the cereal soupier it will be easier for your baby to swallow. You can make it thicker as they become used to solids and the spoon. Overall, it is best to talk to your doctor about when to introduce what foods.

The first time you sit down to feed your baby solids, be prepared with a towel and a bib for it may get messy, especially if they still have the extrusion reflex. Use a soft spoon to protect their gums, and put only a small amount on the tip of the spoon. Mix only a tablespoon of cereal with the formula or milk. At first, just feed them once a day at a time that is convenient for you. Then, move to twice a day as you introduce more foods. Introduce vegetables and fruits one at a time to be sure the baby does not have any allergies. Begin a new fruit or vegetable after a couple of days. If you buy jarred baby food, pour a small amount into a bowl so you can save the rest. If you dip the spoon back in the jar, you should not save it for later because you can introduce bacteria from the baby’s mouth.

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