How to get your little munchkin started with solid foods?
Being a first time mother it is natural to feel anxious, worried or concerned about your baby regarding the transition between breast or bottle feeding and normal intake of solid foods. However it is recommended not to rush. There are a lot of emotions, queries going on in parents’ mind during this transition phase. It is time for you to hold your emotions and be prepared to welcome the new phase with patience.
When is the right time to introduce solid foods to your baby’s diet?
6 months is the ideal time to introduce your baby to solid foods. It’s an exciting yet challenging phase for any mother as you don’t know whether your baby would like to eat solids or accept anything else other than breast milk. According to pediatricians six-month olds should have a combination of breast milk and solid foods. Hence the challenge is to put in some extra effort to add solids to your baby’s diet and strike a balance between the two. But you can have difficulty in choosing the right food to begin with. Hence having the facts known can help you make informed decisions about what is best for your little one. When it comes to babies, natural is best.
Remember introducing solids is meant for practice, it does not mean to stop breastfeeding. Breast milk or formula milk should be a major part of a six months baby’s diet till the baby is one year old.
What should be the first solid food for your baby?
Baby’s first food must be cooked, soft, pureed or mashed and most important easy to digest. It is always good to continue with breast milk or formula milk for your baby as it is the main source of nutrition for babies until one year. You can start with the following while adding solid foods to your baby’s diet:
• Fruits: Steamed and pureed Apples, Peach, Banana, Avocado, Plums, Chikoo etc.
• Grains/Cereals/Pulses: Oats (Powdered), Barley, Rice (Chawal Ka Pani), Semolina (Rava / Sooji), Split yellow gram (moong dal ka pani))
• Vegetables: Well steamed and soup / pureed vegetables like Carrots, French Beans, Sweet potato, Beetroot, Sweet Pumpkin
• Non-Vegetarian foods: None
Things to Remember:
• Don’t feed your baby forcefully. Babies have their own individual appetite. His/her solid intakes will increase gradually.
• Babies’ tastes are different to adults.
• Do not rush. Keep a gap of 3 days between 2 new foods.
• Some babies begin with mashed foods whereas others take time to get used to new taste or textures.
• It may take a lot of tries for your baby to accept new foods.
• Introducing solid foods can cause constipation in some babies.
• Do not introduce solid foods in nights as it would be difficult if the child develops allergies or discomfort in having new foods.
• Introduce solid foods during day time. This helps you to keep a check on food allergies.
• Start with a very small quantity and slowly increase the portion.
• Always feed freshly cooked food.
• Avoid adding salt, sugar or honey to your baby’s food till they attain 11-12 months.
• Do not introduce water until babies are 6 months old. They get all the hydration needed from breast milk. Giving water to babies before 6 months puts them at risk of diarrhea or malnutrition.
• You can introduce water from 6 months. Use boiled cooled water. Offer sips of water with meals.
• Make sure the baby is burped well after the feeds.
Above mentioned are some of the basic yet very important information to keep in mind while introducing solid foods in your baby’s diet. For more details consult your pediatrician.