During your baby’s first year of growth, they are going to make enormous strides in their development. Apart from walking and talking, one huge milestone will occur when your baby starts to eat solid foods.
Many parents overthink this process and stress over the kinds of food to feed their babies and purchase unnecessary equipment to do so.
Knowing when and how to feed your baby solid foods is as easy as knowing the signs of readiness and offering foods that are rich in nutrients.
If you are concerned about any potential allergies or sensitivities your child may have to certain foods, contact your doctor or healthcare provider before starting your little one on a solid diet.
Breast Milk and Formula
From the age of birth to 6 months, breast milk and formula are all your baby require to meet their nutritional needs. Breast milk is, in fact, naturally formulated to fulfill all of your baby’s nutritional requirements in order to flourish and grow.
However, some mothers have difficulties breastfeeding their little ones, so formula is the next best thing that can be offered. Formulas are now designed to incorporate the necessary vitamins and minerals your baby needs for healthy development.
If you are able to breastfeed your child, experts recommend continuing to breastfeed until the age of 2 along with offering solid foods.
First Foods to Feed Your Baby
Solid foods can be typically offered to your baby around the age of 6 months. However, it is important to look for your baby’s signs of readiness before including solid foods in their diet.
Signs of readiness include:
- Sitting and holding their head up unassisted.
- Able to open their mouth for a spoon and close their lips around it.
- Can turn head away from unwanted foods.
- Curious about the foods you are eating.
Once your little one is showing signs that he or she is ready to try solid foods, you can begin introducing pureed foods that can easily be gummed and swallowed.
When providing a variety of foods to your baby, be sure you are offering a diet full of nutrient-rich foods. Brightly colored vegetables, such as carrots, and fruits that can easily be pureed are great first foods to feed to your baby.
However, babies also need protein and iron in their diet. Experts suggest feeding one spoonful of protein and iron rich foods 1 to 2 times per day. These foods include well-cooked meat, poultry and fish as well as fully cooked eggs.
Preparing Food for Your Baby
You can purchase pre-made pureed baby foods at the grocery store or you can make your little one’s food at home.
Making baby food at home doesn’t require fancy equipment. Simply cook or steam the food and puree using a blender or food processor.
You’ll want to make sure you offer your little one a variety of textures in order to expand their food experience. As your baby masters the art of eating pureed foods, you can being mashing their food or offering small, bite-sized portions.
As long as your baby can safely mouth and swallow the food, you can prepare his or her food using different methods to produce different textures.
Expanding Your Baby’s Diet
By the age of 9 months, you should be able to offer your baby the same food your family is eating – in smaller and safe bite-sized portions.
Providing your baby with a variety of tastes and texture is important in order to avoid picky eating as they grow and develop. Preparing balanced and nutritious meals will also help your little one learn good eating habits.
Do you have any tips to share about starting your baby on solid foods? Share them in comments below!