Starting your baby on solid foods is an exciting time and an important step in his or her growth. Once your baby is 4 to 6 months old, it is usually time to start introducing solid foods into his or her diet. But all children are different and are ready for solid foods at different ages, so it is helpful to know what to look for when deciding if your baby is ready for solid foods. Below are several tips to help recognize if your baby is ready:
- Holds his or her head up straight with little to no support.
- Opens his or her mouth for the spoon and closes lips over it.
- Keeps his or her tongue low and flat for you to put the spoon on it.
- Shows an interest in the food others are eating around him or her.
- Sits upright with some to little support.
- Has had significant weight gain since birth.
Once you have decided that it is time to start feeding your baby solid food, many questions arise about how to implement solid foods into his or her diet. Below are some tips on how and what to start feeding your baby to make the transition from a pure breast-milk or formula diet to a solid food diet:
- Begin feeding your baby when he or she is well rested and in a good mood.
- Wait two to four days between introducing each new type of food to see if there is any allergic reaction.
- Solid foods are not a replacement for breast-milk, which is important for nutrients and is recommended to continue feeding your baby for about a year.
- If you notice diarrhea, vomiting, or rashes after offering your baby a new food, stop and ask your health provider.
- Be encouraging as you try to feed your baby new foods as he or she can sense your feelings.
Different parents prefer different techniques of introducing solid food to their children. Some prefer to put food on a spoon and hand feed the baby, while other parents prefer to put a chunk of soft food in front of the baby to let him or her figure out how to eat it. There are many suggestions on the internet and in library books on the best practices of introducing solid foods to children.
Several websites also offer advice on how to make your own baby food, including what types of fruits and vegetables are the best to start with. Making your own baby food has advantages as it saves money and you know exactly what you are feeding your baby. Below are some helpful websites that have detailed explanations about introducing and preparing solid food, including explanations of how to tell if your child is ready for solid food and possible problems you might encounter in the process: