..where little means a lot

Are You A New Mom?
Get free samples of Baby formula, Diaper
Baby Magazines, and Coupons.

By Planning Family

Introducing Solid Foods To Your Baby Can Be Confusing

Introducing solid foods to your baby can be confusing. For starters, many mothers question when is a good time, what food should be offered, how much should be given, and in what sequence.

Many pediatricians are of the view that solid food should be delayed to after 6 months of life irrespective if the baby is breast-fed or formula-fed. Till 6 months let your baby continue exclusively on milk.

Solid foods can be started as early as 4 or 5 months. You don't have to wait till your baby is exactly 6 months to get started.

Why not Before 4 months..

In majority of cases introducing your baby to solids before her 4th month is not advisable. There are several reasons why you should not feed your baby any solid food before 4 months:

• For one mother's or formula milk is sufficiently laden with the required nutrients to feed your baby in the first 6 months of life.

• Secondly your baby's stomach is not equipped to digest the protein found in solids, which may cause an allergic reaction. A baby's stomach needs some more time to mature so allow that time.

• Thirdly your baby is not neurologically mature to feed on solids safely. At present she still has her primitive extrusion reflex which is ideal for nursing because milk can move easily from the mouth to the end of the throat; solid foods can't. As a result your baby will spit out clearly showing she is not ready.

• The other reason why most caretakers are keen to start earlier is the belief that cereals help a child sleep through the night. There is no scientific evidence in support of this so it is best to wait till your baby is ready.

Why not Long after 6 months..

In most cases it is not recommended that you delay giving your baby solids till she is much older than 6 months.

• Firstly breast milk or formula is not fortified with enough iron to meet your baby's growing needs. Though milk still remains the staple, your baby needs to get her minerals from other sources, and this becomes significantly obvious after the 6th month.

• Secondly if solids are delayed beyond 9 months, your baby will grow accustomed to liquids and resist eating textured foods preferring fluids all the time.

• Thirdly your baby at this age is more open to new experiences than an older baby and will have more time to adjust to this new experience if she is started early enough.

• Finally babies absorb iron in cereal better than the iron in drops.

Babies take their time in experiencing food for their new flavors and textures. Eating solids is an important milestone, a time to explore through sensory play. Expect mess - it is an inevitable part of learning!

When is Baby ready for Solids?

There are some specific physical and developmental milestones that can help gauge if your baby is ready for solids. Teeth are not necessary but the information below will help you assess your baby's readiness:

• Baby is between 4 and 6 months old.

• Baby shows interest in what you are eating and is willing to try some.

• Baby has doubled her birth weight.

• Baby can hold her head upright unaided and turn from side to side.

• Baby can sit up with aid or on her own.

• Baby can communicate when she is full.

• Baby wants to feed more often.

• Baby shows interest in wanting more even after her milk feed.

• Baby doesn't push the spoon out of her mouth and the food goes from the front of her mouth to the back of her throat and she swallows it.

Babies show cues to end the feeding session. Baby will turn her head away from the food source, close or clench her mouth, spit out food or becomes fretful when she wants no more.

Things You should Know

• Infants have an inborn tongue-thrust reflex which functions to help prevent choking and this reflex continues to be strong until around the 5th - 6th month.

• Babies swallow differently from a bottle, from a cup, from a straw, (what more from food).

• Expect your baby to gag, cough a few times in the start. Once she develops better tongue control, swallowing without gagging becomes smoother. Just watch your baby carefully to be sure she doesn't choke.

• Use the 'rule of fist' as your lifelong guide when it comes to apportioning food. Your baby's stomach is the size of her tiny fist, just as our stomachs are the size of our grown - up fists. It won't take much for your baby to be satisfied so avoid overestimating.

• Don't worry about her calorie intake if she's not eating well. Half of her daily calories will continue to come from milk at this stage.

• Iron is essential for baby's learning and development. Your baby benefits for about 6 months from the iron stores acquired when she was inside the womb. The stores run out after this period and baby needs to be supplemented with this mineral from solid foods since milk alone cannot provide it.

Share this
Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
Home | About Us | Preconception | Pregnancy | Parenting |

Free Newsletters
| Contact Us | Feedback | Sitemap
All Rights Reserved. © 2022 Welcome Baby Home | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use