It is quite understandable for parents to fuss about their baby’s food. Because babies cannot communicate their needs to us. In the beginning, it’ll all be about choosing between breastfeeding or formula feeding. Once that is done, though, things do not stop there. Even before you know, your baby might be ready for the first solid foods. Here, we give you a low down about your baby’s first foods and what to expect:
When Will The Baby Be Ready For First Foods?
Most babies are usually ready to start their first foods by the time they are four to six months of age but not before four months. By the time they are 4 – 6 months old, babies develop the skill to push the food from the front of their mouth to the back for swallowing it. In addition to this, your baby will also show signs such as sitting upright with support; holding the head upright in a steady position; mouthing his/her toys with hands, and leaning forward and opening the mouth on seeing food (1).
What Can Be The Best First Foods For The Baby?
When you start feeding solids to your baby, it is a good idea to start with simple tastes and textures. You can either choose to go with single-ingredient baby cereals or feed single-ingredient vegetables and fruits. If you wish to go with vegetables or fruits, use them in the pureed form. Do not add sugar or salt to the first foods. After the first feed, wait for 3 to 5 days to check for any type of adverse reaction like diarrhea, vomiting, or a rash (2).
How To Prepare Baby’s First Foods?
If you wish to prepare baby food at home, make sure your hands and the utensils you use are completely clean. Use vegetables and fruits which are fresh. Some vegetables, like carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes might require slight boiling since they are hard to puree in the raw form.
What Kind Of Textures Are Ideal For First Foods?
The first foods should ideally be very soft and free from lumps. If you are using baby cereals, mix it with breast milk or formula milk. Prepare formula milk as you usually do and then mix it with baby cereal. Do not add cow’s milk or water to it. Make sure there are no air bubbles and it is an extremely soft, almost pourable consistency.
The same goes for pureed vegetables or fruits. Once your baby gets used to these foods, you can gradually move to pureed meats and chicken in combination with vegetables. You can also gradually try slightly coarse textures thereafter.
What To Do If The Baby Refuses First Foods?
Do not expect your baby to immediately take a liking to the first solid foods you serve. It is quite natural for them to reject it as they are not used to it. So, don’t be disheartened if this happens. Wait for a day or two before re-introducing the first foods. However, do not force-feed your baby. If your baby continues to reject solids even after repeated attempts, make sure you check with the pediatrician (3).
What Is The Best Way To Feed First Foods To The Baby?
The best way to feed the first foods to baby is by using a feeding spoon specifically created for the purpose. Since the first foods are of almost pourable consistency, you might feel tempted to feed it in the bottle. But avoid doing so since solids cannot be consumed as easily as liquids from a bottle. Your baby will have to put in a lot of effort to extract it and this can tire the baby out soon. Eventually, your baby might lose interest right at the beginning.
We hope this information proves helpful to you while feeding your baby his/her first solids. In case you feel things are not going as planned, we suggest that you deal with it patiently instead of force-feeding your baby. Otherwise, you can take your doctor’s help to guide you through.