Upon reaching six months, an important change occurs in the child’s diet: it is time to start introducing solid foods. Your body is already prepared and that is a challenge for parents.Introducing solid foods to babies is a delicate matter. This cannot be done in the first days of the child’s life, but after a certain time and gradually.
During pregnancy, the placenta partially performs nutritional functions. Therefore, the child’s digestive system must adapt after birth. This is the reason why a newborn does not tolerate all kinds of food.
In this article we will see when to introduce solid foods to babies, how to know that you are ready for this, what foods are recommended and some general guidelines that should be taken into account.
How do I know that my baby is ready to eat solid foods?
The child should be exclusively breastfed during the first moments of his life. When they reach six months, solid foods are introduced to babies. However, breastfeeding can continue up to two years, alternating both forms.
In addition to age, a second element to consider is related to height and weight. By around 4 months, babies weigh twice as much as they did at birth. In some specific cases, the need to advance the intake of solids can be evaluated, although they would be specific exceptions that a pediatrician should indicate.
Other aspects to take into account are the various signals that the baby emits. Some are indicative of your readiness to accept solid foods:
- You can remain seated and keep your head up.
- He shows interest in the food that circulates in front of his face.
- If something comes close to his mouth, he opens it as if to swallow.
- Makes chewing gestures or movements.
What foods are recommended for this stage?
There is no single type of food that you can include in your baby’s diet to start this new stage. However, there are some more recommended than others. Among these are the following:
- Cereals: rice, oats, corn or barley are foods rich in vitamins and minerals. In addition, they are an important source of fiber.
- Vegetables and vegetables: they provide a wide variety of nutrients, including proteins. They can be given to the child in porridge.
- Fruits: by themselves they are pleasant to the palate. Preferably, you should choose fresh fruits, not canned.
- Foods of animal origin: meat and fish provide protein, vitamin A, iron, zinc, phosphorus and calcium. Regarding eggs, due to food allergies, it is preferred to wait until one year of life to do the tolerance test with a portion.
- Legumes: they are the best source of protein of non-animal origin.
How should I introduce solid foods to babies?
When introducing solid foods to babies it is important to ensure that the child does not reject the new food. And while this may happen early on, it takes perseverance, without it being traumatic.
In this sense, small amounts should be administered. Remember that it is a small child, who eats much less than an adult. Give your digestive system time to adjust to the change. So, let’s not get frustrated if you only eat a little of the solid.
Second, it is easier to introduce solid foods by alternating with breastfeeding or formula milk. This means: you give a little bottle or breast, then a teaspoon of food and a little more milk. This will get you used to the food.
During the process, on many occasions, the child will play with the food. Sometimes it will end up on the face, hands, bib, or floor; anywhere except the mouth.
Do not scold the child for it, because the next time the rejection could be greater. On the contrary, you have to speak softly to him, encouraging him to ingest. And if he cries or does not want to open his mouth, it is better to wait and not insist for a while.
What changes will the baby experience when eating solid foods?
When introducing solid foods, your child will begin to notice various changes. The stool will be more solid in consistency, with a color and an odor that will differ from the previous appearance. Likewise, the urine will become cloudy.
Some stools may contain pieces of undigested food, but this should not be a red flag. The evacuation period can also vary, becoming less frequent. Although this is not a sign of constipation far from it.
On the other hand, you will notice that as he adapts to solid food, he will have more appetite and the portions he eats will increase. Little by little he will give up the bottle.
General recommendations on feeding the baby
Here are some simple recommendations that you can take into account in this first moment when you begin to introduce solid foods to your baby:
- Food to eat by hand: Usually at this stage we have to bring the spoon to the child’s mouth. But we must not miss the opportunity when you want to eat by yourself and extend your hand. Of course, you have to make sure that it is not a large bite.
- Try other foods: do not present the child a plate with a variety of things. That is, the ideal is to go with one food at a time for each meal. And then move on to another in the next, noting what you like best. Today we tried a cereal; tomorrow with a vegetable porridge.
- Juice or fruit juice: you can prepare fruit juices to give with the bottle, as long as they are fresh. Sugar should not be added to juices or baby juices.
Not all solids are good for a baby
Some parents may be concerned if they see that their children eat little of the solid food at first. But at first, an amount close to four ounces is enough for the child to adjust.
Just as there are recommended foods, there are some that you should avoid, such as canned food, cold cuts, canned food, popcorn and others that can choke it. It is essential to evaluate the size of the bites so as not to generate danger.
Always try to puree, mash, or mash them so they can be eaten. Don’t give him anything whole. Finally, do not add salt or seasonings, as they are not necessary for your palate and taste, although they increase your risk of chronic diseases in the future.