It can be an exciting time for parents when a baby becomes ready for his or her first solid meal. This can be an adventurous time for the babies as well, as they explore new tastes and textures. We’ve all seen many photos and videos of babies scrunch nosed upon having their first taste of the unfamiliar. Gradually, they will learn which tastes they like and this will be a good indication for the parents of what to prepare.
Before your begin feeding your baby solid foods, make sure that you consult your doctor first if it is already proper to do so, and which foods are best for your baby. Generally, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers exclusively breastfeed their children for the first 6 months of their lives to improve their immune system function and to protect against allergies and diseases. Some signs that your baby may be ready for solid foods include the following:
- The baby has lost the tongue-thrust reflex. Do you notice how babies thrust out their tongues when something is introduced to their mouths? This is called the tongue thrust reflex which is an evolutionary instinct that protects babies from choking. Between 4 and 6 months, this reflex gradually diminishes.
- The baby can already show signs when he or she is full. When a baby can already turn away or refuse a bottle of milk or the breast, this means that they can already regulate the food that they take in. This can prevent parents from overfeeding their child solid foods.
- The baby can already hold their heads up without any assistance.
- The baby’s birth weight has already doubled.
When your doctor has given you the green light to feed your baby solid foods, you can opt to buy ready-made foods or better yet, you can try making them yourself. There are many nutritious foods available that are generally safe for baby consumption such as pumpkins, squash, shelled peas, potatoes, apples, and potatoes. Just keep in mind the following guidelines when making your own baby food.
- Do a thorough research on the ingredient that you are using to make sure that it is baby friendly.
- Avoid foods that are too fibrous (hard fiber) since these can irritate their still delicate tummies.
- Make sure that the foods are properly pureed to aid in their digestion. The food should as much as possible not contain solid bits.
- Introduce new food to your baby one at a time. Follow the four day rule when it comes to new foods, meaning feed your child one new solid food for at least four days to check for allergies before introducing another one.
- Always use clean materials when cooking baby food. Make sure that your hands are clean, the saucers and utensils properly sterilized.
- Store any leftovers properly in the refrigerator, covered properly, for no more than 3 days.