Solid foods are an exciting and messy time for you and your baby. Once your baby is about 4 months old, you can slowly introduce them to solid foods. Rice cereal is the best solid food to start with. You will mix a little bit with your breast milk or formula and then feed it to your baby. Some babies are ready to start solid foods at 4 months, while others may not be ready for a little while. You can tell that your baby is ready if they can demonstrate head control, can sit while supported, makes chewing motions, and seems interested in your food. Most babies are ready to start solid foods at 6 months because their digestive system is ready for the solids. Waiting until your baby is 6 months will help to reduce the risk of allergic reactions.
Another sign that your baby is ready for solid foods is when they are able to swallow foods instead of pushing it out of their mouth. They must be able to move the foods to the back of their mouth and swallow. Once they are able to swallow, they will drool less, although they may be teething so this causes more drool. A baby is ready to start solid foods when they have doubled their birth weight and are at least 4 months old. Some babies will seem really hungry, which means they are feeding 10 or more times a day.
If you have tried rice cereal and your baby rejects it, stir in a little apple juice or grape juice to give it flavor. Some babies are more receptive to sweeter foods to start solid foods. When you decide to start solid foods, nurse or bottle feed your baby, and then give them about 2 teaspoons of rice cereal. Always use a rubber-tipped spoon when you are feeding solids to your baby because it will prevent injury to their gums. Do not force your baby to eat solid foods, only place a little bit on the tip of the spoon and gently place it in their mouth. If your baby rejects the spoon or doesn't seem interested in eating what is on the spoon, place some food on your finger and let them smell it and taste it.
The easiest way to train your baby to eat solid foods is to start supplementing solid foods into their diet once a day. Usually mid-morning or mid-afternoon are the best time. Try to avoid feeding solid foods to the baby when they are cranky or tired. After they are used to eating rice cereal, they will be able to eat a few tablespoons each day. If your infant has had trouble sleeping, solid foods may help them sleep better because their stomach will be full. Once your baby is used to the rice cereal, you can start adding another feeding in the day.
Every baby is different; some babies will easily eat a few tablespoons while others can only eat one or two. Once your baby becomes disinterested in the food, they are done with the food. They will give you other signs like leaning back in their high chair, playing with the spoon or the bowl, and turning their head when you try to feed them more. Most babies will tightly squeeze their lips together to stop you from pushing more food into their mouth.
In addition to the solid foods, a baby still needs to eat breast milk or formula. A baby will need to continue eating breast milk or formula until they are a year old. The breast milk and formula have special nutrients for babies that solid foods are unable to replace. A simple way to start your baby on solid foods is to start with rice cereal and then move up to vegetable baby food. You need to slowly introduce the new foods to them, so you should wait around 3 days before you introduce a new food into their diet. Sweet potatoes tend to be the easiest solid food to introduce after rice cereal. It helps to space out the foods because you can determine if your baby has an allergic reaction to the food. Once your baby is ready to move on, introduce some fruits into their diet. You can mash up fruits and vegetables and feed them to your baby or you can buy them in cans from the grocery store. The foods need to be strained or mushy, as it is easier for the baby to swallow.
Babies will be ready to move onto table foods like meat by about age one. Never force your baby to eat solid foods, if they don't like it wait another week and try again. Some babies may change their minds about certain foods after they are given some time to eat different foods. Solid foods can make some babies constipated, so you need to make sure they are still getting enough liquid. Give your baby an ounce of water or juice to drink after they have eaten some solid foods. Try changing to different solid foods like oatmeal and barley, as they aid in digestion. Don't be surprised to see a change in their stools too. The stool color will change and it may produce an odor.
Never give a baby honey because it can cause botulism. You should also avoid giving them peanut butter and cow's milk because it can cause allergic reactions in most children. If you are wondering about what type of solid foods are acceptable, you should talk to your baby's pediatrician. If you purchase canned solid foods from the grocery store, dump out a small amount into a bowl and feed that to your baby. Immediately throw away the unused portion in the bowl and place the extra amount in the can into the fridge. The solid food needs to be used within 2 days because it can spoil. You should never dip the spoon into the can after it has been in the baby's mouth because it can cause bacteria to grow in the food.
Babies need consistency, so you should feed them in their high-chair every time. You should also feed them in the kitchen if you want them to establish good eating habits. Most babies do not understand how to chew foods so you need to wait until they are ready before you give them bananas and bread. For anyone seeking to use canned baby food from the grocery store, they will encounter foods that are labeled as stage 1, 2, or 3. It can be confusing for many people to figure out which stage their baby is in and what foods they can eat. The simple rule to start with is to use the stage 1 foods and gradually move up as they become familiar with the solid foods.
Normally the stage 1 foods will consist of rice cereal and single food ingredients. The foods will be pureed vegetables and fruits. After the baby is used to these foods, they can slowly start working up to the stage 2 foods. The stage 2 foods are combination foods that are strained instead of pureed. Apples, garden vegetables, and bananas are a few of the most common stage 2 foods.
Most babies are not ready for the stage 3 foods until they are a year old, although some babies show signs of eating foods with chunks at 9 months old. The stage 3 foods have more texture and they encourage babies to chew. Broccoli and carrots, beef and spaghetti, and chunky fruits are some of the most poplar stage 3 solid foods. By the time a baby is ready to move up to the stage 3 foods, they will have a larger appetite and they can eat a whole jar in one sitting.
Once a baby hits the 12 month mark, they can move onto table foods and they do not have to be breastfed. Some parents still breast feed them or bottle feed them until they are 18 months or older. It depends upon your preference and the baby's preference. Stage 4 foods are called table foods and you can simply feed your baby anything that everyone else is eating at the dinner table. The food needs to be cut up into small pieces that are easy to chew. They an also drink grape juice and other juice throughout the day to keep them hydrated.
Each baby is different and may advance quicker than others. If your baby is ready to move up to the stage 2 foods by 7 months, go ahead and let them. Allow your baby to determine when they are ready to advance to the next stage and be sure to give them enough time to advance. Never force your baby to eat and never overfed them. If your baby develops a rash, is extremely gassy, or is irritable after eating solid foods, you need to contact your pediatrician. The pediatrician may determine what foods they are allergic to and they can recommend alternative foods for your baby.