Feeding baby solids; you might wonder - what kind of foods to start with and how to do it. Many moms would like guidelines.
Starting your baby on solids calls for some big changes but doesn't have to be difficult. Following, you will find some interesting information about what you need to know. Also, how to feed for your child's future health - how to prevent kids allergies.
When To Start
La Leche League International, the mother-to-mother breastfeeding support group, recommends introducing solids sometime in the second half of the first year. Some babies will be ready at 6 months, while others won't be till later.
Photo courtesy of abbybatchelder
Some families have a history of food allergies - like mine. If that is the case with your family also, it is recommended you might want to wait it out to introduce solids later. My daughter wasn't ready till 11 months, while my son was chomping at the bit by 7 months - they are all different.
Research shows that if there is a pre-disposition to food allergies, the younger a baby is eating "real" food, the greater the chances of developing allergies or at least intolerance to that food.
How To Know When She Is Ready
Babies experiencing growth spurts nurse more frequently and this may lead you to believe your baby is starving and needs solids. This isn't necessarily true.
Also, babies are very curious little people, so grabbing at food isn't a reliable indicator either. They often even make it look as if they are ready to eat non-food items - the way they shove things into their mouths!
Babies should be able to sit up and hold things in their hands before they are given food. Also, by offering food on a high chair tray, your baby can feed herself - which helps determine if she feels ready for solids.
What are best First Foods?
Although there are no hard and fast rules, I learned in my research for my own babies, there are some different lines of reasoning and good suggestions to keep in mind when thinking about feeding baby solids.
Because fruits are so much sweeter than vegetables, a baby might grow to like both if she is introduced first to vegies. In this way, vegie flavors might be more well accepted and liked before even tasting the easier-to-like flavors of fruit.
Although rice cereal is often considered the first food for baby, many experts now recommend starting with vegetables and fruits before cereal. Since milk and rice cereal are both high in carbohydrates, vegetables and fruit would introduce different kinds of nutrients.
Among some good first foods for feeding baby solids are carrots, sweet potato and avocado. For moms who like the idea of rice cereal, it has been suggested to boil brown rice to a mush - it's healthier than commercial cereals. A favorite book that a lot of moms really like is Cooking for Baby: Wholesome, Homemade, Delicious Foods for 6 to 18 Months
First On The Menu
The introduction of food doesn't eliminate the importance of breastmilk. It is recommended that the first course still be milk at each meal and then as an add-on serve your selected solids. This ensures that your baby is filling up on the best food first.
Preventing Allergies and Food Intolerance
As a way of detecting foods that your baby may be intolerant to, it is advised that one new food be started each week. This way you can gauge whether your baby can handle that food or if any symptoms of intolerance are present.
Also, when feeding your baby solids, over consumption is advised against. The key is very small portions - just a bit each day for the week. Eating too much of any one kind of food is a way to develop food intolerance - even in adulthood.
There are certain foods also, that are considered high-allergy foods and should be avoided for at least the first year. These include cow's milk, egg whites, peanuts and shellfish.
Without a doubt, starting your baby on solids is new and exciting. Keeping in mind a few tips that are important when starting solids - like how to prevent kids allergies will help make it a good experience for both of you.
She is growing, and when you start feeding baby solids it can be the start to life-long good eating habits. Allowing her to feed herself adds edible color and texture for her learning and nutrients for her body.
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