Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for infants till the age of 6 months as it provided better immunity. Breast milk provides all the essential nutrients till the age of 6 months. However, 6 months and above age baby has increased requirement of iron and zinc in his body, which can’t be met by Breast milk alone. Solids in form of home made food or iron zinc fortified cereals should be started at this age.
Important Points to keep in mind while introducing solids to babies
- Introduce the food to your baby when he/she is not starving, tired and sleepy.
- Make him/her sit on a high chair or in your lap in an upright position.
- Don’t rush. Enjoy your baby’s new milestone with leisure.
- Start with any cooked and pureed vegetable or fruit or semi-liquid cereal.
- The normal transition of baby food is from pureed or semi-liquid food to strained or mashed food followed by small pieces of cooked finger foods.
- Home cooked and pureed pumpkins; apples and sweet potatoes are great first foods to start with.
- In first month, stick to the same food for 3 days, then change to another kind of food.
- Keep an eye on allergic symptoms like rashes, swollen face, wheezing, diarrhea and vomiting. Those may be triggered by some food. Avoid that specific food and talk to the baby’s doctor.
- If you like to start with ready-made baby cereals, mix it with sufficient formula or breast milk to make semi-liquid consistency. You can increase the amount of cereal to make it semisolid in subsequent feeds.
- Use a soft plastic spoon rather than steel or silver spoon in starting to avoid hurting her gums.
- Keep the quantity of food very less to start with. Don’t make it a full meal on first day.
- Be patient and give your baby enough time to swallow.
- If baby seems thirsty, boiled and cooled water can be given sometimes after the meal.
- Know when you baby is full. If baby starts refusing food after some spoons, turns the head away and starts playing with the spoon. They are the indications that baby has eaten according to her appetite.
- Perfectly cleaned containers should only be used to prepare and serve baby food to avoid contamination with germs. Babies are very sensitive and have less immunity.
- Take out small portions of food in a bowl and feed. Keep the remaining food in freeze if you want to use it later.
- Throw away the leftover food from the bowl and do not freeze it, as it may grow bacteria from baby’s saliva in it and get spoiled in 2 hours.
- Do not force feed the baby. Let her develop the interest in food by seeing it and smelling it. Try different variety of foods to keep your baby interested.
- Some babies like to mess with food before putting it in mouth. That’s ok too. Let them explore the food first.