Food is an essential part of our life, and for babies it holds more importance. It is the food that the baby has in the initial years of life constitutes the foundation of well being throughout his life. The under nourished or improper nourishment can have adverse effects on baby’s overall health and progress.
Therefore, food is an important aspect in a baby’s growth. The baby start’s with mother’s milk and gradually solid food is introduced. Although in the early months mother’s milk provide the baby with adequate nutrition but after some time baby needs more nutrition and then we need to introduce solid food. The question is about what, when and how to start solid food for a baby. we shall discuss various aspects related to adding solid food in your baby’s diet.
There is no definite age to start solid food
We always get worried when it comes to deciding the age at which the baby should be introduced solid foods. In the earlier times people would not give any solid food to the baby till the age of one. But in present times the doctor’s can tell you to start giving solid food between four to sixth months, your baby’s health and nutrition requirements forms the basis of the decision.
Your baby fulfils all the nutritional requirements from the mother’s milk and the immature digestive system is unable to digest or make use of any additional nutrients for months after birth. If there is any history or food intolerance or allergy in the family then you should surely consult your doctor before giving any solid food to the baby. Again we you notice that the baby’s bowel movements are very loose, and then you should wait for sometime as it could further aggravate the problem of bowels.
Keep a fine balance of valuable foods
When you introduce solid foods to your baby, your baby is made to understand and go through a very important phase in life. The preferences and choices are made at an early stage of life are hard to change or mend in the later stages. Therefore, the importance of healthy eating has to be taught to the child from the start. The major concerns of majority of nutritionist across the world are lack of nutrition is young babies. The present generation has developed more preference towards unhealthy processed food which is leading to major health complications in very young children also. You need to be sure in your mind that you want to inculcate good eating habits in your child.
How to start giving solid food
It is very important that you keep things in mind before offering any solid food to the child. The first factor is whether to give food before or after the milk. It is not a good idea to offer solid food to the baby when the baby is expecting his milk. Instead pacify the baby with little milk and then give him a spoonful to eat. It is very normal if he spits it, because this is something new to him. Keep this pattern for some days and this way baby would understand that there are other options to fill his tummy.
You should not select a wide or a deep spoon; instead go in for a shallow and small spoon. Before you finally start giving one solid meal in a day to your baby, you should make your baby sit in an upright position. It would be a good idea to offer food when the baby is hungry; instead of what you think is the right time for food. It is very natural for babies to make faces and noises when give solid food. If the baby takes it out, put it back into her out. Be patient and enjoy feeding your baby.
Give baby the time to like food
It is recommended to always start giving solid food in small quantities to the baby and gradually increasing the amount. The gradual process would encourage the baby to accept food. On the contrary if you force the baby to eat, the baby could resent eating any food altogether and this would further worsen the condition. Do not experiment with various foods. If you plan to give some cereal to the baby for the first time, keep giving it for some days, for the baby to develop the taste for it. If you introduce too many flavours the baby would get confused.
Start with cereals
You can give you baby cereals like corn, oats, barley and rice. You can wait for some time to introduce wheat cereals to the baby if you any food allergy history in the family. The cereals can either be procured from the market or made at home. The cereals available in the market come with iron and other minerals. Iron is very important for the baby because the mother’s milk does not have iron. It is a good option to start a cereal which comes with iron. Starting from few spoons a day you can give one full meal of cereals to the baby. It is often seen that babies dislike the taste of cereals, and then in that case after consulting your doctor you can give fruits to your baby as a first solid food.
Staring with fruits
The babies should be introduced to fruits after cereals. The apples, peaches, apricots, bananas and pears are amongst the few fruits that can be safely given to the baby. You can make stew or puree the fruit pulp and give it to the baby.
It is good idea to give vegetables to baby once the baby is comfortable with cereals and fruits. The vegetables which can be given to the babies include potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrot and peas. You can cook and make a soup of the vegetables or give the vegetables in the pureed form. It is very common for baby to resent some vegetables, do not force your child and try after some time. It is very important to give prime importance to the nutrition of the baby, as healthy babies are happy babies.