As your baby grows and is about 6 months old, introducing solid food into her diet, in addition to breastmilk and/or formula, will be essential. Complementary feeding ensures that she gets the required minerals, vital nutrients and supplemental energy for her overall growth and development.
Early Pointers: While every baby is unique, there are some early pointers that you can look for to know that she is ready to start on solids. Below are a few pointers I used to gauge my baby’s readiness:
- Your baby can sit up, hold her head up to help her swallow tiny portions
- She shows interest by trying to grab your food if you are eating next to her
- She may make slurping movements with her tongue at the sight or smell of food
Remember, you know your baby better, so signs of interest might be a giggle, or any gesture she makes when overly excited.
Baby Steps: When you know it’s time for Stage 1 (6 months for my baby), relax and embrace the journey. I found the five steps below very helpful when I first started with baby food:
- Start with single ingredient meals, such as soft fruits, steamed and mashed vegetables or baby cereal. Avoid sugars and/or salts before 12 months to let her accept the natural taste of food
- Do not be surprised with the quantity she accepts in the beginning, it is still very new to her. Start with 1-2 teaspoons, by the age of 12 months she will be enjoying her way with 3 meals a day
- Expect a lot of spitting out, she does not know how to work her tongue around solids yet
- You can spoon-feed her purees, allow her to self-feed on soft foods, or combine a bit of both. Make sure to be on the lookout for any signs of choking
- Keep her on the same single ingredient meal for 3 days before trying the next one. She needs to slowly accept the flavors and textures, giving you time to monitor for any allergies. If you notice any signs of rash, hives or vomiting, stop feeding her and call your pediatrician immediately.
Enjoy the Journey: Most importantly, make sure your baby is relaxed and enjoying the experience. Expect a lot of mess, around the feeding area, so surround her with washable fabric to catch any spills. This will be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have with your baby, especially with the hilarious expressions she makes with every new flavor she experiences.
BabyEats simply started from here! We decided to combine science (pediatrician approved) with hands on experience to create meals for your little ones.Our Meal Plans are based on your babies’ stage of development, covering a wide range of blends, with the best texture to make them enjoy the new sensation of eating solid food.
Reviewed by Rouba Abdennour, MD, Specialist in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine Licensed in Dubai
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