Does your baby seem to be wanting more and more breast milk and/or formula and still isn’t getting full? Do they reach for your food when you are eating? Your baby may be ready for an exciting new milestone. Here are some guidelines to know when to start, what to start with and more.
Signs your baby may be ready for solids are:
• Baby has good head control
• Baby can sit up with support
• Wants to breast or bottle feed more than eight times in 24 hours
• Gets large amounts of breast milk and/or formula but is still hungry after feedings
• Can take food from a spoon and swallows without difficulty
If your baby is showing signs of readiness, consult with your child’s pediatrician to begin introducing foods. Your baby should transition from liquid to solid foods in the following order:
• 0-6 months (Liquids) Breast milk or formula.
• 4-6 months (Smooth) Rice cereal – Mix plain infant rice cereal (start with 1-2 tbsp.) with breast milk or formula. Serve one meal a day until eating and swallowing abilities improve. Avoid feeding cereal or other foods through a bottle that can cause choking should the baby suck a large chunk that did not mix properly. This can also lead to overeating and gaining weight too quickly.
• 6-8 months (Mushy) Pureed vegetables or pureed fruit. Start with 1-2 tbsp. Introduce these single ingredient foods one at a time, at least a week apart to identify any possible food allergies. Feed the baby from a jar only if you are going to use it all at once. This prevents bacteria growth in the jar. If your baby refuses a certain food by spitting it out, or turning away, try the same food another day. Experts say a baby or toddler should be exposed to a least favorite food a minimum of 15 times before ruling it out as a permanent food choice.
• 8-15 months (Soft) Smashed cooked pinto beans, cooked egg whites (no yolk for the first year), avocado and hummus.
• 15 months and up (Small solid pieces) Boiled egg pieces, canned green bean pieces, chopped meats cut into pieces.
Offer a good variety of foods that are rich in the nutrients a child needs. Watch your child for cues that he has had enough to eat. Do not over feed.
If you have questions about your child’s nutrition, including concerns about your child eating too much, or too little, talk with your child’s doctor.
For more information, call the 56th Medical Operations Squadron New Parent Support Program at 623-856-3417.
Portions of this article are found at www.azftf.org