Introducing your Baby to Solid Foods

By: Mischelle Weedman Davis

How Should I Start Feeding My Baby Solids?

When your baby is ready and the doctor has given you the OK to try solid foods, pick a time of day when your baby is not tired or cranky. You want your baby to be a little hungry, but not all-out starving; you might want to let your baby breastfeed a while, or provide part of the usual bottle. Have your baby sit supported in your lap or in an upright infant seat. Infants, who sit well, usually around 6 months, can be placed in a high chair with a safety strap. Use a highchair as soon as your baby can sit easily without support. To safely use a highchair:
--Select a chair with a broad, stable base that won't tip easily.
--Use the safety straps every time you put your baby in the chair.
--Keep other children from pulling, climbing or hanging on to the highchair.
--Place the highchair a safe distance from the counter, table or any other stationary object your baby could push against forcefully enough to tip him or herself over. Give your baby enough time to finish each meal.

Most babies are full after 20 minutes of mealtime, including several minutes of exploring their food and socializing with the person feeding them. When your baby has had enough to eat, he or she will refuse the spoon with mouth closed or face turned away. Follow his or her lead, and never try to force in a few more bites.

Our medical advisors recommend that a baby's first food should be root vegetables (yams, carrots) or fruit rather than rice cereal. The first feeding may be nothing more than a little food mixed in a whole lot of liquid.

Place the spoon near your baby's lips, and let the baby smell and taste. Don't be surprised if this first spoonful is rejected. Wait a minute and try again. Most food offered to your baby at this age will end up on the baby's chin, bib, or high-chair tray. Again, this is just an introduction.

Have the right equipment a small-sized plastic baby feeding spoon does not transmit heat or cold while having a smooth edge.

Do's

--Sit baby comfortably on your lap, baby hair chair or infant seat.
--Tie a bib in place and hold baby's head gently but firmly so that a sudden turn does not result in an eye or an ear full.
--Place the spoon in the baby's mouth on top of the tongue. Remove it with an upwards motion so the food is pushed off the top gum or lip.
--Offer no more than a few drops at a time at first. And if it gets spitted back, gently retrieve it from the chin and return it to the mouth.
--If your baby is unwilling to eat after a few attempts, discard the food and begin again later with a new preparation.

Don'ts

--Never attempt to feed baby cereal from a bottle using a teat with an enlarged hole. Cereals are intended as a supplement to the normal intake of milk. Your baby does not have to consume a great quantity of solid food yet. If your baby will not take it from a spoon, simply try again later.
--Get frustrated with this process.

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