Weaning or introducing complementary foods is typically recommended when your baby reaches six months of age. It’s a crucial phase in their development, and it can be an enjoyable experience exploring new tastes and textures together. Starting with smoother textures is advised as they’re easier for babies to swallow.
A baby food maker proves to be an excellent tool for preparing baby food, and the market offers various options, each with its set of attractive features and functions. Initially, children don’t need three meals a day, so starting with feedings that suit both you and the baby is a good approach. Gradually diversify and increase the amount of food your baby consumes until they can eat similar meals to the rest of the family, albeit in smaller portions.
While every baby is different, there are common signs indicating readiness for solid foods alongside breast milk or formula.
Getting Started With Solid Foods
It’s essential to be present when your child eats to ensure safety in case of choking. Allowing the baby to explore food by touching and holding it, and eventually feeding themselves when they show interest, is encouraged. It’s crucial not to coerce the baby into eating and to wait for them to willingly open their mouth.
Babies and Food Allergies
Introducing a variety of foods is important, yet some infants may have adverse reactions to specific foods. Therefore, it’s advised to introduce foods like cow’s milk, wheat, eggs, gluten, nuts, seeds, fish, and shellfish one at a time after six months.
As you introduce solids, start with small amounts and closely monitor for any signs of allergic reactions.
In cases where a known allergy like asthma, eczema, or hay fever exists, extra caution might be necessary when introducing peanuts and related products. Remember to crush or grind peanuts and other nuts.
Starting with mashed or softly cooked vegetables and fruits like potatoes, apples, or pears (all cooled before feeding) is recommended. Soft fruits such as melons, baby rice, or cereal blended with the baby’s usual milk are nutritious options.
While introducing solids, continue providing breast milk or infant formula but avoid whole cow’s milk until they turn one year old.
Finger foods, sliced into pieces about the size of a finger, are suitable for babies to learn chewing. Soft, ripe bananas or avocados are good examples.
Once the baby is accustomed to the mentioned foods, include softly cooked meats like chicken, mashed fish, noodles, rice, lentils, and mashed hard-boiled eggs in their diet. Additionally, they can have full-fat dairy products like yogurt or custard, opting for items with no added sugar. Whole cow’s milk can be used in cooking or mixed with food from six months onward.
Baby’s Healthy Diet
The baby’s diet should include various fruits, vegetables, bread, rice, potatoes, and other starchy foods; fish, meat, eggs, beans, and alternative protein sources besides dairy; and milk and dairy products.
By the age of one, your child will likely be ready for three meals a day. These meals should include chopped breast milk or whole cow’s milk, accompanied by snacks like fruits, toast, vegetable sticks, and rice cakes.
At this point, whole cow’s milk can be introduced. Opt for full-fat dairy products as children under two require the additional vitamins and fat present in them. If they have a good appetite and are developing well, they can switch to semi-skimmed milk from the age of two. From five years old and up, 1% fat and skimmed milk are suitable.
Foods to avoid giving your baby:
- Salt, Sugar or honey
- Raw jelly cubes
- Low-fat foods and Saturated fat
- Shark, swordfish, marlin and raw shellfish
- Raw and under-cooked eggs
Introducing solids to your baby is an exciting journey. Watch for cues, start with simple textures, and gradually expand their diet. Safety and a diverse, nutritious diet are crucial. As they grow, they’ll move to three meals a day, getting the nutrients they need. Enjoy exploring new tastes and cherish these moments of growth together.