Pediatricians get asked a lot of very good questions. Some of the most frequently asked questions are about what to feed babies and when. Introducing solid foods is a transition for everyone involved, babies and parents both.
Here are some general tips and how-tos:
Firstly, ask your pediatrician before giving anything besides breast milk or formula for the first six months (including water!)
Whether your newborn is drinking formula or breast milk, both breast milk and formula have just the right blend of fats, salts, and water for baby’s nutrition. Babies’ bodies are just not ready to handle other things like water or cereal until they are around six months old.
How To Know When Your Baby Is Ready To Try Food
Usually these signs will come around the age of six months, but it’s really about waiting until your baby has the muscle strength and coordination needed to handle solid foods. Everybody is different and every baby makes their own timeline. Some babies develop faster and some are slower, so watch for your baby to be able to hold their head up well and to start to be able to sit up on their own. That’s when their muscles are getting strong and coordinated enough for swallowing food. Babies may also start to show interest in watching you eat or putting things in their mouths around this time.
How To Choose a First Food
A lot of the time, parents start with mixing single-grain cereal (such as rice cereal) into formula or breast milk as a first food which is a great option, but not the only option. Really any food is fine (except honey) as long as the baby can’t choke on it and it has only one ingredient. Step 1 baby foods from the store have only one ingredient and are blended well, or you can make your own at home. Whatever food you choose, it’s important that it is blended or mashed so that it can be swallowed without needing to be chewed (about the consistency of yogurt).
It is important to introduce only one new thing at a time because if your baby has a reaction to a food, then you can be sure which food caused the problem instead of having to guess which ingredient was the issue.
Honey is not recommended for children under one year of age because it has been linked with botulism in babies.
What Are the Signs Of An Allergic Reaction!?
Food allergies can be scary, but not all reactions are dangerous. Some reactions can be just a skin rash or just diarrhea. If you notice one of those signs, you can monitor your child at home and if they are acting just like normal you can simply avoid that food until you speak with your doctor. If your child has swelling around their mouth or throat, coughing, choking, or is vomiting after eating a new food they need to be seen by a doctor right away. Of course if you are ever worried, you should go ahead and call your pediatrician.
Most reactions occur within the first 4-6 hours after eating the food, but some can show up 24 hours later, which is why it’s important to leave several days between new foods.
Now you can feel more comfortable when your baby takes their first bite. And if you ever have questions or concerns, your pediatrician is only a phone call away.