Solid and finger foods for babies
As you have probably learned by now, having a baby is a great adventure that is packed with surprises and milestones all along the way.
As you have probably learned by now, having a baby is a great adventure that is packed with surprises and milestones all along the way. Your baby reaching the solid and finger foods milestone is another exciting time that also comes with a bit of apprehension. Of course you want to do everything right, but how and when should you start?
When should I start?
Before your baby is six months old you should never feed any type of solid food. The digestive tract is still developing during this time so solids can wreak havoc.
If you think your baby might be ready for solids, look out for: the baby holding his or her head up well; he or she can sit in a highchair; the baby starts to make chewing motions; the birth weight has at least doubled; the baby starts to show some interest in food; he or she can close their mouth around a spoon; the baby can move the tongue front to back, but does not push food out of the mouth; he or she can move food to the back of the mouth; after eight to ten feedings of breast milk or formula the baby still seems hungry; and/or the baby is starting to teethe.
How should I start?
You should start off by feeding your baby the same amount of breast milk or formula, while introducing fortified baby cereals, and various types of highly pureed foods. Some good options include apples, peaches, sweet potatoes, bananas, pears, and squash. Offer just a small amount in the beginning, roughly about one teaspoon. You may want to mix a teaspoon of baby cereal with about four or five teaspoons of breast milk or formula so that it is very runny and easy to swallow.
Over time, you can gradually increase the amount of solid food to about one tablespoon, or one tablespoon of cereal thinned with milk, offered twice a day. You can also gradually thicken the cereal’s consistency over time by adding less milk.
If you find your baby does not want to try the cereal or food being offered, do not get upset. Simply hold off for a few days and then try the item again. Sometimes the baby may just not be ready and may need a bit more time to adjust.
By the age of eight to ten months, your baby will be ready for a more varied diet, which can include finger foods. You can introduce pureed meats, small amounts of proteins such as tofu, mashed beans, and eggs. Finger foods can include small pieces of soft ripe fruit, such as banana, lightly toasted pieces of bread cut up into bite sized pieces, pasta that is well cooked, cereals, and teething biscuits. Regardless of the types of foods you offer your baby, be sure to introduce one new food at a time. You should wait a minimum of three days before introducing another new food to ensure there are no allergic reactions.
Remember, introducing solid and finger foods should be an exciting, fun time in both your life and your baby’s life. Do not rush the process, and never force your baby to eat anything he or she does not want to eat.