Knowing when your baby is ready to take the next step and eat solid foods for the first time can be tricky. You may have friends with children who started eating cereal at 4 months, but your child may not be ready until 8 months. The key to figuring out what is right for you and your child is getting to know your baby. You need to learn to observe his or her strengths and weaknesses to figure out the perfect time for solid foods.
Many professionals recommend your baby is breastfed or bottle fed for the first twelve months of their life. During that time, it is okay to experiment with some solid foods to figure out what your baby likes and to introduce some new flavors and textures. Between 4-6 months is the optimal time to introduce cereal. NEVER allow your child to have cereal in a bottle- this is a choking hazard. Always spoon feed your child out of a bowl. Cereal is a perfect introductory food because of the smooth texture and neutral flavor.
After 6 months of age, your baby may be ready to start to eat ‘baby food’. If you introduce various foods any earlier than this, your child will be more prone to food allergies. At the Lennon Pregnancy Center, we recommend moms introduce 1 food at a time to their child. This is a great way to check for food allergies. Introduce 1 food, feed him or her that same food for 3-4 days, then you should be able to observe if there is an allergy or not. We recommend starting with orange veggies. Let’s be honest, we know most children will love fruit because it’s so sweet and delicious. Introduce them to something veggie-based first. Squash or sweet potatoes are a great introductory baby food.
Don’t want to buy baby food each month? Good news… you don’t have to! Making baby food for your child is very simple. Last week at the Lennon Pregnancy Center we taught our moms how to make homemade applesauce- perfect for any child. There are many websites with recipes for easy-to-make baby food. Check out some here.
Here are some signs your baby might be ready to try solid foods:
- Your baby has head control
- Your baby is able to sit well (with support)
- Your baby shows a chewing motion and is able to swallow
- Your baby has experienced significant weight gain since birth
- Your baby seems hungry and unsatisfied with just milk
- Your baby may begin to be curious about the food you are eating
For more information on introducing solid foods to your child, visit the BabyCenter website.
If you are interested in learning more about introducing solid foods, breastfeeding, making your own baby food, or feeding techniques, sign up for classes at the Lennon Pregnancy Center! Call us @ (313) 277-5637.