This is my COMPLETE GUIDE on starting solids for babies.
And here you are going to get each and every answer to your questions regarding introduction of food to babies, also called weaning.
Plus : when and which Indian foods I gave to my daughter Imaara and how did she react.
When to Start Solid Foods for Babies?
As per WHO and UNICEF Guidelines , every baby should be provided :
- Breast milk within 1 hour of birth.
- Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life.
- Introduction of nutritionally-adequate and safe complementary (solid) foods at 6 months together with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.
This is the same as what American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.
That means ideally a baby should be given solid foods starting at 6 months along with breastmilk.
As per doctors worldwide, a baby can be given solid food anywhere between 4- 6 months of age, and the exact right time depends on whether your baby:
- Can hold his head up high and sit straight.
- Expresses interest in what you eat.
- Is able to move the food inside with the help of her tongue.
Result – Its best to consult your pediatrician to get a go ahead for starting solids for your infant.
Now the question –
What if I introduce the food before 4 months?
Here you go with the answer from American Academy of Pediatrics
Can I delay after 6 months?
Breastmilk provides sufficient nutrients till 6 months of age. But after this, babies body needs extra food to get required energy and any delay can create vitamin and mineral deficiency along with her tendency to dislike solid foods and not accepting it willingly.
With Imaara, I started giving solids when she was 5.5 months old after consulting pediatrician.
How To Introduce Solids to Babies?
Introduce one new meal at a time
Start with a single meal at a time and continue giving the same for next 4 to 5 days to notice how your baby is reacting to that particular food.
Check any difference in the behaviour of your little one or any noticeable allergy.
And if you do notice any undesirable effect, stop giving that food right away and consult your doctor.
For example- I gave Imaara mashed bananas for first 5 days and then shifted to rice and banana for the next 5 days and she reacted well to both.
Increase the quantity of food gradually
Start with less quantity of food and increase it gradually by the 5 th day of monitoring .
Accompany this with breast milk or formula milk to complete your child meal.
For example- First day I offered Imaara hardly half spoon of banana and by the 5 th day I increased it to two spoons of the same.
Introduce every new meal in the morning
Now this is very important.
You should introduce every new meal in the morning so that in case it causes any allergy to your baby, you have full day to figure it out .
For example- For the first 5 days I gave bananas to Imaara as first meal and for the next 5 days rice was first meal and banana the second meal of the day.
Take care of the texture of food
Most of the infants by 6 months of age dont have teeths. So you need to provide soft, mashed and pureed foods only to avoid any choking.
Introduce different varieties of food
Each food is rich in different vitamins and minerals and therefore, it becomes a duty for you to incorporate all varieties of foods to your babies meal so that she can get all required nutrients.
What Baby Foods should I introduce First?
Here is the BABY FIRST FOOD CHART that provides a list of foods that you can offer to your baby in her first month of starting solids.
Can I introduce water?
Well, Breast milk or Formula milk is otherwise sufficient for baby’s liquid needs. But you can give water to your baby readily if she accepts it.
What about eggs?
A recent study has findings that a baby who is introduced eggs at the age of 4 to 6 months is at decreased risk of egg allergy.
But its better that you consult your doctor before introducing eggs to your baby.
What foods to avoid?
There are certain foods you need to skip for your babies in the earlier months of food introduction.
- Honey – causes a serious disease called Botulism. Infact, there is a tradition in many Indian families that newly born babies are given honey just after birth by one of the family members. And this has led to many cases of botulism in India. Therefore it becomes very necessary that you avoid giving honey to your baby till she is atleast 1 year old.
- Cow Milk – hard to digest for babies.
- Fruit Juice – leads to obesity and tooth decay.
- Sugar – offers no nutrition and causes obesity and tooth decay at younger age.
- Salt – Salt is not recommended as baby’s immature kidneys are not able to process salt.
Allergy causing foods
There are certain foods which are known to cause allergies amongst babies.
So whenever you introduce these foods to your baby, keep constant vigil at your baby to notice if your baby shows any sign of allergy.
These foods are-
In case of Imaara, she digested all things well except eggs. I introduced egg yellow when she was aged 9 months old and she got allergic reaction from the same.She started vomiting after 2 hours of consuming egg yellow.
It was so difficult time for me, watching your infant vomiting again and again after every 15 minutes.
But thankfully, after 2 hours she settled and slept.
Next, I waited till the time she was 1 year old to give her eggs again and she behaved well then. Now she can have eggs without any allergic reaction to it.
What are the signs of allergy I should be looking at?
There are certain signs you need to look out at when introducing new food to your baby. Some of the allergic symptoms are-
- Difficulty Breathing
- Rashes on the body
- Vomiting and Diahorrea
- Swelling of any body part
- Low Blood Pressure.
And in case you do find any such allergy, contact your pediatrician without any delay .
Do you have any query regarding any food you want to give to your baby? Or Do you want to share with Babies browser tribe any allergy your kid faced? For any questions or suggestions, do write in the comment box below.
Take care of yours and your little baby.