The time has come. Maybe your pediatrician has given you the go ahead, maybe your own meal time has become a fight to keep your baby out of your food. With so many different feeding methods and parenting ideologies, food introductions can be a stressful time for a new parent. Concerns that a parent might have could be how do they feed their baby? What do they feed their baby? What do they need to know about allergies? What do they do in the event of choking, and more! Here is a quick guide to introducing solids to your baby when the time comes.
Choose a feeding method
Baby-led Weaning (The Gil Rapley method), spoon or finger feeding, self-feeding, combination feeding.... There are a lot of different ways to feed solids to a baby. Regardless of which method you choose, the following are the guidelines that the American Academy of Pediatrics had set forth in regards to the introduction of solids:
When should solids be introduced: Food should be introduced around 6 months of age. The AAP recommends that breastmilk or formula remain the exclusive source of nutrition until around 6 months and the primary source of nutrition until 1 year. Your baby should be able to hold their head upright and sit independently before beginning solids.
How: Self feeding, whether it be with their hands, or a spoon, is a great way for your baby to learn portion control and practice both gross and fine motor skills!
What: Many of us have been told that babies need to eat only very bland foods, but this is not the case! Feel free to offer your baby many different flavors, just be aware of the salt content, since babies require far less salt than adults. Fruits and vegetables are excellent nutritive sources and encourage healthy habits later in life. Children who see their parents eating healthy foods are more likely to eat healthy foods, so family meal times are a great way to involve your baby in a social and educational way. Often, it takes numerous exposures to a food before your baby will except it, sometimes as many as 10-15 times. If your child doesn't like a food, try it again!
Introducing solids to your baby is a huge milestone, for more information on the introduction of solid foods, check out the American Academy of Pediatrics website at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/growing-healthy/Pages/baby-food-and-feeding.aspx
What is some advice you have received in regards to giving your baby solids?