Yes! The baby is going to start with food! It’s certainly a big milestone when you think about baby’s growth and development. And as a parent, it is truly an exciting milestone!. So, Getting started with first food for baby?
Here is the most essential thing you need to get started with baby’s first food- PATIENCE! Yes, you heard it right!
Before starting with the next phase please remember that initially solids intake for baby is not for adding calories but just to familiarise the baby with new textures and flavours. So taking it easy is really important.
Starting solid feed too early or too late can be quite harmful. Before the baby turns 4-6 months, possibility of allergic reactions is quite high; plus not to ignore the fact that baby’s digestive system isn’t very strong as well. So starting with solids is not recommended . Also, once the baby is 6 months old, nutritional requirements are not met with only milk, hence postponing solid feed can lead to developmental concerns.
ARE YOU READY, BABY?
First few signs that the baby is ready for solids:
- Baby is able to sit up without any support. This is important so that the baby can swallow food without any difficultly
- Baby is able to keep his head steady and have a control on neck
- Baby wakes up more often at night than earlier times. So while teething or ill health can be other reasons for this, but an empty stomach is a major reason for frequent mid-night wake ups
- Baby has become inquisitive about what you eat. Generally at 5-6 months, babies start following the spoon – right from your plate till it reaches your mouth. Trust me, you would end up not enjoying your meal because of the guilt ! But that’s a sign that baby wants to taste something new, colourful, tastier …beyond that boring white milk!
Once you start noticing these signs, check with your doctor and go ahead. It is always advisable to not follow any milestone calendar or fall prey to peer pressure!
The best person to advise you when to start baby’s first food is none other than your baby!
But note a few Do’s and Don’t’s:
- Start with 1-2 solid meals and stick to the same recipe for atleast 1 week. This would bring up any possible allergies or digestion concerns.
- Let your creativity flow at its best. Your imagination and a good sense of humour can make a lot of difference. That spoonful of porridge might be a bird one day and a planet the other day.
- Make the whole process very comfortable for baby and yourself. Feeding essentials, feeding chair, bins, napkins- try and have everything accessible.
- Keep a check on constipation ; most babies develop constipation immediately after being introduced to solids. This is completely normal but should be monitored.
- Do not add sugar or salt to baby food for first 6 months. Babies taste buds start to develop at this stage. So what might be tasteless to you wouldn’t taste that way to the baby.
- If the baby rejects or throws up eating any specific food, do not push or force feed. Try the same recipe after a week’s time
- Do not take away the baby’s companion I.e milk totally out of the schedule. Try to use solid -feed just as a top-up after milk feed for first few weeks
- Patience and cool mind is a must that you need to have as a parent while starting with solids. Do not start with high expectations. The taste, feel and process is all very new for your little one at this stage. Let the baby take time and accept this new experience
- Trust the baby’s instinct when it comes to demanding food. The way we rely on breastfed baby to regulate his hunger patten, similarly while having solids, baby would know how much he needs. Do not pressurise the baby.
For some parents reaching this milestone is exciting and fun. For a few, like me, it’s more about nervousness. I remember being concerned when we hadn’t started with solid feed while in our friend circle I would hear things like ” Oh, my baby loves Gerber food” or “I buy organic veggies only ” or something like ” we have already started with chicken & egg”!
With twins tucked in our arms , my husband and I would just end of freaking out – how the hell are we going to feed these two!!!!???!!
But I knew that breast milk is as such sufficient to provide required nutrients to the baby till 1 year of age. And that’s what I followed religiously ( read ” How I breastfed my twins for over 12 months“).
Hence the process of eating solids should be slow & steady. Try and think out of the box – I mean beyond packaged food box- and introduce interesting healthy food to the baby!
In a fix what all you would need to get started? Check out ‘8 Must have baby Feeding Essentials‘