Did you know that the good docs of yesteryear recommended starting babies on cereal at just a few weeks old? Parents were often told to add cereal to the bottle. Thank goodness nutrition has evolved!
When to Start Solids?
You’ll hear different schools of thought. Some experts insist on waiting until the baby is six months old, when they say there is less chance of baby developing a food allergy, while others believe in starting solids between four and six months old. Since every child is different, your best bet is to have this conversation with your pediatrician, who can give you guidance based on your baby’s needs.
Some experts offer another reason why it’s good to start solids at six months: A baby’s natural stores of iron begin to deplete around six months, and some may not get enough in their liquid diets to replace them. A single-grain, iron-fortified cereal offers what he’ll need (rice, barley, oat), but once baby is a bit older, say by nine months, meats, beans and greens are more options for iron.
Is Your Baby is Ready for Solids?
Here are some good signs that your little one is ready for a bigger challenge:
- Her birth weight has doubled.
- She can sit up (with support) and can hold her head and neck up well.
- She can keep food in her mouth rather than letting it dribble out.
- She’s acting hungrier. Maybe she wants more when her bottle is finished, or she wants to nurse more often. Some solids at this point would be a good complement to her diet.
Veggies Before Fruits?
It really doesn’t matter. Introducing a fruit before a vegetable will not make him dislike his veggies. Remember, breast milk is on the sweet side, so trying something new with a similar flavor may be a good first choice of a solid. A great first fruit for a baby age 6 months? Ripe bananas! Mash well with the side of a fork and add a little breast milk or formula to give it an easy consistency.
Next up could be avocados. They’re full of monounsaturated fat and are mild enough for a brand-new palate. Simply mash with a fork and add breast milk or formula to achieve a smooth consistency. Cooked sweet potatoes or yams and ripe pears are also good for a six-month-old. Just be sure to really mash all fruits and cooked veggies well, to get out any lumps. And even though you’ll soon be insisting that peels are good for him, right now, he needs everything peeled so he has an easy time swallowing. The peeled fruits and veggies also go easy on his digestive system. By the way, you’ll be excited to serve yogurt, those Stonyfield containers are just so handy, but hold off until baby is nine months old.
A Few Words on Allergies
When you introduce a new food to baby, wait about three days to offer another new food. That way, if it causes an allergic reaction, you’ll know exactly what caused it. Also, giving baby a new food in the morning offers you a bigger window to see if a reaction has been triggered.