Switching to Solids

Once you are settled down with breastfeeding and formula feed, the next thing you have to get ready for starting solid foods to your baby. Switching to solids has to be a gradual process and it will certainly be an exciting and memorable experience for you. Read on to know what solid foods you can start with and what things to consider while feeding.

Last Updated: 23 October 2020

Switching to Solids
Switching to Solids
Switching to Solids

As a new mother you will be perplexed on how to start solid foods and which one to start with. Well this is not a big deal and it all depends on how you and child work together. The basic idea is just introducing solid food that is easy for them to swallow and initiating a different taste to them. As the months pass, you can gradually add new foods to his menu.

Signs that your baby is ready for solids

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. Once you start solid foods, you can still breastfeed for at least 12 months. The following are the signs that your baby is ready for solid foods.

·         Your baby starts to develop coordination to move food from her mouth to throat (this happens during 4th to 6th month)

·         Once your baby holds a good head control and is able to sit in a chair

·         Your baby opens your mouth when you are eating and shows interest in trying solid foods

·         Once he attains adequate weight (double their birth weight)

·         Your baby’s digestive system is ready to handle solid foods

·         Your baby’s appetite is not satisfied with breast milk or formula

How to start?

It is important to remember that your baby has not handled anything thicker than the breast milk. Always start with very little amount of food, may be half spoon or so. As this is a completely new experience, your child may not know what to do; he may wrinkle his nose, keeps the food in the mouth and sometimes reject it altogether. You need not get disappointed as this is the very beginning step for him in eating solids.

It all works on permutation combinations. Sometimes when you feel he is very hungry, you can give him breast milk or formula, and then give a small amount of solid foods.

You can increase the amount of food gradually once your baby learns how to swallow.

What foods to start first?

There are no standard guidelines on which foods to introduce first. As a part of tradition, single grain cereals are introduced first. Make sure the cereals are iron fortified and made for babies. Moreover babies are rarely allergic to cereals.

It is good to use a blender or food processor to mash the food completely and then provide so that it will be easy for them to swallow.

Things to consider

Try one new food at a time. Once your baby is comfortable with solid foods, you can make his diet a combination of coarsely mashed vegetables and fruits, fish (bones removed), and eggs. Also include water as a part of their diet.

Always notice signs of allergic reaction, or intolerance, like a rash, hives, wheezing, difficulty breathing, vomiting, excessive gas, diarrhea, or blood in her stools.

It is not advisable to give foods that require chewing at this age. Do not give hot dogs (meat sticks, or baby food "hot dogs"); nuts and seeds; chunks of meat or cheese; whole grapes; popcorn; chunks of peanut butter; raw vegetables; fruit chunks.

If you are planning to have a vegetarian diet for your baby be sure that he gets ample amounts of zinc, iron and vitamin B12.

Say no to honey as it can cause botulism in children less than one year.

Avoid too much of salt and processed foods

It is good to prepare your baby’s food yourself.

Changes you can see after giving solid foods

Your baby’s digestive system is immature and under construction. Once you have started solid foods, your baby’s stools turns to be more solid and variable in color. Depending on the vegetables you give, you can notice the change in color in the stools. Sometimes you can notice undigested pieces of food, which is quite normal. If you notice the stools to be extremely watery, loose and full of mucus, try reducing the amount of solids and if necessary consult a pediatrician.

It is pivotal to inculcate proper eating habits to your child from the beginning. Do not overfeed and force your child to eat.



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