Is your baby already 6 months or older? If so, an exciting new stage in their feeding journey is about to begin because they should not rely on breast milk or infant formula as their sole source of nutrition anymore. This is the time in their lives to introduce them to solid foods, and that comes with many questions for you. No need to worry, we have answered the most asked questions and provided top tips for starting your baby on solids below:
When should you start introducing solid foods?
At the age of six months, because at that time nutrient needs are growing (as is your baby). Complementary foods begin to provide extra nutrients in addition to the liquid breast milk or infant formula that previously served as your baby’s sole source of nutrition. In addition, most babies show signs of readiness to start eating solid foods at this age. The first sign is the ability to hold their head steadily. Other signs include “eye-hand-mouth coordination,” which enables them to reach for objects and put them in their mouth, interest in the food we eat, and the ability to eat food from a spoon.
What new foods should I start with?
The first solid complementary foods for babies include vegetable and fruit purees, as well as infant cereals specially designed to meet nutritional needs of babies. It is recommended that all of these are served with a spoon to allow for the development of new eating skills. At the beginning, the new foods can be just small bites to explore new flavors and textures. Gradually, these foods will replace milk meals as your baby surpasses his or her first birthday. Thus, this is the beginning of your baby’s journey toward switching from an exclusive liquid diet to a more diverse diet inclusive of solid textures.
How do I begin?
Health Care Professionals recommended introducing only one new food at a time. This allows the baby to get acquainted with the new tastes and textures. This should be done while the baby is awake, calm, and not overly hungry, so that the chances of cooperation are better. In addition, it is advisable to offer new foods early in the day, so you can pay attention and make sure that your baby does not develop an allergic reaction.
Don’t rush to a conclusion about your baby’s preferences
It is not advisable to jump to conclusions or quickly decide that the baby "does not like" a particular food, even if he or she refuses to taste it at first. In many cases, studies have shown that repeated introduction of new foods, at least eight times or more, is required for babies to adapt to a new taste. Remember, try not to worry about them not liking a food when they first try it, as it is best to be relaxed and create a pleasant atmosphere that will encourage your baby to taste and explore new foods.
Try cereal for babies - a highly nutritious meal
Infant cereal can be a highly nutritious meal and it is recommended to be included daily from six months forward as a part of your baby’s diet. Remember that babies eat small volumes of food because their stomach is only about the size of their fist. At the same time, nutrient needs are high because your baby is growing so fast, meaning that every spoon your baby puts in their mouth is important.
Coming in January, Else Super Cereal is a great meal option! It's the first and only Clean Label Project Certified Baby Cereal in the U.S.. It provides a unique combination of high-quality protein from almonds and buckwheat, making it nutritionally balanced with all essential amino acids (the body’s building blocks). Else Super Cereal also contains healthy unsaturated fat, gluten-free carbohydrates, and 20+ essential vitamins and minerals. Preparation is easy, just add 3 tbsp of Else Super Cereal in a bowl, then stir in lukewarm liquid (breastmilk, formula, or water), until it meets your desired consistency, then serve with a spoon.
Let the baby lead the way
As parents or caregivers, you are responsible for introducing a variety of healthy foods to your baby and building healthy eating habits. However, it is up to the baby to choose what to eat and how much to eat out of what you serve them. Set up meals at the dining table and let your baby eat consciously to fully experience new flavors and textures without various distractions such as TV or toys. Be attentive to satiety cues. Stop offering food or feeding when your baby begins to turn their face away from the food, starts to play with it, or closes their mouth at each new spoonful - your baby knows best when they are hungry and full.