Introducing baby to solids – when is the best time?

There is nothing more precious to a mom than holding her baby in her arms while breast feeding, but when the time comes to wean them off breast milk onto solid foods it can become a bit of a struggle. The task of moving baby onto solid food might seem daunting, after all breast milk is known to provide baby with all the vitamins they need and is packed with disease fighting substances.

During this month’s Facebook chat with Claire McHugh, paediatric dietician and Pampers Institute Expert, moms asked the following questions around making the change from breast feeding to solid foods: How do you know when it is time for baby to move to solid foods? How much should you offer? What comes first?

McHugh suggested the following during the discussion, “Ideally you can start introducing solids to baby between the ages of four and six months. At this stage most babies are developmentally ready to get their first taste of solid foods. At this point, they lose the extrusion reflex that is beneficial for sucking a breast or bottle, but can shove a spoonful of baby cereal right back out. It is always advisable to also check with your doctor before starting any solid foods.”

McHugh went on to share the following tips on to what kind of solids to offer baby:

  • A common first baby food is a single-grain, iron-fortified cereal such as rice cereal or oatmeal. These baby cereals have the advantage of boosting your baby’s iron intake, and they’re easy to digest. Just mix with a little baby formula, breast milk, or even water on occasion.
  • In addition to baby cereal, you can start your baby out with pureed fruits and vegetables. What kind? It doesn’t really matter, as long as you offer a variety, she says. Try fresh produce such as carrots, pears, prunes, sweet potatoes, avocado, bananas and peaches. You can buy premade baby food or make your own.
  • Some parents think that you should offer fruit before vegetables so the baby doesn’t reject the veggies for the sweeter fruits, but that’s not how it works. “All babies have a preference for sweet tastes, the trick is to keep giving them both fruits and vegetables,” advises Claire.

Introduce one food at a time and wait several days before trying something else new. This will allow you to identify foods that your baby may be allergic to. It might also take your baby a little while to “learn” how to eat solids. During these months you’ll still be providing the usual feedings of breast milk or formula, so don’t be concerned if your baby refuses certain foods at first or doesn’t seem interested. “It may just take some time – as with all good things time and patience is key to ensuring that this stage of baby’s development is a comfortable shift in order for you to have a happy and healthy baby,” concludes McHugh.

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